5KXR & 5K+ Impressions

Today got finally my 5kXR, I already owned 5k+ & as I always loved Oled HDMs since CV1 I had a hard time to ignore contrast & grey blacks on 5k+, so I decided to try a 5kXR.

I really easy had setup it, all was good, controllers paired, changed settings to pure black, +3/-2 contrast/brightness, up supersampling in steam to about 4000 pixels per eye (Pitool 1 SS), ensured my nvidia 3d settings also were good as usual, also by some reason lenses adjustment went really paintless, so I assume it’s coz I already adopted to pimax lenses, for sure I aligned it properly on my face, tilted it a bit further from below (it increases clarity on sides & eliminates image wobling for me). So initially colors were ok for me, even brightness was more or less ok & I didn’t get why everybody was upset about it. Then I tried to test The Blue (3rd scene in the dark) what I noted is that the black is pitch black but around light emitting objects (fishes) there are weird artifacts, it had high contrast step gradient, e.g. like somebody painted in old paint different tones of greys with really sharp borders, so it’s like a step gradient not a smooth one, & width of gradient lines were about 0.5-1cm (if you look irl with your eyes & place measuring object at 20cm away of your eyes). Well I tried to lower contrast, switch between different black modes - it became less prominent but in any case it was terrible/awful, well it was the only game I had this problem in but on other headsets with pitch black like Samsung O+, Vive(OG/Pro) I have no this effect.

Well ok then I started playing different games, titles, trying different colour contrast/brightness setups & after about 3-4 hours I was upset by headset, it was a dissapoitment, why:

  1. it really feels not as bad in terms of brightness but it’s still dull, if you change contrast/brightness you can get it bright - but colours get washed out, also despite colours reproject good on 0/0, they are not vivid (they not wahsed out, but they aren’t vibrant). I will attach image from internet to try describe what I experience there:

it’s not near as vivid as any of oled HDMs I ever had & this is not fault of panels afair they use the same panels as samsung O+ & they are super bright & colours & pitch black all is there. So I bet pimax locked it in firmware & since this product isn’t sold good they don’t work on it at all. The colours look not awful again, but the picture is dull & doesn’t look like OLED, it looks like really a good LCD with great contrast & pitch black but not bright.

  1. SDE, initially I wasn’t dissapointed by it, but as longer I used the HDM as more I started to note it, I really used to SDE & it doesn’t bother me on OLED screens, but as here we have dull screen, it lacks of brightness the SDE becomes more prominent, dark colours, black areas look good & sometimes you almost can’t see it, but on any bright colours, light scenes, especially on white & red colours it’s significant, it’s not as bad as on HTC OG vive, but Vive feels better with worse SDE coz it has vibrancy, it’s vivid. It’s not near as good as HTC Vive Pro. Sometimes it’s close in terms of SDE (dark areas) to Pro but the image itself despite of supersamping & other settings looks like low resolution one even if it’s sharp (I don’t get that feeling on CV1 though but SDE is also big there).
    Well I knew that pimax panels utilization below 80% (about 70% afair) and this panel stretched across big FOV. I will double say it - it’s not that worse, it’s big enough but not worse, what worse is the combination of dark visuals which look like LCD (with better contrast & pitch blacks) + big SDE.

Then I put on my 5k+ & LOL grey steam games launch screen didn’t bother me, the image was much more detailed & softer (not blurrer). It has no smear (the smear btw is really good on 5kXR but I bet it’s due to dim/dull FW screen setting) on 5kXR HZs didn’t bother at all I didn’t feel like it’s in under HZ moded, but on 5k+ I have more feeling of 3D (immersion). Colours are also good, the really problem is that black is not black in every other aspect 5k+ beats the 5kXR in the state 5kXR currently is. I would never recommend to buy 5kXR instead of 5k+ even if 5k+ would be 1.5 times more expensive. But the fact is that 5kXR almost 2 times more expensive than 5k+.

In overall 5kXR doesn’t feel like a bad headset, it’s just nothing especial except FOV & even OG vive IMO provides more pleasant feeling. The one positive thing I got on XR is that it appeared to me my 5kXR lenses a bit better as I was able to setup them & saw almost clear the whole screen from edge to edge, only on the outer edget (11% of all screen) image was blurry a bit. But 5k+ just feels way better.

My assumption is that if Pimax would unlock brightness level (nits) not colours brightness then 5kXR will play with new colours & it will be much more pleasant headset. I just don’t have any idea why they deny to do it. If they afraid of burn in - other HMDs don’t bother at all & I never had a burn it, HDM becomes obsolete faster than burn in happens I played my CV1 for about 3 years non stop without any issues.

Also if they concerned about smear effects - well it’s better to use HDM with customizable smear rather than to not use it at all & reviews & their sells confirm that.

I tried to attach image of SDE that I see but in addition to screenshot above it also has dull colour as from above DK/CV1 comparison image, I use TV without zooming so probably it won’t look the same on monitor or phone screen.

Also just another comparison, about 1 week ago I finally convienced myself to buy HTC Vive Pro I wanted it for about 2 years & tried it at spring of 2019 (used HMD) but SDE really was just slightly updated & it looked more or less like my CV1 a bit better but that difference didn’t any significant change to me. Also I watched so many really bad reviews about Vive Pro e.g. Linus Tech Tips etc, so despite it I finally decided to buy one as it’s the only one more or less good PC OLED HMD at the moment. And wow, I don’t know what happened but seems HTC did some changes & SDE looks way better from what I remembered when I tried it. It’s really good. It’s my daily driver now. The only problems it has are usual for mainstream HMDs FOV, smearing (as every OLED screen has, but it’s not a problem for me at all) & lenses smearing (unfocusing issue) on the sides of screen (fixable by GearVR mod though). 5kXR just can’t be on par with Vive Pro headset in any regard but FOV. I also preffer vive more than Index & 5k+ & any other HMDs I have & tried, I also use Quest daily as it’s really handy just to play echo arena. But for PC VR titles it was my best VR buy I ever made. And the HMD costed 1/3 cheaper than the 5kXR (considering custom fees).

But the only real problem with vive pro for me is that valve blocked to use forcing true black color on vive (black_clamp off) I can get it working with non direct display mode & nvidia colours & it looks amazing with good (not bothering) smear but it’s not possible to get it working withing direct mode unfortunately, but clamped black also not so bad & I only note it in games like The Blue. Hopefull they will return those setting in debug tool for steam vr later.


Great impressions thank you for taking the time to post.


Exactly my feelings on XR, owning 5k+, quest and vive pro.

I did several A/B tests on HLA in very specific scenes (like the one in the hostel with several orange bio cuves and orange solidified foam everywhere on green ceramic tiles).
The vive pro wins everywhere on colors hue, brightness, definition, (you can’t see as “far” on XR compared to vive pro because far objects pixelate really fast on Xr) SDE (identical sde and panel irregularities on vive pro, but XR optically magnifies the panel a lot across the fov so these are bigger and more visible) …But FOV.
Your DK2 CV1 picture shows exactly the XR/Vive PRO incorrect hue or color saturation I obtain when going back to XR.

I also did the same a/b with my 5k+ and every department but the blacks and even the colors was far better than on XR. I can’t vouch for colors saturation on my 5k+ anyway because I only have a 202 5k+ and heard that earlier 5k+ panels are better on color rendition (could anyone confirm that?).

The last test I did was a/b on Elite Dangerous btw XR and 5k+.
There, the XR brought total immersion due to the blacks and contrast and incredibly the lesser pixel density and contrast showed in XR for ED made everything “space cold and lonely”.
Interesting enough, switching back to 5k+ made everything too much detailed, flat and overall grey from the spaceship cockpit to space itself.
On 5k+ (comparing to XR) space void you see from your cockpit view felt like a bad theater drawn and moving curtain or like early mechanic space simulators for NASA missions with handrewn star fields.

I still have to test Elite Dangerous with my vive Pro and decide whether to keep the XR or not (maybe today).

I understand that XR owners without another HMD to compare (equipped with similar OLED generation pannels) might feel XR is better than their previous OLED hmd (most review I read before purchasing.XR came from previous DK2 or OG vive) but if you put a vive pro into the equation (or maybe an original odyssey, can’t say didn’t test) then going to XR reduces all picture quality in every department but blacks.

If Pimax had an opportunity to add custom controls in PItools to boost the OLED pannel color saturation and NITS, this could make the loss of perceived resolution acceptable balancing the augmented fov and probably boost sales for this specific product from positive reviews and I would myself be glad to tell everybody the best experience I have had with this HMD, which I can’t today (apart from elite Dangerous, and this rating is subject to further vive pro testing).

Sorry for my monologue, but I wish I had have the opportunity to read such reviews before purchasing a XR, so I do humbly thanks OP for creating the topic and Hope that our combined opinion on the product might help people decide on whether XR is for them.


Thanks for sharing it was interesting reading, I have Elite D. in Oculus store will try to run it again hope it will work, also insterested in testing some space game where XR can look good due to FOV & blacks (less visible SDE etc).

Btw did you try to force enable pitch black on vive pro? Try it how to enable pitch black, it really shows the power of this HMD, I can’t unseen this once I saw, as I said the most immersive feeling was in “The Blue” 3rd scene.

Ah yes I almost forgot to mention what I liked about XR actually, it was Onward in night environment, on vive pro, O+ the smear on pitch black is unplayable, only in Onward by some reason, I don’t get such smear problem even in true black The Blue, so having pitool at +4/-3 contrast/brightness made Onward look like at O+ Hmd & Pro with enabled pitch black, visuals were identical & smearing was unplayable, Pro better a bit but still worse (I mean in forced pitch black moded without clamping). So decreasing contrast made Onward look really good at night scene - where almost everywhere is dark apart of couple of lights. So XR wins in really dark environments (without any colours constrast scenes like HL:A), Vive Pro would be better if they also allow to adjust contrast probably there can be some hacks, at least in non direct mode you can play it through nvidia colour setings, but tracking is not playable, it’s just to get impression what HMD can if software is done accordingly.


You should do the gear lens mod on the vive pro , it makes a vast improvement , put some extra double sided tape on the outer ( peripheral ) side of the lens adapters to combat any possible eyestrain

Seeing a lot of people recommending the mod and some also reverting due to eyestrain and barrel distortion (even with the software fix) but I might get one set anyway as I can’t bear the fuzzy edges on the pro lenses. Any good EU source for the kit you may recommend ?

I have mentioned about the dull colors on different threads, But Pimax, from the COO and Quorra have completely ignored it. The XR never was a unit they cared to promote. There hasn’t been any substantial update to make better use of this unit despite being more expensive. My feeling is, their team is mainly focusing of the 8KX, 5K+, Artisan. This may be their bread and butter based of their installed user based. Which is a damn shame, because it they put more love to fixing the deficiencies of the XR unit, maybe more people would purchase them.

This is what happen when a small team become very ambitious and can not support all variant of their product line.

Perhaps XR owners should be more vocal towards Pimax to force them to comment on the matter. At this stage they are ignoring it


Just put some extra double sided tape under the outer ( peripheral ) side of the lens adapters to combat any possible eyestrain , fixes the larger lcd issue

get them on ebay easily enough

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