Pandemic in virtual reality, i.e. we check HTC Vive Cosmos Elite goggles

I spent a week of vacation during quarantine with HTC Vive Cosmos Elite on my head. It's time to summarize how this VR headset works in practice.

HTC's virtual reality goggles came to me last week for a reason. The point is not that a pandemic is going on, and luck would have it that I was scheduled to have two weeks off at the end of March. The thing is, it was on this equipment that I tested a fresh game from Valve.

Half-Life: Alyx , because we are talking about this production, was written only for VR headsets and it is enough to say that the new production of the creators of the Steam platform ... did not meet my expectations . Fortunately, this is not the only game that can be launched on HTC Vive Cosmos Elite, i.e. the new-old goggles of this company.

htc vive cosmos elite

But what exactly are the HTC Vive Cosmos and HTC Vive Cosmos Elite sets different?

This question is justified, because it is worth emphasizing that HTC Vive Cosmos Elite is not a completely new product in the HTC offer . It's really commercially available for a long time HTC Vive Cosmos set, which has been enriched with additional accessories and technology straight from the previous generation goggles.

Let's remember that the first consumer VR goggles such as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive used to track the player's position, including the headset and controllers, not only internal but also external sensors. To this end, satellites had to be installed in the corners of the room.

The current generation of VR goggles tracks the user through sensors and cameras mounted in the headset housing.

This is exactly how HTC Vive Cosmos, Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest work, but ... not all players are happy with it. There were voices that the accuracy of internal tracking is inferior to external. Valve adds a brick, because their flagship Index also uses satellites.

htc vive cosmos elite

HTC has decided that in the case of HTC Vive Cosmos Elite it's time to go back to the proven solution in the form of player tracking using external sensors. In addition, anyone interested can upgrade their HTC Vive Cosmos kits to the Elite version themselves - no need to visit the site.

How to change HTC Vive Cosmos in HTC Vive Cosmos Elite?

The extension of the HTC Vive Cosmos set for the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite is very easy and I found it out for myself. It turned out that first I received the basic set, and only then a packet with additional accessories. The most important of them is the so-called faceplate, i.e. the front plate from the Elite model.

To convert HTC Vive Cosmos into HTC Vive Cosmos Elite, you must first remove the front plate mounted on the goggle housing. To do this, move the widget in the middle on the left side of the left lens and pry up the nail plate, which jumps off itself. The new one jumps into place by itself.

htc vive cosmos elite

I was pleasantly surprised at how simple the process was.

I expected to have to wrestle, but none of these things. Of course, changing the plate is just the beginning, because HTC Vive Cosmos Elite, like the HTC Vive of the previous generation, requires the installation of satellites in the corners of the room that have infrared sensors that detect goggles and pads.

Power cables from the satellites were enough for me and I put one of them on the wardrobe and the other on the cat scratcher - although if I had these goggles permanently, I would think about attaching them permanently to the ceiling. Now I had to take them off every time I finished playing.

The last piece of the puzzle are the controllers from the previous generation of goggles.

After completing the set, the software downloaded from the manufacturer's website detected the expansion of HTC Vive Cosmos to the Elite version automatically. There were also no major problems on the SteamVR platform, although as it happens in the case of PC VR, sometimes it had to be reset, for example.

htc vive cosmos elite

The first configuration also required a bit more steps than the HTC Vive Cosmos, because you had to put controllers on the floor, for example, but fortunately the tutorial led me step by step. Unfortunately, I have to note that I've met a few times about the "critical problem" message from Valve.

I don't have to explain that in games in virtual reality it has a very negative impact on immersion.

I was not entirely satisfied with the controllers from the first generation HTC Vive - instead of analog knobs they have touch plates. Fortunately, after a few hours I managed to get used to them, although I definitely prefer the newer model or controllers with analogues from, for example, Oculus Questa.

Fortunately, technical problems did not discourage me and for a beaten week I played with HTC Vive Cosmos Elite on my head. Of course, I spent a lot of time in City-17 while playing Half-Life: Alyx, but it's just one of the many games you can run on HTC goggles.

htc vive cosmos elite

What can you play on HTC Vive Cosmos Elite?

HTC goggles are compatible with the SteamVR platform, so the base is huge. It is true that I could not play all the titles due to the size of the area - my playing field was too small even for the Unseen Diplomacy for example - but for most of them the 2.5 by 1.5 meter field is sufficient.

Steam is, however, only one source of games. HTC is developing its own game store, Viveport , which allows not only to buy titles for own property, but also to install them as part of a flat-rate Viveport Infinity subscription, for which you pay PLN 48 per month (contract for a year) or PLN 69 per month (permanent agreement) ).

Viveport Infinity works on similar principles as Origin / EA Access and Xbox GamePass.

In total, the library contains 1117 titles, of which 771 are available as part of the subscription. It is true that for such hits as Superhot VR, Westworld Awakening, Pistol Whip, Audica and Budget Cuts you have to pay separately, but as a subscription you can download without additional fees, among others:

  • Fruit Ninja;
  • Arizona Sunshine;
  • Creed Rise to Glory;
  • I Expect you to die;
  • GunClub VR;
  • Star chart;
  • and Ohshape.

Of course, I haven't tested all the titles in the database, but only a few selected ones, but in most cases I had a great time. There were breakdowns that irritated, but in the case of virtual reality on PCs I have already got used to it - such a charm of this platform.

htc vive cosmos elite

However, I can't complain about the comfort of the goggles themselves.

Although the headset connected to a computer with a cable does not have to be as comfortable as a stand-alone set in the form of, for example, Oculus Questa, but HTC Vive Cosmos Elite works well for hardware that connects to a PC. Only one cable is pulled between the special adapter and the goggles.

The adapter, which is a bridge between the PC, which in my case was the Acer Predator Triton 900 with the GeForce GTX 2080 graphics card, and the goggles, is connected to the power using a dedicated charger. Then you need to connect it with two more cables to the Display Port and USB-A sockets.

The set I tested also included headphones.

I did not have to use classic headphones and fleas, which is extremely uncomfortable with VR goggles, because special headphones have been attached to the housing of the goggles. They connected to the set using short minijack cables, which in no way hindered fun.

htc vive cosmos elite

Adjusting the headphones is intuitive and is easily pushed to the middle of the ear - just like the goggles themselves. These are enough to put on the head after sliding the special rim, and then stiffen the structure with the knob. It is worth choosing the appropriate length of the upper strap, which is regulated by Velcro.

A nice addition is the tilting viewfinder, although he did not like my glasses.

If someone is not wearing glasses, they will be delighted with the viewfinder, which can be tilted without dismantling the entire headset, which is convenient when you need to look at this real world. However, there is nothing to cheat - when playing in VR the most important is what you see in the goggles themselves.

In the case of HTC Vive Cosmos Elite, there is nothing to complain about here. The set offers a resolution of up to 2880 by 1700 pixels (i.e. 1440 by 1700 pixels per eye). In addition, thanks to the fact that they are two independent screens, you can adjust their distance to each other.

htc vive cosmos elite

This allows you to adjust HTC Vive Cosmos Elite so that the distance between the screens matches the spacing of your eyes. A special knob on the right is used for this. In goggles that have only one screen divided in half, this can only be corrected by software.

The only drawback of the screen supporting up to 90 frames per second in HTC Vive Cosmos Elite goggles is the fact that we are dealing with LCD screens. It is a pity that this is not an OLED panel. Displays made in this technology are more efficient at displaying black.

I appreciate the high resolution for this, because although the screen in HTC Vive Cosmos Elute is very fun while playing, but you can not count on it individual pixels. The set itself is also well balanced and its weight did not bother me even during several hours of sessions.

Pandemic in virtual reality, i.e. we check HTC Vive Cosmos Elite goggles


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