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Comparing the HTC Cosmos (Elite) to Oculus Quest (with Link)

Pixie40
Level 8
My HTC Cosmos Elite arrived on the 2nd, but I couldn't take it for a spin until this weekend. I'd needed a USB 3.0 to USB C adapter since I discovered my tower only has USB C and USB 2.0 ports. Still, everything is set up, and since the adapter arrived last Wednesday I've been putting the Cosmos through it's paces. After a few days, here is my initial impressions and how I feel it stacks up with my Quest.

Ease of Setup:
The Cosmos Elite came with the outside-in faceplate, two 1.0 lighthouse trackers, and 2 of the original Vive Wands. The wands had needed to be charged right away, which is fair. Mounting the lighthouse trackers was a pain and a half since I don't own a drill, and I was too damn impatient to wait for the tripods I ordered to arrive. Just as well since I ordered them 11 days ago, and they FINALLY shipped even though the rest of the order has already arrived. I really shouldn't have mounted them to the walls since historically my landlord has given a hard NO to even putting nails in the walls to hang up family pictures. I ended up calling to ask anyway because again, I was impatient. I did get permission to mount them in the living room area, but only if I then leave the wall mounts in place if I ever move. Guess it's just as well that I also ordered some tripods since I will eventually move elsewhere, probably. Once that pain was finished, the rest of the setup wasn't too bad. The base stations and controllers all had to be updated, which meant I had to plug them into my PC one at a time to do so. Still, now that the initial setup is finished I don't have to worry about it again. On the other hand, only that area is supported for VR using the Cosmos now.
By comparison, setup for my Quest was much much easier. It took a second or two to pair the HMD to my tablet, mark out the Guardian boundary, and I was good to go. No additional hardware needed, no climbing up on a step ladder, no struggling to create pilot holes in drywall without a drill. Just hold pair a device and mark out the boundary. And because the tracking is based on the HMD it's self, I can easily set it up for other play areas. Or extend my VR play space from the Room Scale area I have set up to include where my PC is located too for seated keyboard/mouse VR games
I'm going to have to give this category to the Quest.

Visual Quality:
I ran the same set of games in order to compare them side by side. These were Organ Quarter, Down the Rabbit Hole, and Pilot Wings. Well, also a 4th one. But that app doesn't need to be mentioned. Visually, things looked about the same to me. Well, mostly the same. My IPD is rather high, and I have found the Quest does a better job adjusting to suit. Both are maxed out for the IPD adjustment, but the Quest seems to have a slight edge here. The 'sweet spot' is more centered then the Cosmos for me. Overall this doesn't make much of a difference, but it can make reading anything a bit more of a pain with the Cosmos. This is offset by the Cosmos having slightly a crisper image overall though.
In the end I'm going to call this category a draw.

Comfort:
The Cosmos's halo style strap is by far more comfortable in the short term. But now that I've properly adjusted the Quest's head strap, this isn't as big of a difference as you might think. The Cosmos over time causes me to start feeling hot and sweaty, regardless of what app I'm in. Heavy action arena brawler, sedate puzzle adventure, or even just watching a movie, it doesn't matter. After a while my face gets sweaty and I have to exit VR with the Cosmos. The HMD it's self is well balanced and doesn't cause my neck to get tired, but the cord is a bit heavy. The cord also easily gets wrapped around me, even if I don't think I'm spinning in place. On the other hand, the cord is long enough that it can cover my entire room scale play space.
Overheating isn't really an issue with my Quest though due to the Kiwi brand interface bracket providing ventilation to let face stay cool. As I mentioned, now that I've properly adjusted the Quest's head straps it doesn't press tightly into my face while also retains stability for when playing something more active. Still, the Quest is front heavy and tires out the neck over time. When plugged in for Link the official cable is more then long enough to cover my entire play space, and is light enough that it's easy to forget it's there. Getting wrapped up in the cord is a bit of a problem here too, but surprisingly not as much of one due to the cord being lighter thus moving with me easier. Also, can stream my desktop to play Steam VR games while unteathered, but this reduces play time due to battery life becoming an issue.
This category IMO is a draw as well. Both HMD have their pros and cons.

Controllers:
The vive wands are functional, I'll grant that. And the wrist straps are damn good, much better then the ones on the Quest. However the touch pads are more awkward then I'd like to use. They work, but they're a bit too sensitive at times, and not sensitive enough at other times. The grip buttons are hard to press, the menu buttons are hard to reach, and in general the vive wands are just a hair too big. Even so, they function just fine.
By contrast, the Touch controllers are perfectly sized to allow easy reach of every button. And speaking of buttons, it does have more usable buttons. Two more on each controller then the vive wand in fact. And that can make quite the difference at times. This is a surprising thing for me to discover, but they are also better balanced.
I have to give this category to the Quest too, but it's closer then I would have thought.

Tracking:
And finally the reason so many people swear by Steam VR, the tracking. How does it stack up? To be honest, I don't really see much of a difference in practical game play. The vive wands don't lose tracking at any point, which is good. On the other hand, I'm not usually trying to do things that would require 360 tracking. Tracking accuracy is great, which is a given. And I can play even if the room is dark, which is nice if I started playing in the afternoon and the sun goes down.
With the Quest, tracking naturally gets lost if the room gets too dark. Which means that even during the day I have to turn on a lamp in my room scale play space. Naturally enough, tracking can be lost if the Touch controllers are obscured from the cameras. But that isn't as much of an issue as I would have thought. Make sure to tuck in my shirt, and I'm good to go. Tracking accuracy is damn good. I'm reluctent to say it's identical to the vive wands since I can't really measure that while in VR. But the differences in tracking accuracy aren't anywhere near large enough for me to notice.
Overall, I think the Cosmos has an edge here due to the tracking not caring about the ambient light level.

Final verdict?
I think the Quest might come out slightly ahead of the Vive Cosmos Elite due to it's ease of setup, having better controllers, and versatility in where you can use it. Still, both are solid VR headsets. Once HTC gets their inside out tracking nailed down better I might get that faceplate and the associated controllers and do this comparison again. In the mean time, both are fantastic headsets with their own pros and cons. I think I'd recommend a Quest more, but that's more personal preference.
15 REPLIES 15

DaftnDirect
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator
Back to my question though kevin, whether leaving the forum or moving on, now is a good opportunity to join in and share the passion that we all have.

Buying for review is fine but that doesn't preclude enjoying VR on a personal basis and that's what we all enjoy talking about, it drives our passions and it steers our decisions about what to buy with our hard earned pennies.

I'm sure you enjoy VR when not evaluating and reviewing, space, driving or flight sims maybe... fps's...

Well anyway, just a suggestion.

Intel 5820K OC@4Ghz, Titan X (Maxwell), 32GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4, ASRock X99 Taichi, Samsung 500Gb 960 Evo M.2, Corsair H100i v2 Cooler, Inateck KTU3FR-4P USB 3 card, Windows 10 Pro v20H2 (19042.867)

kevinw729
Level 15


Back to my question though kevin, whether leaving the forum or moving on, now is a good opportunity to join in and share the passion that we all have.
......



Thanks for asking - apricated.
I agree now is a good time for a retrospective. I would like to dig out the "Evaluation Reviews" we create for products under assessment. But these are lengthy multi page commercial documents. Maybe it would be good to know which aspect of our player review to focus on. You understand the "passion" you speak of is in the development of new content, so its always good to try new games. I remember the enjoyment of Robot Recall - especially seeing the areas from past arcade titles had been emulated in its play.

......
Buying for review is fine but that doesn't preclude enjoying VR on a personal basis and that's what we all enjoy talking about, it drives our passions and it steers our decisions about what to buy with our hard earned pennies.
......

Evaluation of what you call "hard earned pennies" is called the "Value of Play" - and I have to do that retrospective all the time in assessing products. For example the purported $20+ price point on the consumer version of Tower Tag (previously a commercial LBR VR title) had to be weighed - especially in such a crowded market place for new VR games (assessing a Rift-S port against a HTC, Index or HP). When evaluating that the value preposition is considered constantly. 

......
I'm sure you enjoy VR when not evaluating and reviewing, space, driving or flight sims maybe... fps's...

Well anyway, just a suggestion.


Yes - really enjoy that aspect - though its also the immersion that drives my work.
I would also point to the fact that I work in XR - that is not just VR, but also AR and MR immersive entertainment systems. While consumer VR has some definition, AR and MR is a majority of commercial deployment experiences. I have had the pleasure of flying commercial flight simulators and military MR systems. As well as my projects when at Disney on MR/VR.

Well thanks for the suggestion. Would love to offer observations of past experiences and "passions" if the posters could point to particular areas to start with will put something together... before I go 🙂


https://vrawards.aixr.org/ "The Out-of-Home Immersive Entertainment Frontier: Expanding Interactive Boundaries in Leisure Facilities" https://www.amazon.co.uk/Out-Home-Immersive-Entertainment-Frontier/dp/1472426959

TomCgcmfc
Level 15
I think it's great to see any VR headset reviews/opinions within this forum.  I don't think Kevin intended to be critical and I don't think that others being critical adds much to all this.

The main point I'd like to make is that I think that everyone should be wary of reviews/comparisons that are first-impression based, like with the Vive Elite in this case.  I now try to avoid 1st impression opinions because I find that these often change after a few weeks of actual usage.  Esp. after  additional experiences are gained with setups, settings, and headset fitting/placements.

I currently own an OG Vive Cosmos (basically the Elite with inside-out tracking instead of lighthouse tracking), Vive Pro w/2.0 base stations/controllers, Rift cv1 w/2-3 sensors, and Quest w/official link cable.  I also have the Vive wireless adapter and have used this with both my Vive Pro and Cosmos.  Of course I also have used my Quest wireless w/Virtual Desktop.  Also, I pre-ordered a Rift S last year but ended up returning it to the Oculus store for a full refund after a few weeks use because I did not feel that overall it was a significant upgrade for my Rift cv1.

I think that all these headsets work pretty well but depending on the applications, some work better than others imho.  All are easy/straightforward to setup.  All are reasonably comfortable for up to 1.5 hours use (most I ever do).  Controllers all work fine but of course the Oculus Touch controllers are the nicest to use.  I'll probably try the Valve Index controllers with my Vive Pro if Steam ever starts shipping these to Australia.

As far as apps go my preferred headsets are;
- for flight/racing sims = Vive Pro
- for Oculus Rift store apps (and SteamVR apps that benefit using touch controllers) = Rift cv1
- for mobile VR and some wireless PCVR = Quest

Noticeably missing is my Vive OG Cosmos, lol!  It's been back in its box for a few months now.  If its inside-out tracking ever improves (apparently the latest update helps bring it up to WMR standards) I may bring it out and use it with my Vive wireless adapter.  While I could buy the Elite faceplate (aud$399) and use my current 2.0 base stations/controllers, I don't see the point in doing this because I think my Vive Pro is a much better quality PCVR headset.  

I'm not currently using my Vive wireless adapter with my Vive Pro because it's too much of a CPU hog (even with my i9 9900k, water cooled, 5Ghz OC) and I tend to lose 20-25% performance with CPU intensive apps like flight/racing sims.

Just my opinion but if I were @Pixie40 I would return his Vive Elite kit (with its old 1.0 base stations/controllers) and go back to using his Quest w/Link.  Maybe also look at improving his Internet setup and try wireless w/VD.  Needs your PC to be connected to a +800mbps router with Ethernet cable and good 5Ghz wifi close by, preferably in the same room.

Anyway, just my $0.02 worth.
9 9900k, rtx3090, 32 Gb ram, 1tb ssd, 4tb hdd. xi hero wifi mb, Corsair 1000w. Rift cv1, Quest 1, Vive Pro.

Pixie40
Level 8
After using my Cosmos Elite more, I'm finding the halo strap actually causes me a headache when tightened enough to prevent movement during physically active games. If I'm not wearing my glasses at the time (frequent when playing Beat Saber to keep them from fogging up) the visible rings in the lenses is a bit distracting too. Those rings aren't visible with my glasses on however.

I still find I prefer using the Quest more. That's not an option for now though since I'm giving my Quest to my brother for Christmas. Need to buy a Quest 2 next year. 🙂 I'm also still not a fan of the vive wands. They work, but they are heavier and more awkward to use IMO. I'll have to revisit the comparison also when I (eventually) get a pair of 2.0 Base Stations and knuckle controllers. Still, while the vive wands do work, they don't work anywhere near as well IMO as the touch controllers.

TomCgcmfc
Level 15

Pixie40 said:

I'm also still not a fan of the vive wands. They work, but they are heavier and more awkward to use IMO. I'll have to revisit the comparison also when I (eventually) get a pair of 2.0 Base Stations and knuckle controllers. Still, while the vive wands do work, they don't work anywhere near as well IMO as the touch controllers.


You don't need to upgrade to 2.0 base stations.  The Valve Index controllers will work fine with your Elite 1.0 base stations.  I've finally broken down and am importing these controllers from the US (because Valve still does not ship to Australia) to replace my Vive controllers with my Vive Pro.  I'm hoping that this will allow me to enjoy more games that I currently only like playing with Oculus touch controllers.  Also, with Revive more of my Oculus store games should be playable.

BTW, the Vive wireless adapter works well with all Vive headsets, including your Elite.
9 9900k, rtx3090, 32 Gb ram, 1tb ssd, 4tb hdd. xi hero wifi mb, Corsair 1000w. Rift cv1, Quest 1, Vive Pro.

Pixie40
Level 8
Yeah, I know about the wireless adapter. And I've been eying it already, but that's another big chunk of change. It looks like I'll need the $350 version... Ouch. Well, I say "need" but it's more of a want.

Also, doesn't require 2.0 base stations? Nice, that'll save me a lot of money. I thought they did since the 2018 Vive Wands on sale by HTC require 2.0 base stations.

Don't think Revive would help me.  My issue isn't the Oculus PCVR games so much as the ones for the Quest it's self. I dislike double dipping, and most of the apps I bought don't have Cross-Buy. Some do like Vader Immortal 1 and Star Trek Bridge Crew, but most don't.

EDIT: Did some more research... Looks like I'll need to figure out how to open my Alienware PC's case up to use the wireless adapter. On the other hand, it would let me upgrade my graphics card(s) in the future too if I figured that out.