Just a month before the company expected to begin shipping the first “5K” and “8K” headsets to backers of its Kickstarter campaign, Pimax introduced a new model, the “5K” Plus. Though it has a lower resolution than the higher-end “8K,” those who have previewed the headsets largely agree that the “5K” Plus offers the sharpest image, creating confusion for backers who put their money toward the “8K” with the hopes of getting the headset with the best visual fidelity.

When introducing the Pimax “5K” Plus headset, the company thoughtfully decided to upgrade all existing “5K” backers to the newer headset and have provided backers of the higher resolution (and more expensive) “8K” headset the option to receive a “5K” Plus instead, along with a $100 coupon toward Pimax accessories.

While the company did the right thing as far as giving its backers a chance to switch, the move has turned into something of a marketing debacle, as backers of the “8K” believed they were buying into the headset with the greatest visual fidelity, and many are now torn about whether or not they should exercise their option to choose the “5K” Plus.

Despite the “8K” having a greater resolution of 3,840 × 2,160 per-eye compared to the 2,560 × 1,440 per-eye of the “5K” Plus, select backers who got to preview the headsets in exchange for testing and feedback generally seem to agree that the “5K” Plus offers the sharpest image.

‘Through the lens’ images show a clear benefit to text legibility and overall sharpness with the “5K” Plus, seen here especially in the numbers on the gauge (click to enlarge). | Image courtesy SweViver

The difference in fidelity seems to stem from different display types used in the “5K” Plus and the “8K”. Detailed macro photos from SweViver, one of the backers who previewed the headsets, shows that the “5K” Plus uses an RGB-stripe pixel layout with rectangular pixels, while the “8K” appears to use a PenTile-like layout with what appear to be round sub-pixels.

Macro photos reveal very different sub-pixel layouts for the “5K” Plus and the “8K” (click the enlarge). | Image courtesy SweViver

Another contributing factor to the difference in fidelity could be that the “8K” doesn’t actually accept video input at its native 3,840 × 2,160 per-eye resolution. Instead it accepts 2,560 × 1,440 per-eye input (same as the “5K” Plus) and then upscales the image in the headset to match the 3,840 × 2,160 per-eye displays. A more expensive version of the headset, the “8K” X, actually does accept video input at its native resolution, according to Pimax, but the “8K” X hasn’t yet been shown publicly, so it isn’t clear whether or not it will surpass the “5K” Plus fidelity as expected.

Since previews of the headsets went live, the Pimax forums have been abuzz with “8K” backers asking for advice on whether or not they should switch to the “5K” Plus. The consensus from the three select backers who have previewed the headsets is that the “5K” Plus is probably the best choice for most.

Some “8K” backers are angry with Pimax for promising a higher resolution headset which now seems to have less sharp visuals than a lower resolution model. Others say that the “5K” Plus just happens to be better than expected, and that doesn’t change how the “8K” would have turned out if the “5K” Plus was never introduced in the first place.

SEE ALSO
Pimax "8K" Pre-production Previews Emerge from Select Backers

Sebastian Ang, one of the three select backers who previewed the headsets, called the company’s communication surrounding the “5K” Plus introduction “terrible,” and said that the company has present a “tough decision for backers between 8K or 5K Plus” which is not helped by Pimax’s lack of communication about the different displays used in each headset. Ang also pointed out he and the other select backers shouldn’t be the ones sussing out the details of why one headset looks better than the other. “Pimax has great devices but still have a big chance to fail miserably if they don’t up their communication game now,” he said.

Road to VR reached out to Pimax after news broke that the “5K” Plus had been introduced at a backer meetup in Berlin, though the company had very little information to share about the differences between the headsets and why they opted to introduce it when they did.

Photo by Road to VR

Indeed, the company itself acknowledged the risk of introducing a new headset model so close to when the Kickstarter campaign’s first production headsets were supposed to begin shipping.

“Before we decided to bring the [‘5K’ Plus] to the testers and backers in Berlin, we had an intensive argument internally, quite a few team members thought it might confuse people, thus against the idea of releasing the new model right away,” the company wrote in its most recent Kickstarter update published last week. “However, the whole purpose of the team is to deliver the best possible VR immersion experience to backers ASAP, and whatever fits in that purpose is the right thing to do. The final decision is not to hide, but to make the new model available for each one of you, our backers.”

Of course, Pimax has done the right thing by not only upgrading all original “5K” backers to the “5K” Plus, but also offering for “8K” backers to switch to the “5K” Plus (with a $100 accessory coupon). The root of the problem seems to be the confusion that the company has created by changing its offerings at the last second and failing to clearly communicate with their community.

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  • VRgameDevGirl

    Really? I don’t understand why people are upset. This is still new technology and things are changing so fast. Way faster then we expected. Let’s be happy we already have this amazing FOV coming so fast… imagine what VR will be like in 5 years..

    • Bryan Ischo

      Nobody’s actually upset. roadtovr just needed to write a story I guess.

      • Sandy Wich

        The people who accepted 8k’s marketing even though it was a lie should be happy. The 8k was always hard locked to 2x1440p even if it was on 2 4k screens. Upscaling in-engine always results in a blurry image over the same resolution at a native display.

        In all ways the 5k+ is a sudden magic upgrade that nobody ever thought they’d get, and they were offered it for free.

        If i backed this product i’d be cheering my fkn ass off knowing the 5k+ has turned out to be such a good product when all else looked lost just a week or 2 ago.

        There are no guarantees in life, especially when it comes to business. ESPECIALLY when it comes to Kickstarter. Pimax 5k+ is a win for VR enthusiasts.

        • daveinpublic

          I think the problem is, people are realizing this product they were sold as an 8K device isn’t even as good as a device that has 2,560 × 1,440 screens. This 8K device accepts 2,560 × 1,440 pixels and then mangles that quality further. The problem isn’t that they’re now getting a great 2.5K option, it’s that Pimax was knowingly selling a supposed new and futuristic device that was worse than 2.5K.

          Samsung Odyssey is 1600 x 1,440. If the Pimax is worse than 2,560 × 1,440, you could have literally bought a WMR off the shelf with the same fidelity on Pimax’s day one announcement instead of spending $500 more, waiting a year to hopefully get development updates, and buy the extra tracking equipment, all to prop up a new company based on marketing tricks and scams.

          This is why Kickstarters are such a bad deal. This is a fraud that needs to be exploited on VR news sites. To me this is a bigger deal than is being shown.

          • Hivemind9000

            Nope. It was always first and foremost about a significant bump in the FOV while also improving on visual fidelity from the current gen. From the latest reviews it looks like Pimax has achieved both of those seemingly at-odds goals.

            The only people that seem disappointed/angry about Pimax offering this alternative (which they didn’t have to) are non-backers. I’ve backed plenty of Kickstarters, and this is turning out to be one of the better ones. The fact that Pimax have produced a better 5K version during the past 6 months, and are offering it to us as an alternative, shows (to me at least) that they are more interested in getting a better product out there than they are about “optics”. I’m a happy 8K backer that’s now going to get a great (5k+) headset with $100 of extras.

          • Peter Hansen

            True, the FOV played an important role. Pimax said that it was 200°. Later, when people actually measured, they “clarified” it was 200° in the diagonal. Which would mean that info that is in the corners would come from behind you and info on the horizontal axis would not. This would mean you have kind of a pointy distortion in your peripheral corners, which you clearly have not (I had hands on). Another lie. Now, with the distortion still being very prominent, they recommend you dialing down the FOV to what they call now the “normal” setting, which is effectively 140-150° horizontal. I backed a 4k 200° headset, and now I am getting a 1440p 140° one. Without a single word of acknowledgement (=”Sorry, we failed. This is all we can offer, we hope you enjoy it still.”).

          • Anonymous

            Normal FOV is an additional choice you get, I’d your GPU is too slow for a game. That’s a bonus feature, idk how you can turn this into a negative.
            I don’t know what the actual measured FOV is, but I know I don’t get the advertised FOV with my Vive either.

          • Peter Hansen

            No, the recommendation of the “normal” FOV setting is a way of covering up the distortion. Otherwise they would have termed it “reduced” or something similar, as a temporary means until compute power is there. They silently backed down from their overly bold claims without acknowledging their failure.

            The company came to us and asked for our money and our trust. But they repeatedly fail in being clear and honest, even after the fact. That is a really bad habit.

          • Peter Hansen

            Thanks, dave, you got that right. See also my image comparison in this comment section.

        • Peter Hansen

          No, it was not hard locked. They promised an actual 4k display per eye with an upscaling process from 1440p. The above images, however, clearly show that the “8k” does not have more effective pixels. That is something completely different.

          • Anonymous

            Of course the 8K has more pixels it’s a full UHD panel with 3 subpixels per pixel.

          • Peter Hansen

            1. I don’t think so. It just does not look like it. Look at the image comparisons. 2. I don’t actually really care. If that does not show in terms of visual information, it could as well be a 16k display. If all you get with the ‘upsampling’ is the same amount of ‘dots’ making up the image, at the end of the day you have a worse image than with the same amount of visual information on native resolution. And that is exactly what all testers have reported.

          • Anonymous

            Well that’s not exactly “news” that upscaled looks worse than native. The only reason they did the 8K was for a slightly reduced SDE at the cost of a slightly reduced sharpness, compared to the 5K. All of that was already known during the Kickstarter.

          • Peter Hansen

            Look at the image comparison. Please, only once. The only reason the SDE in the “8k” is reduced is because it appears to be blurred up to a point where individual pixels cannot be recognized anymore. Actually, there don’t appear to be any more pixels compared to the 5k:

            https://i.imgur.com/Xge95I3.jpg

            And yes, upscaled to 1440p looks worse than 1440p native. But we are talking about upscaled to 4k compared to native 1440p. And upscaled to 4k does not necessarily look worse. Usually, it doesn’t (see UHD TVs upscaling from FullHD). From a distance it usually looks more or less the same with the difference that on native res the image is more pixelated. It usually does not reduce the readability of text. There is something seriously wrong with the 8k. Either the displays are not actually 4k each or the upscaler does not actually do any upscaling. Looking at the images you clearly see the same amount of dots making up the image. That is not what upscalers do (display the identical pixel information).

            As an example: go to your favorite foto editing app. Take an image and upscale it. What do you get: a new, finer grained pixel structure. Maybe the result is a little but blurrier, but at least _new pixels_ are computed. This is not what happens here, at least not from the image comparisons I have seen.

          • Anonymous

            Honestly, it’s difficult to see on that picture, because the picture itself is very blurred and full of artifacts. If I had to guess, I’d say both of them have 8×8 pixels in the square, but that’s just a guess, because it’s simply not clear enough.

            Scaling 1080p to UHD looks really good because it’s extremely simple, as UHD is exactly 2x horizontal and 2x vertical. Scaling 1440p to UHD does not look very good (I do it frequently on my UHD TV) because you have to turn 1 input pixel into 1.5 vertical and horizontal pixels. There are different algorithms for that, but all of them will blurr the picture more on a UHD panel, than displaying it natively on a 1440p panel.

            So if the Pimax 8k would indeed be using a 1440p panels, that would be a scandal indeed, but very easy to find out by just taking a proper photo of the panels instead of that awful video screenshot you linked.

            If it is a UHD panel as advertised, then either:
            1. Scaling does happen as expected
            2. Only the center of the panels are used and everything would just look really small as a result.
            3. Only the center of the panels are used and the 8K panels are significantly larger (1.5x horizontal and vertical) than the 5K plus panels.

            –> 2. is not the case, or reviewers would notice instantly.
            –> 3. is very unlikely, because the panels probably wouldn’t even fit inside the headset
            –> So it’s most likely 1.

            However, there is the possibility, that in reality it’s a combination of 1. and 3. The UHD panels might be slightly larger and not utilized to the same degree as the 1440p panels. That would explain why there wouldn’t be as many additional pixels per cm on the 8K than on the 5K.

          • Peter Hansen

            Valid thoughts, thank you for illustrating them.

            “There are different algorithms for that, but all of them will blurr the picture more on a UHD panel, than displaying it natively on a 1440p panel.”

            I am not sure an upscaled image (WQHD to UHD) would look worse than native res, though. Although a subset of 100×100 pixels will always look blurrier in the up-scaled display because of the interpolation process.

            This interpolation process is pretty much what I am missing here, though. If you zoom into the image, you can clearly see that both red squares (same size) contain exactly 6×6 pixels. It is actually pretty easy to see. So the amount of visual information making up the images is pretty much the same (although, granted, distributed along diagonal lines in the 8k case), while the “8k” image appears to be blurry in addition. That explains very well how the “5k” image can look better in almost every situations.

          • DumbFurfag

            I think the problem here is pentile+bad upscaling algorithm (a sharpening filter could have helped, especially when you’re upscaling to less than 150% you get a HUGE amount of detail blurring, you can try it in Photoshop or GIMP or something).

            I do think the displays are actually 8K, that’s probably kinda hard to hide since people can count pixels (and my guess is there are people autistic enough to disassemble this, put it under a microscope and start measuring stuff with rulers and calipers just to see what the actual resolution is).

            And look at the number 40 in the dial. Assuming both snapshots were taken from the same point in 3D space, the 0 on the left is about 3 pix across, on the right it’s almost 5 pixels across, but the pixel layout and upscale algorithm mangles it so badly, you can’t even read it.

            RGB is king after all.

          • Peter Hansen

            “I think the problem here is pentile+bad upscaling algorithm, not Pimax lying on purpose about display resolution.”

            I don’t believe Pimax anymore, unless I see actual proof where I can count the pixels. The leap-of-faith period is over now.

          • DumbFurfag

            If you were a Kickstarter supporter, I completely understand your anxiety and I don’t blame you.

            But since you can exchange your product, I think you can be happy. The 5K+ looks absolutely gorgeous. Hell, even the regular 4K model looks better than all commercial models from the comparisons I’ve seen so far.

            And who knows, if the 8K X or whatever it’s called gets released and actually looks better than the 5K+ and if they provide a free upgrade then you will actually get your “8K” VR goggles, resolution nitpicking aside. Honestly, I just want the screen door effect to be gone, that’s all, and their products look the most promising.

            I’m also curious about their eye tracking tech, because if implemented, with the proper software, you can have sort-of directed autofocus in-game, and that would be absolutely badass, but my guess is this won’t happen for this generation of products one way or another.

            Still. If Oculus and HTC don’t surprise me with a mindblowing new product, I’m definitely putting the 5K+ on my to-buy list tho.

            Hope it works out for you too somehow in the end :)

          • Peter Hansen

            I will definitely have to decide now, whether to downgrade to the 5k or upgrade to the 8kx (if that option will be provided at all). And there is no graphics card in sight for powering such a beast, I don’t want to wait 2 more years for the product to be finished, and by now it is much too risky to gamble on another Pimax product, tbh.

            Actually, I would love to get an HMD with a true 4k display and a decent upscaler that actually delivers more ‘dots’ for a clearer image and lower SDE. I would really like to receive what was advertised.

          • DumbFurfag

            Yeah, you’d probably need to SLI or crossfire two current gen high-end cards for a “true 8K” headset. I imagine it would look mindblowing (if 8K screens are anything to go by) if it was a true RGB headset. Maybe even cross into “I literally can’t see individual pixels anymore” territory, as phones already have.

            >now it is much too risky to gamble on another Pimax product
            Reviewers seem happy with the 5K+ tho. It’s probably the best headset in the world at the moment. Don’t be so pessimistic.

          • Peter Hansen

            Stop sugar-coating already, it gets boring.

            The best headset in the world? Even within the high-FOV category it is 3rd place at best. The new StarVR is 1st overall, the XTAL 2nd (and 1st in image quality), according to a lot of reviewers. The Pimax is 3rd. And why is that? Basically because there are no other candidates. If you would count the first StarVR, although it is “previous gen” and not available for personal use, Pimax would be 4th. Just stop here please.

          • DumbFurfag

            Stop being such a permanent downer, it gets boring.

            XTAL seems indeed good. I like everything about it. Very high resolution, eye sensors (software still in development tho), very high FOV. Now it’s probably a matter of price which one of these I’ll put on my to buy list, but (un)fortunately at the moment I don’t have much time for gaming.

            It’s not clear what resolution StarVR has tho, I’m finding some conflicting information here. There’s talk about 3660×1464 in the newer model compared to 5120×1440 in the older model. Well at least it has eye tracking.

      • Peter Hansen

        No, I am actually upset. If Pimax would say “we couldn’t do it, we are sorry. that is all we can offer you” (i.e. an actual 140° headset with 2x 1440p), that would be a different story. But they are not. They keep lying their asses off (“The 5k+ is even better!”), and that is what freaking pisses me off.

        • Hivemind9000

          Sucks to be you I guess. Maybe you should steer clear of kickstarters in the future.

          • Peter Hansen

            I would like you to keep a friendly manner towards other discussion members and refrain from giving non-constructive advice. Stay on the topic, and we are fine, my friend.

          • Hivemind9000

            I think my advice is extremely constructive Peter. You’re coming to these forums “pissed off” (your words) bringing the whole tone of discussing the pros or cons down to some emotional, entitled level – along with accusations of lying.

            You’re intentionally rounding down the results to justify your emotional state and claims of lying (E.g. “normal” mode is around 155 degrees horizontal or about 170 degrees diagonal – not 140 degrees). Pimax’s 200 degree FOV claim was always diagonal (they had a gif showing that on the kickstarter page). The 8K was always going to be upscaled from 1440p. So where’s the lie?

            The reality is that this is a hardware Kickstarter, on the bleeding edge of VR today. If you expected an absolutely perfect 200 FOV headset, then you really shouldn’t be backing a kickstarter – wait another year or two for the mainstream versions with the kinks ironed out (maybe). Notwithstanding the peripheral distortions at 200 FOV (the impact of which seems to be subjective), the Pimax lenses are actually very good – big sweet spot, minimal glare or god rays – a pretty good achievement considering how difficult the optics are to get right at such a wide FOV.

            Have you seen one single recent review where the reviewer said they are disappointed with the headsets? I suggest you re-watch the MRTV review that compares the 5k+ and 8K with current generations (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8iFOhC2j6I). The problem seems to be that it’s not that the 8K isn’t good, it’s that the new 5k+ is surprisingly good for the resolution – primarily due to a new generation of screens.

            I like to engage in intelligent conversation/debate, tend to keep a friendly manner to all posters here and respect their opinions. However, when I see someone like you who is spamming these forums with negativity and false information, I have to say something. And I’m definitely not your friend.

          • Peter Hansen

            As a VR professional I am a little disappointed that I cannot test this 4k-upscaled 200° FOV device, because _it does not exist_. As a customer,I feel lied to and I am “pissed”. No matter how much you or Pimax try to suger-coat the situation.

            The 200° FOV does not exist, we discussed this elsewhere. And the 4k resolution also does not exist. Because it would have a higher effective pixel density – which it does not – even with the up-scaling. You would see a blurred image, due to the up-scaling process, but you would see more pixels (pixels the up-scaled info got distributed upon). Do a close-up of an image of Swevivers through-the-lens comparision and count the pixels in a square-centimeter area: same for both headsets. How ever you turn this, talking about 4k in this context is a huge load of crap.

            Wait, let me quickly do this for you (look out for the red squares):
            https://i.imgur.com/Xge95I3.jpg

            And regarding your conversation style I can only say: Sorry dude, I don’t know what to answer. First you post this highly personal disrespectful comment, and then you try to educate me. That is not how I want to debate, this discussion is over.

          • Hivemind9000

            Even Sweviver has clearly stated the panels are definitely 4k – I’ll direct you to the exact point in his video where he discusses this alongside the various differences in how the panels and pixels are structured:

            https://youtu.be/bcZ0CXP0qgU?t=4793

            And the 200 degree FOV that Pimax quoted is diagonal and it is possible with the current headset (aka the “large” setting, which is 170 FOV horizontal).

            You obviously don’t want facts getting in the way of your pissed-on story. So go be miserable.

          • Peter Hansen

            Oh boy. Look at the image comparison I posted. Make up your mind on your own. You will see it, it is not hard. Count the pixels. Answer: 36. In both images.

            Re the 200° FOV: Look at this image, I made it just for you.

            https://i.imgur.com/KnWLvAI.png

            Imagine this printed on a large sheet of paper. Now wrap it around your head so that the lines with the “90°” label are exactly left and right from you (i.e. on the edges of a 180° FOV) and imagine what the black FOV shape will look for you. It is roughly what a 170° horz. / 200° diag. FOV would look like. This is _not_ what the Pimax FOV looks like. It would also be horrible. It is really not that hard to understand.

          • Hivemind9000

            Go ahead – ignore what others who have actually used the headset have said, count imaginary pixels on a screenshot instead, come up with an image that has no relationship to how headset optics actually work, and be unhappy. I really do not care any more.

          • Peter Hansen

            I actually used the device.

            If in doubt, and you should be in this matter, think for yourself. That is the best advice I can give you.

    • mellott124

      My thoughts exactly. Kickstarter is not Amazon.com. It’s a place for new development with risk. This shouldn’t be all that surprising.

    • Xron

      Hmz… people were flaming Oculus and Vive that they don’t make reasonable upgrades and that Pimax promises 8k/200fov…
      Almost a year after they had to start shipping 8k headsets to backers, Pimax releases, 5k+ headset that seems to be better, but not 8k.
      At one of previewers video (MrTV), he said that there are 3 modes of Fov in 5k+, big/normal/small, 180/150/125 and that he uses 150, because bigger fov still has issues with blurr around the edges…
      So consumers get 5k+ headset with ~150fov (to use it without blur at the edges) almost a year late and you ask them to take it in as nothing happened?…
      P.s Anyway, this headset (5k+) might be the best hmd on the market for now (for a reasonable price), so I guess they still reached part of their goals.

    • kontis

      > imagine what VR will be like in 5 years..

      When it comes to the headsets made by Oculus, Microsoft’s OEMs or Valve OEMs none of them will be close to the FOV Pimax has today in 5 years due to form factor limitations.

      BTW, Oculus DK1 released 5 years ago is still the king of FOV of all currently available consumer headsets. Who would have thought?

    • IMO, they should only release the 5K+ at retail and work on making the flagship 8K have a clear gap between it and the 5K+ or it will just confuse the hell out of people thinking the 8K flagship device is better in every way. It needs to beat the 5K+ on everything but GPU grunt. One possible solution (if it exists) is to use the higher res version of the 5K+ panel with better subpixel layout in it although the upscaler could also thwart that benefit.

    • Hivemind9000

      I agree. As an 8K backer (now switching to the 5k+) I couldn’t be more happy with the latest reviews. Sure it’s taken about 9 months longer than their original target (to be expected with hardware kickstarters) and the optimal FOV for the headset less than the original 200 degrees (though you can still have it if you don’t mind the peripheral distortions). It’s not perfect but it is a big step forward for consumer VR and I can’t wait to get mine!

      • Da Mo (JFlash)

        Going from the DK2 to the Vive visually was a bit meh!, the controllers saved it, i’m a 8k backer and will be changing to the 5k+ and i think of it as an upgrade with cashback, Win Win.

  • Geo Merkator

    These products may not meet the hyperbolic marketing expectations of a year ago but it seems clear that they’ve seriously raised the bar in terms of consumer VR. A big win, all around, for VR enthusiasts. My Oculus Rift will start gathering dust as soon as the headsets are available to the general public.

  • Adrian Meredith

    Yay roadtovr have found another reason to trash pimax.

    • benz145

      I spent almost a thousand words unpacking a pretty complex and fast moving situation, and said multiple times that the company did the right thing by giving their backers an option.

      To have you reduce it to something as simple as “trashing Pimax” is frankly a little upsetting.

      • kuhpunkt

        Haters gonna hate :(

        • jj

          and ainters gona aint

          • J.M.Wagner

            and fainters gonna faint

          • Adrian Meyer

            Painters?? I wonder what crazy things they’ll do haha

          • J.M.Wagner

            Painters aint gonna paint fainters

          • Blinko23

            And of course painters gonna paint

      • daveinpublic

        If it’s any consolation, I don’t think you went nearly far enough. This is a bait and switch, and they should be called out by sites like this, plain and simple. 8K should be greater than 2.5K.

  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    I actually think this 5k+ is a bit of a gamechanger for Pimax as it suddenly makes their headsets way more competitive. Not to mention this was simply the right, ethical thing to do – sharing their improved headset asap. Withholding better tech would surely create a bigger backlash.

    • daveinpublic

      So their headsets are finally reaching parity with the headsets they said they were leapfrogging? If their ‘8K’ (using their marketing) was actually worse than 2.5K, they weren’t really that far ahead, and I don’t think they’ve released anything still.

  • gothicvillas

    I can not understand why Vive and Oculus are silent on their FOV front… clearly, limited FOV on both of these headsets is a massive bummer. I like my VIve dont et me wrong, but the moment i get Pimax 5K+, my Vive will end up in a box and stored away for my grandkids to marvel upon.

    • kontis

      They cannot compete with Pimax on the FOV front (yet), because current technology make it physically impossible. They would have to switch to a brute forced design with giant form factor (Pimax, StarVR), which is something they would never accept, because it’s marketable only to hardcore enthusiasts.

      BTW Oculus is not silent, they presented Half Dome with 140 deg FOV and a comparison to the Rift, which showed a staggering difference.

    • Sven Viking

      To be fair, Oculus did show off a 140-degree prototype, and reviewers are suggesting people limit Pimax’s FOV to 150 degrees in order to remove the worst of the peripheral distortion and increase performance.

      Also, the Oculus Connect keynote begins in two hours, and if they were going to say anything that would be when they’d say it.

  • GodDamnHipsters

    While I don’t fully understand it all, I am excited by the developments in technology and I’m grateful to backers for funding these advances.
    I hope it goes well. I want VR to become mainstream and affordable one day.

  • Raphael

    8k upscaled, 5k+ not upscaled. Simple. If anyone else needs me to explain things I can do so for a small fee.

    Seriously… it’s still a good product if the price isn’t insane.

    I’d go for the 5k model though.

  • VRgameDevGirl

    They are still getting a headset though, one with better visuals…. and when it comes to dates….its kickstarter.. your acting like they paid for nothing.

    • Andrew McEvoy

      I dont think Ive seen anyone on the pimax forums who’s really upset. Maybe a few but hardly anything to write home about. Most people are really upbeat after seeing the previews and excited to get their hands on it, myself included.

  • Rick

    Sebastian Ang told yesterday that he got confirmation from Pimax that the 8K backers can also switch to the 8KX version soon.

    • JustNiz

      OMG really? Link please!!! That’s awesome if true. As an 8K backer I would take that option if truly available. Untikl now the 8KX was a 500 unit special for backers only that had already all gone when I signed up. That said I’m concerned that no GPU currently exists or even will for like 5 years that could run top VR games like like Elite:Dangerous and Fallout4 VR well enough on the 8KX to not look like slide shows.

    • Peter Hansen

      Which comes out never.

    • Konchu

      I was always sad they didn’t offer and upgrade module for the 8k aka why not make the module upgrade able so you can do with or without scaling this making it an x version. But I would have also been ok with the x model being made this way. I originally chose the 8k so I could run it without selling a kidney. But when eye tracking gets here 8kx is going to be gravy for games that leverage it.

      • Peter Hansen

        Look for my 5k+/8k image comparison further down in this comment section. The “4k” display of the “8k” version is not even an actual 4k display.

  • Ian Shook

    Yikes, It’s not even subtle. 5K plus is what I’d choose if I had foresight and money.

  • ArSh

    I’m an 8K backer and I couldn’t be more pleased. Upscaling was not a secret in the Kickstarter and it always results in a loss of fidelity when it’s not a discrete multiple, plain and simple. I now have a choice, and I’m happy that the 5K+ is an option.

    • Peter Hansen

      Look for my 5k+/8k image comparison further down in this comment
      section. The “4k” display of the “8k” version is not even an actual 4k
      display.

      If it was actual 4k with upscaling, the image should be way better, and no one would complain. ;)

  • impurekind

    I wouldn’t really say it’s confusion. The reviewers simply think the 5K looks a bit better overall by virtue of the fact it’s not doing any up-scaling and stuff like that.

    • daveinpublic

      I don’t think the display is ‘newer’. There’s no new technology here. Using native resolution isn’t a new concept, it was just passed over so they could use 8K in their marketing. Doesn’t sound nearly as exciting to say 2.5K.

  • Andrew McEvoy

    Yep Im switching my 8k for the 5k +.

  • Konchu

    I am a bit disappointed the 4K screen they chose was so poor. From SweVivers camera shots its clear it is just an inferior screen. simply looking at the sub pixels it looks worse. I don’t think scaling has much to do with it and was hoping the 4k would eliminate screen door more and it clearly helps based on the reviews but at the cost of clarity. More isnt always better happy they are giving people a chance to change.

    But the push for the 5k+ does feel suspect to me like they know they screwed up and they are giving an out as they cant offer a good 4K screen experince and they are trying to salvage good will. It does feel like there is an active push for the 5k+ and this may simply be the testers being honest about their perceptions but I just have a gut feeling this is a manipulation from the PiMax side. Aka why would they even offer, why are they offering the plus upgrade, why is there not a 8k+ and it probably all comes down to cost.

    • JustNiz

      Yes I have exactly the same feelings too, also had the same concern about possible manipulation from Pimax.

    • daveinpublic

      That original screen looks like Pentile, and doesn’t that share a sub pixel between different pixels or something? So not as high resolution anyways.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Costs… that’s what it all comes down to.. a better 4K display at that size would propably cost a lot more than the ones they are using now.

    • Callsign Vega

      It is because the 8K/8KX LCD screen is pentile, which is TERRIBLE. It’s basically a way to make a LCD with “X” resolution, but the stated resolution is actually fake since the sub-pixel count is only two instead of three as in RGB. It is a scam using pentile.

  • jj

    A lot of us called out the 8K as bs and this just proved it.
    And for everyone saying, the 8k isnt bad and the 5k+ was just a nice surprise, is being ignorant to the fact that we all said 8K isn’t going to work right and here it is not working as expected.

    • Peter Hansen

      If you take an actual 4k display and upscale the image from 1440p, you could actually get a better (nicer for VR) image than plain 1440p without any supersampling or antialiasing. If Pimax had done this, I would be curious about the result. Clearly, they have not.

    • Thoemse

      You forget about the fact that every single tester of the 5K+ mentiones that they could never go back to the Vive PRo after using it and that it is tru VR Gen 2.

      Yes it is a chinese kickstarter hackjob and yes it is better than the vive pro. We should all be jumping up and down happily instead of asking for a Vive 2 wwith lesser specs for 2000 $ but maybe I’m just wierd.

  • J.M.Wagner

    5k+ wasn’t some bait and switch non-sense. Pimax, I believe while designing the 8k, came to realize the potential of the 5k screen running at native resolution gives great results. I believe the 5k+ came from the R&D of the 8k, it’s that simple. The option then caused everyone to freak because of how good the 5k+ was, that the 8k somehow had to be magically better, no matter the circumstances.. At the moment the 5k+, according to the testers and their sample through-the-lens shots, offers a sharper image. Yes, more screen door, but because of the 8k screen pixel design, the 8k lacks the clarity of the 5k. This all didn’t magicly drop into pimax’s lap, this was something that came to be over time. Their software “Pitool” is also improving constantly and is showing to increase the fps performance of both headsets as well. This is an exciting time for VR. I was an 8k backer and switched to 5k+ mostly because I trust the testers and their eyes.

  • HybridEnergy

    I never cared or wanted one of these and still don’t. Even as a VR enthusiast, I guess I’m weird. I know Sebastian from MRTV and SweViver are blowing a load over them but I can’t get past the “cheap Chinese kick-starter product” part, maybe once this thing is in a lot of hands and there is a lot of people regular non youtubers putting it through it’s paces I will make a decision to add it to my HMDs.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Well, it shows that higher resolution doesn’t always mean better. It’s a bit like with the PSVR and the Rift/Vive, even though the PSVR has a lower resolution, it look better than the Rift/Vive (mainly due to difference in lens and displaytechnology).

    • HybridEnergy

      There is less screen door effect on the PSVR because of RGB instead of pentile screens but resolution wise it definitely does not look better than Rift or Vive.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        the overal image of the PSVR looks better, and that’s what counts. But it’s not like Rift or Vive is crap, I think they are perfectly fine at the moment, especially because current midrange GPU’s already have problems driving these headsets..

        • HybridEnergy

          “the overal image of the PSVR looks better,”

          That is a blatant lie. The higher resolutions and super sampling scaling makes the image significantly clearer on Rift or Vive over the PSVR. The oil like blur is gone and so is the AA shimmer. There is however less Screen door effect on the PSVR.

      • Blankfrak70

        No screen door effect on PSVR but plenty of mura effect. How bad is the screen door effect on rift/Vive? Having not tried either I can only imagine but I suspect I would find screen door less annoying than mura I’ve experienced on PSVR.

        • HybridEnergy

          The OG Vive has pretty bad Screen door effect. It’s not noticeable for me on the Vive Pro. Rift wasn’t that great with it either. PSVR has definitely less than both, but it was just far more blurry and oily looking than anything on PC.

  • Jose Ferrer

    I thing not mentioned in the RtVR article is about the reason of the lower clarity in the 8K.
    The problem is not the upscaling. The problem is that the panels of the 8K are not 3840×2160, they look more like 3840×1080:
    https://forum.il2sturmovik.com/topic/31215-pimax-8k-5k-vr-headsets-coming-to-kickstarter-this-month/?do=findComment&comment=672888

    In just two days there are thousands of arguments in the Pimax forum. Almost no time to read all.

  • Kev

    Uh I am a backer, paid $450 for the 8k but ended up being 5120×1440 at 200 degrees diagonal, 90Hz. Perks included are Eye Tracking, Deluxe Audio Strap and $100 off wireless module. I also opted for the free leap motion instead of the coupon. This is MILES better than my Vive on it’s best day. It’s twice the res, twice the fov for ~half the price of the Vive Pro. Angry? Turned out just fine. (BUT one of the few Kickstarters I’ve backed that did turn out so well).

    • Peter Hansen

      Kev, it is _NOT_ 200°, in no setting and by no metrics. That is just marketing talk.

      200° means that some of the info actually comes from behind you. Whit it clearly does not.

      So yes, Pimax lied. again.

      • Kev

        200 degrees *diagonal genius. I tried it myself and the view is literally if I hold my hands out directly away from my side the view is close (but not all) my view. 4 official reviews from the media took detailed measurements with the widely available FOV tool. So Peter Hansen Lied. Again.

        • Peter Hansen

          200° literally is impossible. That would mean the info in the corners would come from behind you. That would mean you would perceive a pointy distortion in the corners of your field of vision. Which you do not. Think about it yourself and you will understand.

          Imagine you are standing in a half cylinder which extends indefinitely up- and downwards. And whose edges in the horizontal are exactly at 180° of your field of vision. So you are standing basically in the center of a (half) circle (if you cut through the half cylinder horizontally). Now you tilt your head sideways (“roll” in 6DOF speak). No matter how far you tilt your head, none of the visual info from the cylinder will ever come from behind you, if the vertical edges of the cylinder are actually vertical. You would need pointy distortions reaching “outward” in the corners of your field of vision for a diagonal FOV >180° with a horizontal one <180°. And you don't have that with the Pimax, rather the opposite (slightly rounded corners). Would look pretty awful, too.

          Also the reviews that actually measured the FOV came to values substantially smaller than what Pimax promised.

          • Kev

            Bahahahaha. Have you ever heard of StarVR?

          • Peter Hansen

            We are talking about the Pimax here. And e.g. Sweviver measured the horz. FOV as 170°:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcZ0CXP0qgU&t=3467s

            I think VooDooDE came to a similar value.

            With a 170° FOV horz., a >180° FOV (even °200) diagonally would only come with some extremely weird pointy distortions. As you have probably understood now.

            Other headsets can have higher FOVs, but still: 180° diag. can never be the case with convex (inward curved, as all headsets) FOVs.

            So Pimax lied. Again.

          • Kev

            Your first sentence was 200degress is literally impossible. StarVR has been tested to be 210. Peter Hansen Lied. Again.

            As for Pimax it said *diagonal on their kickstarter day 1. That measures out to about 170. Which btw is true as you point out. So yet again. Peter. Hansen. Lied. Again.

          • Peter Hansen

            Now you are just trolling. This discussion is over.

          • Kev

            Indeed.

          • Hivemind9000

            You seem to know nothing about optics (or math for that matter). As Kev has repeatedly tried to explain to you – the 200 degree FOV that Pimax claimed is DIAGONAL. Diagonal FOV depends on the combination of the horizontal and vertical FOVs. Pimax’s headsets can do about 170 horizontal, which is about 200 diagonal. So where’s the lie?

            ps. 200 degrees is not “impossible” – while looking straight ahead, humans can actually detect color/movement through a 210 degree horizontal FOV, but can only stereoscopically perceive a 120 degree range at a time.

            pps. The whole point (and challenge) of the lens optics is to curve the projections from the flat screens so they look optically correct to your eyes. i.e. to correct those “pointy, distorted corners” you seem so fixated on.

            From Pimax’s kickstarter page (to help you visualize):

            https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/018/046/797/236276f8857548a9e6c99fc2afcb6595_original.gif?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&w=680&fit=max&v=1503570768&auto=format&gif-q=50&q=92&s=6448313006e4c526ea541458f5b1bcfb

          • Peter Hansen

            Please try to understand my example with the half-cylinder I outlined above.

            I never said that 200° FOV is impossible. I am sorry, if it reads that way, but I also clarified later.

            A 200° FOV is physically/mathematically impossible, if you have a 200° FOV actually means, as a complete circle is 360°, which is 2×180°). This is not the case for the Pimax.

      • Da Mo (JFlash)

        Your the only one lying

        • Peter Hansen

          No, I am not!
          – Yes, you are!
          – No, I am not!
          – Yes, you are!

          Are we in pre-school now, or what?

  • Hivemind9000

    Another backer here and agree with the others. Pimax didn’t lie, and I haven’t seen many actual backers that are complaining about being offered a new alternative option. Anyone who backed the 5K now get a better-than-expected headset for free, and anyone who backed the 8K have a choice offered to them (with a $100 bonus).

    Seems the only people “demanding” anything are those who haven’t paid a cent.

  • Peter Hansen

    Look for the red squares and count the number of (effective?) pixels for each headset:
    https://i.imgur.com/Xge95I3.jpg

    Hint: the answer is 36. Both times.

    The creator of the image is SweViver (7.23 in his through-the-lens comparison). He swears that his DSLR had the exact same distance to the lenses in both cases.

    • Callsign Vega

      Ya the pentile 8K looks SO much worse.

      • Peter Hansen

        This does not really look like a pentile matrix to me.

        • Callsign Vega

          It’s diagonal pentile diamond matrix garbage.

          • Peter Hansen

            I think we can agree on the ‘garbage’ part.

  • Str][ker

    I’m not a backer of Pimax, I’m not a hater of it or any other headset. I own a Vive which I chose for my own reasons and don’t look down upon people who bought Oculus. I definitely don’t look down on those who invested into Pimax as it takes a lot of faith and hope to do something like that (kudos to them). Personally, I REALLY hope Pimax succeeds as it gives me an option to buy and lights a fire under the other players in the VR headset game.

    The big issue really comes from the folks at Pimax. They have, from day one, chose to use marketing language around their devices which causes confusion among backers (starting right from the name “5k” and “8k”). So, it’s not surprising to see the confusion continue stemming from poor communications and a push to maintain marketing hype by not being completely and fully clear around what the differences are between their different products. As the author of the article mentioned, “Ang also pointed out he and the other select backers shouldn’t be the ones sussing out the details of why one headset looks better than the other..” If end users can determine what the differences are, the company making the devices DEFINITELY can and should have.

    Another aspect of poor communication is around setting expectations of people who funded the project. This is more of an Alpha and Beta test environment where things are tested, learned about and changed. This is a fact which should be repeated now and then and made very clear from the start. People understandably get excited and want to get their hands on the device ASAP and these changes mid-development causes frustration when they don’t have expectations adjusted correctly.

    Lastly, I think that people who criticize the backers who are vocalizing their frustrations around the ongoing changes to the device should ease up of these folks. They have legitimate grievances and are venting their frustrations. (frustrations due in very large part, to the failure of Pimax to properly communicate with their backers). If I had put forth money for a project and was getting the run-around and obscure market speak, Id be pissed too and would be letting them and others know about it.

    • Peter Hansen

      Thank you, Striker, really good to read your opinion.

      For me backing the Pimax was out of curiosity. I work with VR and am a private enthusiast. And I knew that there would remain a little distortion around the edges, and that upscaling to 4k cannot be as perfect as the native signal. I was just curious what can be achieved by just having a less narrow FOV and a lesser SDE.

      But now Pimax calls a smaller FOV the “normal” setting, and the 4k display is not even true 4k, irrespective of the signal coming through the cable. That is what really upsets me.

      If they would come around saying “Sorry guys, we didn’t quite make it. So we deliver you the best we can for a reduced price.” I would be pleased with their openness and glad about the option to go “down” to the 5k+ or wait a little longer for the 8kx. But they don’t do that.

      • Str][ker

        Hi Peter, that lack of being forthright and upfront is what I am talking about. It’s their lack of communication which is upsetting people such as yourself and rightly so. I tend to think that many / most of the backers understood the risks. Pimax knew they were promising the moon and stars and probably couldn’t meet their goals and I think most people knew that. So, Pimax needs to be adult about it all and as you said, come forth with an admission of failure to meet their lofty goals but hey, they did manage to make something close to it and here it is! This would satisfy most of the backers I think and would position themselves as more than just another company dancing around and hiding behind marketing hype. They could really become a legitimate company which people would gladly buy from if they can get out of their current approach. Hell, I am very eagerly waiting for the next company to put out an improved headset (I hate HTC’s exceptionally poor customer service and prefer to avoid Facebook as a whole but that’s me). If the 5K Plus turns out to be as good as it looks and if Pimax gets their act sorted out, I’ll buy oner when it is generally available.

        • Peter Hansen

          Basically “yes”. But “close to it”… not quite. 140° is not very close to 200°.

  • Callsign Vega

    The biggest problem with the 8K and 8KX is going with a Pentile matrix. Pentile is TERRIBLE. It reduces visual fidelity by around half compared to RGB stripe, both being the same resolution. I’m not sure even the 8KX will be able to beat the clarity of the 5K plus, Pentile is THAT BAD.