A tethered VR headset, like the Vive or Rift S, hook up to a computer and drop you into immersive digital worlds and experiences as you stand or sit in the real world. With a few clicks of controllers, you’ve got the tools, weaponry, or virtual hands to interact in VR. How do rivals – Vive Cosmos and Oculus Rift S – stack up against each other? Here’s how.
The Vive Cosmos is a bright blue tethered PC VR headset. It may be a cool hue, but it goes for $699. To VR fans, this is laughable. Especially when compared to the price and specs of the Rift S and the Quest.
It’s got a hinged flip-up visor screen which I can totally get behind. It’s easier to look at what’s going on outside of VR than having a stationary screen. But, it has an adjustable top head strap that I’ve never liked for its hair ripping quality. On the other hand, it does have a crown design that makes the strap forgivable.
The headset’s visual resolution is 2880 x 1700 with LCD panels and has a 110-degree field of view. Though attached to a PC, it doesn’t have external base stations. Rather, it’s got 6 cameras for inside-out tracking and allows for 6DoF movement.
That in itself is a step up from the HTC Vive, which was base station heavy. It’s reported that users will get Steam VR compatibility with their base stations eventually.
The controllers have a different design from the original Vive. They glow, have joysticks, XY and AB buttons, triggers, bumpers, and grip buttons. They’re basically Oculus Touch controllers with a flashy light up design that take a whopping 4 AA batteries.
That’s two batteries per controller, which is probably to keep the controller lights on so they can be tracked. Maybe opt for rechargeables if you don’t want to wait around long. The bummer, no finger tracking.
Players online have had some tracking issues when they move the motion controllers behind the head, close to their face, and when crossing controllers. A bit wonky for archers who pull arrows from behind and for tracking arm swings in VR.
Vive Cosmos – More VR Headset Info
On a downside for comfort, the Vive Cosmos doesn’t have a VR Cover just yet. But, it does have an option to turn wireless with their Adapter. Compared to Rift S, which has no wireless solution yet – this is a big deal.
A positive, the Vive Cosmos have a leg up on the competition by having an adjustable IPD setting for a variety of eye space fittings, which the Rift S has, just with more effort. For full immersion, Cosmos comes with on-ear stereo headphones that can be taken off for your own set.
It has a 90 Hz refresh rate, which is higher than the Rift S. In forums online, users said they couldn’t tell the difference or felt less “presence.” The room-scale space, 6.5 feet x 4.9 feet, is a good-sized area to play in. Yet, it’s still less than Rift S.
Vive Cosmos users were to gain a colored pass-through feature with boundary lines. This was supposed to outscore Oculus S and Quest’s black and white version. However, users are reporting a lack of tracking in low light and annoying warning panels popping up.
The VR headsets shipped out and people were not happy. So, Vive released an update to try and fix it. Bad start for a headset that’s supposed to reach consumers fully functional.
For games and experiences, Vive Cosmos users only get Viveport Infinity as a platform as it is now. It’s the VR headset’s monthly subscription service that’s got plenty of games to satiate any gamer or virtual explorer’s curiosity.
Oculus Rift S
The Oculus Rift S is a PC VR headset that is kind of being overshadowed by the standalone Quest headset right now. Both are priced at a reasonable $399. This is remarkable considering the Quest will have finger-tracking soon, according to our reports from Oculus Connect 6. In a solid move, Facebook is thinking about adding finger-tracking to the Rift S.
Like the Vive Cosmos, the Rift S has a head strap and adjustable halo design. This is better for the head and neck instead of awkward straps for everything, which I like. The screen is a single panel with 2560 x 1440 resolution LCD display. Fewer pixels than the Cosmos, but still in the game.
It’s got a 110-degree field of view for a wide playfield and 6DoF for movement, which is helpful when creeping around exorcising demons in VR. The 80 Hz refresh rate, which I noted earlier, was not a huge issue to some users online or was slightly off in “presence” to others.
Roomscale tracking is done with the Rift S’s 5 inside-out tracking cameras. Overall, it allows for a larger play space that’s 3 feet x 3 feet and 6.5 feet x 6.5 feet for room-scale gaming. So, no finagling 3 base stations for 360-degree tracking or 2 base stations for 180-degree tracking.
The Oculus Rift CV1 has a lever at the bottom of the interface, which I’d dial to spare my astigmatism. The new IPD adjuster for Rift S is software-based. So, it’s something you’ll have to manually tinker with. Anything that takes more effort when it comes to VR is kind of a drag to think about let alone do. But, that’s the Rift S’s reality.
Oculus Rift S – More VR Headset Info
The Rift S has guardian boundary lines like its other predecessors but has gained Passthrough, so you can see around you in black and white mixed reality. This allows users to not run into things or to see who’s around them at a moment’s notice.
It’s got slightly updated Oculus Touch controllers that use 2 AA batteries – total. Which make it a money and energy saver. Because of the inside-out cameras, they do have some tracking issues when arms are behind the person using them, much like the Cosmos. Nothing’s perfect, I guess.
Users get their pick of the Oculus Store and Steam VR, which has been standard for Oculus, thank goodness. Choices are what make them stand out, especially for gamers who love their impressively massive libraries.
This time around, the Oculus S will not get headphones. Instead, they have an audio piece that projects sound from the headband. Not the best for hearing something or someone coming up behind you in VR. On a positive note, this might help you keep aware of anyone or anything around you.
Currently, the interface padding can be swapped out for a VR Cover. They have them in the store now, which is going to make playing for hours more comfortable and hygienic than not having one.
VR Headset Champ – You Decide
There are more headsets than the Rift S and Vive Cosmos, but these two are direct competitors. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. If you’re researching for your next PC VR headset, you might want to head into a retailer and demo them before you buy. With Vive’s untimely updates and Oculus overshadowing its own headset, it’s anyone’s game and you’re the final decider.