The long awaited Vive Cosmos launched last week. At least among vocal early adopters, fanfare seems muted and points to a handful handful of common complaints. Less than a week after launch, HTC offered up a response which acknowledges some issues, rebuts others, and promises to ‘work to improve Cosmos and the owner experience’.

Posting to the official Vive Blog in an entry titled ‘Vive Cosmos: Continuing to Update‘, HTC responds to four common complaints highlighted by reviewers and early adopters: Tracking performance in low-light, content compatibility, controller battery life, and ergonomics.


You may recall that we were surprised to find initially that, in lighting conditions that proved perfectly usable for other headsets, Cosmos complained that there wasn’t enough light and refused to initiate tracking at all.

We were so surprised by this that we postponed our review until we could confirm that our headset wasn’t defective. In response to the issue, HTC quickly pushed a patch which made Cosmos less picky about lighting conditions. And while we noted in our review that tracking performance degrades without bright lighting, the patch at least allowed the headset to function after the Sun had set.

Vive Cosmos Review – A Decent Headset Up Against Stiff Competition

In the blog post HTC explained what kind of environment Cosmos tracks best in, and said they will ‘continue to fine tune tracking performance’:

Vive Cosmos uses inside-out tracking, which requires data points in your play environment to deliver the most accurate tracking, as well as consistent lighting. Set up works best in a bright room without mirrors or reflectors. Plain walls with a lack of defining features could affect tracking.

Our engineering team continues to fine tune the performance of the headset for different kinds of play environments and we’re looking into low-light reports from some users who were getting a persistent “dark environment” message. We’ve adjusted the notification window for low-light scenarios and the update is already live.

We’re continuing to refine the tracking and notifications in these scenarios and expect to release another software update soon.

Content Compatibility

HTC also addressed content compatibility issues. Because Cosmos is a SteamVR headset at its core (and poised as the sequel to the original Vive, another SteamVR headset), many users expected their existing Steam content to work seamlessly with Cosmos, but not every title does yet.

HTC said it’s “working closely with developers across stores to update their titles with controls for Cosmos.” The company also said they discovered an issue which has prevented some titles from launching with Cosmos even when they should be compatible. A fix is expected this week.

On the company’s own Viveport app store, HTC says that 90% of the top 100 titles are compatible with Cosmos currently.

Controller Battery Life

HTC is hoping to correct a widely circulated but purportedly inaccurate figure of just two hours of battery life for the Cosmos controllers. The company goes on record to say users can expect four to eight hours of battery life in the controllers depending upon the quality of the batteries used (each take two AA batteries).

The company suggests that battery life improvements could come to the Cosmos controllers by saying that “our engineering team will continually work to optimize for performance.”


HTC also responded to ergonomic and comfort complaints mostly by suggesting that people are incorrectly fitting the headset.

The adjustable head strap and halo design balance weight distribution, and soft and lightweight materials make for all-day play. The user guide illustrates the proper way to wear the headset. If you are having issues fitting your Cosmos comfortably to your head, please refer to it and contact us if you can’t get your fit quite right.

That may be the case for some, but for others the halo-style head-mount might simply might not fit too well. As the halo-style head-mount has become more popular recently there seems to be a divide between those who prefer it vs. those who like the headband approach.

In our Cosmos review we found that the headset’s ergonomic design suffers because it’s difficult to find a comfortable perch for the headset which also allows for good alignment between your eyes and the lenses. This is partly due to the small sweet spot of the lenses which don’t offer much tolerance for misalignment before giving way to uncomfortably blurry visuals. Ergonomics are surely a huge challenge for VR headsets because of the wide range of head shapes.

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HTC concludes its post by writing, “we are continuing to work to improve Cosmos and your experience and will update you with the most pertinent and timely information as it becomes available. If you are experiencing any issues, please contact us at”

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Trenix

    HTC is done for, this is inexcusable. They’re not new to the business, they have made plenty of different headsets before. I expected this company to have the smoothest release, especially when they ask for a premium price that is far beyond what it’s actual value is worth. On the bright side, they made my decision much easier. Facebook is out of question due to privacy issues, so Valve Index it is. Hopefully there will be a sale on black friday.

    • Charles

      If you care about black levels / contrast, and don’t care much about 120Hz, you should consider the Odyssey+.

      • Trenix

        I tried it, was a piece of junk. Why are people mentioning more frequently, it’s the worst VR experience available. I’d buy an Oculus before I buy a Odyssey+. This German mixed reality guy is cancer to the VR community.

        • Charles

          What specifically was so bad about it? There’s a specific way you have to wear it to avoid lens distortion, and you have to upgrade the firmware. And there are 2 comfort mods that you basically need.

          • Hey Charles! How do you compare the Oddysey+ to the Reverb? Do you think the Oddysey+ is better? I have the O+ and bought it as a compromise with the Reverb being so buggy and not available to buy in August, but wonder if now that it’s hopefully better, I should consider it again

          • Charles

            Yeah, the Odyssey is best if you care about contrast and black levels (which I think everyone should). To get the optimal experience, you have to wear it right and set it up right – see the following comment thread:

          • Javed Asghar

            Ignore below comment and if you are a simmer predominantly look no where but the Reverb for now. I have a high IPD of 71 and even for me the sweet spot is way better than Vive Pro with mech IPD adjustment. The resolution, oh the resolution. many people that ditched the reverb didnt know of the windows update bug which only got fixed 1903 onwards (this bug kept the resolution low and blurry and it looks alsmost like RIft-S or O+). That resolution is literally 4k monitor scale. But if you are a casual stand up VR player, it is not for you. It is for simmers even with Rift1 FOV and same great comfort, the resolution here is king.

            The blacks are just like Vive Pros when you are in a cockpit that is lit, when in a complete dark scene yes they are noticeable grey,, but a compromise I find worth it for that resolution, I can see things and details I never knew were there.

          • Trenix

            Nose flap hurt, fitting was uncomfortable, and distortion can be fixed only if I literally held the headset onto my face. Why you keep repeating yourself an defending it? Also mixed reality controllers are the WORST. Also it doesn’t come with a strap for your head.

          • Charles

            If wearing the Odyssey+ caused pain and discomfort then you probably weren’t wearing it right and probably didn’t have the VRCover. Different people have said different things about how to wear it correctly, but I’m sure (and many others have agreed) that the way I wear it is the actual correct way. The following thread describes the right way to wear it:

            Maybe comfort varies for different people. I have an average-width, average-size, straight nose – I could imagine that someone far above average could have some discomfort, but the same applies to probably every VR headset.

            How do you know the firmware was pre-updated? I got mine in July of this year, and its firmware was not up-to-date. And the firmware update that fixed distortion wasn’t released until sometime early this year.

            Yes, WMR controllers have poor tracking outside the FOV of the front cameras. I consider it a fair trade-off for the positive aspects of the headset.

            If for some reason someone really can’t stand the Odyssey+ then I recommend the Vive Pro. I can’t recommend any headset that has LCD screens – I’ve sworn them off for good after having tried several of them, and I really hope the recent industry trend of switching to them ends.

          • Trenix

            My wife just surprised me with a Valve Index for my birthday, so I’ll pass. I’m not buying extras to use a device comfortably and I already told you I looked online for how to set up the headset. Stop trying to sell me your garbage headset, I don’t want it. The product is so trash it needs people like you to advertise it on websites like this.

          • Charles

            I’m not trying to sell you anything. Enjoy your grey black levels and 600:1 contrast ratio.

          • Trenix

            Will do.

        • Charles

          I’ve owned 9 VR headsets since 2014, including the Reverb and Vive Pro, and I strongly prefer the Odyssey+ over all others. But you have to wear it right and upgrade the firmware.

          • Trenix

            I bought it already and returned in after an hour of use. It had updated firmware and I read online how to wear it correctly too. I’m not the only person online who had similar issues. Maybe the headset is designed in a way which it only fits certain customers, because otherwise you’re a lair.

            For those who choose this headset as a first time VR headset, try another before you decide keeping the Odyssey+.

  • MW

    Blah blah blah… 700+ USD!!!!! For 399- forgivable. For 700+ it’s a shame. There’s no way to fix Cosmos other than cut the price in half.

    • Trenix

      In half, no. $50-100 reduction, sure. Lets be realistic.

  • Immersive Computing

    “Ergonomics are surely a huge challenge for VR headsets because of the wide range of head shapes”.

    As an ergonomist, I find it sad that during the VR headset “specification race” the most fundamental issue (human factors) is poorly conceived in many new headsets including Quest, Cosmos and Index.

    HMD (head mounted device)..the clue is in the name.

    • mepy

      More interchangeable strap options would be nice. I really liked the deluxe audio strap for the original vive, but sadly it can’t be used on the Vive Pro. Headstraps really should have standard form factor connector across headsets. The same goes for headphone interchangeability.

      • Immersive Computing

        It’s ideal to build a base headset with modular fitting parts to accommodate different craniofacial anthropometry.

        Harness can be offered in X, Y, Z styles and with personal facial interface; 3D scan face (Bellus make android module) to print 3D base to suit face shape and asymmetry, layered with anti-bacterial, self-wicking hypoallergenic cushion. Different cushion density depending on activity level.

        Index has been challenging to get good fit as it only shipped with narrow facial interface, I resorted to 3D printing wide base by Anonymous Hermit and modding face cushion. Boosters made huge difference to Index controllers. 5.4 degree ear speaker spacer on left. Got an Apache strap cover coming next week. It’s getting there…

    • Andrew Jakobs

      That’s propably because it’s hard to design a headset that will comfortably fit over all sizes heads.. You should know that as an ergonomist…
      Personally I wondered why they haven’t gone for something like the original Forte VFX1, Yes it looks bulky, but it’s large enough to fit enough options to make it fit for most heads, and it was well balanced due to the formfactor, let’s not forget about the flipup.. hehe..
      I hate the original vive headstrap, I still find it weird to only have it fit to almost the topback of my head, whereas I’d rather have the strap down to the back of my head, even found my Oculus DK2 much more comfortable.. But still nothing beats my VFX-1 in comfort..

    • Janosch Obenauer

      What do you suggest?

      • Immersive Computing

        Search ergonomics on Skarredghost my article from last year is there, can explain better than a long winded comment here.

  • The Evil Showrunner

    There’s an easy solution to all current Cosmos issues: return it and buy a Quest. It has all the features you want and can soon be tethered. Also a lot cheaper.

    • dk

      can’t wait for quest2 with sd855+ and 90hz and no fixed foveated rendering and
      displayport and rgb matrix ….other things will be good too but that will be a great

    • Justin Davis

      Uncomfortable/front heavy, 72 Hz, 2 sub-pixels per pixel instead of 3 (pentile vs RGB)

      • Charles

        But on the plus side, it has good contrast and black levels.

    • Trenix

      I agree that people should return it, but no, it doesn’t offer everything the quest does. The quest has a lower refresh rate and cannot be used with outside in tracking, the best current tracking available. At this point, VR is about going all out, or don’t go in at all. Since the original Oculus, VR has not been worth the price for what it provides. The only thing actually worth it, is probably the Valve Index, which could use a discount.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Yes the quest can work with lighthouse if you want, just plunk a Vivetracker on it and there you go…. it’s propably even cheaper than buying the addon for the cosmos..


    So about the battery life issue: have you ever got 4-8 hours of gameplay time with them?

    • dk

      also what can u get from 3200mah rechargeable batteries…in non stop beat saber(which might brake your arms) and in the lab or whatever else

  • grindathotte .

    Index has the answer to the small sweet spot by allowing the lenses to be moved in and out. If the Cosmos had this feature, I might even consider it.

    • benz145

      Cosmos has a lens-width adjustment (IPD) but not a lens-distance adjustment. Rift S has a (poorly implemented) lens-distance adjustment, but not a lens-width adjustment. Index has both, as well as a rotating visor. Along with its much larger sweet spot, Index has the best range of options to make sure you’re getting a good visual experience while also being able to get the headset into a comfortable position on your head.

  • gothicvillas

    HTC have lost the plot… sadly. Honestly, can someone explain why they did not increase FOV even by just 10-20 degrees. Why they are sticking to the same old gen 110?

    • Trenix

      Because high refresh rate, with currently the best resolution available, along with an increase in FOV, is a cost you can’t afford.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      because of the lack of decent displays/lenses? If it were that easy to increase the FOV to 120-130 you don’t think the other players would also already have done it? It’s cost and the targeted price that prevents such things.. yes Pimax has done it, but we hardly hear anything about their ‘8k’ headsets (let alone their ‘4k’ headsets which have been on the market for a much longer period).

  • JesperL

    I loved the old Vive – but I so happy I went for the Index. Such a shame to se HTC hurt the general VR scene this way.

    • mepy

      The Vive has the wireless option though.

  • Justos

    I would just buy a quest/riftS. HTC is trying to win the paper spec war and that isnt enough when you consider the competition. VR is more than the HMD you put on. The software suite, and overall support is something you should take very seriously.

  • Ghosty

    The only way I’d be interested in the cosmos is with the valve outside in tracking and without the controllers! In any case I would more likely go for the valve index if they ever ship to Canada!

  • Just got mine. When in standby and always when in use, it makes a whirling fan noise. Crazy. Additionally, the IPD minimum is 62! My IPD is 59 and the visuals are slightly off. Very disappointed. Buy a Reverb or Rift S instead.

  • Ardra Diva

    What we really need is for Varjo to make an affordable consumer model. They’re the gold standard for manufacturing and graphic quality.