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HTC VIVE Cosmos vs Oculus Quest (2021): Which VR Headset Should You Get?

Virtual reality gaming is becoming more accessible with more powerful VR headsets hitting the shelves. In this post, we compare two such headsets from top brands HTC and Oculus: the HTC VIVE Cosmos and the Oculus Quest. Below we’ll go over the pros and cons of both tethered and wireless VR kits and review each device’s strengths and weaknesses.

HTC VIVE Cosmos vs Oculus Quest VR Headset Comparison Chart

ModelHTC VIVE CosmosOculus Quest
 HTC VIVE CosmosOculus Quest All-in-one VR Gaming Headset – 64GB
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Headset TypePC-tetheredSelf-contained
DisplayDual LCDDual LCD
Resolution2880 x 17003200 x 1400
Field of View~110°~110°
IPD Adjustment61 – 72 mm56 – 74 mm
Refresh RateUp to 90 HzUp to 72 Hz
Tracking6 tracking cameras, 6DOF4 tracking cameras, 6DOF
AudioStereo headphonesIntegrated
ControllersVIVE Cosmos ControllersOculus Touch Controllers
Required PortsDisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0

Design

The Oculus Quest has a more comfortable fit than the HTC VIVE Cosmos.

The design of the HTC VIVE Cosmos (top) certainly has more accents than the Oculus Quest (bottom).

The HTC VIVE Cosmos and Oculus Quest have distinctive looks and important design differences. The Cosmos headset sports a sleek metallic blue with a flip-up visor, crown-style strap and removable headphones. In comparison, the Oculus Quest is quite minimalist with its matte black finish. Also, it doesn’t have headphones, but it does have several straps that allow it to fit more snugly.

Comfort-wise, the Oculus Quest is well ahead thanks to its combination of overhead strap and dual straps that secure it to the back of your head. These make it easy to get the right fit, with the HMD sitting flat on your face, before and during gameplay. Plus, as a standalone wireless VR headset, there are no wires to mind while moving.

On the other hand, the HTC VIVE Cosmos is a PC-tethered device, so its headset cable can sometimes get in the way. But the bigger deal is the issues presented by its flip-up HMD and halo strap. While this lets you switch between VR and actual reality easily, it doesn’t fit securely to your face and it’s more difficult to get it to fit just right. You’ll often find yourself having to adjust it while playing. Moreover, the Cosmos has a much smaller sweet spot than the Oculus Quest, and it’s easy to lose it while moving around.

Headset

The HTC VIVE Cosmos headset delivers better visuals and audio than the Oculus Quest.

Notice how the HTC VIVE Cosmos’ crown-style band sits higher on your head than the visor.

As the high-end VIVE VR model, the VIVE Cosmos headset has more impressive specs than the Oculus Quest. It has a higher combined resolution of 2880 x 1700 pixels and up to 90 Hz refresh rate, providing crisp and smooth graphics limited only by your PC’s muscle. Since it depends solely on how fast and powerful your PC is, you can get pretty amazing visuals with almost zero screen door effect.

Meanwhile, the Oculus Quest has a max refresh rate of 72 Hz and resolution of 3200 x 1400. While overall video quality remains clear and vibrant, the headset’s graphics power is limited by its processor, a Snapdragon 835 chipset, which is the same one on the Samsung Galaxy S8, Google Pixel 2, and other same-generation smartphones. It’s more than sufficient for games in the Quest Store, of course, though you can’t place mobile game graphics on the same level as that of dedicated gaming rigs.

The headset of the Oculus Quest has a more toned-down look.

As mentioned, the Oculus Quest doesn’t have any earpieces; instead, tiny speakers are built into its headset near where your ears will be. It does emit positional audio so sound matches in-game visuals, letting you hear someone sneaking up on you and such, but you’ll likely want to plug in a headphone via the 3.5 mm jack for true immersion.

Meanwhile, the headphones on the HTC VIVE Cosmos are louder and clearer in comparison, as they sit over your ears. They also have active noise-cancellation as well as pass-through features. However, they have the same fit issues as the rest of the headset in that they sometimes hover instead of placing securely, resulting in reduced bass. Like the Oculus Quest, you can use your own headphones to get audio more to your liking.

Tracking

The Oculus Quest has significantly better tracking than the HTC VIVE Cosmos.

Both HTC VIVE Cosmos (left) and Oculus Quest (right) use cameras on their headsets for inside-out tracking.

You can look freely, lean forward, jump and walk around with either HTC VIVE Cosmos or Oculus Quest, as they both offer six degrees of freedom (6DOF). They’re able to translate your movements to in-game actions using built-in cameras on the headsets. But while the Quest only has 4 cameras and the Cosmos has 6, the Oculus VR headset offers better tracking accuracy than its VIVE competitor.

The VIVE Cosmos’ tracking has several issues that can impact gameplay severely, such as jittery inputs, unexpected dropouts, low-light warnings. Some users report that the Cosmos can pop up with ‘room is too dark’ notifications even inside rooms with plenty of lighting. HTC addressed these with a series of patches but it hardly improved the headset’s performance. The best solution is simply to use external tracking, but that means spending even more for an already expensive device.

Meanwhile, the Oculus Quest has impressive tracking precision that’s all the more so because of it’s lower price tag. Even with only four inside-out cameras, it’s able to follow your movements and does a good job in dimly lit rooms, too. You get warnings if you’re near the boundaries of your playspace so you can avoid bumping into objects in your room while in-game.

Controls

The HTC VIVE Cosmos and Oculus Quest have comparable controllers.

Aside from the flashy ring of the VIVE Cosmos Controller (left), it’s very similar to the Oculus Touch Controller (right).

Both VR kits come with two controllers that are tracked using their headsets’ cameras. As you can see, they’re quite similar in size and design, with pistol grips, forward rings, and button arrays. They’re also powered by AA batteries, two of which are included in the kit. Depending on your playtime, you’ll find that you need to replace these often, which is a bit annoying in this era of rechargeable batteries.

The VIVE Cosmos Controller has a system button in addition to the thumbstick and two face buttons it shares in common with the Oculus Touch Controller. You can typically fire weapons with their trigger buttons and simulate grasping objects with the grip button.

Oculus has recently been developing controller-free control, in which the cameras will track your finger and hand movements. This Hand Tracking feature currently only works in device navigation, such as in the home page, settings panel or Oculus Store, but they have plans of expanding the functionality to apps and games.

Verdict

The Oculus Quest is easily the better pick over the HTC VIVE Cosmos.

With much better headset comfort and tracking, the Oculus Quest is simply the superior VR headset in this comparison. The real kicker is it costs way less than the Cosmos at nearly half the price. For this much, you can get excellent performance and a fully standalone VR experience, without any wires to worry about. Granted, its built-in chipset offers less graphics power, but for most VR games it’s more than capable of delivering topnotch visuals and fun gameplay.

Unfortunately, the HTC VIVE Cosmos costs way too much for its performance, which is hampered by issues with its headset fit and tracking inconsistencies. You can spend much less and get a better VR experience with other headsets. Alternatively, you can use it with base stations to enable external tracking instead so you can utilize its enhanced display.

FAQs

📌 Which is better: HTC VIVE or Oculus Quest?

If you’re comparing the HTC VIVE Cosmos and Oculus Quest, the latter is easily the better VR headset. It has better tracking precision, a fully wireless headset, and a much lower price tag.

📌 Is the HTC VIVE Cosmos worth it?

At its current price point, it’s hard to justify getting the HTC VIVE Cosmos over other VIVE headsets or its competitors. While it has a high resolution and refresh rate, its tracking and comfort are sub-par compared to more affordable options.

📌 Who makes the best VR system?

We’d say that Oculus is the top brand if you’re looking to get into VR gaming. However, for high-end headsets, Valve has the premium VR kit to beat.

📌 Do you need a PC for VR?

Tethered VR systems, such as the HTC VIVE Cosmos, require a PC. Standalone VR kits such as the Oculus Quest, however, don’t need a PC and rely on its own processor instead.

Last update on 2020-12-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.