Hi Everyone. I’m a backer of two Pimax 8K Pledges; one is 8K HMD only and the other one is 8K Full Package.
I was able to attend the Pimax meetup in NYC yesterday 10/25 and it was a truly awesome experience and I would first like to thank Robin and Xunshu (and also the tech who came along, but I don’t remember his name) for running these meetups and really making the backers feel like they play a significant role in the development of your products.
I currently own an Oculus Rift and have had it for about 2 years and I have an HTC Vive for about 3 months.
Yesterday I tested the 5K+, 8K and 5K BE (OLED). I was there for roughly 3.5 hours so I believe I have a pretty good idea of what I saw.
I am going to split this up into sections so you can more easily read through my impressions:
Let me start by saying this type of unofficial, laid-back meetup is amazing. We were able to meet Robin, the CEO and Founder of Pimax as well as Xunshu, who many of us have been talking to on the forums for about a year now.
They are both very nice people who really showed genuine care for our suggestions and impressions of their products.
I had conversations with both Robin and Xunshu about the Headsets and various accessories and stretch goals and they asked my opinions about certain things.
I have a very small face with a small IPD of around 60.5.
I have to admit this was the biggest downfall to me of all three of the headsets I tried.
I will say I probably did not spend enough time making the headstrap sit on my head 100% perfectly, but it was not comfortable for me.
When you lower the IPD the lenses move inward and when you raise the IPD the lenses move outward. Because I am using one of the lowest IPD settings the lenses were almost as close together as possible and they pinched my nose a bit hurting it a bit right under the bridge of where glasses would go.
Another Issue I noticed which probably is also due to my low IPD is because I had the IPD set so low and the lenses were resting on my nose, as I moved with the headset on, the lenses would slowly start to move outward because my nose was physically pushing them away from each other so the IPD kept on increasing on its own and I had to manually lower it again with the wheel.
This might have been solved by putting a piece of tape on the IPD wheel to prevent it from moving, but I was not able to test that.
I am also sure that this will improve when we get the upgraded headstrap from Pimax because the HMD will probably sit on my face and be much more sturdy. The issue happens due to a combination of my low IPD and the strap not fully supporting the headset on the back so most of the weight is in the front.
The tracking the 5K+ and the 5K BE were both flawless they were using Lighthouse tracking. The 8K was not set up to use Positional Lighthouse tracking so it was set up in Rotational Tracking only mode (there was just physically not enough space to set up all three headsets with the Lighthouses). Tracking was near perfect on all of them. At least as good as on my Vive, possibly better.
However, I did have issues of tracking with the Vive Wands, but I am 100% positive it was because so many people were watching me try play and kept walking in front of the lighthouses. My friend who was trying the 5K+ had no issues with controller tracking whatsoever when no one was in his play area so it must have been just that.
I have tried the Vive Pro before and a few WMR headsets. Theres no other way of putting this, both the 5K+ and 8K feel way clearer. The displays are absolutely amazing. The Wide FOV is really game changing and makes my Rift and Vive feel like total garbage. Screen Door Effect was incredibly easy to ignore on both headsets. Even when searching for it, its barely there, but seriously only noticeable if you are looking for it. The 5K+ is the most clear Headset I have ever used; you put it on and things look more sharp than you have ever seen. The 8K was also an awesome experience, I do believe the colors are better on the 8K but things look more sharp on the 5K+. I believe that your brain will adapt to the colors quite quickly on either headset so I don’t think colors are a big issue. One issue I noticed in the 5K+ that another backer pointed out to me was that there was a pretty big difference between the two displays in the 5K+. When I kept my head stationary and focused on something in the center of my vision, looked thru only one eye and then thru the other I did see a difference in color temperature and maybe a small difference in amounts of detail I was able to see. But truthfully I did not notice this unless I closed one eye and swapped to the other eye. When using the HMD for typical VR gaming this will be easy to notice. I mostly tested the Headsets using the Normal FOV (150 Horizontal), but I did also test with Large FOV (170 FOV). There is not really a big difference between the two and both seem to cover nearly all of my peripheral vision. Whatever you read online about distortions making these Headsets impossible to use, forget it because the Distortions are only right on the edges, they are there but they are Super Easy to Ignore. Literally after playing for 3 minutes, I forgot there were distortions at all and I was just enjoying my game. Nearly your entire Horizontal view is covered by display, it was very difficult for me to find black edges on my horizontal view but when really trying you can see them, but it is NOT EASY. My view upward it was totally impossible for me to see black all I saw was my vision and it was amazing. However, downward by the nose I was definitely able to see out into the real world. I think Pimax needs to add a nose flap of some sort that lets you cover that part of the world, as well as some padding around the nose bridge area for the issue mentioned in my comfort section. The 5K BE had great colors and because it is using OLED, but wasn’t very smooth (I will get back to this). Text was definitely more clear on the 5K+ than it was on the 8K, however at one point I cranked the rendering resolution up on the 8K and it made text as clear as the 5K+ was. Anyone will be very happy with either the 5K+ or the 8K as both are amazing headsets.
The 5K+ and the 8K were running on desktops (with one of the coolest PC cases I have ever seen), with RTX 2080 Tis.
The 5K BE was running on a MSI laptop with a GTX 1080 mobile card.
Throughout the day I did not see any issues with frame drops or any issues of that nature with the 5K+ or the 8K (given they were powered by the best graphics card available), I even ran a Radial-G on the 8K with 1.75 Render Quality in PiTool and Large FOV and had no frame rate drops. However the 5K BE was not the smoothest experience and I’m not sure if that was due to the inferior machine powering it or the headset itself. Robin told me the 5K BE was running at 83 Hz, so if that was true I guess the laptop wasn’t that great. I think the 5K BE was running at a lower refresh rate because a GTX 1080 should be able to give a more smooth experience that what I saw. But who am I to judge?
This was my first time trying hand tracking with VR and I have to say it was really awesome and added a whole other level of immersion to VR. The leap motion module was attached to the 5K BE and it was using a demo of a black box with silver-blueish edges and your hands. It was strictly to test the hand tracking, which worked flawlessly.
The only issue I have with the hand tracking is that I think it is kind of a gimmick and no real experiences take advantage of hand tracking.
All of the Headsets felt great and seemed well built. No issues with quality.
One thing to know is that these Headsets are ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE. Way larger than you would imagine by looking at picture or videos online.
Correctly setting your IPD in these headsets makes a tremendous difference in the quality of what you see. Incorrectly setting it will result in a blurry, warped image that no one wants. Make sure you measure your IPD and use the wheel to dial it in correctly.
A feature that is actually huge about this headset that no one seems to mention is the Volume Control buttons on the top right of the headset. They make adjusting volume so much easier and quicker to do and you can do it from within any game or application. They change the volume of Windows 10 and the volume pops up on the display telling you what its set to. They are really awesome!
I am switching both of my units to the 5K+. I’m not sure exactly how to explain it, but everything just seemed perfectly clear with the 5K+ on. Yes the 8K can get to the same quality of the 5K+ but you will need to push the rendering resolution in PiTool higher. If you are someone who likes to upgrade his GPU often and always has a top of line GPU, then the 8K may be a better option for you, but I have no interest in upgrading my GPU anytime soon. The good news is that I think both headsets will get better as GPU performance increases. This Headset can really be as good as ones for many years to come.
Talks with Robin and Xunshu
During my time at the meetup I had a chance to really meet and get to know both Robin and Xunshu.
Robin confirmed to me that they have some issues with housings not being as good quality as they would like and they will not use the low quality ones. I spoke with him about the delivery estimate and he said he still believes that most units will be shipped before Christmas, but I don’t really believe it and thats fine with me. I would rather them have better Quality Control in the factories so I end up with a better product. I also asked Robin about making something similar to the Vive Trackers / Pucks for full body tracker because HTCs are a total rip off and he mentioned they already are looking into it “with a different shape”. He said they have a different shape than HTC does; if this is true that means they really have looked into it and might even have a prototype already built. It may not be that far away and I said they should sell them in 2 or 3 packs so they can undercut HTC and he totally agreed with me.
Xunshu spoke with me for a while and we spoke about the controllers. She literally asked me, “what do you think we should do for the controllers? Do you have any good ideas?” On one hand its awesome they are taking opinions / advice from their backers, but on the other hand it means they may not be so far along in the controller game just yet. One strange thing was when I brought up the Knuckles EV3 controllers and spoke with both Robin and Xunshu (and the other guy), all three of them! When I explained the force grip in the Knuckles they were very intrigued by it and said it would be cool and they will look into it, they were totally genuine but it seemed as if none of them have seem the controllers before, this really shocked me that they haven’t really seen much about the Knuckles EV3 or its cool features that may be used in many VR games and experiences in the near future. Xunshu mentioned that they do not have a prototype of the current controller design yet, but they have the design made and have dummy units made, they still need to add all of the components and hardware inside them.
Xunshu was telling me about their partners too and she mentioned that they already have partners designing a Wireless Module for them and they have a few companies developing eye tracking modules and they need to weigh the cost, and how good each are. I mentioned if AdHawk was developing the eye tracking and she basically said no. She said she doesn’t think they are that great and she doesn’t believe they can do that much besides for being used for foveated rendering. It seems they want something that has more real world applications.
I think that about wraps everything up from yesterday. Everyone is more than welcome to ask me anything else if they have any questions.
Xunshu also posted a video of my impressions on the forum somewhere here if anyone is interested.