Modern VR head-mounted displays (HMDs) have evolved significantly since their first consumer debut in 2016. HTC's second-generation HMD, the Vive Cosmos, is looking like a killer entry into an already exceedingly good family of devices, but it's changing quite a bit up this time around when compared to the HTC Vive and the HTC Vive Pro.
The latest in a series of trailers to be posted to the official HTC YouTube channel focuses on the comfort level of the Vive Cosmos. That's important to note because when the first HTC Vive launched, the cloth head straps were the thing that was most commonly complained about in reviews and user feedback. HTC later delivered the Deluxe Audio Strap, which improved comfort tenfold when compared to the original cloth straps, and the HTC Vive Pro went even further to help with weight balance and longevity.
Whether or not any of this information is new is questionable but, if nothing, it's a confirmation of leaks, rumors and a round-up of what we already knew rolled up into one nice, neat video. We still have no official release date or price, but we know more than ever about HTC's latest VR HMD.
Like a pair of socks or a t-shirt, the comfort level of a VR HMD depends very much on the size and shape of your head, the distance between your eyes, whether or not you wear glasses, how susceptible you are to motion sickness, and a myriad of other factors. As such, most HMDs are different in one way or another, and HTC is utilizing several of these factors to hit the sweet spot for the most consumers possible.
The headset itself looks to be lighter than previous generations, with "perfected weight distribution" thanks to a halo headset design that's marginally similar to what's on the Lenovo Mirage Solo and the Oculus Rift S (also built by Lenovo). Unlike those headsets, however, the HTC Vive Cosmos has a pair of high-quality over-the-ear headphones built into the headset and also features a unique flip-up design for the display portion of the headset too.
This flip-up display is designed to provide greater comfort during long play sessions so that players can give their faces a rest, take a drink of water, eat, converse with someone in the room, etc. without having to completely remove the headset. It's pretty ingenious!
It's also got the highest resolution display of any Vive HMD, placing this in a unique position of being the highest resolution HMD on the market that also offers full roomscale tracking support. That high-resolution display can be utilized for both AR and VR, and features a full RGB stripe configuration of its sub-pixels to deliver extremely clear imagery with little to no noticeable "screen door effect" that plagues displays which use pentile diamond patterns for their sub-pixels.
Lastly, are the controllers which feature a significant redesign from the existing HTC Vive controllers and look far more like the Oculus Touch controllers available for the Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest. These feature some pretty unique light patterns all around the ring of the controller, as well as an additional trigger button over what the Oculus Touch controllers offer. Let's also hope it's a better design for the battery compartment than the Oculus Touch controllers, too.
Those controllers are tracked with a new 6-camera inside-out tracking system, which is 2 cameras more than the Oculus Quest, and 1 additional camera over the Oculus Rift S's inside-out tracking system. Given the speed and ease at which the Oculus inside-out system provides, this is certainly part of the "comfort" part of the setup and makes it easier for folks who can't or don't want to set up the more permanent lighthouse style trackers that the existing HTC Vive platforms use. Check out the trailer below.