HTC Vive Cosmos Elite Vs. Valve Index: Which High-End VR System Should You Get?

The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite and Valve Index represent the top-tier of consumer virtual reality headsets as of late 2023. Both offer high resolution displays, excellent tracking, large play areas, and high refresh rates for immersive, high-fidelity VR experiences.

But there are some key differences that may make one better suited for some users over the other. This comprehensive comparison examines the specs, features, pros and cons of the Vive Cosmos Elite and Valve Index to help you decide which advanced VR system is right for you.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeaturesHTC Vive Cosmos EliteValve Index
Display Resolution2880 x 1700 combined (1440 x 1700 per eye)2880 x 1600 combined (1440 x 1600 per eye)
Display TypeLCDLCD
Display Refresh Rate90Hz80Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz
Field of View110 degrees130 degrees
Tracking TechnologyExternal sensorsExternal sensors & lasers
Tracking Area10 x 10 feet10 x 10 feet (additional base stations can expand)
ControllersRedesigned wand controllersRedesigned controllers with natural grip
AudioHeadphones not includedBuilt-in headphones with spatial audio
CablesSingle cable from headset to Link BoxCable from headset connects to PC
RequirementsHigh-end gaming PCHigh-end gaming PC
Price$899 headset alone$999 full system

Overview of HTC Vive Cosmos Elite

Vive Cosmos Elite
Vive Cosmos Elite

The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite is the premium model in the Cosmos line of PC-powered VR headsets. It uses external “Lighthouse” base stations for highly accurate room-scale tracking rather than the inside-out tracking of the regular Cosmos.

This positions it firmly as a competitor to the Valve Index in terms of VR enthusiasts. The Cosmos Elite requires a high-end gaming PC to power it and comes with redesigned controllers similar to those of the original Vive.

It offers detailed 2880 x 1700 resolution visuals on dual LCD displays and has a field of view of 110 degrees. The headset alone costs $899, while the full system with controllers and base stations costs $1299.

Overview of Valve Index

The Valve Index represents Valve’s push into having their own premium PC VR system. It uses dual 1440×1600 LCD displays with a wide field of view of 130 degrees for highly immersive visuals.

The Index includes excellent external “Lighthouse” tracking with added lasers for finger-tracking on the redesigned Index controllers. This allows for natural grasping and picking up motions in VR.

It also provides a large 10 x 10 feet tracking area that can be expanded with additional base stations. The Index offers refresh rates between 80Hz to 144Hz for smooth performance. Built-in spatial audio headphones are included. The Valve Index starts at $999 for the full system.

Also Read: Comparison Between Valve Index and Meta Quest Pro

Key Differences Between the Vive Cosmos Elite and Valve Index

The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite and Valve Index share many similarities as high-end PC powered VR systems with external “Lighthouse” tracking technology. However, there are some important differences in their specs, features and overall experience they offer.

Valve Index
  • Displays:

Both headsets have dual LCD panels with a combined resolution of 2880 x 1600 pixels. So pixel density is virtually identical, offering clear visuals and text. However, the Index has a noticeably wider field of view at 130 degrees compared to 110 on the Vive.

This creates more peripheral vision and immersion in the VR environment. The Index also enables refresh rates between 80Hz to 144Hz, while the Vive is locked at 90Hz.

Higher refresh rates make for smoother gameplay and better compatibility with high-end graphics cards. So the Index provides a slight edge in visuals.

  • Tracking:

The Vive Cosmos Elite and Index both use SteamVR external “Lighthouse” base stations to enable accurate room-scale tracking. They support a large 10 x 10 feet play area that can be expanded with more base stations.

However, the Index combines the IR lasers with on-headset cameras for even better controller tracking. This allows it to track the position and motion of your individual fingers when using the Index controllers. The Cosmos controllers lack this extra finger tracking.

  • Controllers:

Both headsets feature redesigned wand controllers. The Index controllers are more advanced and allow you to grab and release objects in a very natural way thanks to the finger tracking. They strap to your hand so you don’t have to grip them tightly.

The Cosmos controllers are also well-designed but lack the same finger tracking abilities of the Index controllers. This gives the Index a bit more immersion for hand presence and natural interaction in VR environments.

  • Audio:

The Vive Cosmos Elite does not come with any integrated headphones or audio solution out of the box. So you need to supply your own headphones or earbuds. The Valve Index has excellent built-in spatial audio headphones included.

They make it easy to experience 3D surround sound and fully immerse yourself in VR worlds without having to fuss with extra headphones. The audio quality on the Index is much better overall.

  • Cables/Setup:

The Vive Cosmos uses a single USB-C cable from the headset to an included Link Box which then connects to your PC. The Valve Index connects directly from the headset to your PC via a tether cable that splits off near the PC into USB, DP, and power.

So the Index is slightly simpler in terms of cables. However, both headsets require mounting external base stations for full room-scale tracking.

  • Comfort/Design:

Both headsets are relatively comfortable to wear for extended VR sessions. They both use a halo-style head strap with a tightening dial on the back.

The Index uses more padded fabrics while the Vive has some faux leather. In terms of look and feel, the Index likely has a slight edge thanks to its design and materials. But comfort will come down more to personal preference and head shape.

  • Ecosystem:

Since both work via SteamVR, they have access to the same overall content library of VR games and applications on Steam.

However, the Index integrates directly with Valve’s platforms like Steam and SteamVR Home while also being compatible with Viveport. So it may have a bit of an ecosystem advantage overall though both work well with most SteamVR content.

  • Price:

The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite headset alone costs $899 while the full system with base stations and controllers is $1299. The Valve Index comes as a full package for $999. So the Index is the more affordable high-end option, undercutting the Vive by $300 for a complete setup.

Valve Index generally provides slightly better visuals, audio, tracking, controllers, design, and price compared to the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite. But both deliver excellent room-scale VR experiences and performance thanks to their high resolution screens and accurate Lighthouse tracking.

The Index is the better overall package while the Cosmos Elite still offers premium VR capabilities for those wanting an HTC product.

Also Watch This Review Video:

Pros and Cons of HTC Vive Cosmos Elite


  • Crisp 2880 x 1700 resolution visuals on dual LCD displays
  • Accurate external “Lighthouse” tracking with 10 x 10 feet range
  • Redesigned controllers are comfortable and responsive
  • Supports mods including wireless adapter (sold separately)
  • Single convenient USB-C cable to Link Box
  • Works seamlessly with Viveport and SteamVR content
  • Inside-out tracking model available (regular Vive Cosmos)


  • Narrower 110-degree field of view compared to Index
  • No built-in headphones included
  • Controllers lack individual finger tracking
  • Lower 90Hz refresh rate only
  • More expensive than Valve Index full package
  • External tracking requires mounting base stations
  • Does not support as wide range of refresh rates as Index

Pros and Cons of Valve Index


  • Wide 130-degree field of view for immersive visuals
  • High resolution 2880 x 1600 displays like Vive Cosmos
  • Excellent finger-tracking Index controllers
  • Built-in spatial audio headphones included
  • Smooth 80Hz to 144Hz refresh rate range
  • Direct SteamVR/Steam integration and support
  • Accurate external “Lighthouse” tracking
  • More affordable full bundle price Vs. Vive Cosmos
  • Innovative design and great ergonomics


  • Requires using DisplayPort on PC for connection
  • High price of $999 still puts it as “high-end” VR
  • External base station mounting required
  • Some quality control issues reported on launch
  • Less brand recognition compared to HTC Vive
  • Fewer mods and accessories compared to Vive
  • Long term support uncertain being from Valve
  • No inside-out tracking model available

Also Read: Choose Between HP Reverb G2 And Oculus Quest 2.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite better than the Valve Index?

The Valve Index generally provides a better overall VR experience compared to the Vive Cosmos Elite. It offers wider field of view, faster refresh rates up to 144Hz, better audio, more natural finger-tracking controllers, and more immersive design for around $300 less than the full Cosmos Elite system. The Cosmos Elite still delivers excellent, high-fidelity VR, but the Index edges it out in most areas.

Is there a better VR than Valve Index?

As of late 2023, the Valve Index is considered the top consumer VR headset available with its mix of display resolution, field of view, tracking, finger-tracked controllers, build quality and audio. The only other potential competitors are newer upgrades like the Vive Pro 2 or upcoming hardware like the PSVR 2. But the original Valve Index still holds up as providing the best overall consumer VR experience on the market based on its features and performance.

Is Valve Index better than HTC?

When comparing the Valve Index to HTC’s current flagship VR headset, the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite, the Index performs better in most areas that matter for VR. It has wider field of view, faster refresh rates, built-in audio, more advanced controllers, and lower price making it the better high-end VR system overall compared to HTC’s offering based on current models.

Is HTC Vive Cosmos Elite worth it?

The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite provides an excellent high-end VR experience, but with a high price tag of $1299 for the full system. Unless you specifically want an HTC product or prefer inside-out tracking, the cheaper Valve Index generally delivers better VR performance and value. But if given a choice between the regular Cosmos or Elite model, the Elite is worth it for the major tracking improvements if you can afford the higher cost.

Final Thoughts

The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite and Valve Index both deliver cutting-edge VR experiences that can delight enthusiasts.

While the Cosmos Elite has its perks, the Valve Index generally provides better displays, audio, tracking, controls, library support and price making it the superior high-end consumer VR system overall. For top-tier immersive VR right now, the Index can’t be beat.

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