Pimax previously said their upcoming “8K” VR headset was heading into the mass production phase. Kickstarter backers probably shouldn’t expect an imminent launch though, as the company today announced they’re sending out a second iteration on their pre-production ‘M1’ headset to their select group of independent beta testers. An alleged leak points to concerns over the headset’s build quality and software readiness.
Update (July 13, 2018 – 11:58AM PT): Two of the Pimax M1 beta testers, VoodooDE and SweViver, have chimed in on the Reddit thread with the leaked information saying that many of the issues highlighted by the testers in the leak have been addressed:
VoodooDE: Guys, don’t believe that. It’s a very old leak of my forum post and I can confirm that many of the issues have been fixed until now.
SweViver: I’m 100% confident Pimax 8K is replacing my other VR headets very soon :) In fact its the only headset Ive been using since I got the m1. The majority of these issues are now fixed btw. Don’t panic… A full review and daily testings will be soon up on my channel.
The statements also appear to confirm the authenticity of the initial leaked information. The original article continues below.
Original Article (July 13, 2018 – 6:03AM PT): Here’s Pimax’s announcement in full regarding the second iteration soon to land on testers’ door steps:
Thanks a lot for your passion about Pimax 8K!
As mentioned in the founder announcement (link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pimax8kvr/pimax-the-worlds-first-8k-vr-headset/posts/222575254), the obstacles that prevent us from mass production have been eliminated.
The team and the testers are working together to speed up the product iterations. We will ship the new hardware to some of the testers soon.
Only the beta tester reviews of the final hardware and software, and the official announcements, are the trustworthy sources of information.
Please stay tuned for the in-depth reviews of Pimax 5K and 8K from the testers when the closed beta ends!
Beta testers include Sebastian Ang of MixedRealityTV, Martin Lammi (aka ‘SweViver‘), Thomas Poersch of VooDooDE, Shanghai Fudan University Professor Yan Feng, Stephane Debus of ETR.fr, freelance journalist Kevin Carbotte, Oscar González of Real o Virtual, and YouTuber ‘Pactaco‘ with several others sharing a single unit.
Within a few hours of posting the update, an alleged leak anonymously surfaced on Reddit that points to a number of issues that caused some beta testers to not give the crucial go-ahead Pimax was initially looking for.
If true, the supposed leak could represent a break of at least one of the beta tester’s non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Pimax, which requires M1 testers to not report on, or publicly document their time with the pre-production hardware. Screenshots of internal comments contain damning messages from a number of beta testers mentioned above include criticisms on hardware build quality, ease of use with the company’s software, and issues involving overall performance, optical distortion, and display quality.
To Pimax’s credit, the beta tester program was meant to reveal these issues privately so the company could refine as they got closer to its full production model. Pimax’s Xunshu Li says in a forum post today that most of the improvements “are still on the software,” and that the company is also “taking the suggestions from testers and [improving] the hardware.”
Considering Pimax is sending out a second iteration of physical headsets to testers however, it’s clear the current M1 hardware somehow didn’t live up the company’s hopes despite CEO and Founder Robin Weng saying he was “happy with the hardware and progressively speeding up the software fine tuning process to improve visual quality.” Whatever the case may be, the road map to launch is definitely getting longer as the result of the headset’s redesign and tester feedback loop.
When we last got hands on a Pimax “8K” prototype at CES earlier this year, which features the headset’s dual 4K LCD display (hence the quotes around “8K”) and SteamVR room-scale tracking, we noted the overall experience still had some crucial kinks to iron out before it was ready for consumers. Supposing today’s leak is authentic, it may still be true.