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Fact Check: Is Cosmos HTC's 'Lightest Vive Yet'?

Fact Check: Is Cosmos HTC's 'Lightest Vive Yet'?

Last week HTC made the claim that its upcoming headset, the Vive Cosmos, was its lightest yet. This caused a little confusion.

In the image below HTC claims Cosmos weighs 645 grams. This makes it HTC’s “lightest Vive yet,” according to the company.

We weighed an original 2016 consumer Vive with its strap attached and no wire and it measured around 566 grams. The original headset also shipped with a lightweight pair of earbuds which we no longer have to measure for a direct 1:1 comparison, since we replaced the strap and earbuds a long time ago with the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap. Most earbuds, though, weigh less than 25 grams.

It would seem, then, the original Vive head-mounted package with earbuds weighs less than Cosmos’ claimed 645 grams. What’s more? In early 2017, HTC confirmed they found ways to decrease the weight of new versions of that headset by about 15 percent.

So we reached out to HTC asking about the accuracy of their claim and received the following explanation back over email:

“We believe it’s accurate, as the total package of functionality is the lightest we’ve ever produced.  We checked this a couple of ways to get to the statement. 1) We took the combined weight of Vive + Deluxe Audio Strap accessory, since Cosmos effectively integrates the functionality and 2) The weight of the Cosmos HMD as a stand-alone over the original Vive is also lower (also lower than Vive Pro). There are variations in the headstrap attachments between the kits obviously, however the package of HMD + Headphones + Strap is the lightest (and most comfortable) we’ve produced.”

After parsing through that statement it essentially reads to us like HTC decided not to count or compare to the original Vive with its earbuds since it didn’t include HTC’s now-standard integrated deluxe audio strap. We weighed the original Vive with Deluxe Audio Strap and it measures 741 grams. We don’t have a Vive Focus to measure against but HTC claims the Vive Focus weight at 680 grams and Vive Focus Plus at 695 grams.

“We are basing the claim on HMD + Deluxe Audio Strap (or like accessory) and also on the HMD as a stand-alone (without strap or earphones of any type). In both cases Cosmos is lighter,” a follow-up email restated.

Still, is Vive Cosmos HTC’s lightest VR headset to ever be assembled and sold in a single package by the company? We pushed one more time for more detail and HTC says it measures Vive Cosmos with just the display unit (plus camera faceplate) at 331 grams. That reveals almost half Cosmos weight is in its strap and included audio solution. An original Vive’s display unit alone is around 500 grams, plus or minus 10 grams or so depending if you include the cushion touching the face. The Vive’s original strap, then, is the remaining 60 or so grams.

So there’s clearly a big shift in balance between the headsets. Still, though, we’re not seeing support for the claim that this is the lightest Vive yet. Maybe it is the most comfortable with better distribution of weight? But mixing that claim with one which pretends the original Vive’s weight can’t be compared 1:1 seems at least a bit misleading.

Vive Cosmos is due for release later this year.

Ian Hamilton contributed to this report.


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