Pimax Announces New Virtual Reality Glasses, Accessories and Software
Pimax livestream revealed details of its new virtual reality headsets, accessories as well as software updates.
In a livestream with the creator and community manager Martin Lammi, Chinese virtual eyewear manufacturer Pimax announced updates to its virtual reality products which include new native 4K goggles, a controller delay, Valve base stations and some really huge surprise!
Pimax will be launching a new virtual reality headset, the 8KX which provides a true 4K per eye resolution across a 170-degree FOV.
The headset is priced at $1299. The price does not however cover the other components including the base stations and controllers. Pimax has once again delayed its own base stations and controllers in spite of promising early this year that they’d ship soon. As a result, users will have to purchase these components from either HTC or Valve. If you already have your own Index or Valve, you can use their respective controllers with the new Pimax headset. Adding the components brings the total price to more than $1800. The Pimax is an ideal virtual reality headset for users shopping for the best specs they can find. The specs are even better than those of the vaunted $999 Valve Index.
The new headset is known as Pimax Vision 8KX. It has two LCD displays and a resolution of 3,840 by 2,160 pixels per eye. The headset also uses a DisplayPort 1.4 cable. The displays provide a full RGB matrix and run at 75Hz.
This resolution is incredible and it is not yet clear how any graphics card can run this kind of resolution in virtual reality. A review of Pimax’s 5K Plus headset with a resolution of 1440p per eye showed the headset could not hit the full framerate in games such as Arizona Sunshine and Space Pirate Trainer with an RTX 2080 even with a reduced resolution and field of view to maximize on the platform. Pimax has also added an ASW-like “Smart Smoothing” and Static Foveated Rendering to assist users in keeping the framerate. The resolution and framerate can also be turned down to make the most of the performance.
The problem of rendering such a high resolution could be solved by using the $300 eye tracking addon recently announced by the same company manufacturing the HTC Vive eye tracking addon. Pimax says this will enable foveated rendering. Foveated rendering maximizes on the GPU. Virtual reality headsets can leverage foveated rendering when the user is directly looking a high-resolution image while rendering everything else at a much lower resolution.
The Pimax headset also comes with a 10-meter cable for $100 for users who wish to maximize on the largest room scale. The cable should easily pair with the Valve’s SteamVR 2.0 base stations capable of supporting a 10 x 10 meter space when four are these are put into use.
Base Stations, headgear and VR Controller
Pimax has also announced its long-awaited SteamVR tracking base stations. These have been made by Valve rather than Pimax and the first units of the base stations will be shipped from Florida to Kickstarter supporters in three to four weeks. A single base station reportedly costs $150 so you will have to fork out $300 for the two base stations.
The Pimax virtual reality controllers “Sword” and “Sword Sense” are now set to ship in 2020 rather than 2019 as was announced earlier. Rather than wait until next year, users can also swap the Pimax controllers for the Valve Index controllers. The upcoming Sword and Sword Sense controllers are said to cost $230 and $270 respectively.
Pimax has made some progress with its Comfort headgear. The “Modular Audio Strap” will be shipped to Kickstarter supporters in December. Its design is reminiscent of HTC’s Deluxe Audio Strap but Pimax’s design uses built-in speakers with an audio solution similar to that of Oculus Quest. The Modular Audio Strap goes for $120 and will first ship to Kickstarter backers this December. An adapter for the plug-in headphones will appear later on.
Lots of Accessories
The Pimax hand-tracking and eye-tracking modules are to be shipped this December. The hand-tracking module was developed in partnership with Leap Motion (recently rebranded to Ultraleap) and costs about $170.
Users who find the Pimax glasses too uncomfortable can purchase the Vision Comfort Kit comfort upgrade from November. It costs $50. Already, the Comfort Kit has been included in the Vision line of the virtual reality headsets. Other accessories to be shipped this year include an adapter for lenses, a ten-meter cable for the Pimax glasses and a USB fan.
The original Pimax 8K headset has also been updated. It is now known as Pimax Vision 8K+ and includes a Comfort Kit and Audio Strap. It now includes displays with full RGB matrix and will reportedly be priced at $1,000.
Both Kickstarter supporters and existing Pimax customers will get discounts on the 8KX model. The headset will also deliver on Pimax’s original Kickstarter promise of a dual 4K VR headset. The original Pimax 8K is designed with 4K panels but it only accepts input resolutions of 1440 per eye and the panels also lacked full 3 subpixels per pixel.
Pimax is promising that the 8KX headset will start shipping this December but the company has had a history of long shipping delays so this date may as well be rescheduled.