HTC Vive headset Cosmos Elite goes on sale on March 18. Cosmos Elite is the same basic headset that Vive Cosmos, but is equipped with a front panel that offers tracking SteamVR instead of tracking inside-out. HTC also plans to separately sell the “external front panel tracking” to Cosmos users can update it.
As an introduction
Cosmos was launched in October last year as the latest HTC headset, focused on ordinary consumer. Although the headset is quite good, the competitors on both sides (Oculus Rift and Valve Index) seemed to do better deals, given their price and performance.
But Cosmos is one trick — removable faceplate that gives the headset an interesting modularity. And here appears Vive Cosmos Elite; it is one of several modular variants of the headset, which recently introduced HTC .
Cosmos Elite is the same headset Cosmos, except that HTC calls the “external front panel track”, which hides the camera tracking inside-out tracking for SteamVR, which increases accuracy, but requires an external base stations (which also requires more configuration).
Overview front panel Vive Cosmos Elite & External Tracking
While the initial cost of the Cosmos is $ 700, $ 900 Cosmos Elite is equipped with a front panel External Tracking (external tracking) and comes with controllers Vive Wand (instead of the Cosmos controllers) and two base stations SteamVR Tracking 1.0.
For those switching from Cosmos to Cosmos Elite, you can easily replace the standard faceplate with a Cosmos on the front panel external monitor. Looking at lenses, you’ll find a small switch on the left side. Strongly pull it down when you take off the front panel.
With the removed front panel by default, align the port on the external front panel of the monitor to the port on the headset, and then press firmly around the bezel to set it in place. The seam should be on the same level with headset Cosmos.
External panel tracking is covered in familiar markings Vive, under which hide the small sensors. Despite the fact that the front panel external monitor there are only 10 visible marks, under a transparent infrared filter is hiding a lot more sensors (32) (the same as in headsets, such as Index and Vive Pro).
These sensors capture the signal from base stations SteamVR Tracking. Technically you only need the one base station to tracking, but two base stations in opposite corners of your gaming space are the default configuration to allow the tracking of 360.
Each base station must be connected to a wall outlet for power, but should not be connected to your PC. They must be on a line-of-sight with each other, and it is recommended to install them above your head and at a distance of no more than 5 meters from each other, supporting the tracking area of about 3 × 3 meters.
The base station includes mounting hardware so you can mount to your wall and there is a standard screw for tripod at the bottom and the back, if you prefer to attach them to tripods. You can also just place them high up somewhere, e.g. on your bookshelf, but they must remain stationary during use, otherwise the tracking can be reset.
Vive Cosmos Elite Tracking
Compared with the tracking inside-out headset base Cosmos, which requires no external equipment, the transition to SteamVR Tracking and base station at Cosmos Elite is a more complex configuration process, but the result is significantly improved tracking.
While HTC has refined the tracking inside-out Cosmos (which was pretty rough at launch), it is still far from SteamVR Tracking with front panel External Tracking, which provides greater accuracy and significantly increases resistance to lighting conditions.
Vulnerability Vive Cosmos is the lighting; if the room is moderately dark, the headset may lose the quality of the track or to opt out of tracking completely. Using SteamVR Tracking you can literally play in a room with bright daylight or in a completely dark room, and the trekking will be at a good level thanks to the infrared lasers that are invisible are projected from base stations.
Tracking Cosmos Elite class is much larger than the original Cosmos; it is more accurate, with almost no noticeable jitter or delay. Despite the fact that the front panel External Tracking is a modular addition, but not a built-in tracking can be felt as well as other SteamVR headset with built-in Tracking, such as Vive Pro and Index.
As for the controllers, Cosmos Elite uses the same “sticks” Vive, and Vive, released in the distant 2016. They are good to use and quite sturdy, but their size and design gently hint at their age, which does not allow them to compete with the controllers later set.
Thanks to the interoperability SteamVR you can choose Cosmos Elite with any other compatible with SteamVR Tracking controller (e.g., an Index), but, unfortunately, the mess that is modular strategy Cosmos, makes it largely impractical from the point of view of prices.
Ergonomics, lenses, displays, audio and more
As already mentioned, Cosmos Elite is the same basic headset Cosmos, which was released at the end of 2019, but with External Tracking and controllers Vive. Therefore, instead of repeating the same points again, we invite you to read our review of Vive Cosmos, if you want to dive deeply into the characteristics of the base of the headset.
However, Cosmos Elite takes over all the pressing problems of the original Vive Cosmos.
Ergonomics is a major factor for Cosmos, and Cosmos although the Elite has a wider top strap, it doesn’t give him much advantage. Although HTC Vive Pro very comfortable headband Cosmos some testers headset came more. This parameter can vary depending on the size of the head, but it’s hard not to notice that the head mount is bad Cosmos keeps the lenses of the headset in the perfect location for eyes, and its front heavy design is not ideal for long sessions.
As for the display, it is 1440 × 1700 LCD displays Cosmos in one eye correspond to a current density of pixel and the effect of the door of the screen (space between pixels). But returning to a small positive point, and ergonomic issues, it seems that an increasing number of these pixels all the time blurred.
Although headphones with clasp looks a little cheap and often get in the way when you put on the headset, the sound quality is stable, and multiples better than the barely passable sound in Rift S. Index, however, has much better quality and design of the headphones, which never bothering to wear the headset.
Cosmos Elite — quite a good headset, but it has the same basic problem as the original Cosmos: she’s not competitive at a price that asks for it HTC. Yes, SteamVR Tracking makes it a better headset than the original Cosmos (assuming you are not worried about external equipment to monitor), but it also costs extra $ 200. For $ 900 it’s hard to recommend Cosmos Elite, when Rift’s is much cheaper, and the Index offers a significantly improved experience for just $ 100 more expensive.
Even if you imagine that someone just would not have agreed to your headset with any other company other than HTC, it would be possible for him to recommend Vive Pro Starter Kit (also $ 900), but this is the weird step that the present time, the company terminates the production of this headset.