(I m by no means a professional journalist/reviewer, english is not my native language but you will get what I intent to say)
My 2nd day at IFA ended up in an unexpected journey every VR enthusiast would dream about. This time I had much more time interviewing the Pimax CEO, at which he was very generous to me explainging
things in great detail, and ofcourse comparing both headsets of its advantages and disadvantages. He even invited me for dinner afterwards where we ate high up in the TV Tower, famous in Berlin.
Big thank you again to Mr. Pan for his generosity!
But lets be formal and start the actual hands on review of both headsets and the 8K CLPL (low persistence liquid display) unit in particular.
In short both headsets have there strengths and weaknesses on very different VR quality aspects in such an even way that it will be a really though descision which one to chose, provided by the fact that the OLED version will actually be available at kickstarter.I will begin by adressing both headsets individually first then bring them face-to-face together for a final verdict.
My first try was again the 5K OLED version but this time the IPD was set correctly(well kind of) and I was able to form a much more indepth assesment of what experience this unit can deliver. The binocular overlap was allmost perfect, there was very little focusing problems at the center but I think the IPD was not at the ideal sweetspot and even if it was, the focusing problem was close to unnoticble.
I allready wrote about the colours and percieved brightness.In addition I would say the colours felt very intense and had a kind of popout effect on me which was really cool also the brightful image was very apparent to me. There was no real high contrast scene to evaluate the god ray aberration (I tested the underwater jellyfish demo). Maybe the orange jellyfish in contrast to the blue background and there I
didnt noticed any god ray artifacts. This time the outer edges of the screen were moderatly blurrier then last time but again maybe it was due to not perfect IPD adjustment.
So lets talk about screendoor effect for a moment. Oculus clevery disguised this weakness with its customized pixel array allignment and a very little desharpening by the frsnel lens setup just to hide lines between the pixels...that way you percieve allmost no sde on Oculus (IMO) but it cant fool you in delivering the actual sharpness (especcially on distant objects) a normal tv screen would give you.
The Pimax 5K OLED did not have this sde disguisment which resulted in a much more apparent sde visible to the human eye (similiar to the Vive) but the overall sharpness of the objects in front and more important at the distance were much better and it doesnt feel anymore like your overall vision is inpaired to only be cappable of looking 5-10 meters sharply like its the case for Oculus or Vive.
I think I covered most aspects about the 5K OLED version and now I will continue with the highly anticipated 8K CLPL model.
The ergonomics were identical to the other device except this time there was a little knob on the right side where you can adjust IPD. Also the weight felt very similiar to the OLED version.
As you guys might allready know the tracking cable were severely damaged by one of the IFA customers which ended up in disabling tracking for the controllers. Luckily we got it to work at some time and I was able to dive right into the 8K VR Madness.
Lets go with the focal overlap issue first. This time it was even less apparent compared to the optics of the OLED unit.Also the outer edges of the screen were super clear...close to no blurring, no distortion at all. Much better then at the OLED device but again it could be coz of no ideal IPD settings.
Next I will adress the overall color property and percieved brightness of the headset.
Jumping from OLED to CLPL was indeed quiete noticible on many metrics. The colors did not have this emissive glaring attribute which made each object stand out much more distinctively to the viewer. Also the percieved brightness performed lets say 15-20% less then the OLED counterpart which also can be contribued to the color pop out effet I described above.
But I would't say that the image looked kinda washed out or undersaturated to me. The image was event out more in terms of colorful objects not pushing your subconscious eye in getting the most of attention.
Also the brightness was totally acceptible at least for me. Sadly I dont have a Pimax 4K to compare but I think the eye will adjust to brightness levels once it acclimated in the dark light sealed headset so percieved brightness will be higher the longer you are in the headset....right?
So lets continue with one of the prime feature this headset advertises...namely the resolution. I allready had this firm believe of how important the resolution is for the feeling of presence and the subcontious acceptation of the scenery but did not expect this huge jump in visual fidelity and the feeling of beamed right into this world. It truely was amazing and pushed all the drawbacks concerning color,brightness etc into the background. There was allmost no sde (screen door effect) visible but as dscribed above this can be missleading. The joy of focusing objects in its full detail was truely amazing even small objects in the distance (for expl.: the fish swarming around in the background) felt so much more lifelike due to the sharpness. I would say the immersion factor on this one was even higher then on the OLED device. This can also be contributed to the fact that the image felt noticibly more stable then the other unit. Contrary to belief you would expect that OLED beats CLPL in that regard (latency, motion stuttering) but this time the exact opposite was true which also greatly adds up to the immersion factor.Ohh by the way the demo was powered by a GTX 1080 (msi laptop).
Lets go further in bringing both headsets face-to-face togerher and discuss which one would be more suited for your applications. If you still reading....well thank you, youre a great person!
As I said in the beginning its a though choice. Both headset deliver so much quality on different dimensions that you really have find out for yourself which is best for you.If youre more of a color junkie then go with OLED allthough it all heavily depends on the application. For expl and game with a more darker serious setting (like Dark Souls, Metro) will most certainly look, from color,brightness aspect, the same if not better on CLPL then on OLED.If you play something like Mario then OLED would be king. Regarding the resolution on the 8K unit I really had the feeling which John Carmack once discribed as looking though a window (a 200° window) where your brain is fooled into thinking this is not a screen in front of your eyes but its actually real. I know I formulated it a bit dramatic but it comes close to what I felt in that moment. Adding up this and a smoother imageflow you have strong arguments to go for the 8K unit. Especially later on when you can crank up the resolution to full native 4K it should look insanely crisp. Anyway I hope I gave you some insights into the funcionality and quality aspects of the headset so that you can make an informed purchasing descision.
Thanks for reading and spread the word about Pimax!