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Pimax Gets Budget-Friendlier With the $450 Artisan VR Headset

Pimax Artisan

Pimax Artisan (Image credit: Pimax)

If you haven’t heard of Pimax, it’s probably because it’s virtual reality (VR) headsets have been out-of-reach for most consumers. With its most premium headset, the Pimax Vision 8K X starting at $1,299 for an 8K resolution experience, Pimax has been reserved for professional applications and hardcore VR enthusiasts. That’s about to change with today’s announcement of the entry-level Pimax Artisan VR headset that will start at $449.

Pimax Artisan

We’re not crazy; $449 isn't quite ‘cheap,’ especially when the budget, standalone (no PC or smartphone connection required) Oculus Go is currently starts at $150. However, the Oculus Quest, the best VR headset for most since it’s also a standalone and has a good value-to-performance ratio, is currently going for $400, as is the PC-connected Oculus Rift S. This means pricing for the PC-connected Artisan is pretty typical by today’s standards. But keep in mind that this is for the headset only. If you don’t already have them, you’ll also need to add the cost of base stations and controllers (it supports Steam VR 2.0 and 1.0). 

For $450, the Artisan features two 1700 x 1440 LCD panels with RGB stripe matrix panels (the Quest’s OLED panels are 1440 x 1600 each) with refresh rates of 72, 90 or 120Hz (the Quest is set to 72Hz). Its diagonal field of view is 170 degrees, and it has 6-degrees of freedom tracking and supports Steam VR 2.0 and 1.0. 

VR gaming is starting to get simpler with standalone headsets and even HTC Vive moving away from base stations with the Vive Cosmos. Although the Artisan needs a PC connection, that gaming PC requires just a GTX 1050 Ti or “AMD equivalent” or better. Pimax’s current cheapest headset, the 5K XR ($899 for just the headset), requires a PC running a GTX 1070 or AMD equivalent. 

No release date was shared, but we’ll be chatting with Pimax at the CES tech show in Las Vegas this week, so stay tuned to see what else we learn about the Artisan.

Pimax Vision 5K Super

(Image credit: Pimax)

In addition to its entry-level headset, Pimax is still appealing to fans of premium VR with another new headset, the Pimax Vision 5K Super (pricing and release date wasn't shared). Each panel has QHD resolution with a full RGB matrix and a refresh rate of 90, 120, 160 or 180Hz, and with a response time as low as 9ms Pimax’s announcement pointed to first-person shooters as a good use case. 

(Image credit: Pimax)

Specs

Pimax also announced that it’s boosting refresh rates across its VR headset line. This is partially due to today’s release of Brainwarp 2.0, which the vendor described as “technologies applied in VR headsets to lower hardware requirements, reduce latency and boost refresh rate for a much smoother VR experience.” 

You can see general specs for Pimax’s VR headset portfolio, including the upcoming Artisan, below. 

(Image credit: Pimax)
  • TCG-CT
    Pimax has completely screwed over the Kickstarter backers. I think it prudent that an emphasis be placed on their complete and utter lack of accountability and horrible Chinese Customer support. The one positive of the entire debacle was my interaction with the NA Tech Support. They were as helpful as they could be, insofar as they were allowed by the Chinese head office. I have an extremely uncomfortable 8K HMD that has been sitting in it's box since I received over a year ago. I cant use it because I have no controllers or bases. Pimax have not shipped either. They recently offered to take more of my money and give me 2 Steam controllers and bases in return. I will seemingly have to pay for the new "comfort kit" that seemingly will address the comfort issues with my Gen 1 HMD. In summary, stay far, far away from anything Pimax. They are dishonest and deceitful.
    Reply
  • bigpinkdragon286
    While I'm sorry your headset isn't everything you hoped, this really sounds like a case of buying expensive, not-consumer-ready, early equipment and ending up with a case of buyer's remorse.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    But keep in mind that this is for the headset only. If you don’t already have them, you’ll also need to add the cost of base stations and controllers (it supports Steam VR 2.0 and 1.0).
    It's simply priced too high compared to competing headsets from more recognizable brands. If someone already has base stations and controllers, or needs to buy some, why wouldn't they go with the similarly-priced Valve Index? The two headsets appear to be relatively similar in terms of things like resolution, refresh rate and field of view, but I suspect the Index will have superior ergonomics and visual quality. Plus, the index has those nice over-ear speakers, while apparently headphones are not included here. The relatively small $50 price difference is also countered somewhat by the Index including a copy of Half-Life: Alyx.

    And for the majority of people who don't already have Vive/Index controllers and base stations, once you've added those, the cost of these units ends up more than double what an Oculus Rift would cost, or around triple the price of a decent Windows Mixed Reality headset like Samsung's Odyssey+, so these are not "entry-level" headsets in the least, and I would hardly call the pricing "pretty typical by today’s standards".
    Reply
  • TCG-CT
    bigpinkdragon286 said:
    While I'm sorry your headset isn't everything you hoped, this really sounds like a case of buying expensive, not-consumer-ready, early equipment and ending up with a case of buyer's remorse.
    At this point, it is indeed buyers remorse. Pimax vastly exceeded their funding goals, and went so far as to include 6 promised funding goal extras. These were: an upgraded face cushion, an upgraded head strap with built in headphones, a cooling fan insert along with an prescription eyeglass frame insert, tobii eye tracking, 3 free pieces of content and a $100 coupon for Pimaxs' wireless box to be applied when released. The funding goals for all of these were smashed by the backers. Now Pimax says we gotta pay for eye tracking which is not tobii, we gotta pay for upgraded comfort kit (thicker foam, better nose piece, better head strap) which would likely make my HMD much more comfortable. But, I ramble. Please look up the Kickstarter debacle at your leisure. Lots of unhappy Backers. We believed we were at the forefront of next gen VR, and Pimax was gonna make it ahppen thank to the overwhelming support of the backers. Pfft.
    Reply
  • bigpinkdragon286
    The problem I see with the whole Kickstarter gimmick is, people are backing projects that don't exist, so rationally they have the very real possibility of never existing, at least in their promised form. There comes a point when, either the project succeeds and comes to market or it has to be put out to pasture, whether that's because it was an outright scam, or the developers were wrong about the reality of bringing the advertised product to a particular market segment.
    Reply