Last week HTC announced the full Vive Cosmos lineup which saw the introduction of three new variants which each use faceplates with different capabilities. Cosmos Elite, the high-end variant which uses SteamVR Tracking, opens for pre-orders as of today, with a release date of March 18th.

For the full breakdown of the Cosmos series, which now includes the Cosmos Play, Cosmos, Cosmos Elite, and Cosmos XR, see our reveal coverage here.

Like all of the Cosmos headsets, Cosmos Elite is built on the same core foundation, which means the same flip-up head-mount design, fresnel lenses, and 1,440 × 1,700 LCD displays with hardware IPD adjustment. But Cosmos Elite is designed to appeal to VR enthusiasts who want to leverage the power of SteamVR Tracking, the same Valve-made external tracking tech which has powered all of HTC’s PC VR headsets prior to Cosmos.

Image courtesy HTC

While Cosmos Elite is technically capable of the same level of inside-out tracking as other Cosmos headsets, the Elite comes with a unique faceplate which is covered in sensors that detect tracking signals from two external base stations. Though it doesn’t have the convenience of inside-out tracking, SteamVR Tracking is widely considered a gold-standard for VR tracking thanks to its speed, accuracy, coverage, and robustness to varying lighting conditions.

Since Cosmos Elite uses SteamVR Tracking, it doesn’t use the same controllers as the other Cosmos headsets; instead it uses the Vive wand controllers which launched with the original Vive.

Vive Cosmos Elite Price, Pre-orders, and Release Date

Priced at $900, Cosmos Elite includes the headset, two SteamVR Tracking 1.0 base tations (1.0), and two Vive wand controllers.

HTC Reveals Vive Proton, a Compact Standalone VR Headset Prototype

Pre-orders for the headset will start on the company’s website today, while the Vive Cosmos Elite release date is set for March 18th, just ahead of the release of Half-Life: Alyx on March 23rd.

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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."
  • mirak

    I don’t understand how it can be 300$ more expensive than the Vive OG, with identical V1 controllers and V1 ligthouse.

    • mfx

      Don’t bother. They are really game over, even with logic.
      It’s like their cosmos 6 cameras that costs 200 more than their 4 cams entry level. 200 dollars… for 2 camera modules.. wtf

      • mirak

        They removed the headphones also, but that still just 2 headphones …

    • Baldrickk

      Worse than that, including shipping, it’s more expensive than the Index, which gives 2.0 tracking and knuckles, better audio and better lenses, with a better screen (if very slightly lower res)
      Whereas this comes with the old wands that people love to hate more often than not.

      • mirak

        I don’t dislike them, but would like to get a hand on the index controllers.
        So if not the 2.0 ligthouse, at least 2.0 controllers, that you could reuse later if you upgrade ligthouse to 2.0 for some reason.

      • mepy

        How do you figure the Index ships for free? It’s still $100 cheaper. But you will be buying the Wireless adapter for the Cosmos also for $348.99. So for the real deal $248.99 more expensive.

        + Wireless
        + ca. 6% more pixels
        – 20° less FOV
        – 90Hz refreshrate vs. 120/144Hz

        • mirak

          6% more pixel on a 20% less fov, that’s like having 25% more pixels.

          • mepy

            That’s true, but I do wonder how visible the more pixels are, or indeed if the 20° is maybe worth it anyway?

          • mirak

            Don’t know, I just pointed one positive point, for once we found one.

      • Zantetsu

        “Better screen” is definitely arguable. Having owned both the Index and Vive Pro I would choose the Vive Pro screen in a heartbeat. Slightly worse screen door is preferable to the terribly washed out LCD panel of the Index.

        However, the Index FOV is so much better, and the lenses are much better on the Index as well. Too bad we can’t just get one device that does it all right.

    • mepy

      It’s basically a Vive Pro with new ergonomics and a LCD screen instead of a OLED display.

      • mirak

        Maybe but the Vive Pro price isn’t justified either. xD

  • Alextended

    HTC is dumb, why didn’t they make Wands v2 to use the layout of the normal Cosmos controllers but with the Lighthouse tracking instead of these ancient clunky wands that don’t have nearly enough, or good enough, buttons and such? That would make it a pretty decent Vive 2 esque kit, now it’s an outdated pos nobody in their right minds will get when Index has a similar price and Rift S itself costs so much less, maybe with a bit lesser tracking overall, but with so much better controllers (which HTC knows are great since they basically copied them for the first Cosmos model)? More than that, why didn’t they first focus on fixing Cosmos before offering more models based on it like this and Cosmos Play which has even less cameras than the original Cosmos so likely even worse tracking (which they said works for viewing VR content and Angry Birds VR which is something that puts in on par with mobile VR yet it will still cost considerably more by the HMD specs)? And who the heck is Cosmos XR or whatever for, adding yet more front cameras for AR crap? They seem out of touch. Maybe they bet on Index/S being sold out.

    • Mei Ling

      I think they are selling this product package as they’re currently in a state of desperation. They need more revenue which they clearly aren’t getting with HTC Cosmos. This also means they have no time (or the money to spare) to improve on the existing Vive Wands when all of their investment was actually focused on the HTC Cosmos controllers which turned out to be a disaster for tracking.

    • Andres Velasco

      I heard they might have lost the rights to sell them

  • Ace of Spades

    You have to be OUT OF YOUR MIND to buy Vive Shovel “Controllers” in 2020

    • Zantetsu

      Hilariously, I tried using my Valve Index headset and controllers with one of my old standby VR games last night, Fallout 4 VR. The index controllers worked so poorly in that game that I switched back to the wands and they felt and worked much better for me.

      The Index controllers are severely overrated in my opinion. I find them uncomfortable and awkward.

      The most comfortable controllers I ever used were the Oculus Touch ones.

      I’ll be happiest I think when we finally have solid 99.9% reliable hand/finger tracking.

      • gothicvillas

        Strange observation. Do you really own Index controllers? Really? I have Quest and Index. Touch controllers are tiny and feels like for child’s hands. Index controllers works seamlessly and no issues in either Fallout or Skyrim. Not saying Touch are bad but saying they are better than Index ones is just plain foolish :)

        • Zantetsu

          Yes, I really do own them. One of them came with a slightly mis-manufactured ‘system’ button so I had to send it back for a replacement, but the replacment was fine.

          Index controllers are known to have major issues in Fallout. Do a google search. Of course I am quite certain that these can be fixed with a game mod, but I did not know that at first and just fumbled with the controllers for a while before giving up on them. While in VR I do not really have an opportunity to be searching for and installing mods, its too cumbersome.

      • Ace of Spades

        Yep I also prefer Touch controllers, they the best IMHO and feel natural for someone that gamed with different gamepads for almost 40 years.

        But the problem with all Bethesda VR games is that they optimized for HTC, some outright dont support Oculus like Doom and Fallout 4

      • Michael Vengoechea

        I feel that the valve “knuckle” controllers are a bit overrated for VR games that require only generic VR needs. I do favor the original Oculus touch controllers too for the majority of these games.

        However, there are games where the knuckle controllers fair way better. Some those games are made for the knuckles in mind and its a treat to play with them. I do not think there will be single “best controller” for all VR applications. Maybe the best controller for for a particular style of VR game play. I could even think of games that I would prefer the original Vive wands for over both of the others.

  • MW

    Are you a part of the ‘elite’? Apple like marketing is working. It’s a shame though that VR from technological marvel, quickly become a toy for wealthy people (or for poor people wanting to feel rich) – like Apple I hardware.
    They will sell smaller amount of hardware but high price is a magnet. ‘It has to be better than cheap RiftS because it’s so much more expensive and has “Elite” in the name”

    • Zantetsu

      What an infantile viewpoint.

      • MW

        Really? You don’t have friends with newest iPhone on credit? I have. Or with new expensive weak car on credit instead of reliable used one? So tell me – are they infantile or my point of view?

        • Zantetsu

          Just read what you wrote man. I shouldn’t need to point out how infantile it is to trot out the same trite ‘anyone who values something differently than I do is an elitist’ BS.

  • Adderstone VR

    100% DO NOT PRE-ORDER!

    Wait for reviews (spoiler, it’s gonna be crap – it’s based on crap and out-dated hardware)

  • gothicvillas

    wow Vive wands are terrible and must be scrapped and forgotten

    • mirak

      I like them, only the grip button is bad.

  • PJ

    “Since Cosmos Elite uses SteamVR Tracking, it doesn’t use the same controllers as the other Cosmos headsets; instead it uses the Vive wand controllers which launched with the original Vive”

    One step forward and one step back, great job HTC, really well played..

    • mirak

      That would be two step back if you count from the knuckles.
      Ok they don’t own the knuckles but they had plenty of time to design something new for lighthouse.

  • Matt

    I don’t know who at HTC greenlit the Cosmos, but wow does it suck compared to the older hardware. If the Elite faceplate can get the Cosmos working with Tracking 2.0 and Index controllers, I’d consider that upgrade, but I’m still hoping that Valve will announce a wireless adapter for the Index headset soon, so I can abandon the Cosmos completely.

    • mirak

      It will work with tracking 2.0 and Index Controllers.
      But will they ship a headset alone without controlers and base stations ?
      How much ?

  • mepy

    They probably need to drop the price an other $100 to really compete with the Index?

  • I think this headset has potential if paired with its wireless adapter and Valve Knuckles