Pimax 5k+ first impressions (sjefdeklerk)

So I’ve been playing 2 hours with my 5k+. First impressions:

  • Setup: tried running it with .76 of pitools, didn’t detect the HMD (like everybody it seems). Upgraded to .90 and once I started that it immediately flashed a new FW and the HMD was detected. Lighthouses weren’t, I had to remove that lighthouse folder in the config dir, then everything worked. So far so good.

  • Visual quality/SDE. @mixedrealityTV said not to expect a big step up from the Vive Pro. I feel, so far, that it’s actually a slight step down. The SDE is ‘funny’, it’s not that it’s much bigger than the Vive Pro, it probably is about the same size. The layout is different though. But what actually disturbed me where the ‘spots’ that @sweviver talked about. It depends on the colour of the back ground. Sometimes you don’t even notice them and sometimes they really ruin the scene. Well, not ‘ruin’ in that it sucks. It’s not that bad. But ‘ruin’ in that you actually see it. When I play a game with my Vive Pro I pretty much never think of the SDE. So far, with the Pimax 5k, it was several times ‘in my face’. However, of course this is just my very initial impression and I might ‘forget’ about it after some more time.

  • Distortion. And I’m not talking about the ‘distortion’ at the edges. I’m talking about geometry distortion. I don’t think I’ve seen ANYBODY talk about this so I was highly surprised. The first thing I thought when I entered the SteamVR room, was “damn, something is off” and then I saw that it’s simply the distortion profile: if you look at an object and then move your head left to right (keep looking at that object), the geometry changes. I found this effect VERY disturbing. You can see it very well when you look at a large vertical object like a tree, keep looking at it, move your head left to right and the tree top actually bends left to right.

  • Render bug at the edges: you see objects popping in at the edges (large FoV), even in the SteamVR room. Quite disturbing, I’m sure this is fixable though.

  • IPD button. I never really liked the Vive Pro’s IPD button, for it takes sometimes like 5 seconds before you see the IPD menu pop up after moving the button. However the Pimax ipd button is far worse. First of all I couldn’t even dial in my IPD, not sure but had to fiddle with the button quite a bit. And then it just ‘jumps’ every now and then, mostly when you put on the HMD.

  • Comfort: quite bad, compared to the Vive Pro. It hurts my nose a bit and I still haven’t found a way to wear it comfortable. Also not sure what the best way is to adjust it, with the HMD on your face or not. Will mess around with it some more, maybe i can get it more comfortable

  • Light bleed at nose: doesn’t happen with my Vive Pro, but quite a bit of light around my nose enters. But this can easily be solved with some fabric.

  • Colours: not as bad as I had thought. Sure it’s no way as good as OLED but I found it very acceptable.

Ok, put the HMD at ‘large’ FoV. Then some test. First thing I ran was … a porn movie! Hey I’m a man :slight_smile: Wanted to see how it looked and it left my quite unimpressed. One thing is that those studio’s put their name in the far left/right and now you suddenly see that. But not sure why I didn’t like it that much, the feeling of presence was less than with my Vive Pro. Maybe because of the geo distortion. First impression is that if porn vid’s are your thing, I think you’d like the Vive Pro better. Ok, then for a game. I tried Skyrim and ok, NOW it impressed me. The FoV is really nice, much more immersive. I was happy to see that the distortion around the edges, the ‘big ring of light’ was nowhere as horrible as I had imagined it. It’s like somebody said, you’re wearing diving goggles and water is leaking around the edges. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. At least not in my experience, I was positively surprised there. But sure, it’s there and it might be irritating for some.

In general I totally agree with what @Neoskynet said about the ‘fried egg’ lens design. Only the round part is clear, that whole ‘flat’ part of the lens is fuzzy.

Anyway these are just my very first impressions and I surely might change my opinion somewhat after some more gaming.

Biggest downside so far is, interestingly enough the thing that (I think) nobody even mentioned: the geo distortion profile (or did @OlivierJT talk about this? Going to re-read his review) . If pimax can fix this, then the HMD will become so much better. I think this currently really destroys the feeling of presence.

Anyway my very first impression is that it’s nowhere as good as @mixedrealityTV made it sound. But again, it’s my very first impression, after messing around with it for a couple of days I might change it of course. And I also think some of the downsides I mentioned above are fixable in software.


Congratulation on your HMD !
I guess you are running tests at the moments!

Really wierd this distortion thing, I dont feel it that much, wonder if its because of HMD of my eyes/brain.
@Heliosurge do you notice different distortions between both?


I thought that was only for short/free demo clips?

This is something that was fixed by Pimax in most games since beta phase, but for some reason Steam VR Home Beta still has this issue indeed. Not that I ever use the Home anyway :slight_smile:

The geometrical distortion could be caused by wrong IPD. We had this issue back in m1 phase but it was fixed long ago. Sounds weird anyhow as none of us has seen it since months ago.

Give it a few more days and you will not touch your Vive Pro anymore :wink: its impossible to go back.

Glad to see you are happy with it overall!


Truth @Fresco mentioned what your calling geometric distortion. Now you have mentioned it on far left and right (peripherals) But if you also stretch your eyes you will also notice this effect a bit on the top or bottom of the lens. I called it warping.

SDE though I am surprised you find it about the same as Vive Pro. However the vibrancy of the Oled Vive pro compared the 5k+ could be influencing perception. My Vive Pro experience was at an Arcade with titles like Bullet sorrow VR, Space Pirate Trainer and a couple of others in a VR Arcade using 1080 tis but maybe they don’t have the setting tweaked enough or the titles themselves might not showcase things in the best light. I think on some things it’s perhaps not so much sde but pixel layout we are more seeing on the 5k+ and on the 8k it’s more the voids in the sub pixel layout we notice.

As for head mount if you have the Vive Das or even checkout my poor man’s deluxe head mount is quite comfortable.

Now with the 5k+ in larger white lettering it’s the horizontal lines that even show in the over zoomed shots giving the horizontal lines layering effect is due to the low 1440 resolution where as the Vive Pro has 1600 works better. The 8k gets a bit of speckled look in large white lettering due to the voids noticed in those good sub pixel shots of recent days.

War Robots VR is decent for checking out pixel pattern effect. In the beginning your in a building with 4 walls and have to shoot the weak wall to exit. If you look at the right wall you can see the pixels forming the wall. The 8k is less pronounced due to increased resolution and softness.

Both headsets you can read the warning beside the chair your sitting in. Right & down. This one is free.

GunJack looks great & will likely run great on just about any setup.


The distortion he describes. I see it too. from the fellow who posted a review on his glasses (not vr headset) this is likely due to no bezel covering the edge of the lenses like other gen 1 headsets have.

Now to notice it more regularly in my case you have to be looking to far right or left (peripheral) or top/down with eyes focused more towards the lens’ edges. Most this isn’t likely to bother most but some might have some difficulty until one’s mind learns to ignore it much like gen 1 headset flaws. As in most cases most I don’t think in game would be stretching their gaze to that extent. Simply put looking too close to the edge of the lens where it tapers off.

Well it was really the first thing that struck me when I put on the HMD and watched the SteamVR room, that something was not right. I think this actually might be the reason why you need dynamic distortion correction, because if you keep looking at an object while moving your head, your pupils are actually moving. Or better said, your pupils are still but your head is moving :slight_smile: So you’d need different distortion profiles probably for different iris positions. So maybe pimax can fix this with eye tracking? I hope so.

Anyway I do think this is the main reason why Sebastian said you ‘need to grow a new pair of VR legs’ because this distortion effect actually induces nausea. Add to that the distortion at the edges and yes, you’ll probably get faster sick on this HMD than on a small FoV HMD. However, that being said, I haven’t felt sick yet myself, but I’ve only played very little, had a very busy day. Hopefully some more time tomorrow.

Some things are better than I expected, some things worse. All in all I was impressed with Skyrim so far. But I really need (much) more time before I can really make a good judgement. Anyway just wanted to share my very first impression here. Will surely update my findings after some more time with the HMD.


Quad Port rendering like StarVR is using might help as well as you separate the distortions into regions. Combine this with dynamic correction and could be quite the nice effect.


So for SDE from more to less it will be:
Pimax 5K+ > Vive Pro > Oculus Go > Pimax 8K > Pimax 4K.
Thanks! I think I’ll keep my 8K. Maybe.

Vive Pro > Pimax 5K+ >= Oculus Go > Pimax 8K > Pimax 4K > Odyssey+


Thanks for the review. Looking forward to mine next week.


noticing SDE may depend on SS value , Pitool settings and even Pitool versions.
So I’m supriced that ppl judge easly which HMD have less SDE without long tests


I agree, to really compare the SDE you need more time and really do a side by side test. The thing is that it’s actually not so straightforward to compare the SDE as I had thought. First there’s the different SDE pattern between the 5k+ and the Vive pro (where the 5k+ are just horizontal/vertical square blocks and the Vive Pro has triangles). And then there are the ‘spots’ that Sweviver first described. These spots are very noticeable in some back grounds and not noticeable at all, it seems in other back grounds. So that makes it extra hard to do a fair comparison.


Good to see your headset arrived and not a scam :slight_smile:

Surprised certain people claim your impressions are an overall success

It seems this headsets good for some things. In my case the ED reviews I’ve been reading are pretty bad. It seems they could fix many things in software but I don’t see that happening

Hopefully they make some progress in future updates


Well I personally don’t even know yet what I think about the HMD. I found Skyrim impressive at first sight. But I really was put off with the incorrect geo distortion. Maybe more so because I don’t even remember any of the testers talking about it on the private forum so this was actually a big surprise. Then again, I just re-read @OlivierJT’s review and he did describe it:

"The distortion is off, horizontally there is some stretching going on: put the object in the center of your view, rotate horizontally so the object move to the side of the screen and keep your eyes straight to the screen: The object will squeeze and then grow while fading in a mix of lens blur and chromatic aberration, adding on top of that the bright arc of light.
This effect is super distracting and kill the whole experience at if give you the sensation you are dragging the side of the outer screen with you when you rotate… not… good.”


“The deformation are even more impact full as the horizontal one as it’s compressed over a smaller (vertical) FOV. It showed me object on the ground bigger than they are if I don’t look directly at them (The Robot Drone docked in the ground). This is super distracting… it’s even more than that… it’s motion sickness inducing as the whole ground feels wobbly/unstable.”

Yeah, that’s EXACTLY what I was talking about. But then again, if you just can “forget” about that and can “forget” about the blurry ring at the edge of the wide FoV, then I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun with this HMD. But I’m not sure yet if I can.

But man, I think Pimax really needs to put in effort to fix the geo distortion issue, either with or without eyetracking, I personally feel this (by far) is number 1 thing to work on right now @Sean.Huang

Anyway, today I have some hours to play, so going to start right now :slight_smile:


Cool bro. New loot to mess round with :+1: Enjoy


Nice review, thanks. are you running it in large FOV, I thought most are using Normal FOV ?


By the way. Open back earphones on the Valve HMD. 90’s head band. Looks sweet



Except for the 5K+, I and other people have had the chance to try the different SDEs by swapping headsets in seconds and for as long as we wanted.
I notice it quite defined even with the 4K, and no matter the software, you can easely see it with a white background.


Ok played an hour more and man, this HMD is starting to grow on me!! In fact I’m starting to understand now what @sweviver has been saying. He’s right when he said that you can look for all of the weaknesses this HMD has (and it has quite a few) BUT … man some games are just AWESOME to play! In fact I just ran Nature Treks and man, this is simply is the best VR experience I’ve had in my life. Period. Some of these scenes are simply breath taking on the pimax 5k+, I have no other words.

Yesterday I mostly tried it in wide FoV mode. Today I’ve switched to normal mode and I can say that this really is the Fov mode to use. It’s still wide enough to be impressive, but you’ll lose a lot of that blurry edge effect and it just makes it so much better. So for me there’s no question, normal FoV is the mode I’m going to run this thing on.

Ok, then onto the weaknesses. Something new that i discovered and I found disturbing: the audio plug is horrible, I think I saw somebody mention this yesterday too, but man, it just doesn’t seem to connect very well and I keep losing quite a lot audio in one ear, after which I need to fiddle with it. Quite irritating and Pimax, you guys need to fix this! @Sean.Huang

Also, like mentioned yesterday, it’s disturbing that due to this render bug objects pop in/pop out in your peripheral view. This might in fact currently be my number 1 irritating factor. Again, pimax, fix this, it’s really important.

I also think the lenses are just a bit too close to your face. In fact, I figured, ‘damn this sweetspot is small, not sure why everybody says it’s big’, but then I realized that sweat from my nose had spread onto the lenses. So after cleaning them, the sweet spot was really good. But the fact that sweat from your nose can spread onto the lenses is of course not desirable.

I think I’m getting a bit used already to the morphing/distortion effect I and Olivier described. However it does break immersion to a certain degree.

Then the SDE. I now can see why some say it’s better than the Vive Pro. It really seems like that in certain scenes. In fact, my current conclusion is that as long you don’t see those ‘spots’ that Swe talked about, the SDE feels better than the Vive Pro. When you do see those spots, it’s worse. In general I feel that text is a bit sharper on the Vive Pro though.

The colours, man I personally don’t see all the fuzz about it. They’re MUCH better than the Pimax 4k. Sure it’s not as good as the Vive Pro but for me this really is only a small thing. Sure, dark is a tad more gray but I didn’t find it disturbing.

All in all, if Pimax can fix the issue’s above, this by far will be the best HMD available. But still, especially the geo distortion effect might not be that easily fixable, maybe eye tracking is needed to fix it. Either way, like said, I’ve already seen some most of the impressive VR scenery I’ve ever seen so I can understand the hype now. This HMD is not perfect (yet) but man, some of the scenes are so wonderful that they easily make up for it.


Don’t hate me for this beeing one of my main concerns. Happy to hear that you don’t find it much of a deal. Have fun playing and keep on sharing your thoughts.

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Well everybody is different and it might also depend on your favourite game and the main color schedule it uses. But I’ve tried quite a few different settings (With “nature treks” I’ve almost tried all enviroments) and again, although I admit that the Vive Pro has better colors, it’s pretty much a non-issue to me.

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