Hello my highly interested VR-friend, I will guide you through a journey of pain and enlightenment.
Showing you the pros and cons of the Pimax headset in relation to other common headset available on the market and test out gaming with two HMDs on one PC. Be prepared to be amazed!
My pledge was a 8k version of the Pimax, I switched down to the 5k+ due some early reviews of the early YouTube testers, talking about more sharpness due the native headset resolution.
Thank you very much @mixedrealityTV, @SweViver, @VoodooDE for your help to make my decision a lot easier!
After a long wait for the package as one of the last backers (Number 6.407) of the product.
I finally received it (25.02.2019) :
I was lucky to see it’s the P2 Model from the newer batch:
Error Code 10935 is pure evil! It is standing for unacceptability and hopelessness!
Since receiving my HMD (head mounted display) months ago, this view on PiTool never changed
I did not know my Pimax and my AMD Fury X will dislike each other from the beginning on.
Even hours of trying, by the really friendly support via team viewer, that really care, thank you a lot at this point @Doman.Chen! Didn’t help the relationship of the HMD and GPU (graphical processing unit) to defeat their blind hate for each other. Being generous and spending hours and hours with feeding them with different drivers, using different display ports on the GPU, PiTool-versions and firmwares didn’t touch their feelings to each other!
There are no problems with htc Vive and Oculus at all. Just with Pimax.
I already tried to install the newest fresh windows copy with PiTool and AMD GPU drivers only, to make sure this isn’t an operating system problem. The result is still Error Code 10935 in PiTool.
Such a shame! Because they fit so well for each other from my perspective! I think they don’t care
I still hope getting the issues resolved and be able to help the HMD and the GPU to find their way to spark on their love with your help Pimax!?
I really hope I will be able to use my Pimax one Day…
But now let us talk about the important stuff:
I was able to test out the Pimax at a friends place: GeForce GTX 1070 Ti was her name . The Pimax 5k+ HMD accepted her right away and YES, I was blown away!
My first impressions:
Field of View: Astonishing!
Clarity: OU YES!
God rays: Nope
I was amazed from the first second on I tried it. Also, my friend needed some time to be able to believe the huge visual and technical gap between Oculus and Vive compared to Pimax 5k+. The Pimax 5k+ is a game changer! Being able to see this much of details, and to feel free because of the very immersive Field of View is just amazing!
Ah btw. this is me, and just as a side note, I am not a fish hammerhead!
I am a young VR-Veteran and ordinary guy of 27 years building VR-Experiences, Games and Software.
My first VR HMD experience started with my Oculus DK1, later I bought an Oculus DK2, the htc Vive and the eye tracking HMD FOVE, you maybe haven’t heard about it. I was able to use the Oculus of my friend to test it out and improve my vr-game also for Oculus.
I spent uncountable hours in VR-Headsets, playing around and learning how to avoid motion-sickness, how to improve experiences and finding out ways for motion. On my journey I experienced the pros and cons of the current VR state in the steps of development.
The Army of three! Those are an Oculus, a htc Vive and the fresh new Pimax 5k+
HMD Evolution in words:
Oculus DK1 -> DK2: NICE!
Oculus DK2 -> htc Vive: HOLY COW!
htc Vive -> Pimax 5k+: JUST WOW!
Like you can see, it felt for me like a jump from the low resolution Oculus DK2, to the htc Vive, even if the DK2 didn’t support room scale tracking well and had no controllers.
Htc Vive to Pimax 5k+ is a huge jump! This is a clear recommendation for upgrading from me, even now!
Pimax 5k+ also in comparison to htc Vive/Oculus:
Things i really love about the Pimax 5k+:
- The huge resolution per eye: 2560x1440 pixel vs. (Oculus/Vive: 1080×1200).
- The astonishing Field of View of up to 200 degrees vs. (Oculus/Vive: 110°).
- The used Fresnel lenses for a big sweet spot and noteworthy nearly not existent god rays.
- The ability to buy extension modules for eye and hand tracking and wireless gaming in the future.
- The compatibility with htc Vive original lighthouses, V1 and V2.
- The view overlap of the eyes is as good as of the htc Vive. On Oculus there is a border visible in the middle of the view.
- Play Oculus and Steam VR games through the PiTool without needing external software like Revive.
- It is lightweight, even with this size!
- Only uses 2 Ports 1x USB 3.0, 1x Displayport vs. Oculus with min. 5 Ports (1x HDMI, 4 USB) for proper room scale VR.
- The thin, flexible 5 m long cable.
- Drinking water or eating while having the HMD on is possible.
- The futuristic design.
- The usability with only one Lighthouse.
Things i don’t like so much:
- The softer plastic feels like being more easily breakable.
- The huge size of the HDM.
- The retail price is as high as of the htc Vive on release.
- Because of the high field of view in some games object popping can occur on the peripheral vision.
- The confusing bending in peripheral vision because of the lenses and the high FOV.
- There is a little light seeking through the nose “hole”, less than Oculus, but a little more than htc Vive.
- The wearing comfort is not as good as those of htc Vive and Oculus. The borders of the lenses can potentially press against your nose on fast movements, this can hurt a little.
- Having frame interpolation artifacts by the AI interpolation algorithm on Oculus games if the frame rate is dropping I find really annoying.
- The fact my AMD Fury X and my HMD doesn’t like each other.
Did you ever used two HMDs running two games on a single machine with a single GPU without virtualization?
We did this, with an Oculus and the Pimax 5k+.
- Me on the left with the Pimax 5k+ in Google Earth VR (Oculus Store via PiTool).
- My friend on the right with the Oculus in Space Pirate Trainer (Steam VR).
Switching the HMDs showed us the immense improvement of pixel density, FOV and overall clarity of the image of the Pimax 5k+
Putting on Oculus was like a huge step back into the ancient world of VR
You really have to try it yourself!
The funny part was also: Google Earth VR was running smoothly, while Space Pirate Trainer had very noticeable reduced frame rates, despite being still playable well
This was an experience for us, we never thought will work well!
Used Computers in this review:
My computer specifications (Pimax not working on):
Friends computer specifications (pimax is working on):
Games we tested with Pimax 5k+ (without controllers):
Dirt Rally: with my htc Vive i never had fun in this game due the low resolution. With Pimax 5k+ everything changed! I was able to see the track without problems, it was really fun! Just get a steering wheel, and some pedals and you are good to go! But there is one thing: Dirt Rally puts on you a “diving mask” you can not remove. So you are not able to experience the full FOV properly.
Google Earth VR: I never saw the world virtual in such a detail, just beautiful!
Big Screen: I did not watch 3D movies in a virtual theater in my htc Vive because of the low resolution and FOV. This changed completely, now you can really enjoy it!
Light and Dance VR: I always felt like being limited, not being able to perceive all the visualizations going on around myself to the music with the small FOV of the htc Vive. I was really hoping the Pimax would change this. And yes it changed and is just awesome now!
All the games were running smoothly without frame drops and were really enjoyable!
It’s just a shame I didn’t take the htc Vive controllers to the friends place, but maybe it’s for good. We were able to focus just on the headset itself!
Some words about the FOV
We tested out all the FOV options in the PiTool with the Pimax 5k+ and decided to stick to the normal mode with 170° FOV.
There are three options available:
- Small (~150°): It’s like putting on a helmet after experiencing the normal mode. But it feels really a lot better than the 110° of the htc Vive and Oculus. It’s a huge jump from 110° to 150°!
- Normal (~170°): Noticeable bending in the peripheral vision, without being distracted of it. The normal option, feels like the best middle way of reducing peripheral bending and enlarge the FOV to a comfortable and nice FOV.
Large (~200°): Very noticeable bending in the peripheral vision. This could be distracting and maybe even dizziness inducing to sensitive people. This also needs more horse power, because frustum culling in games will be triggered later and more pixel/objects have to be rendered. That option really does not feel like adding a lot more of peripheral vision to the headset.
Try it out yourself, to find your favorite setting!
Should I buy a Pimax 5k+?
If one of those things I will mention are important for you, you should consider buying it:
- I want/love to play racing simulators in VR.
- The FOV of Oculus/Vive is not enough for me! I don’t feel immersed enough with my Vive/Oculus etc.
- I cannot enjoy 3D movies in the virtual theaters because of the big pixels or screen door effect of my Vive/Oculus etc.
- I am rich!
- I feel like in a cage while using my Vive/Oculus etc.
- I need more depth sight, because I am playing flight simulators.
- I want to have an extendable VR-solution for the future.
The Pimax 5k+ is a game changer for immersive gaming. A really really wide field of view, crisp visuals and glare free optics just put your gaming and relaxation experiences to a new level.
It is still not a monitor replacement for professionals. The resolution has still to be improved by a factor of 4 I think, to not be able to spot a pixel anymore.
Hmm, let’s calculate: 2560x1440 pixels x2 eyes x4 = that are freaking 29.491.200 pixels!
Ok enough of hypothetical monologues’ and calculations, let’s get back to the real thing:
Do you like racing simulators like Dirt Rally? I really recommend you to buy this HMD!
This HMD is, compared with available HMDs on the market one of the best and can be placed due its price tag in the section of VR-enthusiasts.
It supports common and proven techniques in HMD tracking with a huge room for extensions in every direction. Using different Lighthouses, controllers and a lot of Pimax specific modules to extend the possibilities of the headset in VR.
Every application/game we tried so far worked really smooth, without tracking losses or lags.
Pimax Team, you did great work! Don’t stop here. Stay innovative and push the boundaries even further!
I hope this review helped you!
If you have some suggestions about the review or questions about the HMD, don’t hesitate to contact me kindly.
Have a great day,