While Pimax has been met with several delays in delivering its ultra-wide FOV headsets, the quest to get headsets out the door to backers of its successful Kickstarter campaign may soon be coming to a conclusion. The company says the first “8K” and “5K” headsets will begin shipping to backers by the end of September, and also announced a new “5K” Plus model; backers of the original “5K” will automatically be upgraded to the “5K” Plus.
Following a meetup of Pimax Kickstarter backers in Berlin, an update on the company’s Kickstarter page notes that backers got to see the company’s latest “8K” prototype, the M2, which was influenced heavily by feedback from a select group of backers who privately tested the prior M1 prototype over the course of three months.
While Pimax had originally estimated that headsets would begin shipping in January 2018, the company has seen its share of delays (not entirely unexpected for a hardware Kickstarter), but now says that the first headsets will begin shipping to backers by the end of September.
Before then, backers will be able to find reviews of the M2 prototype (which we understand to be very close to the final “8K” that will ship to backers) from several Pimax community testers beginning September 16th at 9AM PT.
At the Berlin backer meetup, the company also introduced a new headset model, the Pimax “5K” Plus, which is said to have a new panel resulting in a 9% increase in pixels-per inch. The company has yet to specify the exact resolution of the “5K” Plus, though the original “5K” has a 2,560 × 1,440 resolution per eye.
Interestingly, Pimax says they will sell the “5K” and “5K” Plus concurrently as separate models. Luckily for the original backers, the company has committed to automatically upgrading all “5K” backers to the “5K” Plus; backers of the “8K” will have an option to switch to the “5K” Plus with some bonus accessories, the company says. The price of the “5K” Plus hasn’t been announced.
Sebastian Ang of Mixed Reality TV conducted and translated an interview with Pimax CEO Robin Weng at the Berlin backer meetup which revealed some additional details about the headset’s development timeline.
Weng said that Pimax expects, with 90% confidence, that all Kickstarter backers will receive their headsets by the end of the year. Controllers however are another matter, and the company doesn’t expect them to be in the hands of developers until early 2019, with finished units heading to backers in Q2 2019. Thanks to SteamVR Tracking, Pimax users could conceivably use HTC Vive controllers in the meantime, but they run $130 each as sold from HTC.
The promised eye-tracking module, which is a free add-on for backers as a completed stretch goal, also isn’t expected to be delivered until after the headsets; Weng says initial samples will be ready in Q1 2019.
The delivery timeline remains unclear on the base stations needed to track the headset and a bevy of other stretch goal addons: an extra face cushion, rigid headstrap with headphones, a cooling fan, prescription lens insert, a coupon for a wireless module, and three pieces of content for the headset. We’ve reached out to Pimax for more info on the current status of these items.