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Leap into Half-Life: Alyx with this Vive Cosmos Elite at its lowest price ever

HTC Vive Cosmos Elite headset and accessories over PC Gamer Black Friday banner
(Image credit: HTC)

My first ever go in virtual reality was with the HTC Vive. Well, okay, I think I used a Google Cardboard once before that, but my first immersive VR experience was the HTC Vive. For all the fun I had in it back then, I truly have a soft spot for HTC's particular brand of VR headset. The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite is the biggest update to that original Vive Formula that HTC has made so far, too, which makes it well worth a look if you're debating a VR headset.

The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite would usually cost you $900 all-in, and that's including two controllers and two base stations, which are required for tracking your movements in virtual reality. Thanks to a Black Friday deal over at Amazon, however, you can currently shave $250.99 off that price, leaving you with a fully filled out VR headset bundle at $649.

Granted, that's more than an Oculus Quest 2, even discounting the Oculus Quest 2 Black Friday deals we've seen so far, but there are a few fundamental differences between these two headsets. So you'll want to consider what you're looking for when deciding between either one.

HTC Vive Cosmos Elite

HTC Vive Cosmos Elite | VR headset | 2x controller | 2x Base Station | $899.99 $649 (save $250.99)
The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite offers a resolution of 1440x1770 pixels per eye, a 90Hz refresh rate, a 110° FOV, and full support for SteamVR. That means you can get the most of a gradually maturing collection of games available on your gaming PC, which includes the absolutely fantastic Half-Life: Alyx.

One thing you will need to provide yourself with the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite, but not the Quest 2, is a gaming PC. The HTC unit is a tethered VR headset and thus not able to run games independently from your PC setup, while the Quest 2 is able to do so thanks to an chip inside the headset. The Quest 2 can also be run tethered to your PC, too, so it does offer the best of both worlds in that regard.

But I don't want to discount the HTC Vive just yet. Once setup correctly, the outside-in tracking of the Vive, via two Base Stations, is supremely accurate. I have used that a whole bunch and the Oculus Quest 2 a whole bunch, and I do appreciate the HTC Vive's responsiveness and accuracy in this regard. However, I also hold that the Quest 2 is simply the easier of the two to setup as it requires no Base Stations or anything of the sort. For that, it's a bit of a toss-up between the two here.

Though out of the box the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite is the comfier of the two. The Quest 2 really slims back the head strap to save cash, though you can replace this with an Elite Strap or third-party model should you so wish. Though this is a win to the Cosmos Elite in my books.

The Cosmos also offers great audio, which the Quest 2 lacks out of the box. Once again because of its diminutive strap and speaker setup. The Vive's system is fairly similar to the one found on the pricier Valve Index in operation, by which I mean the twin speakers hang down over each ear to offer an immersive yet not distracting audio experience.

Then there's the case of upgradeability, and while I've already mentioned the Quest 2's strap options, there is something to be said for the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite's many faceplates, add-ons, and options. These can get expensive a little quick, but you can take items into VR with the Tracker or even turn this tethered headset completely wireless if you want to.

HTC Vive Wireless Adapter | $349

HTC Vive Wireless Adapter | $349 $199 at Vive
Speaking of the wireless adapter for the Vive, I just happened to stumble across this deal while writing about the Cosmos. So even if you do want to cut the cable on your VR experience, you can do for a little less cash than usual.

If you still can't make your mind up, however, we have our HTC Vive Cosmos Elite review and Oculus Quest 2 review for your perusal.

Similarly, there's also some Oculus Quest 2 Black Friday deals to swing you towards that camp. It must be said, even without a deal to speak of, the Oculus Quest 2 is the much cheaper option.

Jacob Ridley

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.