Just after the IFA, we were at the beginning of the week at HTC Vive to finally discover their new Virtual Reality headset, Vive Cosmos. Announced at CES 2019 last January in Las Vegas, the Vive Cosmos is distinguished from its predecessors by its ability to do without the famous external housings to move. For those who have not followed everything, the Vive Cosmos integrates no less than six cameras on the headset that will analyze your game environment and allow you not to bump against real estate or others and without the famous cases externalities found with its predecessors. Is it accurate? Here is the question and in the test room where we could test the helmet, it must be said that it was quite spacious. This is setting but the area of movement seemed more sensitive. Basically, as soon as we got closer to the limits we had defined, the virtual wall was displayed faster and earlier to prevent possible problems in the outside world.
I am redirecting you to the announcement since we now know that the front faces of Vive Cosmos are interchangeable. Also, if the camera system does not please you, you can always switch with the sensor system and external boxes, more accurate according to HTC Vive. This option will not be released until the first quarter of 2020. We could not test it but the Vive Cosmos is compatible with the wireless adapter. However, I was able to try a non-plugged version. I was afraid of weight on my head but I was reassured.
Speaking of wearing a helmet, the first thing we notice and that is far from negligible is that the helmet can get up. It's stupid but so convenient when you want to check something on the PC for example. The very port of Vive Cosmos goes through a hoop that is placed around the head. The system is solid and the settings relatively fast via the wheel at the back. We will end the strap above. Once fixed, it does not move anymore. It will just adjust the focus and it is ready. The biggest advantage of the arch on the top of the head is obviously the possibility to lift the helmet but it brings another thing very useful: the helmet does not rest on the nose. Suddenly, we are left with two strips of rubber that are superimposed and adapt to all the nose without letting light. The helmet also carries small fans which allows to evacuate the heat, suddenly, during our sessions of 30/45 minutes, we never had a steam! The controllers are a little smaller but hold perfectly in hand. No revolutionary change except the little button Vive to activate the interface "Lens" we will see a little later.
Once the helmet is in place and the first contents consumed, one of the things that surprises is the general comfort, the Vive Cosmos does not weigh on the nose, all the weight is deported on the top of the skull. But that's not all since the first moments, we can not miss the sharpness of the screen. It must be said that with a global definition of 2880 × 1700, we reach a new level in terms of fineness of display, which allows a better immersion. Similarly, we appreciate the refresh rate of 90Hz. More finesse, more comfort, less flickering … your eyes can only thank you. At the level of sensations, it's almost perfect everything reacts impeccably to what we want to do and there is no lag or others. We were able to try the HTC Museum and the movements were perfectly recognized. We could also try Audio Tracks, a kind of Beat Saber except that there, we played with the headphones only, no external box or others. Everything worked perfectly, the movements and thrusts in space are recognized, as are the movements. Impressive. However, it remains a grip and we look forward to trying it with other content.
With this test session, we discovered the new HTC Vive Lens interface and it is rather successful. It is reminiscent of the interfaces we already knew about the Oculus or even the Gear of Samsung. It's simple and everything is managed from the controllers. All compatible content is available with a hand and we do not need to return to the PC. But that's not all because we evolve in a kind of Vive Universe where the decor and objects are interactive, which allows a better immersion, a little as if we were at home but in virtual. I remind you that the purchase of a Vive Cosmos translates to 6 months of access (12 months for those who pre-ordered before launch) to all Viveport Infinity content. As a reminder, Viveport Infinity is a content portal with one with multimedia content, videos, video games, applications, etc.