VR enthusiasts are no doubt well aware of the Pimax 8K VR headset. After a successful kickstarter campaign last year is awaiting a release to backers and the public. Boasting two 4K panels and an ultra wide field of view, the Pimax 8K aims to improve on current VR headsets from Oculus, HTC and Samsung. However, the road to getting the Pimax 8K up to scratch after some initial criticisms has been pretty turbulent.
Pimax (the company) wisely chose a select number of Western based backers to aid in the development of the Pimax 8K. Given they are a relatively small Chinese company is sensible. Reading the official Pimax forum, it looks like the decision to enlist external help has paid off. The opinions from the testers has enabled them to progress the Pimax 8K software/hardware considerably. There is also a consideration of differences between Western and Eastern markets to be mindful of. The select testers obtained a version of the Pimax 8K (known as the M1) with the aim of thorough testing. Their results kept secret for obvious reasons with each tester sworn to a non disclosure agreement (NDA). Despite an initial leak which suggested the Pimax 8K M1 was having serious problems, the testers made some progress. Pimax announced weeks later a meetup in Berlin Germany for backers to attend and try a revised Pimax 8K (M2).
Prior to the Berlin meetup, Pimax dropped a massive bombshell even for the testers supposedly in the know. Pimax said they would be presenting a 5K plus version alongside the existing 5K and 8K VR headsets. The 5K Plus boasting an all round improvement over the standard 5K. Without getting into too many technical details, the meeting allowed backers the chance to sample both the 5K Plus and the 8K. Backers were allowed to test under various conditions using several games such as Elite Dangerous, Assetto Corsa, Skyrim VR. You can see a complete set of backer reactions courtesy of Youtuber Sweviver who recorded the event and asked backers pertinent questions.
Interestingly, it appears mixed messages from those in attendance in Berlin are causing some head-scratching. The 5K Plus looks to have some advantages over the 8K version.For example, the 5K plus manages 90hz, whereas the 8K sits at 80hz (90hz being the standard set by Oculus for the smoothest VR experience). The 5K Plus is also said to have better colours and more sharpness than the 8K. This leaves the question, what does the 8K have in its favour especially as it costs $100 more. Looking through the video evidence, it’s clear a number of backers state the 8K has a smoother appearance than the 5K Plus but also a lesser Screen Door Effect (SDE) which is where you can see individual pixels. Both headsets sport the ultra wide field of view but one of the 8K’s original selling points was its reduced SDE.
Pimax are ready to start shipping the 5K Plus and 8K headsets to backers at the end of September according to Pimax founder Robin Weng (see video above). Retail versions follow suit once backer and business partners are catered to. Reading comments from the backers there is a hard decision to make with regards to which headset to go for. Luckily, the chosen testers from the West will be releasing their full reviews of the 5K Plus and 8K on September 16th after some thorough comparisons. This will presumably make the decision a little easier for backers. Either way, it appears the Berlin meetup was a resounding success for Pimax. At least we can now see for the first time the Pimax 8K works well with more demanding games. Backers seem to be happy at the current progress since earlier this year when it all looked a little gloomy. Not helped when all Pimax were showing was Fruit Ninja and The Blu. The future is looking bright then for VR gamers and enthusiasts. Hopefully once the review embargo lifts we shall see some favourable reviews.