That blurriness stands in stark contrast to the VR display inside the Cosmos. With all-new RGB LCD panels, a combined 2,880 x 1,700-pixel resolution (that’s an 88 percent increase over the original), a 110-degree field-of-view and a 90Hz refresh rate, the result is the best VR display I’ve ever seen. With the original Vive headset, for example, the blue whale in the well-known Wevr: TheBlu demo looked huge and lifelike. With the Cosmos, however, it was much more so, making the whole experience even more immersive. It really did feel like the whale was right there next to me. I could see details I didn’t see before, like wrinkles around its eyes and warts and imperfections on its skin. The colors also looked richer and more saturated; the blue was deeper and the shadows were darker and more nuanced.
One of the marquee features of the Vive Cosmos is that it has inside-out tracking. Six cameras on the headset allow it to track your movements without the need for external sensors. This worked quite well when I was trying out various applications. In Museum of Other Realities, in which I interacted with several exhibits in a virtual art museum, I could dive deep inside sculptures and move my head and body around without any noticeable limitations. Similarly, in a dance rhythm game called Audio Trip, I was able to move my hands and arms to the beat with hardly any lag. It was accurate at detecting the location of my hands and feet.
Additionally, the Cosmos features a new set of 6dof (six-degrees of freedom) controllers that are built to be used with inside-out tracking. Instead of wands, they look similar to the controls on the Oculus Rift, with the circular sensor loops, albeit with a slightly different configuration — the buttons are inside the loop instead of on top of the loop. Each controller has a grip button, a couple of trigger buttons, and now, analog joysticks (which have replaced the touchpads). HTC also included A, B, X and Y buttons, which should be familiar to anyone who’s held an Xbox controller.