|Subtype||8K Resolution VR Headset|
|GPU||GTX 980/1070 or AMD R9 Nano, Equal or above|
|Display||Custom low-latency LCD screen|
|Resolution||8K (4K for each eye)|
|Pixel Density||2 * 3840x2160, 16.6 million total pixels|
|Refresh Rate||Monocular 75Hz / (Up to 90Hz although struggling to better 80Hz) (Both eyes 150Hz / 180Hz through Brainwarp)|
|Field of View||200-degree FOV|
|Tracking||Gesture Tracking (optional)|
|Latency||18ms (Low MTP Latency)|
|Audio||2x3.5 mm headphone jack, stereo headphones, integrated headphones|
|Sensors||Light Sensor, Motion Sensor, Distance Sensor|
|Release Date||Q2 2018 (as per CES 2018)|
Pimax 8K HMD – the prototype of the world’s first 8k resolution virtual reality headset was launched at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. The latest VR headset from Pimax comes with two 4k (3840 x 2160 pixels) displays (one for each eye), 200-degree Field of View (FOV), and Fresnel lenses. Each unit of Pimax 8K headset is tentatively priced at $799. A Kickstarter campaign for the 8K headset was launched on September 19, 2017, and ended on November 3 of the same year.
The prototype of Pimax 8K looks a lot like the StarVR HMD with a mounting mechanism similar to the PlayStation VR. Although the Pimax 8K headset looks bulky, people who tried it have reported that it did not feel heavy. Like the StarVR HMD, the Pimax 8K too has its display placed with a slight Dutch Tilt. The prototype headset comes fitted with Fresnel lenses. People who tested the 8K headset were surprised by the absence of the problematic ‘God Ray’ artifact what often plagues devices with Fresnel lenses. The new Pimax HMD looks quite different from its predecessor. That’s because the Pimax 8K is fitted with a magnetometer, light sensor, motion sensor, distance sensor, and gyroscope. These additions are sure to improve the head tracking capabilities of the virtual reality headset.
Pimax 8K HMD – Features
The 8K, 3840 x 2160 pixels per eye resolution is, without a doubt, the best feature of the new Pimax VR headset. Wearing the headset, the users will have a tough time discerning pixels on the screen. Pimax 8K boasts of having a higher resolution than that of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. The 8K HMD is much sharper and more transparent than other virtual reality headsets that are currently available. The truly next-generation 8K virtual reality headset ensures the users don’t experience any aliasing or screen door effect. The aliasing and screen door effects are common problems seen in other HMDs. The extremely high-resolution display in Pimax 8K makes sure the virtual objects don’t appear jagged at the edges and no distinguishing lines appear between pixels. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas, the Pimax 8K HMD was demonstrated using the on-rails game Showdown created by Epic Games. The on-rails shooting game was run using the NVIDIA GTX 1070 card.
Field of View (FOV)
Equally impressive is the ultra-wide Field of View. The Pimax 8K is designed with 200-degree FOV, which is better than the 100-degree FOV in Vive and Rift. Peripheral awareness gets a big boost with higher FOV, but it doesn’t add much to the actual immersive experience.
Motion to Photon Latency
The Pimax 8K HMD comes with a motion-to-photon latency of 18ms, which is ideal to avoid nausea and motion sickness. The motion-to- photon (MTP) latency is the time taken by the headset to reflect the user’s movement on the screen. For example, a user, wearing a virtual reality headset, moves his/her head to the right. If the movement to the right is reflected on the display 25ms after the action, then the MTP latency of the VR HMD is 25ms. Low MTP latency (ideally, less than 20ms) is necessary to avoid nausea and motion sickness. MTP needs to be low to give the user the feeling he/she is present in the virtual world.
The Pimax 8K provides the option to use different tracking solutions. It has outside-in tracking based on cutting-edge laser technology with minimal latency, 100% compatible with Valve lighthouses and all Steam accessories. Furthermore, 360-degree positional tracking is possible with only one base station.
The other tracking method possible is inside-out, using attachable modules that will be released.
The user can switch between these two tracking options.
The Brain Wrap Technique
Taking a leaf out of Oculus’ book Pimax has added the Brain Wrap technique to the 8K VR headset. Brain Wrap is a fairly simple and interesting concept used to deliver the 4K quality picture to each eye. The GPU takes the orders from the drivers and renders frames in a sequential manner. The GPU first renders a picture of 4K resolution to just one eye. This is followed by another rendering of the picture of the same resolution to the other eye. The whole cycle is repeated again and again. As the Pimax 8K headset renders frames at very high speeds (up to 240 times a second), the high-speed sequencing fools the brain into believing that the eyes (both right and left) see the same picture. The same brain-wrap technique is used by the active shutter 3D glasses.
The Brain Wrap technique comes with its own set of special requirements or challenges. Ordinary processors do not generate enough power to push the frames in the Pimax 8K headset. The virtual reality headset will need a powerful PC with either one NVIDIA GTX 1080 or two NVIDIA GTX 1070 graphics cards. According to a group who tried the Pimax 8K VR headset, both AMD Radeon R9 390X and Intel Core i5 6600K were not good enough to power the 8K HMD smoothly. They had to use NVIDIA Quadro M6000 12GB to run Pimax 8K smoothly.
Equally challenging is the task of performing, what they call, ‘very accurate synchronous fine tuning’. It’s a very delicate task that might result in a motion artifact known as ghosting.
Along with the new 8K VR HMD, Pimax has also introduced special accessories specific to the 8k headset. The special accessory package includes two gaming controllers, two position devices, and a stand.
The Pimax 8K will cost around $799. People who already own a Pimax 4K will have to shell out twice the price to buy the Pimax 8K headset. But, the new HMD is totally worth the price. The Pimax 8K is the sole member of the 8K resolution and 200-degree FOV group. It boasts of specifications and features that are far better than its nearest price competitor HTC Vive.
The Kickstarter campaign for the Pimax 8K started on September 19 and ran until November 3, 2017. The campaign was highly successful with 5946 backers pledging $4,236,618.
The amount gathered surpassed the 2012 Oculus’ Kickstarter that had 9522 backers pledging $2,437,429.
According to Pimax, the choice of the Kickstarter platform for this project was due to the fact that they wanted to have a base camp of passionate and creative people who could shape the Pimax 8k based on their feedback. The company wrote, “Not only do we value the input of you early adopters, but for the developers amongst you - we want to make sure we are tailoring a headset to your specific needs in terms of enhancing the VR experiences you create.”
There are some benefits for those that backed the project, as explained on its Kickstarter page:
1.The first group of backers will become part of our core community and your demands/requests will always be our top priority; 2.After the campaign, we won't consider retail until we have fulfilled all the Kickstarter packages; 3.We made the price on Kickstarter merely cover the cost - and this will always the lowest possible price you can pick up Pimax 8K; 4.The Kickstarter version will be the final consumer version.
As an alternative to the Pimax 8K, the company offered a special 5K edition for Kickstarter: the Pimax 5K. This device has basically the same features as the Pimax 8K, with the only differences being in resolution and price.
Pimax is expected to start delivering the Kickstarter campaign devices in January 2018.
The Pimax 8k has received praise for the increased pixel density that reduces screen door effect and also its wider field of view.
Nevertheless, some people have been pointing out that the Pimax 8K does not have 8K resolution. The device’s resolution is 7680 x 2160, which is below the 8K 7680 x 4320. Indeed, the company has been accused of misleading people with the product name but it has argued back that the ‘8K’ is to highlight the much higher horizontal resolution present in its device.
More accurately, the Pimax 8k headset has two 4K panels (3840 x 2160) with a 90 Hz refresh rate.
People who have tried the prototype version of the Pimax 8K say that the headset is a very wide HMD made of a lightweight rigid plastic material. The headset is comfortable and lighter than expected considering its size.
Brief sessions with applications such as Fruit Ninja lead to the conclusion that the Pimax 8k is the most immersive virtual reality gameplay ever experienced. There are no black borders within the user’s vision, giving the illusion that the person is not looking through a VR headset.
The 200-degree field of view of the Pimax headset is a lot wider compared to the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR, immersing the user in a way that other headsets can not currently emulate.
No sub-pixels or ghosting was noticed by users of the Pimax. Indeed, according to some analysts, the Pimax 8K does not suffer from screen door effect.