Pimax’s 8K VR Headset Smashes Kickstarter Goal In Hours

by Jamie Feltham • September 21st, 2017

It looks like a lot of people are hungry for Pimax’s 8K VR headset.

We first heard about this new device, which is said to support Valve’s SteamVR platform, ahead of the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in January and subsequently went hands-on with it. We found that some major improvements needed to be made before it was ready for primetime. Pimax launched a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for the headset, with an initial goal of $200,000. At the time of writing, the campaign has more than tripled that goal.

Pimax’s solution promises two 4K panels with a field of view (FOV) of 200 degrees, 90Hz refresh rate and less than 15ms of screen latency. The device is also modular, designed so that you can add in optional extras like a hand tracking module or a scent device. When we first tried it the kit had no positional tracking, but now it is said to be capable of room-scale VR with two base stations. Pimax even says the headset can work with just one of the SteamVR base stations for a 360 degree, positionally track experience, though controller occlusion is likely to be an issue.

Ultimately the campaign is promising a lot and it is very difficult for companies to deliver hardware-based Kickstarters — even Oculus delivered later than expected. It’s important to note also that simply increasing panel resolution doesn’t necessarily mean a superior VR experience; plenty of optimization is still required to get the most out of displays. That said, while I haven’t tried the 8K headset, I did see its older 4K alternative that delivers 2K to each eye back at CES. I thought the screen image was incredibly clear.

Many of the Early Bird options with cheaper prices are already gone, but there still several options available. Those that already have the Vive’s base stations and controllers can pledge $499 to get the headset itself. For $699 there’s the 8K X, designed for next-generation GPUs and offering promising 90Hz without the internal scaler used inside of the base headset. Then at $799 there’s the full package including two controllers and two base stations for full room scale VR. Pimax is also offering a cheaper headset with a 5K resolution that you can get starting at $349. Other than the lower resolution it boasts the same features.

Shipments of the headset itself are expected to begin in January, though the full bundle of headset, controllers and base stations aren’t slated to go out till the following month.

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  • WFloon

    “while we haven’t tried the 8K headset….” Followed by a video of an Upload guy trying it??

    • koenshaku

      That was puzzling to me also lmao. He was wearing the t-shirt and everything lol.

      • Ian Hamilton

        I should have edited that, my apologies. Jamie, the author, hadn’t tried it. But Pimax did visit the San Francisco office and showed it to a videographer.

  • HybridEnergy

    It’s great to see such VR kick-starter support for a new HMD, people are hungry for death of SDE, but there is no way this thing is shipping in January. It’s already the end of September, no way in heck. As long the kick starters are aware of that possibility it’s all good. I’m excited for it, but I can’t back it because the 4k pimax was disappointing with all the ghosting and latency issues. I will wait for reviews from regular users who bought the unit but If it’s everything it’s claimed to be I’ll get the 8K X and use my VIVE peripherals in a heart beat.

    • James Holloway

      they have been in development for 14 months. all they did the kickstarter for was to get orders and to generate developer interest.

      • HybridEnergy

        Well, I’m skeptical never-the-less…specially with such high promises. Like I said, if they deliver and the reviews claim to be the case after release, I’m in. Being on a 1080 ti I would like the 8k X HMD, so the reviews will be out already from the January regular one. Assuming it hits target release.

    • Chucksta

      The 8K should be out December / January, but yes the 8K X will be later. supposedly May, but we will see.

      I too was disappointed with the 4K – eye strain, too dark in games, unable to read text easily
      my HTC Vive vs Pimax 4K vid
      Use the timeline in the videos description to go to the section in the video of interest

      But I did pledge to the 8K Kickstarter. I went for the Early Bird 8K X

      They say they have resolved the brightness issue, and the eye strain i had was due to the low refresh rate. The 8K X is at least 90hz, and seeing as the Vive does not give me eye strain and runs at 90hz, the 8K X should be good 🙂 Hopefully 🙂

  • koenshaku

    Japanese can have a field day with blow up dolls with this thing. When they actually make that game I will consider buying one =)

    • Evgeni Zharsky

      Odd

      • koenshaku

        Not that odd they’re already available there for the vive. If you can actually see your hands without the controllers though that would be much more immersive lol

  • wenhen

    They claim already solved the ghosting issue in their previous 4K mode by upgrade to CLPL display panel in 8K mode. and the refresh rate now reach to 90Hz. got from their Kickstarter campaign homepage:

    “Pimax was first to market with a 4K VR headset, and that was just the beginning. We’ve refined elements from our 4K model, including ghosting and brightness, and now we’re the first to bring you VR in 8K, with these issues resolved. Say goodbye to screen door effect, as we’re the ones putting “reality” into virtual reality.

    also find some reviews in youtube

  • Jonny C

    It somehow looks medieval.

  • koenshaku

    I wonder what GPU is supposed to run these resolutions…

    • unreal_ed

      “And it only has 3 GTX 1080 TIs as minimal specs!”

      • koenshaku

        I guess the primary people that funded the kick starter can afford it lol.

        • unreal_ed

          I think a lot of those are highly underestimating the hunger of that pixel count. But I could be wrong, I have no stats

      • James Holloway

        nope. it does not display the full res. it displays 1 4k screen at a time switching at 180 FPS. you won’t notice it switching. You only need a gtx980/1070. to run it. read their faq.

        • unreal_ed

          Ok, sounds smart, but I don’t think you can run a game like Lone Echo today at 4k with a 1070 (unless you lower the graphics pretty substantially). The Rift runs 1080×1200 at 90Hz which corresponds to 2 592 000 pixels per frame, but a 4k monitor (even just 1) displays 8 294 400 pixels per frame.

          Having to render 3.2 times the number of pixels takes a lot of extra computing power

          • Xzi Archlicht

            His info is actually incorrect. The input is 1440p, which is then upscaled to a single 4K panel and the image is alternated 150/180 times a second so the human brain doesn’t notice. A GTX 980(ti)/1070 will do the job of supersampling current Vives/Rifts at 1440p. Pimax 5K is two 1440p displays. Pimax 8K is 1440p upscaled to two 4K displays. Pimax 8K X allows for two DP 1.4 cords to get native 4K, but only with a GTX 1080Ti or greater. Also supports upscaling from 1440p.

  • IDCboutu

    Two 4k screens isn’t 8K and that should be highlighted in the article as it is very misleading. 8K means 4x4K or twice the resolution offered here.

  • wrapter

    lets be honest, Pimax has never released a good quality VR product and its been selling VR for a while now. There is no excuse for it. Just look at the 4k that is being sold right now. Make sure you test the device first before you throw your money away.

    • James Holloway

      You know this how? do you own one? I do. the 4k video far surpasses anything else available. only lacks roomscale tracking.

      • wrapter

        I should correct myself. That 4k headset is a 360 not VR. No I haven’t purchased the headset because most all reviews about the headset said that the brightness and contrast was to low. There is ghosting as well. You don’t notice that in your head set? I don’t, I own Rift and Vive. Do you own any VR headset? I will try it once it comes out. My bet is that it wont. Just a guess.

        • James Holloway

          what makes you think it is only 360? I own a PiMax 4k, a PiMax BE, AN HTC Vive, a Cybermaxx (circa 1995), and vuzix headsets. I’ve known and studied about VR for a long time. The PiMax is as much a true VR experience as the vive. It is like the rift before they had touch controllers. I do not notice much difference in the brightness compared to the vive. I have heard the rift was slightly brighter but neither of those have anywhere near the low SDE of the PiMax. PiMax Has continually improved the Software and updated the firmware. It now rivals either of the other two headsets. It has no ghosting, true 4k screens, is plenty bright (can be adjusted in the software). With a third party driver you can achieve full body tracking using a kinect or use the Leap Motion controllers besides the normal xbox 360 controllers. In the future i suggest you do a little research first.

          • Lectori Salutem

            I agree 100% with James… just like to add that NOLO VR controllers support the Pimax 4K. Yup, I also own the 4K model and prefer it to the VIVE myself.

  • tineras

    That video is terrible guys. It is so half-assed. The music is also too loud. If I were the boss, I would be pissed at whoever created/uploaded this.