Tracking Trouble

Photo by Road to VR

At the moment, tracking on the Pimax “8K” is a mess. The tracking is powered by SteamVR Tracking, the same as the Vive—which we know is capable of very good tracking—but it seems Pimax has yet to master it. Latency is far above acceptable levels for a shipping headset, which is very noticeable as you rotate your head. Positional tracking is… there… but it’s choppy as you move through the world. It isn’t clear to me which part of the motion-to-photon pipeline is causing the bottleneck; what is clear is that the tracking quality and latency isn’t yet where it needs to be.

On this particular hands-on with the Pimax “8K” they weren’t demoing their VR controllers, but when I tried them with a prior prototype in November their tracking performance didn’t instill any more confidence than what I saw today.

A Question Mark on Ergonomics

Photo by Road to VR

Assuming they can hone in on and fix up the issues above, there’s still a big question about ergonomics and long-term comfort. For now the headset is using a soft strap similar to what shipped originally with the Vive. To get the headset in the prime viewing position, you really need to crank the side straps tight, using the headstrap and the headset like a vice for your face. The Pimax “8K” is lighter than it looks, but still, having almost 100% of the weight simply pushed against the front of your face is not a recipe for long term comfort, as HTC discovered and eventually remedied with the Vive’s Deluxe Audio Strap.

We’ve seen mockups of Pimax’s rigid head mount, but never seen it in action | Image courtesy Pimax

Pimax is planning to upgrade to a rigid headstrap with a ‘halo’ design that rests much of the display enclosure’s weight on the forehead, and grips around the back of the head with a ratcheting strap. That stands to be more comfortable than the face-vice approach, but we’ve yet to see the company demo the headset with the upgraded strap, so it remains an unknown. Ergonomics aren’t easy.

– – — – –

Above is a lot of detail about what ultimately boils down to this: the Pimax “8K” has potential, but it’s still up in the air whether or not the company can sufficiently tune up the headset to please consumers who are pitting the small startup against expectations set by the top companies and headsets in the industry. There doesn’t seem to be any unproven hurdles in their way, but it’s going to take careful execution to get there.

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  • Khu

    Weren’t the planning on shipping this thing now? Hope they don’t and fix these issues before they disappoint a lot of backers.

    • Edouard Lolisme

      That’s what they are planning to do.

    • dk

      well it will happen at some point :P

    • Andrew McEvoy

      I seem to remember an article on here a few days ago stating that the release was going to be delayed. Dont remember how long exactly but possibly Q2 2018.

    • Mei Ling

      It has been delayed.

  • JesperL

    Totally confirm my doubts and the reason why I didnt back the Pimax. I 100% hope they will fix the problems and release an awesome product. But I just think they overreached on good intentions and tech promises currently possible. Pimax seem more like a product for 2019 to be honest. If I was backer I would strap in for a long wait.

    • Walextheone

      Indeed. Not hitting 90 hz, artifacts in the outer FOV, dull colors / mura and most importantly tracking that has a lot of problem.
      All things could probably get fixed but as in all engineering the last 10-15% of quality is the hardest to reach

    • Kryojenix

      If I can buy a Vive Pro, that will give me something to do while I wait. =-D
      Albeit at the cost of a prematurely depleted savings balance.

      • Arv

        You’ll probably be better off waiting until 1st May to see what Oculus are bringing to the table with the CV2 next year. Facebook have their F8 developers event then. They were probably originally planning on announcing the CV2 at OC5 in October but now that HTC have shown their hand so early I can see them announcing the CV2 towards the end of their keynote.

        Everyone had been expecting both HTC and Oculus to announce their new headsets with greater specs, a 2K headset with a higher FOV, ready for sale next year but I can’t see Oculus going for an upgrade to only 1.5K with the same FOV.

        I’m VERY disappointed with HTC tbh, the Vive Pro isn’t a big enough leap to be considered a high-end second generation headset imo. It’s going to be mid-range once the Pimax and CV2 have released unfortunately, especially if Oculus have nailed foveated rendering for 4K displays (although I don’t personally think they’ll do that this early on, probably in time for the third generation I reckon. They’re more likely to go for 2K displays imo).

        We might also see the CV2 having the depth of field feature that Oculus demoed last year which will greatly improve presence.

        • Evgeni Zharsky

          You’re always better of waiting, that’s the case with electronics in general. By the time CV2 is released HTC will announce an upgraded Vive. You’re chasing your own tail. You either want VR or don’t. Pimax is still a pipe dream until its in the hands of consumers and can verify their HUGE promises.

          • Arv

            I can’t imagine HTC being daft enough to announce ANOTHER VR headset in 2019. And it’s not as if I’ve said wait until next year for the CV2 to be RELEASED. I’ve merely said that it’s best wait until May to see what Oculus are going to bring to the table for their second generation headset. If he buys a Vive Pro he MIGHT get stung by Oculus releasing a 4K headset able to run on today’s VR Ready PCs.

          • Duane Aakre

            Some of us were hoping for annual upgrade cycles. I’ll happily take a Vive Pro this year and a CV2 or Vive 2 next year. I’m 60 years old, who knows how many gaming years I have left. I’ll take every little improvement I can get in the near term.

          • Ha, ha it is surprising the number of us “old timers” are involved in VR, but I couldn’t agree more. Why not have annual iterations — every other tech manufacturer follows a similar pattern. Now that Microsoft has joined the fray, I expect more leaps and bounds, but also some snake oil sellers like Sixense and sadly IMO pimax. Both have suckered me in with bold claims. At least with piMax I at least I got a sub-par 4K headset, Sixense still has not fulfilled any of its Kickstarter pledges.

          • Duane Aakre

            I’m severely prone to motion sickness and can’t play regular console or PC games. But VR games where you are standing in place or where you move by teleportation don’t bother me. So I’m suddenly trying to make up for the last 40 years of no gaming.

            My favorite thing, by far, has been paintball at Rec Room. It has taken months to reach the point where I feel competent. At this point my only disadvantage is that in sudden encounters, kids with fast reflexes can still beat me.

          • Genius

            wow, that is old.

        • Kryojenix

          I don’t have a lot of faith in Oculus.
          I’ve already got a Vive, so if HTC brings their headset upgrade program in reasonably soon at a semi-reasonable price, then it’d likely be worth me getting now rather than waiting for Oculus to announce in May, then release next year(?!).
          Of course, I’m hoping Pimax can announce and deliver something good in 1H. If they can, then I’ll pass on Vive Pro.

          • Suitch

            Curious why you don’t have faith in Oculus? Facebook has given them free domain so surely that isn’t the influence. They have provided funding for tons of AAA VR titles, and they currently own the lions-share of the VR hardware market.

          • JustNiz

            > Facebook has given them free domain
            After Oculus lost $250 million to Zenimax in court, I would bet Zenimax got paid out more in Oculus stock than actual cash. Chances are Zenimax acutally own a controlling interest in Oculus now, not Facebook.

            > they currently own the lions-share of the VR hardware market.
            No they really don’t. Assuming you mean just tethered headsets, according to all the figures I can find that would be PSVR by a long way, Vive is next, and Rift close but last.

          • B mill

            @justniz:disqus LOL Facebook bought Oculus for 4 Billion. With a B. Zenimax was awarded $500,000,000. That wouldn’t be close to a controlling amount of stock for facebook. Zenimax wants an injunction so Facebook can’t sell rift anymore or says they should get 20% of all their sales for the next 10 years. Facebook is appealing this. Facebook has Google money. Oculus was a $4 Billion dollar toy for them.

    • Yosarin Blake

      Based on this article, I am total sucker (as a backer of the Pimax). But I just cant understand all the rave reviews from people I trust like SweViver and Mixed Reality TV on youtube (including testimonials from others who have tried the headset). Oh well time will tell if I wasted my $700 Aussie dollars. Fingers crossed! (Thank you for your hope and good wishes JesperL!)

      • Justin Davis

        SweViver tends to be positive about everything.

        • Yosarin Blake

          He certainly is positive. But I have heard him say critical things too, e.g. about the problems with X-plane 11 for VR in his intro video about that.

      • Suitch

        Remember that SweViver didn’t have to pay for his.

        • Yosarin Blake

          From the video his is backer no 2 for the 8k campaign. So he still had to pay? In fact he said he had to go and try it out “to convince myself I had made the right decision to buy one.” Not exactly good scientific method here! LOL! That is why it was so good when he had the other people also giving positive reviews in the video and also that Sebastian from Mixed Reality TV, how had NOT yet decided to be a backer, also gave rave review after trying it.

      • JustNiz

        >> But I just cant understand all the rave reviews
        Yes that boggles my mind too. Can it be that *everyone* besides roadtoVR that have reviewed the 8K really be just that clueless or dishonest?

        • Yosarin Blake

          I’m beginning to realise it may be a third possibility: Earlier reviews were accurate, roadtoVR is also accurate now – why? because V5 of the pimax has actually evolved some new kinks compared to the V2!

      • Dan DeMontmorency

        Keep in mind the v3 was better so its likely the v5 was too many changes being implemented without enough time to test. I am curious why the v5 has reported tracking issues as the v2 & v3 were reported as good. From what i have read they are still using v1 lighthouse as v2 lighthouses are not compatible with Vive wands (Tracking v1). Now yes it can be tricky to setup a v1 lighthouse vs the new v2 lighthouse.

        • Yosarin Blake

          Thanks for your input Dan. I’m beginning to settle down as I now understand that a latter prototype can actually be worse! That explains everything! Oh well hope they go back to V2 then! LOL :)

      • daveinpublic

        Doesn’t mean the headset is bad, it has pros and cons. Now that people are off the high of getting the ability to use 4K in VR, they’re starting to look at the whole package. It’s still going to be better resolution and FOV than the high end headsets of today and probably tomorrow. RoadToVR talks a little about comfort issues, but I’m sure it’s nothing too bad, or we would have heard more about that by now.

      • B mill

        I have a hard time trusting anything other than consumer reviews Because of CES and Makerbot. CES gave Makerbot best of awards for their Generation 5 3d printers. It was later discovered that the printers were never seen working, And all the pieces on display at the show were actually printed on their Generation 4 Replicator 2 and 2x printers. The Gen 5 printers came out and were plagued with extruder clogging problems. How did CES give them a best of award? Either they took a bribe and just gave it to them, they couldn’t be bothered to even see the technology work so they must have taken Makerbots word for it, or they had mistakenly given the wrong vendor the award. I absolutely believe they were paid. Maybe SweViver and Mixed Reality TV are influenced by payment like I believe CES was…

        • Yosarin Blake

          Thank you for your detailed reply! I do believe that SweViver does not get paid. He has made a very heartfelt Youtube video on this topic which leaves no doubt in my mind.

  • ivan

    What headset have better image quality – Vive Pro or Pimax 8K?

    • nargorn

      +1 That would be very interesting!

    • It seems, same Pixels per degree horizontal at ingoing reolution.
      Pimax 8K with 12,8, and Vive Pro with 13.
      But the 8K has a display rsolution of 3840×2160 (or not).
      And these are 19 pixels per horizontal degree.

    • theonlyrealconan

      Pimax 8k is 1440 upscaled. There is a lot of false advertising going on and they are not done building it yet. But as of right now, vive pro seems to win that part.

      • Sion12

        can you explain how is it 1440 upscaled if “Pimax’s 3,840 × 2,160 per-display resolution” so 4K display each eye? i am confused

        • Caven

          It’s the same as setting a 1080p monitor to 720p. The hardware is capable of one resolution, but the actual video feed is set to a lower resolution. The difference with the Pimax 8k is it’s incapable of playing video that maches the screen resolution. It’s just using a higher resolution screen as a way to keep subpixels smaller than they would be on a true 1440p screen.

          • Sion12

            so why dont or cant it run 4K if it got 4K display? ? limitation of HDMI2 which is 4K60fps?? if so imagine it will run 4K in non gaming(90hz) use?

          • Caven

            There are limitations on the video port. Per Pimax, the 8X model (the one that will run two 4K screens at native resolution) requires two DisplayPorts and requires at least an Nvidia 1080Ti. It appears that a single DisplayPort is not enough to run the 8K model at native resolution.

          • Sion12

            ?i am bit confused due to your working. are you saying it need two displayport but 8K only got one display port?

          • Caven

            Pimax is making two different “8K” headsets. The one that upscales a 1440p signal to fit a 4K screen is the Pimax 8K. That one uses a single DisplayPort connector to connect to the computer.

            The Pimax headset that displays a 4K signal natively on a 4K screen is the Pimax 8X. That one uses two DisplayPort connectors to connect to the computer.

            The fact that the Pimax 8X had to add a second DisplayPort connector tells me that there’s no way a single DisplayPort connector would have been enough to run a 4K display at the needed refresh rate–at least not with the current DisplayPort specification.

          • This is absolutely correct from engineering POV. There are reasons we don’t see more for less unless you have tons of research and custom chip money (like the other vapor product Magic Leap, that also is turning on to be less than more). Pimax did this once before with the 4K unit they still sell with same bold claims. Yet it won’t even do 4K at 30Hz, unless you use it with their piece of crap software, because like this unit, they chose to use the cheapest off-the-shelf components and file off the product numbers so you couldn’t tell that there was not way the could actually use it at 4K in VR setting.

          • James Cobalt

            What Caven said. There’s not enough bandwidth in the ports, chips, and most graphics cards to drive the full resolution of the panels.

            From a rendering perspective, even two 1080Ti cards will have a hard time hitting a consistent 90fps in stereoscopic 4k. The technology isn’t here yet to drive VR at that resolution so the 8X isn’t going to be released anytime soon.

          • D Jnsen

            Volta/Amphere (Nvidia) might be released this year, although it remains to be seen if they release the full power of that generation just yet because AMD is not offering allot of high end competition this year ( and the last as well). Volta (Titan V) has technically been released, but as of now is more for optimized for workload than gaming, not the mention the price card of 3000 dollar.

        • Just like 4K TV’s can accept Standard Definition inputs or 1080p, they then internally upscale that lower resolution feed to the native 4k resolution of the display. The Pimax 8K (Not 8K-X) HMD has a hardware upscaler that only accepts 1440p input from your GPU which it then scales up to fit the 4K panels.

          However, the 8K-X headset does not have an upscaler built into it and allows native input for the full panel resolution. Just there is no GPU on the market yet that can drive dual 4k displays at 90fps so that version of the HMD will either wait for GPU’s to get more powerful or rely on some tricks like Foveated rendering technology (which is still in R&D stages).

          • Sion12

            Make sense, hope they include HDMI 2.1 for 4K90fps too

          • It uses Displayport v1.4. Even the GTX 1080 Ti does not have HDMI 2.1, it has HDMI 2.0b.

    • sebrk

      Vive Pro hands down.

      • Yep, buying two with the new light towers for Architectural/Engineering/Design visualization in 30 to 40 sq. ft. cave here in Portland, Oregon. Decided to hold off investing close to $75,000 for another tracking system. Glad I did. Until then, will continue to work on my VR workflow and tool set, which are making great strides as well since the tools are also advancing.

    • Pimax uses new panels that nobody else has (I think). So I would take a gamble and say that the Vive Pro will have a more refined image quality across the panel. Image quality comes from many aspects such as colour uniformity, gamut, sharpness, brightness, contrast, lenses, distortion, sde, etc. Based on all of that, I assume HTC will be ahead of the curve using “safe” but proven tech.

      I also think the lenses are probably one of the biggest factors on image quality just like with SLR cameras, you can buy a high end 5 megapixel lens that produces stunning photographs vs a 20 megapixel lower quality lens that produces naff images. A high quality lens is not easy to make or get right and Pimax have a custom design for that wide FOV.

      • James Cobalt

        Pimax is using a custom software solution with overclocked LCD panels. The marketing abbreviation they came up with makes it sound like they are some sort of new technology but, from what I understand from the technical discussions in their forum, the panels (and chips to help drive them) are off-the-shelf components.

        • This is my assumption as well, as it turned out to be in their 4K model. Pimax, which left a nasty taste in my mouth that was hard to wash out. The incredible thing it they never solved any of the software or hardware issues with the 4K unit, yet here they are making even bolder claims by taking two newer LCD panels turning them on their side and copying the StarVR’s physical look. At least StarVR has put a lot effort into making their 5K headset look good, backed by some pretty phenomenal demos. There is a reason it is so expensive.

  • sebrk

    Maybe they will fix things but thus only confirms what I feared. Backing a company that so clearly is dong false advertising is a huge red flag. Even for early adopters. Now with the Vivie Pro which has much better technology the pixel count is pretty pointless.

    • Dan DeMontmorency

      Which headset? StarVR (1st to add to claim 5k with 2 qhd screens) or Cineliro which followed them? Or how about HeroVR which claims they created the first 5k vr? Surprise all 3 are using 2xQHD screens calling it 5k.

      • sebrk

        So 2 4k displays is now 8k? Did you read the article? You would need to DOUBLE that to come close to 8k.

        It has worse ppi than the vive pro but claims screen door effect will be gone. Sure.

        You can continue to convince yourself that your investment is great. This is pump n dump crapware.

  • disviq

    Very good and honest article. Pointing out the “8K” for clarity, and all defficiencies that are not banal or obvious to fix. All best luck to Pimax, I’ll wait for progress updates.

  • impurekind

    Man, I really hope they can iron out those kinks.

  • Arv

    To be fair to Pimax both the Rift and Vive had issues when they first released so I’m not surprised the Pimax (over 9000)K is having a few problems this close to launch.

    For me the Pimax is a bit of a risk and the Vive Pro isn’t a second generation headset so I’m going to wait and see what Facebook announce at F8 in May.

    I suspect that they weren’t expecting HTC to announce something this early and were even less expecting them to have a new headset available this quarter. I think that Facebook were planning F8 to centre around the Go and Santa Cruz only but I can see them announcing the CV2 at the end of their keynote now.

    Unless Oculus have nailed foveated rendering we’ll see the Rift CV2 being 2K with a small increase in FOV, maybe 120-130°.

    I just can’t believe that HTC have been this short sighted with the Vive Pro tbh. They may shift a few units this year but when the CV2 launches next year the CV2 will (assuming that it’s a 2K headset with 120-130° FOV) be the headset with superior resolution and a superior FOV, second only to the Pimax.

    And if they DO sort out foveated rendering they’ll end up with a 4K headset that should be able to run on a current recommended spec PC for the CV1 as the minimum spec machine.

    • simon cox

      That’s a lot of ifs with Oculus but I like your enthusiasm. I just hope someone nails it. I don’t really care who.

      • Arv

        I think Oculus will be the first to do so because they’re a couple of years ahead and probably around half a billion dollars or so ahead of everyone else when it comes to R&D.

        Everyone in the industry was expecting HTC to go with 2K displays and a higher FOV for their second generation headset but we were wrong about that so I could be wrong about the CV2 too…but I wouldn’t bet against it myself. The second generation might be too early for foveated rendering, even for Oculus, but I’m certain that someone will have it sorted out for the third generation in four years time.

        We might also see the depth of field feature that Oculus demoed last year appearing in the CV2 as well.

        So we could see improved presence on three fronts for the CV2 – higher resolution, larger FOV and lifelike depth of field.

        • What’s the official response on a CV2 release? As far as I know they have refocused their R&D on lower end VR this year to make it more mass adopted. Which is also evident in their Rift pricing.

          • Arv

            No official response yet, but I can’t see them releasing the CV2 as late as 2020 though. The CV1 price will drop further to 299 this year and next year I can see them continuing to make them after they release the CV2 in Q1/Q2.

            The only thing they’ve said is that it’s going to be a wired headset so we know that the Santa Cruz and the CV2 are two different headsets, and the CV2 being wired would also indicate that they’re not going to nerf the resolution and FOV to accommodate a wireless add-on the way HTC have done with the Vive Pro.

            HTC going for 1.5K displays and no increase in FOV is a crazy short-term decision from them that they’re going to regret I think. They’re basically competing with the mid-range Samsung WVR headset and not thinking about the high-end headset from Oculus next year. It’s a VERY short sighted business decision.

          • Justos

            I agree, unless HTC has another refresh planned for 2019 then oculus cv2 will eat their lunch. They dont have the motion controller launch to boost them to #1 again. They will crumble under the pressure.

          • Arv

            Even if they release another headset next year with a decent boost in resolution and FOV, who would buy it? That would mean that, for some strange reason known only to themselves, they’ve decided to release headsets with just a 1 year lifespan.

            Now they’re releasing the Vive Pro this year it would indicate to me that they’re going for a 2 year lifespan for their headsets going forward.

          • Doctor Bambi

            Oculus haven’t said anything about refocusing their R&D. Their messaging however has been focused on Standalone. I think they want to give Go and Santa Cruz their day in sun before talking about CV2.

          • Arv

            They won’t need to refocus their R&D they will be continually working on both standalone and high-end PC VR.

          • JustNiz

            So many assumptions based on what? After losing $250 million + costs in the Zenimax lawsuit there’s a real chance that Oculus as a business unit actually have no money to do any R&D at all, let alone release a new Rift.

          • Arv

            Well for starters the defendants haven’t paid a penny of that money yet. They’re appealing the decision and this could and probably will go on for YEARS.

            Secondly half a billion dollars is nothing to Zuckerberg and Facebook, he probably has that sort of cash lying down the back of his sofa lol

            If Oculus hadn’t been bought by Zuckerberg then you might have a point but Facebook have been paying for AAA quality software development (at least $500m so far that we know of) and R&D since Zuckerberg spent around $3bn buying the company.

            Facebook have a ridiculous amount of money coming in every year and won’t worry about spending money on R&D for three devices.

          • Arv

            The only thing they’ve mentioned is that the next Rift is going to be wired. With a company as large and as rich as Facebook they don’t have to focus their R&D in any single direction, they’ll have substantial R&D on all three avenues at the same time. You’re better off doing things this way, even though it’s considerably more expensive to do, because individual breakthroughs that one of the teams makes can often carry across to one of the other or both of the other team’s projects.

          • Mei Ling

            “As far as I know they have refocused their R&D on lower end VR”

            No they haven’t. Where did you get this from?

    • theonlyrealconan

      This is pimax’s second unit. You would think they would have it down a little better.

      • Konchu

        This is a big jump they 1st had no real tracking options native so it was just a headset with a nice screen. following the build model of the DK1 aka 1 screen 2 lenses and a enclosure. This involves custom lenses and lighthouse integration, there own up scaling solution and much much more unique tech.

        • And every part of that tech has an issue so there is no product yet. This is the v5 prototype that was supposed to be almost ready to ship to backers. They need another 12 to 18 months imo. The DK2 was more complete than this. Even tracking has an issue and that’s a third party SDK.

          • JustNiz

            Yep sadly I agree with you, and I say that as an 8K kickstarter backer.

          • Mei Ling

            They need more investment since they are working on very limited resources in comparison to the bigger players in this sector.

    • JustNiz

      Have you any actual evidence that Oculus are even working on a new Rift at all?

  • simon cox

    Glad I didn’t back this…but I hope they fix all the issues so I can purchase later.

    • Evgeni Zharsky

      Yeah it was funny reading backers were so confident this was gonna be the holy grail of VR. It may or may not end up to be but no one really knows until first consumer sets ship. Anyone can promise anything. Whether they deliver is entirely different.

      • mellott124

        Most of this was expected. If it was all that easy then other companies would be there too. This design has also been around for a while. Pimax just has more resolution then past systems. StarVR is a promising one and Sensics had the d-sight years ago.

      • sebrk

        Doesn’t “8K” raise like a million red Chinese flags right away?

        • Kev

          8k wide, 4k tall. There was a big fight on Facebook over this and I think the conclusion was you can indeed call it 8k. Nevertheless it is higher resolution by far than anything else – it comes down to if they can really get the kinks out or not.

          • Dan DeMontmorency

            Exactly 8k VR not 8k Resolution. Now truthfully we should be looking more at per eye res of which makes this 4K/eye. These are special purpose monitors; per eye is what you see. 7680*2160 is potenial gpu muscle needed. We shouldn’t be using the convention of extended multi monitor setup to describe resolution as its more like cloned displays as both screens show the same picture just at a slightly different perspective L/R.

            So Vive/Oculus/Psvr are really 1k/eye.

          • Kev

            I think to be more precise this isn’t really like cloned displays because only the 3d overlap are different perspectives of the same image. The rest are effectively new pixels per frame. Would be neat to come up with a true measure of quality that can be commonly used to describe an HMD that gets the basic idea across. Maybe some combination of the PPD measurement along with some value of the total screen real estate.

          • Dan DeMontmorency

            Agreed neither is entirely an accurate description; though i do think cloned is more accurate then the Extended display deal that has been being used.

            PPD is more on track, though as PSVR demonstrated we need to move to Sub Pixel Per Degree as tge number if sub pixel plays a role in sde which is why PSVR using RGB Oled Opposed to tge Pentile variety.

          • JustNiz

            I disagree with your statement about any conclusion being reached that it was technically right to call it 8k.

          • Me too. We don’t measure other VR systems by the total horizontal pixel total, we measure it for each eye. Or at least I do. So in my mind it is only 3840 x 2160 per eye, and you can’t even reach that unless you have drop down to 70(80?)Hz. Give me the new Samsung Odyssy or HTC/Vive Pro when it comes out. Both are made by seasoned VR hardware developers. Plus Unreal Engine is releasing a new method of pixel density UE 4.19. I already see a difference in my pre-beta “Chatting with Vincent.” free to download (https://youtu.be/ZFfWQqG2R78) coming late February or March to the Steam store with additional interactive features and who knows you might learn something from Vince :)

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4183b376eee5663659cb6784f229a5e321dea417c35661cbaa7bed6814d9fc91.gif

          • NooYawker

            So if I have to 4k TV’s in my living room I can say I have a 8K tv? Of course not, that’s ridiculous.

          • CerN

            No, you can’t. It has 2x 1440p panels that are being upscaled to 4k.

            Even if it were 2x 4K, it still wouldn’t be 8K, it would be 6K.

          • Kev

            CerN, it is literally 8k wide. This has been debated ad nauseum and the general consensus was it’s 8k wide as shown in the standards body. Literally hundreds of posts on the Pimax facebook page on this with lots of research. I think their solution is quite elegant – get rid of the SDE via high res panels with a scaler and increase the FOV. Pixel count that is actually driven is not outrageously higher than other HMD’s. It’s just about the best we can expect at the moment.

        • NooYawker

          To a normal person yes.

      • JustNiz

        I don’t think anyone sane/intelligent was thinking this would be the holy grail, just that it would be significantly better than Vive/Rift, which it apparently is, even with this news.

        • NooYawker

          No it isn’t better than Vive/Rift. A working product is always better than a buggy unfinished product. IF this is ever released and working and you’ve tried it yourself, you can make a statement like that. Until then this is just another buggy kickstarter campaign that over promised and missed it’s delivery date.

          • Da Mo (JFlash)

            and the VIVE wasn’t an unfinished buggy product at release?

    • Dan Brown

      It appears to me many of the issues with the display could be solved by lowering the FOV without hurting it too much.
      That would also help bump the refresh rate to 90hz and perhaps lower the tracking latency?
      I would much rather have a sharper image with no distortion with a FOV of 180 degrees than have all those things and a FOV of 200 degrees.
      That would still be a massive improvement on the FOV of current gen HMD’s and get rid of the “snorkel effect.”

      • Pablo C

        Snorkel effect is a very accurate term, it totally looks like when using a snorkeling mask. In fact, since I used to snorkel often, I´m not that bothered with the low FOV of current headsets.

        • victor

          Maybe we should all take up snorkeling then so we can be more phappy with todays crappy 110 fov

          • AndyP

            or only play Subnautica

        • Me too. I am amused on the number of things we do that require masks, glasses or headgear, yet we put up with it. Maybe I am old guy now, but I am just happy to reach a stage in tech where we can actually feel like we are in another world/land/space even if it is like scuba diving — on that note be happy you don’t have a regulator stuck in your mouth. :)

          • Flamerate1

            Those are some pretty inspirational words and I agree.

          • CerN

            I’m not really used to anything requiring masks, but the FOV is not what bothers me either. However, resolution on current headsets is HORRIBLE, and I am afraid that this one is not going far enough to fix it.

      • Guygasm

        Reducing the FOV to 180° will not help the refresh rate or distortion to improve. All of the causes will still be there to the same degree.

      • It has more to do that they took ordinary 4K mobile panels and turned them on their sides. If they had truly customized the panel (like they said) the overall design would smaller, lighter and most important require less optical solutions. I am also leery about their claim of reaching 90Hz with these panels. In my own design work and talking with panel manufacturers, there are physical limits to switching times based upon the panel size. Hence the reason why every other 90Hz headset uses much smaller panels. Even the LCD panels in the lower end Microsoft Mixed Reality headsets use small panels.

  • Well that’s a shame. My expectations for v5 were a lot higher than this to be honest. They have progressed but sounds rushed and as a result has regressed. Vive Pro it is. Hopefully Pimax will only ship when they solve all the mentioned issues and not ship a prototype “for more feedback”.

    Maybe they should offer Developer Kits like Oculus did if they need feedback but it still needs to be better than v5. Tracking being an obvious one. I thought tracking was the easier part as they are using a tried and tested SDK.

    Surly they have raised enough money to hire specialist engineers from HTC and other high end fields to iron out some flaws they have been struggling with. Yes it costs a bomb and you need disclosures agreements in place but it sounds necessary.

    The original 4K backers will be out in force after this review no doubt.

    • JustNiz

      >> My expectations for v5 were a lot higher than this to be honest.

      Totally. Mine too. MUCH higher.

  • theonlyrealconan

    Glad i canceled my kickstarter for this. It became obvious that the rez was 1440 upscaled to 4k (per eye) when talking to the devs on the forums. (I tried to warn people, multiple times here). And then it came out they were not hitting 90 frames per second and that they did not have a finished product. I am waiting for real reviews before i decide to back them. Since no one else is trying to increase the FOV, I hope they can pull it off.

    • Evgeni Zharsky

      If it sounds too good to be true…

      • Yosarin Blake

        Noooooo!! I refuse to accept reality! I only accept virtual reality! LOL :)

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Uhm the kickstarter headset wasn’t a finished product, just like the dk2 wasn’t.

      • NooYawker

        Well then we’ll have to wait for someone to buy Pimax like someone bought dk2. Because the rift would never have made it to market if a heavy hitter like John Carmack didn’t get involved then bought by Facebook.

    • Kryojenix

      “they did not have a finished product” – it’s a kickstarter! How on Earth could you expect them to have a finished product?!
      I’m also leaning towards Vive Pro, hopefully just as an interim upgrade while Pimax finishes their product.

      • theonlyrealconan

        Not being clear about upscaling is a very big warning sign. Advertising 4k per eye is not ok (even ignoring their 8k name, which is not 4k times two). So it is not 8k. It is not 4k. That has nothing to do with it not being a finished product, since they made it clear the released product will still be 1440 per eye.

        • Kryojenix

          What are you talking about?! It was clearly written on the kickstarter page about the upscaling!! And it *does* use a 4K (or UHD) panel per eye!
          The point about upscaling 1440×2560 per eye is that the resolution is way better than anything before, but will still run on current day GPUs – but the pixels are small enough to make screen door effect near enough to unnoticeable (which the Pimax 5K with native dual 1440i doesn’t manage).

          Hey, I’m glad you were able to find the information to cross match your expectations with reality and cancel your kickstarter pledge in time. I just think the info they provided was quite clear.

          I can’t wait to get my hand on (or head into) their 8K and later into a non-upscaled 8K X. If they get too delayed, then thank Vive for the Pro…

  • Ldj

    I’m surprised at this working withLCDs (as all the MR headsets from october/november BTW). I thought for good VR we needed “black frames” in between each refreshed frame to have low persistence (hence commercial VR headsets being OLED)?

    • Dream Chaser

      It is a special LCD with strobing backlight.

  • Evgeni Zharsky

    Sounds like Pimax tried to beat any updated Oculus/Vive HMD’s to the market and will regret it. They should have not rushed the product. Also good luck trying to return it if it turns out to be janky.

    • JustNiz

      They haven’t rushed the 8K to market. They aren’t even available yet.

      • The point is there is a reason there are no 8K headsets, just like there are no 4K headsets other than the sub-par Pimax 4K VR that can’t even do 4K 30Hz, thanks to its use of an older (and cheaper) HDMI-MIPI IC. They even etched out the part number so you couldn’t tell which one was being used (I know because I study them for my own designs). So yea, in my opinion they are doing the same thing here, which is to use today’s hardware components to solve tomorrow’s problems. Yet due to this, there is no way, like the 4K unit before it, that they will ever reach their stated goals.

        • JustNiz

          > use today’s hardware components to solve tomorrow’s problems.
          …just like every other innovative company does. Unless they have a time machine, tomorrows components are as unavailable to them as everyone else.

          > there is no way they will ever reach their stated goals.
          Their stated goals were to make an 8K headset. Even their prototypes have technically already met their goals. The work that’s left comes down to improving the quality of existing features. There’s no rocket science left to be solved here.

          • No that isn’t true. Do you actually do any hardware design? I have worked a number of companies that have created custom PLA to perform functions that don’t exist and then have the logic created into a chip. And frankly to say to say there is no rocket science to be solved here is a little naive. There is still new chemical processes to improve display performance, interface chips to handle the higher bandwidth without requiring essentially two screens independently tethered together and better techniques improving DOF.

            Finally when the majority of the VR industry uses pixels per eye or angular PPI, 8K is very much misleading, leading some people to speculate on some type of magic to make this visible to each eye. Specifications and standards are important and we are now are far enough along that we can pretty much do this. In fact, if you read their specifications, the do show the resolution per eye. In my opinion if their only goal was to create a headset that claim has a horizontal resolution of 8K (7680 but who’s counting) than yes you are right, even though the whole experience maybe mediocre just like their 4K model at the end of 2016.

          • JustNiz

            > Do you actually do any hardware design?
            Yes I actually do, I work as an R&D engineer.

            > There is still new chemical processes to improve display performance.
            Totally Irrelevant. Pimax aren’t even close to what it takes to develop new screen tech themselves. They probably won’t even risk switching to different existing screens at this point in time.

            > 8K is very much misleading
            I do agree, but again its irrelevant. I and many others originally assumed *K actually meant native 7680 x 4320, but Pimax clearly stated that it was actually 1440p per eye upscaled to 7680 x 2140 well before the kickstarter closed, giving plenty of time for backers to choose to back out if they wanted. I made a choice to stay in, not least because rendering 7680×4320 @ 90hz would have also required maybe $4000 worth of GPUs, so I felt the current approach was the best way to bring 8K to me.

            The only thing about all this that really pissed me off is the introduction of a significant extra delay before delivery now. All probably caused only by the sudden infatuation to actually hit 90hz. I for one would have easily chosen getting an 80hz headset this month over waiting 5+ months for a 90hz headset.

          • I am not meaning this to become a war of words. Since you understand the engineering side of this, I was merely stating that the “rocket science” in this is not done. Also, it does not matter what you say in the fine print, there goal was to be known as the first 8K VR headset, never mind as you have stated this is only in the number of physical pixels, which in itself could be an advantage but as Ben said in hands-on, a number of factor mire this advantage.
            Also, doesn’t it make you wonder why you have to wait 5+ months? I think (but have not validated) that is due to component delay like probably another LCD panel or HDMI/SDI-to-MIPI chip to bring it to this spec. But frankly, from everything I know about display panels of this size I don’t know if they are even getting past 70Hz. Hard to tell unless you know exactly who makes the panel or have the equipment to measure the light off the panel. Which, I am assuming no one has had one long enough to run these test on. One other solution, which is used by Sony, is to put two 1920X2160 3″ panels like those used in the Microsoft headset on the same substrate allowing you to get past the size limitation yet still provide same number of MIPI channels (8). If this is the reason, than this would truly be innovative & keep the cost down.

          • JustNiz

            Just from all the +/= a few hz tweakery that Pimax appear to keep doing, my educated guess it that they originally thought that they could simply use some available but lower spec standard component then just overclock it hard to get the bandwidth that they actually needed. But now they’ve found that it just won’t perform stably or at all much beyond its on-paper spec, no matter how much they mess with stuff like overclocking/overvolting/cooling. That means they’re stuck with the promise to deliver so now they’re finally accepting that they have to bite into their profit margin and actually engineer it right.

          • Can’t agree more JustNiz and found this out too in 2016 with Toshiba’s chip. I firmly believe it is in the LCD panels though and agree they pushed the specs and electrically they may work, but if they actually measured illumination rise & fall times they were getting nowhere close to 90Hz, let alone 80Hz. As mentioned, it would be interesting to take calibrated light sensor to it to see what it actually refreshes at. It might be worse than that. It also makes me wonder if they just thought they could just say it is running a xx , but now that users(or those with a ton experience like Ben) know what a 90Hz refresh feels like, they couldn’t get past that. In the end, it will not only be the off-the-shelf components, but the fact the tried to make superior performance claims with low lying fruit/components pushed to their limits. This won’t end well. But like I said, this is not the first time the made superior performance claims and fell short. I actually have their 4K hardware that I have taken apart that shows they used similar techniques to make bold claims.

            On that note, I don’t believe the StarVR runs at 90Hz either, one of the reason they are pairing up with IMAX and other filmed based venues. It should also be remembered this unit cost I think around $3500 (even with Acer’s help), which is another reason you don’t see it advertised. So what makes it more? I think the 2560×1440 panels are AMOLED and they had a custom designed Fresnel lens made for it, which I read an article that early prototypes used Luxexcel 3D printed lens tech. But to me that isn’t enough, which is why I guess everyone is going crazy for the Pimax 8K,

          • Genius

            probably require a Titan X or something ridiculous to achieve anything in this market. Facebook holds all the answers, they have Billions to pump into R&D, and they will and all other comers in this space will have to acquiesce to this conglomeration.

          • JustNiz

            > Facebook holds all the answers,
            I doubt that Facebook actually even owns a controlling interest in Oculus anymore. After Zenimax won the $500 million court case against Oculus you can bet Zuckerberg paid them with all the Oculus stock he could get his hands on before giving them any actual cash. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t just want out of VR by now. JudEven Karmack apparently doesn’t have anything to do with Oculus anymore except in name, he seems to be spending all his time on Armadillo Aerospace now.

  • Amazing honest review, loved it. It’s very sad to see that they’re really behind where we all hoped they would have been at this point

    • Lucidfeuer

      Yes, I know everything I needed to know, it’s great review. Although the FOV could have been more in-depth since that’s the real incentive of this headset.

  • JustNiz

    Thankyou for the first “real” CES news. So why did all the earlier reviews around the net of previous Pimax 8k prototypes mention practically none of these issues? Damn those reviewers. It was exactly on the back of those reviews only, that many of us backed this thing.

    • David Herrington

      The reviews could be dissimilar because each of these previous reviews were done on different versions of the Pimax. I think there are 5 demo versions/iterations in total as of today. While one of them may have provided a smoother experience in one area, it may have been lacking in other areas. Those invested in Pimax may be remembering the best parts of each of these versions and forgetting about each of their shortfalls.

      • JustNiz

        Yes but are you really trying to suggest that the earlier prototypes genuinely didn’t have any of those issues and the latest prototype has suddenly introduced them? That sounds HIGHLY unlikely, compared to the reviewers just sloppily ignoring or actively covering this stuff up for whatever reason.

        • M.W.

          They’re still adding add changing things.
          A rep on the forum said they tried to increase the FOV with this prototype (previous versions weren’t using the whole screens). Something like that can throw off a whole lot of other calibrations, lenses, software distortion etc. could easily become mismatched.
          This is what they’re testing for.
          The tracking issue is the real odd one, but I guess there’s a lot of interference at CES?

        • David Herrington

          I said that each version may have its own faults (stuttering or blurry peripherals) but I think for each version they tried something new and fixed one problem while creating a new one like version 2 may have had less blurry peripheral vision but now couldn’t reach 90 FPS. Do I think that every version was exactly like the one they showed at CES 2018? No, I think they were different, and each had different problems.

          What would be the point of a different version if it worked exactly the same and had all the same problems as the last version??

    • Konchu

      I really think Linus was the 1st with any negatives. And it felt a little slimy to me cause it was worded like the kickstarted was still on going but released afterwards. So I imagine the video was held as a agreement with pimax and they asked him to hold off due to his opinions. I just hope all the other VR personalities that spoke highly are not utter Shills. And I do understand they didnt have a lot of time. As of now I still hold some hope.

    • James Cobalt

      A number of the early reviews and demo participants DID mention the display and lens issues (distortion, artifacts, low brightness, latency, low framerate/refresh). The tracking issue is new. The more negative criticisms got buried under the thundering chest pounding (and link promoting) of the hyped up fan boys, but they’re there – in Tested and Linus Tech Tips, from conference attendees on Reddit, YouTube, et al. Go to the Pimax forum and find a deluge a comments about how this reviewer is biased and out to get Pimax.

      I still don’t think these are a huge concern. Pimax is under no obligation to ship tomorrow, so there’s plenty of time for them to work out the kinks. This is still a prototype, as were those before it. My hope is they scale back some of the promises and focus on getting the core elements stable.

  • Konchu

    Its good to see some good what feels less biased input on this device. It really echo some what I felt out of Linus Tech Tips Video and some more. I am still excited as a backer of the PiMax but am cautious of its limits and hope especially on the tracking that is new to me on issues. I can live with some of the other issues for the benefits it adds.

    I don’t mind some blurring on the outer edges( far outside Left/Right) as long as say 170-180 degrees is clear as I feel this will increase immersion. I remember Microsoft doing an experiment with LED’s filling the area around the lenses to fill in the black space making VR more immersive so blurry edges I feel will still add to the experience if you are not actively trying to see the far edges.

    I dont think the 80hz is a deal killer for me I think this is probably good enough and I know LED will never match OLED for over quality. (Though I would love to see a 1600×1440 headset with PS4’s pixel layout also LED as on that head set I feel I’m seeing the pixels them selves not the boundary of the pixels so even though it is lower res I feel the screen door is not as noticeable to me actually give it some res and it would be awesome.)

    But tracking could be a killer I wonder if this is because the hidden sensors no one I have heard complained of this on the old prototypes, but this one is covering them with plastic. Is this interfering with the penetration of the lighthouses, I have always assumed the dimples on the vive were to get the sensors as close to the outside as possible. Though the LG shots I have seen make it clear where the sensors are(there is a difference in the plastic) but I imagine work has to be done to make sure the plastic does not interfere.

    • I would hope tracking is something else that unexpectedly reared its head at CES rather than the daunting prospect they didn’t test the new hidden sensors before the show. That would be negligence on a grand scale.

      • David Herrington

        I think this is a correct assumption. I mean obviously lighthouse tracking is well established as a viable tracking option (one of my preferred). But obviously Pimax is partially struggling if they can’t even bring a mostly working (version 5?) to the CES floor. I mean all developers go through things like this, but you usually bring the latest polished version with a stable backup if you encounter too many issues.

      • Ed

        Big show, lighting will be very different than their own test enviroment. might have had an effect. End of the day though the tracking is a provided solution by valve, so pimax will get plenty of advice and support to fix it. I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t get solved. Mura is the issue I expect will make it to production and they will probably need to shave a few degrees from the FOV.

    • Arv

      Regarding the tracking, to be fair to Pimax both the Vive and the Rift had tracking issues for a couple of months after they first launched so hopefully they’ll fix these issues with post-launch software updates. We’ll have to wait and see I guess.

    • Couldn’t agree more especially at this price point. I use Daydream/GearVR and that is only 60Hz.

      I think you are on to something about the sensors. HTC chamfered the edges to reduce reflections and also to allow the FOV of the sensors to not be obstructed. Also, the curve of the outer shell is important and was designed to allow maximum sensors to laser contact. Also in my understanding of the equations to determining TOF, each sensor has to have unique constant assigned to it based on its curvature. The hard angles and flat surfaces of the Pimax would seem to me, not to provide enough sensors excitation to produce a proper position. This is even seen in the design of the Tracker pucks and the controllers. This would be something to test when someone can get one for more than a day unsupervised.

  • Robbie Zeigler

    All you backers will be disappointed just as I predicted…. marketing hype owned you.

    • Ed

      Nahh, I’m a backer and this is about what I expected. I’m not expecting a perfect product but right now my vive is unusable to me because of the resolution. FOV, colours, brightness etc etc all pale into insignificance to me next to the fact I cant see more than ten feet in the vive. I’ll cheerfully take all the downsides for that.

      • NooYawker

        Your vive is unusable? What kind of crappy computer do you have? If you’re not getting good resolution in a Vive today you sure won’t get it with anything else.

        • Ed

          It’s the screen in the vive that is the problem. I’m running it supersampled at twice the vives native resolution and it’s just not good enough for many things I want to do with it. Other aircraft in sims or ships in elite are unrecognisable as more than a few pixels at anything over point blank range.

          My pc can quite happily drive the thing.

          • JustNiz

            I’m totally with you. I bought then returned fallout4VR mostly for that reason alone. The whole game is predicated on you being able to visually identify stuff more than 10 feet away. Well, that and Bethesda releasing the game with totally not-working scopes (which bitterly is the only thing the game has that could provide some kind of workaround for the distance issue).

    • Bryan Ischo

      That’s a juvenile attitude.

    • M.W.

      Marketing hype doesn’t affect me. That’s why I don’t mind that they’re using CES to as a mere QA test for a prototype, instead of marketing and trying to make hype.
      I can still be disappointed in the future, maybe.
      But it’s not like there’s an alternative HMD with decent specs, so if Pimax didn’t exist I would just be disappointed with VR in general.

  • gothicvillas

    I’m glad I never jumped on this hype train. On the other hand, Vive 3k seems like an interesting option. If they price headset only for sub $300 that’d be awesome

    • Arv

      It’s actually 1.5K. I’m expecting the Rift CV2 to be at least 2K next year so you might want to wait until May to see what the new Oculus headset will offer next year.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Don’t count on the headset to be under $300. I’ll bet the headset only will be around $599 at least..

      • Caven

        I agree that HTC probably won’t sell the headset for less than $300, but why do you think they’ll charge more for a headset than Samsung does for a complete VR package that includes a very similar headset?

        • James Cobalt

          HTC says this is targeting the professional market. The last time they sold a Vive package for the pro market it was $1200.

          • Caven

            As far as I understand, the Vive Business Edition was $1200 because of enterprise-grade technical support for the units. It was otherwise the same basic Vive. If HTC is specifically targeting businesses with the Vive Pro, then I could see the associated technical support adding hundreds of dollars to the cost. If they’re not specifically targeting enterprise customers, it would be very hard to justify increasing the cost by that degree.

    • Dan DeMontmorency

      I would wager a Vive Pro complete bundle with v2 controllers & lighthouses to be around what the Vive opened at on release. The Samsung Odyssy has the same screens & look at its price point. I agree that the headset alone would be around 599 as mentioned by Andrew.

      Truth if your thinking Vive Pro I would hold off & see if Lg updates their release of their Steamvr headset & wait for compares & price.

  • Cdaked

    Has anyone been able to test if it works with Revive?

  • PRGuy69

    Thats unfortunate. I wanted something that would make vive lower their prices if ever so slightly.

  • Thong Phan

    Nice update! I really do think people get caught up in the spec wars and forget how important build quality is. Everyone wants their 4k headsets, but don’t realize that everything comes with a tradeoff unless you’re willing to pay astronomical amounts.
    The Vive Pro may be an incremental improvement, but I honestly would prefer a modest resolution increase that preserves smooth gameplay and compatibility with hardware as opposed to brute force “8K” and wider FOV.
    I guess I’m one of the few not bothered much by the 110 degree on current gen.
    The priority is and will always be on content. It’s how PS4 and Nintendo are leaving Xbox in the dust. In order to get more developers on board, we need more headsets in the hands of consumers. Iterations of headsets that slowly push the prices down is a solid plan (as opposed to HTC building a $1200 4k wireless beast).
    Pimax is doing a great thing by showing demand, but come on, it was obvious that they weren’t going to deliver something with decent build at the Kickstarter prices they advertised.

    • gothicvillas

      Couldnt they make at least 130 FOV? Just give a little extra FOV and bump up resolution a bit. Thats a pro model imo.

      • Thong Phan

        Yeah that’d definitely be a nice to have, but I’m guessing it’s an economies of scale thing. Samsung is already making these screens for their Odyssey HMD, so it’s probably much cheaper to use the same specs instead of having to retool machines just for Vive Pro. Hopefully this returns to us in the form of a more affordable upgrade.

  • Albert Hartman

    Was able to try this out at the show, excited after reading so much hype about it. My impressions: meh. The image was somewhat higher resolution than Vive/Oculus. But the pixels are still visible. The deal breaker for me was the optical geometric distortions. There was clear warping of the objects across the field of view so that things didn’t stay their shape as you moved your head away from them. This ruined immersion and was not made up for by the increased FOV. The image quality sweet spot is still in the middle with an angle no wider than conventional HMDs.

    They clearly were running lower than 90 fps which sucks, since 90fps is less than what I actually think we need – 120 fps. I think Oculus and Vive were smart reducing the FOV so the image distortion was low across the full view. And keeping the pixel count manageably low to allow for higher framerates on todays GPUs.

    This pointed out to me just how much HMD quality is a money game. You need a fantastic team of R&D folks and a huge budget to make the custom optics and displays at the bleeding edge of technology. Add in eye tracking, specialized imaging chips, software. Not sure a new startup can do it at this point anymore – they just don’t have enough resources. Once the hardware stops advancing and the tech is figured out, then we can look to the smaller companies to buy the commodity hardware and configure them into innovative and low cost products.

    • Yosarin Blake

      But all those positive reviews!! How was that possible? Oh dear, I feel like someone who is losing their religion now. LOL! :) Oh well, I certainly will be in an excited state of suspense until release and I will happily share the truth of my experience with the world once I have tested mine with my own eyes!

      • benz145

        Headsets are complex, and talking about human perception is difficult to do objectively. Furthermore, there’s a lot of industry jargon floating around that many people don’t fully understand, so sometimes they think they’re describing one thing, but they’re actually talking about something else (or they don’t know to/how look for tell tale signs of certain issues).

        There’s also the YouTube and click-driven media issue where people get the most views and shares by sensationalizing things, either positively or negatively. YouTube is a great example of this where people are either SUPER EXCITED CUZ ITS THE BEST, or say stuff like TOTAL FAILURE. There are many exceptions to this rule of course.

        When you mix and match these two things you often find you don’t get particularly objective information.

        • VRdeluxe

          Sorry Ben but but your simplifying the situation here. The V5 clearly has different problems than the V2/3 as tgey have tried to push the headset to the extreme. Yes youtubers try to sensationalise things for views BUT alot of thise have been genuine and from multiple people. Sweeviver for example managed to interview 10+ people after trying the V2 all with positive reactions to the the headset. You guys on the other hand have had minimal to no reporting on progress of the 8K. Anything that comes from Oculus and HTC you treat like the second coming of Jesus

          • Yosarin Blake

            Thank you for your input. Please see my reply to benz145 above :) Cheers!

        • Yosarin Blake

          I think there is a lot of truth in what you have said benz145 and also what VRdeluxe says below. I was just confused why V5 could be worse than V2. Now it seems it could be them pushing it too far. I am able to get manipulated by the emotion of youtube presenters for sure. In fact I am surprised to realise I have become a kind of Pimax evangelist. This VR stuff is soooo close to my heart so I realise now how fanatical I’m been getting! Anyway, I’m sure we will all have an AMAZING VR experience / hardware one day!

    • JustNiz

      >> The image quality sweet spot is still in the middle with an angle no wider than conventional HMDs.

      Are you 100% sure that they weren’t already doing foveated rendering? (even if there was no tracking sensor).

    • Dan DeMontmorency

      Then really with what your saying we should be using Psvr on the pc with a vive tracking puck(4vhead tracking) & wands & steam lighthouses. Since you can use 120hz & while slightly less res it has alot more sub pixels when compared to vive/oculus add ss & quite nice. Reddit has a good article of using psvr on pc with ss.

      • The 120 Hz has more to do with refresh rate, not a true measure of motion-to-photon latency. For most games you are only seeing 60Hz re-projected at 120Hz, some even at 90HZ, but I know only of one (Korix) that reaches 120Hz and visually it looks like it. I personally would rather enjoy being immersed in semi-realistic graphics, than feel like I am playing a game from the 90s. But it will come eventually. I too have read about using the PSVR on Steam, and would love to see specific link to this use. Thanks!

    • Thank you Albert for the hands-on honest report as well, and could not agree more that you do need money to do the proper research to advance the tech. pimax to me has used off-the-shelf components including the panels they claim to customized, but in actuality it is made by a Sharp OEM Chinese company who used the same terms.

      Having spent most of 2016 researching and designing prototypes for a shelved mobile VR headset, I have learned that Chinese manufacturers make a lot of bold claims that in the real world do not live up to the hype. This is not to say you cannot get quality products, but the specs are exaggerated. (Just read the claims made by many of the Cardboard viewers). This is not saying companies like Huawei and others do not make decent products, but they normally cost more. As they say, if it is too good to be true, than it must be.

  • Zachary Scott Dickerson

    I wonder how the resolution appeared vs. the new Vive PRO?
    I was less interested in bigger FOV, and more in resolution, as I don’t seem to notice FOV in gaming, but I have not tried yet.

    • JustNiz

      I think you absolutely would notice the FOV once you actually try something with a much bigger FOV.

      • Chris Gates

        Yes.
        Fallout 4 has an option to shrink the FOV while free moving to alleviate motion sickness, like looking down a tunnel. Every time I stop moving, and the FOV incrementally expands to fill the display, I have this feeling like “don’t stop there, keep going!”
        If I had the choice between 50% more resolution or 50% more FOV, I’d be torn.

    • Dan DeMontmorency

      Just see what ppl say ofvthe Samsung Oddessy as both are using same displays.

  • Dave Graham

    Nice review, fingers crossed for improvements.

    • Genius

      don’t count on it.

  • Glenn Rubin

    With the new Vive Pro right around the corner looks like the Pimax will be dead before it gets started.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Funny, as some in the vive pro article threads claim the opposite, but i must agree with you. The problems described aren’t a good omen for it’s release.

    • Arv

      It all depends on what sort of price HTC put on the Vive Pro tbh. The licencing and manufacturing of Valve’s technology isn’t cheap going by how little the price of the Vive has dropped since it launched nearly 2 years ago.

      Tbh I’m surprised that nobody has
      approached Oculus to licence the Constellation tracking system. The Rift basically has 2 (or 3) black and white webcams with filters on and IT LEDs which are as cheap as chips to manufacture. Base stations with lasers and moving parts and light sensors are much more expensive to manufacture.

      If you have 3 sensors the quality of tracking is about the same tbh.

      • Dan DeMontmorency

        That’s unfortunately an easy answer. Oculus opened up its tracking system for peripherals. But unlike Valve Oculus/FB doesn’t want to support 3rdparty headsets.

      • JustNiz

        Constellation is a dead end. It’s a proprietary/non-standard solution that doesn’t support any other headsets than Rift, and is a significantly worse and less convenient design than SteamVR/OpenVR lighthouses. OpenVR is an open standard that anyone can freely access and use and doesn’t even require commercial developers to pay for licensing.

    • Dan DeMontmorency

      Vive Pro is only being released becsuse HTC knows they will lose market space if they stick with Vive Basic res. With LGSteamvr in the works (same res i believe as Vive Pro) & things like Samsung Oddyssy & you guessed it the threat PiMax represents; even Lucky Palmer was impressed.

      Though it was not that long ago HTC was considering selling their VR division due to lack of sufficient profits.

      • It is the Microsoft Mixed Reality Samsung Odyssey (ordered mine yesterday) that has them most worried. Having designed two low-cost portable VR systems to use with the Mixed Reality headsets. It is really liberating to be able roam my entire house or even my backyard without wires or fixed tracking systems. In saying that, you still need lots of visual clutter to keep the MS parallax based SLAM system from drifting. I can see white LED clusters like in their hand controllers being used as markers in the future stabelize tracking in larger areas. For now, the V2.0 light towers are in my future.

        https://youtu.be/aGhoEfSzyoQ

    • VRdeluxe

      No and I’ll explain why. The Vive is now set in stone. That’s all you will be getting for the next 18 months. The pinax is still 2 prototypes away from production and even then will be tested with a small batch to select backers

    • JustNiz

      It turns out that Vive Pro is only a slight improvement on the VIve. Same FOV and crap lenses, somewhat higher resolution but not even close to Pimax’s. Its not even close to an 8K competitor. If Pimax can fix their last few issues properly and release a good product, they will easily claim the lead spot.

  • Griffin

    I wonder if they are using the “pitracking mode” instead of SteamVR tracking that would explain why tracking is worse than and Normal Steamvr HMD

    • benz145

      They told us that this version was fully SteamVR Tracking.

      • Griffin

        hmm that’s disappointing then. it looks like there are a lot less sensors on the HMD maybe this is part of the tracking issues

        • Pimax have stated that tracking issues cropped up at CES because they added more current to the backlighting for the displays witch gave a 30% increase in brightness, however a side effect of this was that the tracking is now underpowered due to the brightness taking extra power from the system.

          They didn’t test this for some reason and I assume why they had The Blu demo running for most of CES as it requires little positional tracking when you don’t move and just gaze around the environment.

    • Dan DeMontmorency

      Its Steam tracking when using lighthouses.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    And i wonder what happened to the lg headset?

    • James Cobalt

      I hope they are retooling it. Since the LG UltraGear was first demo’d, it’s been eclipsed in a number of ways by the Odyssey and soon, Vive Pro. Maybe even the Pimax 8K if they get their stuff together. The UltraGear needs a market differentiator – preferably a reasonable bump in the FOV to 150°.

  • AndyP

    Among other things, I’m not sure I want to make my GTX 1080 redundant just yet! Will GPUs, other hardware, and games be up to this challenge anyway?

  • NooYawker

    Whoa, so big promises and a kickstarter campaign didn’t pan out like promised???!!! SHOCKING!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Obsidean

      Fuck your a dickhead. Shut up and stop commenting on things you know nothing about. This is not even the final prototype nor the final production prototype. Go fiddle with your CV1 Vive pro ripoff

      • NooYawker

        Hell yea. I’m enjoying my vive while you have nothing but promises. They promised to ship in January and it’s not even the final prototype?? So I reiterate. A kickstarter campaign that didn’t pan out like promised??!! SHOCKING!!

        • Obsidean

          Who give a fuck when it ships you dip shit. Its not like we were all planning to have a big VR wank together in Janurary

          • NooYawker

            Who give a shit when they ship? They promised a January ship. And they’re not even close to being done. So when someone promised something and doesn’t deliver that means their promises didn’t pan out. So what in my original statement isn’t true? I’ll be on my VR while you and other Pimax backers wank each other. You should really try VR it’s amazing.

          • Obsidean

            I have a Vive and it’s been gathering dust for the last 6 months. This Vive pro is an absolute rip off waste of money. Two years research and development for a hacked Vive 1. Dont get me wrong I would have bought one if they upgraded the lenses! Peace

  • Dan DeMontmorency

    Agreed not a bad review. But you’d think Road to VR would credit the originater of the “Misnomer” that was first introduced by Acer & Starbreeze with StarVR “5k panoramic” which in reality is just 2 Qhd (2×2560*1440) so not 5k. Cineliro followed their example & curiously HeroVR followed suit but added a greater falsehood by claiming to be the first 5k VR.

    As for falling behind in one sense to be expected. The first Prototype was Demoed Jan 2017 at CES. There v2 had 8 to 9 months of developing. Since then they have been attempting Rapid prototyping with less than 2 months between versions of which doesn’t give reasonable time to test before starting the next version & add the race to demo the units to try & fulfill their Timeline to backers. Imo they just need to take a deep breath focus on their strengths like ingenuity & engineering. Utilize folks like SweViver, Tested, Tom’s Hardware & such to showcase their progress & acheivements.

  • In my review with 2016’s piMax 4K, I came to similar conclusions. Yes the resolution was there but too many things made the experience unusable and now collecting dust. Too bad because the ergonomics and overall physical design was good, as well as the optics, but were not matched well enough to the LCD display and sadly the IMU drifted a lot. It also had no positional tracking and finally it never reached its claimed 4K resolution, even at 30Hz since their HDMI-to-MIPI chip was only capable of HDMI 1.3 (in my teardown, I discovered they removed the part number)

    With this taste in my mouth, I decided not to back it, but this could also be due to the PTSD I now have for backing the STEM. :( Anyone else need treatment from Sixense trauma?

    • Caven

      Oh, I understand your pain. I didn’t actually back the STEM, but at the time it was because I could not afford to. Sometimes I think about how close I came to backing the STEM and have “what-if regret”. I’m just thankful that other viable methods of motion control have proven themselves to be viable and popular.

      • Me too, but it still hurts to know I and many others were swindled. I mad e it harder because I interviewed Amir several times over the years. Seen here in May of 2016 https://youtu.be/N8bHXVmSCeI. One of his VP even had the nerve to say that the new Kickstarter rules did not apply to them since it was August 2013 when it was launched. Yes, going on five years now. Last comment in Kickstarter was July 5th, 2017. Latest news is they started a new website with no mention of the STEM, the Kickstarter campaign or the 1000s of preorders. Some even say they are playing a shell game since they started a new corporation. Won’t they be surprised now that I am resident of Oregon to hear from the AG along with a class action filing. :)

  • Genius

    It’s certainly bleeding edge, and it’s a disappointment to see they couldn’t make the CES “cut” (dead-line). I know their reasoning was that it was just for the investors who have equity in this thing to get to see, but if you bring ANYTHING to CES, it’s going to get torn apart if it’s not a working prototype, and this CLEARLY was a leap and not a properly functional unit as Ben stated. The review was quite disturbing. The only thing they can hope for now is that the competitors don’t leap-frog them (which is bound to happen) since you have Facebook breathing down your neck. In my honest opinion, if Zuckerberg hasn’t already surpassed this epic CES failed product in the R&D stages, it would be a sunny and warm day in Siberia. IMO, the only option which saves this company, is if they have something intellectually that Zuckerberg (Oculus) doesn’t have and end up getting bought out by Facebook. I really do see this happening <> the company and this cloud-funding venture startup fall flat on its proverbial face. Good Luck to them, as I would like to see nothing more than for them to succeed.

  • Meh

    Looks like something Elon Musk would design where as ninety nine percent of the world could give a flaming fuck about.