My own thoughts about V5 prototype and the "mixed" reviews


#1

As a Pimax 8K backer, daily Vive/Rift user and YouTube VR content creator, many people have been asking me about my opinion concerning the latest Pimax 8K v5 prototype recently shown up on CES 2018, and its “mixed reviews”. So here we go:

I have not tried the v5 prototype so I cant give you my own conclusion about it’s functionality, but those “bad” reviews sounds a bit confusing to be honest. I tried the v2 prototype at VR Days as you may know if you seen my Pimax 8K v2 hands-on review, and I was extremely positive about it overall. Not because I’m a backer. Not because I’m intending to hype up this product for no reason or to simply justify my money spent. - But because what I saw, what I felt and experienced trying the v2 was WAY above my expectations. The VR image had simply no flaws, no tracking issues. no distortion, no stretching, FOV was fantastic, resolution even better than the MR headsets and I got simply blown away. And as I’ve said already, NOT because I backed 2 units on Kickstarter and being backer number 2, but only because I felt this IS the VR headset we all have been waiting for. Simple as that.

Now, hearing some of the negative opinions and reviews about the v5 prototype, I’m starting to wonder if the new optics has screwed up something that worked great before, or if the people that tested v5 really tells you the whole truth. It may be the optics (lenses), who knows, but something is definitely not adding up here. I have really a hard time to believe a v5 prototype can be so “bad” when the v2 was so great. I couldn’t find one person on VRDays having anything bad to say about the v2.

Last weeks, I have been quite busy so I’m not fully updated at this moment, but reading some recent inputs from the Pimax team during CES, they stated they are trying out some new lens technique in v5 (correct me if Im wrong), and IF the new prototype isn’t better, they will probably go back to the previous model we had in v2/v3 or so and move on from there. So I wouldn’t worry too much about the final product. Im 100% confident it will be the best VR hmd in 2018, as long as it can provide the same level of quality of what I personally experienced with the v2 prototype, or hopefully even better.

As for some “big website” reviewers just like RoadToVR and others not being happy with the v5:

With all the respect from my side, I appreciate their content and effort, and I wont say they are wrong. But please don’t forget big websites are often (not all but apparently most of them) sponsored sites/channels. Sponsored NOT by small Chinese companies like Pimax. They are usually sponsored by the “big guys” currently competing in the VR industry (you know who) and their smaller partners. And therefore they MAY also be a bit influenced by those brands and their headsets. I have seen a huge amount of negativity and skepticism around the Pimax 8K headset on mostly big channels already from start and still as of today. Also in some VLOGS, Twitter feeds, websites and posts made by “big people in the VR industry”. I’m actually not surprised, let me explain why:

You will probably love me of hate me now, but I’m going to be fully honest as always, just because I’m a non-sponsored and 100% independent customer: For many of the big companies, the VR industry is all about money and competition. And Pimax, being a small Chinese competitor, is not a part of the big cake to be shared by investors, big companies and so called “VR influencers”. At least not yet. Sponsored people don’t profit from hyping up Pimax just like they use to with other brands. Especially now when the competition grows with new VR headsets and brands coming out almost every month. Money talks, and positive advertisement makes the money grow further. Let’s not forget that.

As for me, I seriously don’t care about what brand I use, whenever its HTC, Oculus, Facebook, Pimax or even a random no-name Taiwanese brand. As long as the company can provide me the best VR experience for a reasonable amount of money (no I never get any headsets for free) - then Im happy.

And this is what made me love Pimax 8K from start. Kickstarter price was good, and performance in v2 was better than any other existing VR headset I have tried so far.

Im a VR admirer, I use Vive & Rift daily, I love VR immersion and I run a small YouTube channel just for fun. I hardly make coffee money from doing videos, and I couldn’t care less. Compared to most others, I have NEVER asked for a dollar, nor received any money to make some video or review. I spend 10 times more money on VR & PC hardware than I will ever earn from my videos. So if you ever think my Pimax 8K hands-on review was “biased” by Pimax, please give it a second thought…

I really appreciate what Pimax is doing and creating here, and I love their way of communicating with us during the development, even if they actually don’t need to. No other company ever takes the time to reply customers in a forum or let them decide what features the headset should offer. I’m really thankful for that, and I think its the right way to go.

But in the end, I just want the best possible VR immersion with great FOV and resolution, and as far as I can see, Pimax 8K is the only VR enthusiast headset for now having the potential to make my dreams come true.

As of today, I can’t wait until I get hands on my Pimax 8K. Im sure it will be a great product. It may unfortunately be delayed a few months, but it will be released eventually and no, they wont release a non-finished product. They know what they are doing.

And yes, I will definitely buy HTC Vive Pro as well. Just because I “want it all”.

But I also know, that once I step into 200 FOV and 4K resolution with Pimax 8K, I will never go back. That’s for sure!

Thanks for taking your time reading all this, and let me know your thoughts.

Martin


#2

Well I do agree that you ALWAYS need to be skeptical of big sites, I don’t think there’s some conspiracy going on. The most likely explanation is simply that Pimax messed up: several people confirmed the same problems, new sites but also individuals who tried the headset. Xunshu even confirmed some of the problems. Let’s wait for their update, I’m expecting it friday, I’m sure we’ll learn more then.


#3

Well I’m in the wait and see camp I have had great personal responses from all at Pimax to a number of issues,that goes a mighty long way for me.

The transparency with the whole company is rather refreshing never thought I would see a leading tech company act like the guys at CIG and Star Citizen complete disclosure is as rare as hens teeth these days,hopefully the new update will address some issues raised by the pitch fork wielding baying CES V5 mob amongst us on these forums.

And of course new units will be given to selected testers such as Martin et al,so I’m very confident in my investment and will wait till everybody testing the 8K HMD is happy with it for it to be released on the great unwashed such as myself. :smirk:


#4

The internet is a savage place for companies. If the final product is as you say (no disrespect) then pimax will bath in gold as VR sales are starting to explode across the board. And we will be happy little campers as being one of the first


#5

Here’s hoping that the V5 is worse because of a lack of tweaking and not a result of cutting corners to save cost. Because the latter would mean that they would try their best not to go back to earlier better prototypes


#7

Since there still prototyping/tweaking there is no saving cost. Til they say this is what ships.

Martin & I amongst a small number of backers have had the opportunity to try the v2 & some even more fortunate to try the v3.

The benefit of course is our experience; experiencing this earlier version. Is that we have seen it first hand & from our respected perspectives how good it is at that stage of its evolution. Much better than reading/listening to reviews or through the lens (singular) videos.

Nothing can beat hands on experience opposed to someone sharing their experience with you.

The v5 maybe cause to re evaluate & step back where needed. But on the same token the v5 also will contain wins even if not at first apparent.


#8

Hi, Sweviver:

The person we sent to New York representing “Real o Virtual” Web, “OMG”, made some similar evaluations to yours, but with the v3 prototype.

Nevertheless, the demos with the v2 prototype failed, perhaps because were made with a heated laptop or with worse graphic card or software, we don’t know; it even had image distortions, probably because its compound lenses were badly adjusted, or the device received a blow.

I think that each prototype was different, handmade.


#9

Good to hear if thats truly the case Heliosurge. Hopefully, you are right.


#10

Thanks for your input there Martin.

I was the one complaining of the journalism on pimax at ces. Although most took it to mean I wanted positive reviews, I really just wanted more information that was useful to those of us already interested in the product. Most wrote about irrelevant issues like you look uncool when you wear it.

I came across too harshly on the review who did address things we want to know, as I was being critical of the journalism where they didn’t have a discussion with Pimax about the issues, and they had done The Blu when they could have done some good gaming, which would answer a lot more questions we have. However I should emphasise they were the one at that time that had communicated issues that those already interested in the product wanted to know. It was still the best job at the time that I had seen.

Thanks again for adding some info when the info coming out of ces was lighter than expected.


#11

I have tried both the v2 and v3 and I have to say I disagree with you a bit on the v2. Everything was not perfect for me, the optics definitely were doing something strange on the sides and either the tracking or the framerate wasn’t great, I couldn’t tell which. The v3 improved things a good bit from the distortion lenses side of things but it still wasn’t perfect (I could see a double image if I looked closely at the seam between the two fused lens pieces) and the framerate /tracking was not improved. I will say that despite those misgivings I still had faith enough that they would improve that I backed both the x and the 8k headsets so I was a bit surprised that it appeared none of the issues had been resolved in the two or so months since I last tried it and in fact could have reverted to being worse. I still have hope that they’ll fix the issues soon but I’m not as certain as I was.


#12

that cleared the air! can i ask… when you tried the V2 what games did you try? i have seen your review and its a shame you could not play something a little more say…energetic? with lots to render and lots of head movement? did you find any lag or hesitation on that gaming laptop spec?


#13

Don’t forget that all the electronic was changed between V2 and V3. And for the optical part they also admitted many changes… so from our side with the info we have this is plausible…


#14

I also tried the V2 at VR Days, however only for some 10 minutes and only with Fruit Ninja, and agree that it was a largely positive experience - after all, I backed both the 8K & 8K(x) as a result. However, I would want to make the following caveats:

  1. There was something slightly irritating in terms of convergence, stereoscopic view. Not ruining the complete experience, I even went so far to think that I probably could get used to it and ignore it if it was not resolved, but that‘s a guess, always difficult to say if you will start to forget about imperfections or they will grow ever more annoying.

  2. It is tricky to base the complete expectation on the very limited scope of the demo, with one single game selected by Pimax. Fruit Ninja is not very demanding, nor has any greater level of detail, nor strong contrast graphics, and you are largely static in the demo, no greater movement in space by the player. I am not saying that the 8K will suck in such other scenario‘s, but as it stands now, we simply do not know for sure what its performance will be. It would surely have helped if somebody like Martin had been able to get it for a couple of hours for himself and just test the heck out of it with some of the really popular games, knowing how the experience is with the Vive/Rift etc…

  3. V5 is the first prototype using the tooling for production, which leads me to believe that it will not be as easy to switch back to V3 as it would be, if it were a mere design evolution.

  4. On the media, and their critical perceiption, some of the points Martin raises may be relevant, but I do not really believe that these reviews are mainly driven by interests which wish for Pimax to fail. I believe it is in part to the seemingly unrealistic and untrustworthy promise by Pimax, sort of a unicorn product. The naming issue, and then promising more or less everything we are hoping for in next gen HMD‘s, well, you have to wonder why Pimax would be capable if all the others, including new players like Acer, Lenovo etc. did not manage to really push the boundaries. So you expect that there must be a catch somewhere, whcih probably makes the experience suck on the long run. And in fairness I think there are a few issues, which we know about, and a few unknowns due to the limited scope of demos. And finally don‘t forget that such issues and flaws will jump into journalists‘ faces much more than into yours and mine, because they have been trained for a couple of years to notice all the details. The good news is, we will not be as critical when we use it. The bad news is that we may notice some of the noted issues later on, and some of them could turn out to on the long run annoy us massively nevertheless.
    So I do see some value in this critical approach, consider it a quality assurance function (which I am not sure Pimax has properly fleshed out in their processes).

Given the seemingly good performance of the V2/V3, I am quite hopeful myself, but then again, I did not get a broad demo with lots of different use cases so cannot be 100% confident either.


#15

I blame overconfidence coupled with post investor rounds/kickstarter success. A lot of startups suffer from the “I can fix everything, no prob, give me five minutes–>hours–>days–>years” mindset( engineers…even experienced ones). I hope they can deliver and as I already pledged, nothing I can do but cross my fingers and wait.

Oh, and if things go wrong I blame you SweViver :slight_smile:. Keep up the good work!


#16

I agree with some of this. But Pimax isn’t in complete n00b territory. They have two products, and I believe they have learned from that experience. That they have production experience is not very startup-ish. The V5 was a model off the production line, which is a big step as far as prototyping is concerned. Most Companies in general have issues with meeting their release dates, so it doesn’t have much to do with being a startup.


#17

I am not saying there aren’t challenges to be resolved, but people should at least let them get a handle on the new production and assembly process before thinking negatively about this project’s chances for success. Many of the described issues seem like calibration issues with that new assembly.
A lot of people dumped on Pimax for having made the decision to show V5 and having issues at CES. They act like Pimax looked real idiots for having unforeseen issues a this show. As one who has worked large shows of this type, I am sure others had their troubles as well. Heck, even CES itself had a 2 hour power failure on a large portion of the floor on day 2 and this is Vegas. You would think with all the experience at putting on a show in that city, everything would go well. Nope. “The best laid plans of mice and men”


#18

As I mention here, the New York v2 prototype was not good.

Martin (@SweViver) tested the Amsterdam v2 prototype.


#19

Sweviver makes a good point here, and calling sponsorship a conspiracy is nonsense. Proof is in the pudding here: the same reviewer made a puff piece on the vive pro’s resolution, strictly the resolution here, and had nothing to rave about on the pimax which from what i’ve heard is better than the Vive Pro’s and additionally has a sweet spot roughly the whole size of the Vive Pro lens. So that right there is questionable. It’s a tough spot, and I don’t knock the web publications, but if they have to choose between bringing home the bacon or being a vr enthusiast…it is what it is.

I will say sweviver stands for good neutral grounds and and not weighted down by motivational dollars.

On my own personal front here, am an individual who despises any business structure that impedes technological progress.
And Swe is right, if pimax smooths out the pain points, maintains all specs being on par and in some cases blowing away the competition (res and fov, possibly brainwarp + asynchronous space warp for the sensation of 180fps)- they will be unrivaled possibly for upwards of two years.
While this may pose some threat to the larger companies, thankfully not too much. Here’s why-
Bigger companies want vr to run on toaster ovens.
They want their products to get cheaper and more accessible.
They over emphasize form factor because entry vr users/potential consumers will.

Pimax is a reasonably priced product for what vr has needed to anyone who’s been using vr daily like me and sweviver for two years. It needs a pretty robust pc, geared towards vr gamers. Most are not entirely new to vr who are here i’d Imagine, but people who’ve waited a long time for this.
There IS a spot in the sun for pimax if the aforementioned are all and well.
And as someone who’s watched sweviver’s channel since it began, can say i’d trust a vr gamer who just likes vr, such as him.
And theres nothing wrong with a youtube channel that is telling you whats good, instead of whats bad. Heck I also don’t waste time playing duds lol.

Cautiously optimistic is a good stance. It’s like rotten tomatoes with movies, i’ll generally take pro reviewers to a point, but the user reviews generally paint the whole picture.


#20

Sponsorship in itself exists. However if multiple sources + independent CES attendees all confirm the same issue’s, THEN it becomes a conspiracy theory indeed. Pimax new lenses obviously are a step back and like Xunshu already confirmed, the new prototype had issue’s with power flowing through the device causing at least some of the issue’s like tracking. Also it’s logical that due to production tooling + hardware IPD that the device has become heavier


#21

They want to Call “Conspiracy theories” the fact that there are people in the industry paid/or covered in perks to lie to endorse some products over Others?

https://www.gamespot.com/forums/system-wars-314159282/sony-caught-paying-for-fake-reviews-33288592/

I am a consumer that do not accept being lied to and bullshitted around like it is evident some want me to, when promoting Oculus or vive or whatever over competitors, for a buck.

I support the words of sweviver which is exactly how I feel and what i was talking about around too, a few weeks back