Virtual reality has come a long way in a short period. Visual quality is improving. Tracking is getting there.
Games are becoming more and more in-depth.
Still, some setbacks are keeping VR from reaching critical mass. Prices are too high. Resolution isn’t high enough.
In this Pimax 4K VR Headset review, I’m taking a look at the ins and outs of the device, and while it does solve some of the inherent issues (cost and resolution), there are some stumbling blocks that keep it from being great.
Things to Consider Before Buying a VR Headset
When you have the correct hardware, VR can be an amazing experience. There are apps and games that make you feel like “you’re there.” You can be underwater, in outer space, or a movie theater. You can be a Jedi, a pirate, or even an elephant. If you want to experience scenes like these, then VR is definitely something you should consider.
Right now though, virtual reality remains a pipe dream for most users. You need a powerful PC to support the technology, and you’ll need some room to play games that you move around in. These rules apply to the Pimax 4K, and if you don’t have either, you’re probably better off getting a Gear VR, Oculus Go, or Oculus Quest headset, as they don’t need a PC or extra space.
Before you make the splurge on a Pimax 4K headset you should consider:
Presenting the Pimax 4K VR Headset
Pimax claims that their 4K VR headset model can help eliminate the dreaded screen door effect that has plagued every other consumer headset. They do this by delivering a 4K display (3840×2160) with 806 pixels per inch (PPI). This is much better than the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, which have a 2160×1200 resolution.
Inside the box you’ll find the headset, 3D headphones, straps, a USB cable, and documentation. Pimax did a good job packaging this headset, although the device and packing don’t meet the standards of higher priced competition.
This headset does require you to have a PC, and you’ll need a proper rig to play. This means that you’ll need a decent graphics card and processor, which you likely won’t get with a standard setup. Without a doubt, this device is for serious computer users. Casual users will want to look for a product like the Oculus Go.
Features & Benefits
When I first put on the Pimax 4K headset, I was impressed by the resolution.
I have used just about every existing VR headset and have always seen some sort of screen door effect.
While the effect is here, you have to squint to be able to see it.
The resolution certainly does this headset a lot of favors, especially in bright light. In this aspect, Pimax has certainly delivered.
The comfort of the headset is also good. Weighing in at just 290 grams, this headset can be worn for long periods. Weight has been an issue with other sets, but the Pimax 4K is well balanced and didn’t cause strain on my neck. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting the device to be as comfortable as it ended up being!
The included 3D headphones are acceptable, but I prefer the version that comes with the original Rift.
The headphones are functional, but they merely sounded “okay”. For the amount of money this headset costs, I expect higher quality.
When you purchase the Pimax 4K, you don’t get any controllers. This means that it’s up to you to pay extra for touch controllers. These run $300 if you go through the Pimax store, or you can order Oculus or HTC versions. This is a real downside, as it pushes the cost of the headset up.
Pimax is Open-Ended
One nice aspect of the Pimax is that it is open-ended. This means that you can use Steam VR, the Oculus platform, or PiPlay (Pimax’s software). The PiPlay Store looks nice enough, but it isn’t as well fleshed out as the other two platforms. I also noticed it was a little choppy while navigating. If I’m being honest, I will probably not use the PiPlay Store outside of this review and will instead keep using Steam.
When you look at the overall picture, you can see some things that Pimax did well here, but some areas look rough. These rough edges are disappointing. I wasn’t surprised by the lack of premium features, but I am disappointed. If having everything first-rate is a must, then the Pimax 4K may be a bit of a letdown. If you can deal with these issues, you will likely enjoy the headset.
What Others Have to Say
Being that Pimax is a smaller company than Facebook-owned Oculus or HTC, there is less press for the Pimax VR headsets. This has made it difficult to get a consensus on what others think of this product. I ended up searching around and found the following videos, which show user reviews of the Pimax 4K VR headset:
Alternatives to the Pimax 4K VR
Admittedly, the Pimax 4K isn’t for everyone. There is a bit more work to do to set it up, and it’s not as polished as some of the competition. Below are some alternatives, which compare nicely to the Pimax 4K and are also worth your consideration.
- Get 6 free titles, including: Robo Recall, Luckyʼs Tale, Quill, Medium, Dead and Buried, and Toybox
- Riftʼs ultra-low-latency tracking offers unparalleled immersion
Oculus Rift – the granddaddy of them all remains a great VR headset. Facebook has pumped a lot of money into their Oculus subsidiary and it shows in all facets. The hardware is great, tracking works well, and you can find the Rift for a good bargain right now, as the upcoming Rift S is replacing the product.
The Rift also includes a set of controllers, which work well and are handy for a lot of modern games coming out. If you factor this in, the Rift does compare favorably in many ways to the Pimax 4K.
- FLEXIBLE PLAY AREA - Use VIVE seated, standing or in a space up to 11'5" x 11'5". SteamVR Tracking provides the most ideal experience possible, so play the way that works for you.
- FULLY IMMERSIVE - Realistic movement and actions from precise, 360-degree controller and headset tracking with realistic graphics, directional audio and HD haptic feedback in the virtual world
HTC’s Vive is considered by many to be the best premium VR headset currently available. The resolution is impressive, albeit not as high as the Pimax 4K. The Vive also support room-scale VR, letting you move about as you play. The Vive hasn’t dropped in price as much as the Rift, but the value is still here for the set.
Like the other brands, the Vive is compatible with a lot of different software. If there’s something you want to play on your PC, then the Vive will more than likely support it. Once again, the inclusion of controllers is a nice tough that makes the Vive a good deal, even with its high price.
- Personal Viewing: The littlest, big screen. Crystal clear optics and state-of-the-art 3D graphics make your headset feel more like a personal theater
- Viewing with Friends: Watch with friends. Meet up in VR with friends and fans from around the world to catch live sports, concerts, or just your favorite TV show
If you’re looking for VR but don’t have a powerful PC, then the Oculus Go is a great choice. The headset is wireless and requires only a mobile phone to set up. The experiences aren’t going to be as deep as a PC headset can give you, but there’s a lot to like with the Go.
I have used mine for hours. It’s ideal for media consumption and light gaming. For the price, you can’t beat the value of the Go.
The Pimax 4K does a great job of bringing high-resolution VR to users. Screen door effect is kept to a minimum, and the comfort of the headset is awesome. Some things do feel cheap, and the lack of any controllers included in the box is a letdown.
Still, the end result is a good headset from a budget-minded developer that will provide competition. Competition is what the VR industry needs, and it’s good to see Pimax providing it.
If you’re thinking that the Pimax 4K VR headset is something that you’re interested in, you can click here to find the latest pricing.