In the world of VR headsets, PIMAX is a trailblazer. This obscure, Shenzen-based company was the first one to release a 4K VR headset for PC in late 2016. In the process, they beat the giants in the game, like Oculus and HTC, to the achievement. This is a product aimed at PC gamers. So, are all the extra pixels worth it? And how much does the headset cost? Let’s find out in our PIMAX 4K VR headset review.
PIMAX 4K VR Headset: Specs
|Headset Type||4K VR Headset|
|Resolution||3840 x 2160|
|Field of View||110-degree|
|Sensors||Double Gyrometers, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Light Sensor, Magnetometer|
|Platform||Windows, Oculus Home, and SteamVR|
The PIMAX 4K VR headset delivers more pixels than either the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive. They both max out at 2160 x 1200 resolution, which is 1080 x 1200 in each eye. Basically, the PIMAX delivers something closer to a real 2K resolution in one eye, which is still quite a lot. The FOV is 110 degrees, which is par for the course. The refresh rate is lower than the competition, at 60Hz. However, when it comes to the actual viewing experience, the PIMAX delivers a better image quality.
The main feature that stands out about this headset is the resolution. Not many brands offer a 4K resolution headset. Still, the 4K resolution we see in the PIMAX headset is in both eyes, so there is a 1920 x 2160 resolution in each eye. However, since current PC graphics hardware would have a tough time running a 4K resolution in each eye, there is nothing to complain about.
The only real trouble is in getting the thing to run, since it has minor setup and driver issues. Many users also report that it is not as comfortable as the big brand products. You do get Steam and Oculus compatibility, so running games like Euro Truck Simulator or Elite Dangerous is a piece of cake.
Pros and Cons
PIMAX 4K VR Headset: Design & Requirements
The overall design of this headset is quite slick and streamlined, with strong ABS polymer on the frame. The color is gray-black, and quite pleasing, with the “Pi” logo on the front. It uses elastic straps and thin foam, to provide a measure of comfort and snug fit on the face.
The PC minimum requirements are as follows:
- You need Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 as the OS.
- The graphics card has to be minimum Nvidia GTX 960/AMD R9 290, the equivalent, or higher.
- You need an Intel i5-4590 CPU, an AMD FX 8350, or anything in the same class.
- It requires a minimum 4GB of RAM.
- You need HDMI 1.4B for video output.
- It needs a USB 2.0 or 3.0 port.
PIMAX 4K VR Headset: Controls & Display
Unfortunately, there is no supported controller provided with the set. However, there is talk of PIMAX developing a controller in the future. So, if any game needs something similar to Vive controllers, or the Oculus pointer wand, it will not be playable with this set.
The display is made up of a twin aspheric lens, made of high transparent resin. The lens delivers a 2K resolution to both eyes. The lowered refresh rate of 60Hz will be a bother, at least initially, but with regular use, that should pass.
All in all, the PIMAX delivers 8.29 million pixels, which is almost four times what other headsets like Rift and Vive manage. The display has a pixel density of 806 PPI, which makes up for the slightly duller images.
PIMAX 4K VR Headset: Setup
A word of warning: you will have some issues with setup. The folks from Shenzen are big on hardware, but quite lacking in the software department. The headset will work right out of the box, once you manage to configure it.
The instructions are in English, but they’re barely adequate. The driver support is quite spotty, and you will have some trouble installing and configuring the company’s PiPlay Platform. However, this is not a deal breaker. You will just have to give installation and setup a few tries to get things right.
The PiPlay platform is pretty deserted. You will, however, find full support for Steam, once you manage to pass the benchmarking tests. That might have some niggles, since this 4K system is quite resource-hungry, and can tax even a high-end Nvidia GTX system.
PIMAX 4K VR Headset: User Experience
The driver installation and benchmarking were real chores, users report. However, once everything is set up, it is smooth sailing from then on. The games that are optimized for this kind of resolution look quite good. Unfortunately, there are very few of those around, though the numbers are growing every day.
4K videos are where you will truly fall in love with this headset, much more than games. There is a lot of video content out there in 4K these days, and they do look swell on this PIMAX VR headset. The set is rather on the heavier side, and it lacks foam covering over some parts, especially around the nose. Thus, expect discomfort after several hours of continuous use.
4K VR headsets are still an emergent market. There are just two or three such headsets on the market as of 2018. At the moment, PIMAX offers a tantalizing prospect, due to a combination of relatively low price and high image quality. It does have its flaws, but the superior video quality is there for all to see. Plus, at almost half the price of the competition, it can be a great choice if you want a 4K VR gaming and video experience. Tell us what you think of the PIMAX 4K VR headset in the comments section below.
Recommended read: Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive Review