Vive Cosmos – Everything you need to know

Vive and Oculus enjoy somewhat of a Ford vs Ferrari rivalry when it comes to mainstream VR headsets. Oculus takes the fun for everyone approach and focuses on affordability and accessibility. Vive, on the other hand, heads for the enthusiast angle with high-end sets like the Cosmos. Here’s everything you need to know about Vive’s Cosmos headset.

You might remember that the Vive originally appeared as part of the HTC umbrella. Well, the name has changed, and the VR division is firmly planted in its own Vive world. We’ll dig into the important aspects of the hardware and software to help you pick your perfect headset.

What is the Vive Cosmos?

The Vive Cosmos is somewhat of a spiritual successor to the original HTC Vive. It’s a truly high-end, high-powered headset, and it bucks a few of the modern VR trends in terms of design. While the Oculus family and many others are going for the slim, sleek approach, the Vive Cosmos is unabashedly chunky. 

You might feel a bit like a Fallout Assaultron when you strap in thanks to the robot-like design. That’s to say that the six exterior cameras and the all-over triangular pattern aren’t exactly subtle. Of course, the original HTC Vive gave you a bit of a bug-eyed design so the triangles aren’t too much of a departure.

No matter what you think of the style, it’s impossible to overlook the retail price. The Vive Cosmos will run you a solid $699.99 from most retailers so it’s not exactly an introductory headset.

What can you do with the Vive Cosmos?

A better question might be what can’t you do with the Vive Cosmos. Well, you can’t enjoy VR on the go due to the PC requirements, but otherwise, the Cosmos is ready to do it all. It’s great for gaming, and the included six-month subscription to the Viveport Infinity platform ensures that you have plenty of titles to keep you busy. You’ll probably have to grab many of your titles from Steam though, so expect to switch back and forth between launchers often.

Like other VR headsets, you can also hop into simulators and explore the world around you with the Vive Cosmos. It’s not always practical to explore the ancient world or dive into sunken shipwrecks, but the Cosmos allows you to give it your best shot. Film junkies can even explore select content or enter a virtual home theater and stream top Netflix content.

What are the controllers like?

The tracking ring is a staple of most VR controllers, but the Vive Cosmos turns the ring up to around 11. It’s really just gigantic and makes the controller itself feel rather front heavy, just like the headset itself. As long as you can keep a good grip on the controllers, the button selection is pretty good and you should have more options than you need.

Another positive with the controllers is the design of the tracking ring. Instead of sporting a series of dots, the Cosmos uses a unique pattern that feels a bit like the One Ring in The Lord of the Rings.

What’s the difference between the Vive Cosmos and the original Vive?

Depending on who you ask, the Vive Cosmos is both a successor to the original Vive and its own product line at the same time. We’ll consider it to be a successor, and a worthy one indeed. It’s upgraded nearly across the board, and the Cosmos packs a pair of LCD screens with crisp 1,440 x 1,700 resolutions. The Cosmos also boasts a 90Hz refresh rate and a wheel tightening system so you can easily adjust for your head size.

See also: HTC Vive review

The handheld controllers are also completely different, as the original Vive did not have tracking rings that looped around your thumb. Vive’s newer Cosmos model also comes with headphones built-in, though you’ll have to position them carefully for your ears. You can’t forget about the fully inside-out setup either, as it keeps you from relying on a series of external sensors to enjoy your headset. 

Getting started with the Vive Cosmos

Vive keeps things pretty simple with the Cosmos setup process. It tells you upfront that you’ll have to download both Vive and SteamVR software and that you’ll have to log into your Viveport profile to complete the setup. Once you’ve downloaded the software, just run the setup file and follow all of the instructions provided. Of course, you’ll have to run the setup all over again if you move to a different room.

Due to the fact that the Vive Cosmos is a PC-connected system, you’ll want to make sure that your current setup is up to snuff. Luckily, the Cosmos isn’t really the place to start for most people, so if you purchase the set as an upgrade then you should already have the right hardware.

What specs do you need?

If you’re not sure that you have the right setup, or you just want to make sure, then this is the place to be. We’ll run you through both the recommended requirements and the minimum needs so you can fine-tune your setup without too much work.

  • Processor – Intel Core i5-4590/AMD FX 8350 equivalent or better
  • GPU – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070/Quadro P5000, AMD Radeon Vega 56 equivalent
  • Memory – 8GB+ of RAM
  • Video output – DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
  • USB port – USB 3.0 or newer
  • Operating system – Windows 10

Minimum requirements

  • Processor – Intel Core i5-4590/AMD FX 8350 equivalent or better
  • GPU – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 4GB, AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB equivalent
  • Memory – 4GB+ of RAM
  • Video output – DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
  • USB port – USB 3.0 or newer
  • Operating system – Windows 10

Can you get any accessories?

The Vive Cosmos is an all-around powerful set, but there’s always room to add more to the equation. If you’ve got the budget for it, there are a number of first-party add-ons that are absolutely worth the money. Accessories include a few different faceplates for improved tracking and even a wireless adapter kit that allows a whole new degree of VR freedom. Of course, it’s not a cheap customer at an eye-watering $349.

You can also grab a box of 100 disposable face masks, which are perfect if you plan to share your headset in this current pandemic environment. Some other options worth considering include extra padding and a battery pack to extend your wireless playtime. There are plenty of other third-party add-ons as well, though Vive definitely has some of the best around.

What games can you play?

We’ve touched on just about all parts of the headset except for what you’ll probably do most – play games. You’ll have six months of the Viveport Infinity platform to look forward to, but the majority of your games will probably come from SteamVR. If not there, you’ll probably also find top titles over on Amazon in the form of digital downloads.

See also: The best HTC Vive games you can play

A few fan-favorite games include Superhot VR, Beat Saber, and Vader Immortal, but you might have the most fun soaring over the streets of Paris as an eagle in the aptly titled Eagle Flight. It’s really up to you what games you want to play, but the available services are definitely better buys than paying individually.

If you’re looking to blast the undead, The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners is just begging to be played. You can also ditch the voodoo of New Orleans for the desert heat with Arizona Sunshine. It’s another zombie shooter, just not in the same AMC-based vein. There are plenty of other first-person shooters on the Vive Cosmos as well, just be careful not to move too much with the action.

Where to buy the Vive Cosmos

That pretty much covers the Vive Cosmos, so where do you pick one up? Well, the answer is simple: Almost anywhere. We found the Vive still in stock at Amazon, Best Buy, and Vive itself. It pretty much comes down to what you want to pay for shipping and how quickly you expect to get your headset. Check out the button below to grab yours now.

Buying games is a lot like buying the headset itself – you’ll have to explore a bit to get the best prices. Most games are available straight from SteamVR, but you can also grab titles over on Amazon if that’s your preference. Check out the available titles right here:

Frequently asked questions

Q: Can the Vive Cosmos use base stations?

A: Yes, the Vive Cosmos can use the Base Station 1.0 and 2.0 as long as you have the Cosmos External Tracking Faceplate

Q: How much is the Vive Cosmos?

A: The Vive Cosmos retails at $699 from Vive, Amazon, and other sites.

Q: Is the Vive Cosmos standalone?

A: Nope, the Vive Cosmos is a pc-powered headset that requires a standard VR-ready computer to operate.

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