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HTC's Vive Cosmos PC VR headset launches next month with a $699 price tag

The Vive Cosmos virtual reality headset for PCs HTC announced during CES earlier this year finally has a release date attached to it, launching October 3 with pre-orders opening today at $699. With Cosmos, HTC aims to replace the original Vive it released back in 2016, offering a large jump in the technology used but $100 cheaper than the launch price of the original.

The Cosmos touts two 3.4 inch LCD panels coming with a combined resolution of 2,880 x 1,700. This is the highest resolution HTC has ever offered for a headset, surpassing the Vive Pro and even the Valve Index, both of which ship with panels with a combined resolution of 2,800 x 1,600. The Cosmos' field of view is set at 110 degrees while the panels will run at 90 Hz.

HTC promises the new LCD panel will minimize the screen-door effect often associated with VR screens thanks to the reduced distance between pixels. For those looking to be free of cables, the Vive Wireless Adapter is compatible with the new headset as well.

The front of the headset can now be flipped up, opening the wearer to the real world when needed without needing to take off the device or use a camera to look through. There are new controllers involved as well, replacing the old wands with controllers that look similar to what Oculus offers.

What's missing from this headset is the Lighthouse base station-based tracking system, as HTC has instead opted for an inside-out tracking system for the Cosmos. This uses six camera sensors positioned around the headset for tracking the space and the new controllers.

Cosmos External Tracking Mod

However, the company plans to reintroduce the base station tracking system as a "mod" for the Cosmos. This is possible due to the new headset's modular faceplate, which can be replaced with new versions sporting additional features that HTC is planning to launch starting next year. The first of these is the External Tracking Mod, which is slated to launch in Q1 of 2020, enabling users to switch over to base station tracking for a more accurate experience.

The $699 pre-order comes with the Vive Cosmos headset and the new Cosmos Controllers. Those who pre-order will also receive a 12-month subscription for Viveport Infinity, the company's game subscription program that normally costs $12.99 per month.

Although the original announcement teaser from earlier this year suggested that the headset could also be powered by a smartphone, there's no mention of this development today. This could be another faceplate mod the company is planning to release.

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