Got my 5K+ on Friday and here is my impressions after 2 days of playing. (I have the Vive original as reference).
- No dead pixels
- No black dots. I searched and searched for them, they are not here.
- Color saturation / black level / brightness - all acceptable. No issues.
- SDE is visible, but a finer grid. Not a big problem.
- Tracking is solid, no issues.
- Wide FOV is the best. I see no reason the use “Normal” or “Small” FOV. The outer edges are useless for anything but peripheral vision so not seeing them clear isn’t really an issue.
Setup - I can’t explain all the steps of setup, but basically a lot of restarting Pitool, restarting steamVR, rebooting the computer, and eventually everything started working. Switching back to the Vive after having the Pimax working takes about 2 seconds. Switching back to the Pimax after having the Vive working takes a bunch of messing around and rebooting, pairing controllers, etc.
Distortion - Distortion is present at both the outer and inner edges of the lens. There are two things going on, but they mostly come together.
Distortion 1. Fishbowl effect. This is the image compressing at the edges before it disappears from view. The last sliver of view contains too many degrees view, and they are all squashed together. This only affects the outer edges, not really apparent in the rest of the view.
Distortion 2. Blur / smudge. This is the same effect as if you’ve looked through glasses and someone put a greasy fingerprint on it, or fog on the lens. This happens on the outer edge of the lenses in the same spots where the view is compressed, but there is also a band of smudginess on the inside edge of the lenses, just away from the nose.
IPD - Something is wrong with the way the image is displayed. Even on small FOV, it’s not easy on the eyes like a Vive. Something feels a little off. The feeling is of being walleyed, meaning your eyes point outwards. This is an uncomfortable sensation that is felt when using correct IPD settings. The way to reduce the feeling is by using a smaller IPD setting. However, by using a smaller IPD setting you increase the “fishbowl” effect. The only way to reduce the walleyed feeling without reducing IPD is to move the headset further away from your face, which leads to the next issue:
Head strap - This is the single biggest negative at the moment. Proper adjustment of the headstrap makes a huge difference in the perceived distortion, and also a “wrong feeling” on your eyes. The headset absolutely needs to sit further away from the face. Moving the headset away reduces the wrong feeling at larger IPD settings. I have a IPD of 67 and if I pull the headset away it feels good, but when it’s strapped down and tight it’s just wrong so I use a 63-64 IPD. (Which increases fishbowl distortion, but that’s more tolerable)
In the long run we need a way to articulate each lens while having the main unit mounted firmly against the face. Even foveated rendering will require this I am sure. The current headstrap is just inadequate.
There is a loop of cloth on the headstrap which you are intended to route your cable through. Don’t do it, the cable will pull on the headstrap from gravity and make positioning worse.
Eyelashes hit the lenses. - This is sort of related to the headstrap issue. The lenses are too dang close, never mind distortion. They get gunked up with eye grease quickly. I have deep set eyes and this is still a problem.
Face foam - Besides being too thin the face foam gets too sweaty too quickly. We need multiple face foams to use a fresh one while another one is drying out. And some sort of ventilation into the eye space would be wonderful.
Cord - The Pimax cord is the same length as the Vive cord, but the Vive linkbox it adds another 42". Long story short, the Vive cord was just barely long enough for a roomscale experience, and the Pimax cord without linkbox pushes that limit even lower. It’s easier to get tangled up in the Pimax cord, and easier to pull on it because it isn’t reaching far enough. A longer cord is definitely needed for some kind of overhead cable routing, but even just for normal use it feels too short.
Other - Center View output doesn’t work in Headset Mirror with Pimax. If you want to watch the action with your friend playing in VR, you must choose “Left eye” or “Right eye”. If you select “Center View”, it just shows a zoomed in Left eye. This is a disadvantage to the social aspect of the headset, without a center view it’s hard for friends to follow along.
Conclusion: Worth my money, but… The face adjustment needs to change. The cushioning and the whole face articulation. If that doesn’t happen then it’s basically a tie with the Vive because the Vive is a lot cheaper and less hassle, and less stress on the eyes.