In 2016 a company called Pimax came along one day to claim that it has the first 4K PC VR HMD in the world. People got their hands on it, and some were disappointed ( Will talk about what happened this far below )
Now in CES 2017 they showed off their ” 8K ” Virtual Reality Headset, now why the “” ? That is because they don’t claim anything, at least from what has been seen so far.
So lets talk about that…
Alright so here is a quick story of what happened with the Pimax 4K.
It came along, people saw, people waited, people reviewed and then people purchased
The 4K part of the name is what threw people off the most. The marketing claimed to have a resolution of 3840 pixels × 2160 when it clearly was not. Some false and unclear marketing later, surprisingly people did not make a big deal of it as much since they did not have high expectations to begin with.
The headset does have a 4K display, and it does a great job at reducing the screen door effect drastically, its quite impressive!
So what was the issue?
But even though it has a 4K LCD Panel, it runs on HDMI 1.4b at 1080p 60hz Upscaled with an Interpolated refresh rate to 120hz.
Which means that small text still cannot be read easily, especially in apps like Virtual Desktop
The tracking was great, even though it was only rotational tracking
It was comfortable, very comfortable in fact, thanks to those built in pair of nice real high quality audio and build ear-cups that attach to the headset
The only other complaint that many wished for other than positional tracking was that the LCD Panel was VERY Dim and kinda dull in color. And what would be the biggest complaint that I or any other Pimax owner would have liked the most to be would have and to be improved.
It works great with SteamVR through their PiPlay software that gets constant updates which is really nice to see a company overseas always reading feedback and trying to improve. (Still does not cover the unclear marketing)
Fast forward to now after a handful of software & firmware updates, many problems that it had started out with were fixed. One main one from day one was not being able to switch between Direct Mode/Extend Mode properly. Thus not being able to run Steam VR at times. All of that was fixed very nicely.
The latest Firmware & Software updates have greatly improved the headset, in fact its a treat to see them responding and improving their headset.
This update has placed an option to run the headset at 1440p resolution! That along with the minimal screen door effect as well as the fantastic headphones it makes for a great movie watching headset, just lay back and relax. Again at this point the only problem would be brightness, if the display was only a tad brighter it would have been real nice.
More Info about it here:
GearBest Pimax 4K Store Page [ Click Here ]
Now that you are caught up on what the Pimax 4K was like and what happened this far in terms of support.
Lets talk about what we know so far about the Pimax 8K…
Now this is information that I have collected from multiple sources, photos, experience, and with direct contact with Pimax Reps
It is a headset that is labeled as “8K” which is pretty much its model number if you think about it. This time they did not Claim to have an 8K headset. This time they just presented the headset as it is. But they are more focused on FOV this time.
So after talking to reps and as you may have guessed, that it would pretty much be using the same 4K LCD Panel from the original Pimax 4K which has some visiable ghosting and & a very dim and dull display compared to the HTC Vive or any smartphone loaded headset. This is probably because the lack of Manufacturers making 4K 5.5″ displays. There is probably only one that is cost effective and its being sold cheap since almost no one wants to use it for handheld tech, is it because the brightness/color issue? Maybe. But could also be because of the ghosting that is present
The current prototype they showed off at the event was using a dual HDMI 1.4b system to run the headset, they said that they are in fact looking at other alternatives such as using display port for the final consumer version.
FOV ( Field of View ) is claimed to be 200° Degrees, which is massive compared to the HTC Vive/Oculus ( 110° )
Since its using the same display of 5.5″ you got 2 of those, one for each eye, and now you may be wondering just how big are the lenses?
The specs listed on Gearbest claim to be 53mm which are the same as the original Pimax 4K. I did some calculations comparing my Pimax 4K to the photo using the display size, I came to the conclusion that the lenses are about 65mm which massive but from the looks of it in this photo, it looks exactly like the ones on the Pimax 4K
They will also have built in headphones which not only help with comfort but will provide counter weights and balance things out
This time its got light houses clones & controllers, to support SteamVR room scale, now lets just hope that this will work and be supported, because I think we all are waiting to see what real 4K per eye & near 220° (Human Eye FOV) looks like. Even if its going to be a game made up of 3D Low Poly World.
That is all the current info that is currently out there right now, they will soon have a Kickstarter to update us with planned release date and improvements
So what do I think about it, honestly, it sounds great, like everything, but till I get my hands on it we cant say much just yet, lets just hope this time its real 8K and not some fake upscaled interpolated image. Although it was not available on launch, they did eventually update it to support 1440p which is great since it can still run at 60hz over HDMI, and that is the max the HDMI 1.4b can support otherwise it would be 4K 30hz and that’s no fun.
All I can say is they are doing a great job at listening & responding to feedback that is coming from the community and its users by updating and maintaining good support this far. Again that does not cover the fact that their marketing was unclear and deceptive in a way. The display issue, we cannot blame them for having a not so bright screen, since there does not seem to be a low persistence 4K 5.5″ display being manufactured by anyone just yet that is cost effective.
Hope you found this interesting 🙂
I will be updating this post as more info surfaces.