Pimax 5K+ review from sim racer

review

#1

Your personal thoughts about (Share with pictures)
My goal is to be objective, and I have to clarify that to me VR is just a racing tool. It allows me to avoid multiple huge screens around me, and is more immersive than screen setup. That said, I am not using VR headset for anything but racing, so all my comments have to be taken with a grain of salt, as I am not interested in controllers or room scale, for example. Also, I only race in rFactor 2, so it is single game review in a way.

Apparel/Design
I like the design, look, box and have no issue with it aside from I’d like a bit higher build quality - better plastic, higher quality strap (see cons section).

Wearing Experience
I was pleasantly surprised with comfort. Comfort was one of my biggest concerns upfront, but I worried for no reason. Comfort, however, is extremely subjective, and it largely depends on face/head shape. I am using motion system, and headset stays tight on my face, which I really appreciate.

Image Quality
Image quality is absolutely outstanding. Finally, not only we can use peripheral vision in racing. You can see opponent’s “nose” at your sides. Resolution is also so high, that image looks almost as good as 2D monitor does. I am still amazed by the image clarity and size every time I put HMD on.

Pros and cons.

Compared to CV1 and Odyssey.

Pros:

  • High FOV
  • High resolution
  • Image stays in focus, I do not have constantly adjust HMD to move image into focus. I do have to adjust it a bit for nose comfort, but not for image quality.
  • Comfort is just a bit below CV1’s comfort, but a lot better than Odyssey. I really appreciate flexible strap.
  • Vive tracking works better for seated experience, compared to CV1
  • PiTool is ligthweight, non-intrusive software that does not try to take over your PC. Pitool does not force you to update anything, and it doesn’t popup as soon as you touch the HMD. It does not force dash in your face either. PiTool doesn’t event need to be running to use HMD.
  • On/off button is welcome addition
  • No headphones, no controllers
  • Perfromance is better than I expected
  • 90/72/64hz is excellent move
  • Even gyroscope tracking works well!
  • Facial interface is attached by Velcro. Was able to use VR Cover from another headset no problems.

Cons:

  • Biggest issue is as of today, Pitool v109, Smart Smoothing is not as good as ASW. With ASW I pretty much never needed 90FPS, 45FPS+ASW felt extremely smooth with just minor artifacts. Unfortunately, I am running with Smart Smoothing off as it produces too many artifacts, double images, blurriness

The rest is nitpicks, really.

  • Headset hurt my nose, but I installed a bit thicker padding which helped. Still, the area where lenses are closest to each other, needs softening of some sort. Alternatively, the material that hides lenses needs to be much tighter.
  • Build quality: I once sat on my CV1 and nothing happened. I dropped it multiple times, it still works. Unfortunately, Pimax feels pretty fragile, I am actually afraid it’ll crack in my hand. Strap began to come apart a bit on first use. So, build quality should be improved in the future, IMHO. Make it $100 more expensive, but build it like a tank (keeping it light though, which is a challenge…)
  • non-OLED panel is immediately evident, level of black is a step back compared to previous headsets. However, that is not noticeable in racing game, so just a minor con.
  • I liked CV1’s color reproduction a bit better, but that’s very subjective
  • I have one dead pixel, but not sure if this is a con, because same can happen with 2D monitor, and it is just a side effect of LCD production. Pixel isn’t visible unless you specifically look for it.
  • I find SDE more pronounced than with rift, about the same as Odyssey.

Performance(Your gaming experience with Pimax, you can share not only one game experience) Also, would like to hear about your RIG. It can help others know about the FPS ish.
My system is 8700K@5.0Ghz, 2080ti +180Mhz core/+1200Mhz memory, 32Gb RAM.
PiTool at 1.0, SVR SS at 110%. Parallel projection workaround is checked, Smart Smoothing off.

I found that rFactor 2 is very much playable in both dry and rain conditions. I get ~40FPS, but to my surprise game is very much playable. I am still working on finding optimal PiTool/SVR setting, because my current one might be a bit excessive.

Concluding Thoughts
Is Pimax 5k+ perfect? No, but then, what is? However, going back to older headsets is simply unimaginable. I have 0 doubts about selling CV1. I am happy and content with Pimax device, and as long as Pitool stays unintrusive, I am definitely buying next Pimax headset :slight_smile: But even today, combined with Pitool, I feel I have device of my dreams.

Thank you very much!


[Pimax Official Activity]Sharing Your Gaming Experience With Pimax
#2

Don’t sell your Rift!

Wait at least 1 month and try to go back to Rift with everything you played/experienced, than have a final conclusion.

The hype of having higher FOV, better resolution may disappear sooner than you think.

Btw, what is your real IPD? And what settings did you use on your Pimax? Any eyestrain?


#3

I really have very little time to game, so 1-2 racing games is all I need - and I really wanted to make it clear in my review is that my use is quite narrow. I had Pimax for 2 weeks already and I’ve not a single doubt about it being a big step up in my racing experience. Low FOV was my nr.1 issue in VR since day one, so even if Pimax had low resolution, I already get 90% of what I needed from next gen headset. Nr.2 I deeply dislike oculus software - no way I am installing it ever again, unless they fix it by adding options to turn off home/dash or everyone becomes as pushy and aggressive as they are, then I’ll have no choice… But I do have choice today, and I choose to leave their “social ecosystem”.

I am not sure about my IPD - I just used near field IPD image to get clearest image possible (see wiki on this forum). In all of my headsets I used smallest value, which is surpising to me but it looks best. I did not notice anything unusual, but I have not the greatest vision, one eye sees better than the other. However, strain from image that is rarely in focus, which what I had in oculus and Odyssey was higher. On the opposite, Pimax’s image is focused most of the time. I remember I had some eyestrain with CV1 but my brain eventually adjusted. Things are different with Pimax, but I can feel my brain just needs to adjust. It is like leaving old comfy shoes :slight_smile:

My only fear is reliability of this device, but only time will tell. But I am definitely not going back to low FOV headsets.


#4

The more I use my Pimax the narrower the Rift gets. I do keep it around for In Death and Dirt Rally for now, but for Assetto Corsa, Pimax is the only consideration for me. Indeed, AC has never been more enjoyable.


#5

Update: two more Pros I forgot to mention -

  • You don’t need to have Pitool running, it is needed just to change driver configuration.
  • I like how face interface attached by Velcro. Was able to use VR Cover from another headset no problems.

#6

In Death work for me in the 5K+ why you still use rift ?


#7

Same here (on SteamVR that is). Looks amazing.


#8

Because I can’t stand the Vive wands in most games.


#9

Still learning new details:
Pros:

  • Image stays in focus, I do not have constantly adjust HMD to move image into focus. I do have to adjust it a bit for nose comfort, but not for image quality.

Cons:

  • I find SDE more pronounced than with rift, about the same as Odyssey.

#10

Which tracking device do you recommend? I also play only racing sims. Can I buy only tracking device and not any controllers?


#11

I use single Vive Lighthouse, it is expensive though :frowning: ($160 here). I do not have controllers. As I mentioned in my review, it works even better than CV1 cameras, no drift, no weird up/down shifts. However, I am planning to add one more base, because Vive bases track differently than CV1, and clear line of sight is more important with Vive bases. I hope two bases will make it rock solid reliable. I am using motion system, and in extreme situations (bad crash/spin) tracking cuts off a bit. I think it has to do with lack of coverage from Lighthouses.

Keep in mind that you could start with no tracking device at all - Pimax comes with built-in gyro tracking, which worked surprisingly well. With gyro, you can look around, but your head does not move in the 3D space. However, for racing you actually have to intentionally look to notice the difference between base and gyro. The reason base is better though, is that gyro drifts, so you’ll need to re-center periodically.

I should be getting bases repaired by Vive at some point, will update this thread with my observations on 1 vs 2 bases. Hope this helps :slight_smile:

PS: be careful with used bases from ebay - I bought 2 and both had difficult to diagnsose problems.


#12

I’ve been running my 5k+ without a lighthouse/base. You get drift if you turn your head to look through a corner. On certain tracks with long corners it’s a bigger issue than others.

I have a recenter button mapped to the wheel so I just click it on the straights every couple of laps depending on how much drift there is.

I’d recommend doing a calibration while seated in the rig first as that will reduce the drift.

Coming from a rift and then an OD+, the extra FOV (normal) and clarity are good enough for me. The performance with “hidden mask” checked is quite good also.

My biggest issue with the unit is the quality control and assembly.


#13

As promised - an update regarding 2nd Lighthouse.

Addition of the second lighthouse was worth it and made tracking rock solid, I never lost tracking in a race since. I really appreciate quality tracking with Pimax, have 0 issues with tracking, that’s great. One cool trick I’ve learned from someone (thanks!) on this forum - When base B is off, C turns off automatically, so it is only necessary to shutdown base B.

I also installed DAS headstrap using Dr.Cube adapter. I’d say it is better than I expected - DAS is not fully rigid, and knob does not need adjustment every time you put HMD on (two things I was worried about upfront). But I wouldn’t say it is huge improvement over Pimax’s strap, in fact in some way Pimax’s strap is better (in a way it distributes pressure on a face). But DAS is easier to put on, and it slides less, and relieves nose of pressure even more.

A bit of a lowlight is that my device started to crack. I mentioned in my original review that device felt pretty fragile, and it looks like Pimax made a controversial design tradeoff. In order to keep looks “cool” and avoid holes for IR sensors, they made front casing very thin. Unfortunately, it is a bit too thin, so together with headset consider ordering this :slight_smile: https://www.amazon.com/Premium-Gaffer-GafferPower-Available-Multiple/dp/B00GZE3UJ8/ref=sr_1_3?crid=WNE4LNZUANO&keywords=gaff+tape&qid=1555261442&s=gateway&sprefix=gaff+%2Caps%2C201&sr=8-3

Still, really love the device - high FOV is irreplaceble.


#14

wtf gaffer tape? i looked it up from the link you posted. Its amazing, an industrial strength tape, but 90% of the reviews on amazon are from women taping their boobs up …haha.

surely theres a better way to repair cracked plastic. what about filling it and sanding it and painting?


#15

Well, plastic is quite brittle imho, so, I’d be careful with sanding and overly creative repairs.

I was half joking about tape, but gaffer’s tape seems to be doing the job. My second HMD got crack in the same upper left corner, and gaffer’s tape applied again. Now, keep in mind that Pimax North America grants warranty no questions asked. I willl hold onto my current one, because it has perfect screens, and crack (more a chip really) has no effect on function. If HMD starts really falling apart Pimax NA is there and I am sure will respect warranty. By the next RMA hopefully issue will be addressed by the Pimax.

Still, cracked or not, no alternatives to this HMD available at the moment, for racing use. Having nearly full FIA helmet FOV is irreplaceable.