If you’re thinking about buying a VR headset to get yourself ready for Half-Life: Alyx later this year, then you may be interested to know that the HTC Vive Cosmos is currently on sale again in the UK. It originally launched for £699 when it came out last year, but Amazon UK have now dropped the price to £549, making it £50 cheaper than it was over Black Friday.
In case you’ve forgotten, the Vive Cosmos is HTC’s latest PC-based VR gaming headset. Not only does it have a higher resolution display than the original Vive and Vive Pro (1440×1700 per-eye compared to the Pro’s 1440×1600 per-eye resolution), but it also doesn’t require any base stations for its motion tracking. Instead, it has six sensors built into the headset itself which provide accurate inside-out tracking and six-degrees-of-freedom support. This means you can start using the Cosmos straight out of the box and get going a lot faster than any of Vive’s previous headsets.
Admittedly, the rest of the Cosmos’ specs will be familiar to existing Vive users – it still has a 90Hz refresh rate, a maximum field of view of 110 degrees and built-in headphones like the Vive Pro – but the fewer plug sockets I need to find in opposite corners of my room to make sure it works, the better I reckon.
I should point out that the Oculus Rift S is still quite a bit cheaper than the Vive Cosmos, as you can currently get one direct from Oculus for £399. Just like the Cosmos, the Rift S doesn’t need any extra external tracking sensors either, but the downside is that its specs aren’t quite as impressive as its HTC rival. Indeed, the Rift S only has a refresh rate of 80Hz, and the resolution of its display tops out at 2560×1440, which equates to 1440×1280 per-eye. It has a slightly wider field of view at 115 degrees, but doesn’t come with any built-in headphones.
Then there’s the Oculus Quest to consider as well. This standalone VR headset won’t technically be compatible with Half-Life: Alyx straight out of the box, but as long as you’re prepared to make use of Oculus’ Link feature and run a cable from your tetherless Quest to your PC, then you’ll still be able to use it for some Half-Life VR action.
At time of writing, the Quest goes for £399 for the 64GB model and £499 for the top 128GB version. It also comes with all three episodes of Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series for free until the January 31st 2020.
Still, if you’re after the very best PC-based VR headset around that doesn’t involve shelling out over a grand for something like the Valve Index, then the Vive Cosmos is arguably the next best thing.