I tried out the new HTC Vive Cosmos VR headset and basically it’s better in every way than the old Vive.
And it’s modular.
Hey, I just got back from HTC HQ and I got to play with the Vive Cosmos for about an hour and it’s designed to be a premium.
Replacement to the original HTC VIVE headset.
The old VIVE is big, and it needs these things that are called lighthouse base stations.
And basically they’re lasers in a box, but you kinda have to put them on tripods, drill holes in the wall.
They’re a big pain in the keister.
The Cosmos instead is inside-out track, and basically it comes out of the box ready to go.
Gone are the laser boxes to set up.
Instead, the Cosmos is dotted with six cameras that are constantly scanning the room, along with AI that can identify parts of your environment.
Making the cosmos, a stand alone VR headset.
The cosmos looks different than the vibe.
Gone are the bulbous black headset with like the spider head look.
Instead you have what looks like the VR headset designed by Architect Frank Gehri.
It is handsome in navy blue, the front heads Vince that could double as a public art sculpture and it looks much more approachable and friendly than the harsh cold monolith feel of the old vibe.
But those events aren’t just for looks.
They’re also for ventilation and then the time I tried the cosmos they really did help keep my head and face from getting too hot and the mesh bass player is removable That’s where you’re gonna notice there’s a small fan inside.
That helps keep the cameras cool, but also helps alleviate some of the heat around your face.
Alright, so the idea behind the modularity is that HTC will release mods that will add extra functionality to the cosmos.
For example, The first bot they’re going to have allows you to swap out that mesh faceplate with the cameras and put in one that has crackers on it.
So if you already have some of these light house bay stations installed in your room, you can use that for tracking instead of the cameras that come on the Cosmos.
HTC calls this the Vive Cosmos External Tracking Mod.
Yeah, that’s a mouthful.
And that mod is gonna be available early next year.
So FTC has listened to a ton of customer feedback and that’s where a lot of improvements happened.
One of the biggest thing you got to notice about the Cosmos is how much lighter and well balanced it is than the old vibe.
It means putting it on and off a lot easier and well, it feels more intuitive.
So this is the old vive and as opposed to this head strap thing, it’s replaced with a halo like band.
Yeah, it makes me feel like I’m an angel.
On the back of the headset is a knob and he twist it to make it fit tighter looser on your head.
There’s also this welder’s mask style flip-up hinge that allows you to take the headset and flip it up real easily.
So if someone walks into the room while you’re doing VR, or you need to grab that cup of coffee, you can just flip it up and grab it and go right back into your VR experience.
While the Cosmos isn’t the first VR headset to use this flip-up style, it does make wearing it feel a lot less suffocating.
Hey, so the flip up headset is not the only way you can transition smoothly from VR back into reality.
There are also passed through cameras.
Now these aren’t new but they’re improved.
The biggest improvement is they’re not black and white and they’re now color.
Also, these cameras will just automatically trigger anytime you step out the play area so well you don’t run into a wall of the image quality is definitely lower resolution, but I’m grateful the fact that I can instantly access What’s around me without taking the headset off, but the cosmos also improves the Vive.In terms of resolution, it’s 1440 by 1700 pixels per i which is 2880 by 1700 pixels.
Also the refresh rate is 90Hz, which is really impressive.
I instantly noticed the difference, especially going through the simulation called the blue, where there’s a giant whale.
And the whale, I could look into the eye on the.
And see all the different details.
Another place this comes in handy is reading text.
If you ever play the Westworld VR game, there’s a lot of letters you read and you basically have to hold them in front of your face on the old Vive.
On this, you can read a letter at a normal distance and you can see texts that’s sharp and clean, and it doesn’t look like you have bad vision.
Another improvement is the pixels themselves.
They are now RGB subpixels, red, green, blue.
And that gets rid of more [UNKNOWN], that called screen door effect that you would see.
It’s not completely gone, but it’s mostly gone.
[INAUDIBLE] Another big change is the starting place.
It’s called the origin environment.
And I’ll describe it kind of looks like you live on a tower with a giant deck platform, overlooking something that resembles the Golden Gate Bridge and possibly an ocean with orcas.
It’s, kind of, wild.
But you can play games.
You can write graffiti.
There’s even like a little pod that you can go into.
I guess it’s supposed to be, kind of, like your room.
I don’t know if I’d sleep in there, but it’s definitely pretty cool.
The other thing about the origin is this is how you learn how to use the controller.
Here is the mammoth old controller.
Looks like some sort of weird dental tool.
The new one is much smaller and lights up.
Also these lights are used by the cameras to track where your hands and controllers are.
On the controller, there’s a joystick that you could access.
You click it.
There’s also a few buttons like trigger buttons, shoulder buttons.
As well as the vive button that allows you to pull in and out of your reality and your room with those past three cameras.
And the left controller has basically the same set up.
You have your trigger button, your shoulder button, a couple other buttons that are assigned for tasks.
Also, the controllers run on AA batteries.
Think about this.
What’s brilliant about this is on the old vibe.
If my controller ran out of battery, I had to stop the VR experience, plug it in, wait for it to recharge and then I can pick up.
This I can just slap in a couple of AA batteries, flip my head set back down and bam I’m back in my game.
But let’s get to the part you probably either already know about or are curious about, the price.
The HTC Vive Cosmos will cost you $699.
This goes on sale on October 3. By the way, if you preorder the Vive cosmos, you’re going to get 12 months access to the five port which has over 700 VR games and experiences.
Also, one thing to keep in mind is the HTC Vive cosmos.
It’s not meant to be an entry level consumer VR headset.
This is a premium headset.
The fact that it’s a standalone VR headset is pretty amazing.
We look forward to getting the Vive Cosmos here and testing it more in depth to let you know if it’s worth the money.