I drove out from Las Vegas to attend this as I wanted to be able to make an informed choice on what I wanted to choose. That said these are just my impressions with my eyes.
I started out with the 5KBE that had the leap motion hand trackers. This was a demo of you standing in a box with white lines that outline walls and you could see your hands and as you face each of the four walls you would see different particle effects with as you moved them. The demo was hooked up to a laptop and seemed to suffer from some motion issues as you moved where everything would judder around. Not sure if a tracking problem or with the machine running it. It has great deep blacks but you could clearly see a SDE on the white lines that make up the wall. I could see each pixel and was far the worst of the three. The tracking area of the hands was also fairly limited and I honestly don’t see this being more than a gimmick. With a larger FOV, you can easily lose tracking of your hands when you moved them much farther than shoulder width.
Next, I tried Elite Dangerous on the 8K. I play this game quite a bit on my Vive and even logged in hours on my DK2. The FOV was on normal for all the demos and I will say I was blown away by the difference. To me, this felt new and I could read all the displays without issue. No having to lean in at all. I ran just the basic combat training mission to see how it looked in gameplay and it ran well. For me I could not see any SDE effect in the game, others there said that they could but it looked great to me. Even when leaning in to get a very close view on objects I did not notice it. The back levels are more than playable and I would bet that after 20 minutes or unless you jump back and forth from a Vive you would never notice.
After that, I went to the 5K+ that was running the lab. Once again on normal view and was running on a 2080ti. I completely get what people say about the clarity of the 5k, everything looks very sharp, lines are well defined to almost a painful level. I could just make out the pixels on the 5K+ and could see the SDE when I looked for it. due to that sharpness. After only looking around for a couple of minutes I let others try as there was quite the line.
Next, we had them put bigscreen beta up on both the 8k and 5k+ with the same settings so we could do an apple to apple comparison. This was a great test scene as it has distances, text, lighting differences to compare the two. After jumping back and forth several times for me it comes down to, the 8K has a slightly soft look, you cant notice individual pixels and thus the SDE is less. The 5K+ is sharper but the SDE is worse and that sharpness can hurt the image on some effects. The reflections on the 5k+ looked worse because they were so sharp they almost appeared to be floating. That said they are incredibly close to each other. I was hoping to go to the event and be able to pick the “better” headset but the differences are very minor.
I will be choosing the 8K as an Elite player and I like the hud lines to not show pixels and just look like solid lines. The SDE bothers me more than the sharpness. I can honestly say that no matter what headset you chose you will be happy with the step up in quality over a Vive or Rift.
A big thank you to the Pimax folks for bringing these out for us to take a look at. Now I just want my new headset as people are correct in that it ruins using the current gen.