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Alonzo_

Pimax owners -- how will the Artisan stack up?

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I didn't see much mention of this so far, I thought maybe a thread would be useful.

 

Pimax have announced their "Artisan" headset which is $449 headset-only (for us in IL2, would require at least 1 SteamVR base station to function, another $99 or so I think). The headset promises 140 degree field of view (horizontal) with Tom's Hardware claiming 170 diagonal. Displays are 1700 x 1400. By my terrible math, 1700 horizontal over 140 degrees is ~12 pixels per horizontal degree, which should give the display similar SDE characteristics to their 5K+ which is 2560 horizontal pixels but spread over the wide 200 degree FOV. Artisan supposedly supports 72, 90 and 120hz refresh rates.

 

Is this headset worth considering for an IL2 VR pilot? It's the same price as the Index but you're getting probably 20 degrees wider FOV, worse audio, similar pixel density, probably similar(ish) performance. And of course the vagaries of SteamVR and Pimax software (neither of which is perfect as far as I can tell).

 

Coming from a Rift S, is this a headset I should consider?

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Hard to tell when they'd even start shipping.  I'm still waiting for them to start shipping 8KX.  If all goes well, I'll order one of those. 

 

I guess for you it depends on how much you want the extra FOV.  It is pretty sweet for checking your 6.

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You could look for a used Pimax 5K+ with Vive DAS on eBay for that price and you can have similar clarity with the wider FoV.  As someone who used a Pimax 5K+ in Il-2 I can say the clarity is very good and combined with the 150 FOV (on normal) it was the best HMD I tried.  I did try the Index briefly at a work colleagues but not in Il-2.  I found it to be on par (win some loose some vs my 5K+).

 

I am now waiting on my 8KX to be delivered around April or hopefully earlier but realistically later :)

Edited by ICDP

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Indeed, hence the reason you can get Pimax 5K+ for ~$500 - $600 (some with Vive DAS included) but as more flood in they could drop further.

Edited by ICDP

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I already took used 5k+ (560€) and 1 base station (80usd) and 1 DAS (115€ - it is a must for Pimax).  No regrets. 

How to find money for that? :) First calculate HMD only and sell old HMD - then it is not soo much. After add every month 1 additional thing :)

Or  another way is 5k+ and used Vive with DAS (cca 300-400€). Then you have 2 BS´s and 2 vive wands, if you need that.

 

For Artisan I do not know. 5k+ have native resolution 2650*1440 , Artisan 1700*1400.  That is 60% more pixels in 5k+. The lenses are same on booth. For sure Artisan will have his audience, but that model is not what makes Pimax shine. At least not for me.

 

 

 

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The Artisan should be pretty neat. I recommend you get a HTC Deluxe Audio Strap with it. Its picture quality is equal to the Index, with a wider FOV (170° vs 130°), and the audio is better on the HTC DAS. Just my opinion, I hated that I was still aware of my environment in the Index, and that the speakers will swing off, if you turn the head too rapidly - so you need to fumble them back over the ear. Not for me.

 

If you buy a used Pimax 5K+, look for at least SN203 or SN204 models (request a picture of the serial number that is on a sticker on the bottom). Make sure to go with the HTC DAS, and make sure to include "free of any damage" in the contract. Pay via PayPal, and never use "Friends and Family". 5K+ also have equal picture quality to the Index, especially since the new distortion profiles released in December 2019 fixed the last 10° of the outer edges.

 

P.S. AFAIK production on HTC DAS has been halted, so be swift and decisive.

P.P.S. If you switch from an Oculus to an OpenVR headset (SteamVR), make sure to use a .bat file to toggle Oculus Services whenever you're not playing an Oculus game, code is in spoiler:

Spoiler

sc config OVRService start= demand
net start "OVRService"
if %errorlevel% == 2 net stop "OVRService"
pause

And be sure to not have any remains of OpenComposite installed.

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I don´t think the Artisan would be a good choice for flight sim over others VR headsets (including other Pimax models) since the angular resolution will be less than any other.

Even with the Pimax5K+ resolution I was still preferring the Index as I described here and show pictures. Again, just my opinion.

 

I think all latest devices (Pimax5K+, Reverb, Index and even Rift-S) are all great devices, all of them with their pros and cons. I will not try to defend my choice as the best choice, it is just the choice which covered better my needs.

 

The Pimax8KX is really the one to go but even at half of the price (I was backer) I didn´t ordered. Why? The lenses of the Pimax5K+ didn´t convince me and  well, my life is so easy with the Index. For Pimax you really has be an enthusiast able to invest some time and money.

 

Nevertheless I really love the Pimax guys for always pushing the limits of the VR technology and their charismatic marketing director (Martin).

 

Ideally there should be specialized VR shops where for an small fee one could really test all VR devices in the market. That would be great.

 

 

 

 

2 hours ago, SCG_Fenris_Wolf said:

Its picture quality is equal to the Index,

 

Fenris, Just curious, how do you know that?

I was taking real pictures with the Index vs Pimax5K+ and they were similar. So the Artisan will be worse. 

 

BTW, the FOV of the Artisan, according to specs,  is just wide, no ultrawide.

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The Artisan will have different screens to better match the lower FoV.  The screens are 1700x1440.

 

MRTV Tried it out at CES and reported similar clarity as the 5K+ and Index.

 

 

Edited by ICDP
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Indeed, him and the other reviewers as well. I also trust the reviewers, who have been very critical and outspoken of Pimax' past issues they've had until summer 2019. 

 

Of course, chiliwili has a point as well: 

 

Why not go with a 5K+ instead?

 

It may be at a similar price of the Artisan and offer increased FOV, to check your six more easily. 

 

 

By the way, a senior developer has found something in the pipeline: A way to eliminate any pixel flickering, that some suffer from on horizontal lines or object edges on the 5K+, when turning off the in-game Anti-Aliasing. It is visible in chiliwili's comparison screenshots. I will write up an algorithm to get rid of it in the last week of January and post it. It increases graphical quality of the Pimax 5K+ even more, and gives the image the similar soft pixel-edges that the Index has. Works on all games btw.

 

P.S. The Pimax lenses are the best now. I have a 5K+ SN204 btw. In the past, when you tested, they did have some issues with distortion profiles. They have released/included new distortion profiles in December 2019, PiTool v249, firmware 255. Why does that make them the best now? They don't produce any glare - have the biggest clear zone of vision. Don't hesitate if you want to upgrade again chili, the issues have been fixed, and the 8K+/8KX received overwhelming praise by many third parties - not just by the usual YT suspects.

I agree though, that it needs a lot of fiddling compared to other headsets. Das ist true. Checking and changing brakes at my car every spring takes more time screwing around than this headset. And I enjoy it anyway.

Edited by SCG_Fenris_Wolf

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4 hours ago, chiliwili69 said:

I don´t think the Artisan would be a good choice for flight sim over others VR headsets (including other Pimax models) since the angular resolution will be less than any other.

 

BTW, the FOV of the Artisan, according to specs,  is just wide, no ultrawide.

 

I think you're mistaken -- it's 1700 pixels wide but spread over 140 horizontal FOV (so similar FOV to Pimax 5K+ on Normal mode). The 5K+ has more pixels but 'wastes' them in the periphery. I calculated the horizontal pixels-per-degree as being about the same as the 5K+ and the MRTV guy seemed impressed, he thought it was as good as the 5K+. I don't think GPUs are ready for ultra-wide yet, which is what attracted me to the more 'mainstream' option of the Artisan. It's still quite a lot wider than Index and much wider than things like Rift S / Reverb.

 

I'm confused about comfort and audio options. The headset comes with no audio at all, so I'd need to use earbuds / earphones? Does Pimax sell an audio strap, or only HTC? The Vive DAS is looking very sold-out. Is the Artisan default headstrap compatible with things like those "Mantis" earbuds people have used on Rift S / PSVR? Is the default Pimax headstrap junk and I must upgrade to an after-market strap?

 

Sorry for newb questions but this thing has suddenly piqued my interest.

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Pimax ships without audio and with bad headstrap (except 8kx model, it has all the best). You need better headstrap, I couldn´t have clear picture with default "g-string". Some people prefere separate audio headphones, but for average Joe it is better to have it compact.

This moment you have 2 - 3 options:

1) HTC Deluxe audio strap (DAS, ca 115€) + 3d printed hinges for pimax (ca 15-20€) - I have it, it is great. Some counterweight, or more cushions are welcome

2) Pimax MAS a) with over ear speakers like index (120usd + shipping) , or b) with headphones higher quality (220usd + shipping) It is a new product, copied HTC Vive pro solution. 

3) There are already plans for 3d printed headstraps, with audio, but you need to make it, and to insert some headphones into it

https://community.openmr.ai/t/3d-printable-halo-headstrap/23391

https://community.openmr.ai/t/printed-8k-5k-headstrap-with-headphones/22068

https://community.openmr.ai/t/printed-8k-5k-headstrap-with-headphones/22068/9

 

PS: I saw somewhere that Artisan may go with audio from old Pimax 4k. 

PS2: I was thinking that only pixel count is important in HMD-s, but then without proper headstrap it was bad experience.

 

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9 hours ago, Alonzo said:

I calculated the horizontal pixels-per-degree as being about the same as the 5K+ and the MRTV guy seemed impressed,

 

Let´s make the calcs (just approximation, some important factors not really taken into account):

 

Artisan: One Eye FOV:113, Hpix:1700,  PixelPerDegree: 15

Pimax5K+: One Eye FOV: 123.5, HPix: 2560, PPD: 20.7

Index: One Eye FOV:103.6, HPix:1440, PPD:13.9

Rift-S: One Eye FOV:90, HPix: 1290, PPD: 14.3

 

So as per the screenshoots taken you will see that Pimax5K+ is comparable to Index, but according to the cacls it should be lower. Why, because the pixels are not equally distributed along the degrees. The more FOV the density in the edges.

 

And about the MRTV guy (Sebastien). I normally tend to believe him but take into account that he is a good friend of Martin. An this counts.

I wold prefer to see detailed quality screenshoots of Pimax5K+, Artisan and Pimax8KX.

 

But in any case, I think the Artisan is a very valid device (if you put the DAS or equivalent) for that price. It is good that Pimax has created a low budget option to enter in competition other VR makers.

If I were in you case I will pick it, just to test by yourself all the good things of Pimax FOV (and also some bad). If you don´t like it there will always a good second hand price.

So, you will know how good is to have a nice FOV, not only horizontally but also vertically.

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The HTC Deluxe Audio Strap is a must-have though, even for the Artisan. I would not recommend it without it - unless you have HiFi headphones you want to use. Look at the used market as well, you can exchange the foam easily there are a lot of options.

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On 1/15/2020 at 10:16 AM, SCG_Fenris_Wolf said:

I hated that I was still aware of my environment in the Index, and that the speakers will swing off, if you turn the head too rapidly - so you need to fumble them back over the ear. Not for me.

 


I have used the index for countless hours since last summer and there has never been a single moment under any circumstance that the ear pieces have moved by head inertia.  Maybe if I dropped them on the ground or threw the headset against the wall it would move but I wouldn’t list it here as a “con” if it isn’t something actual index users complain about in any meaningful way. 
 

If you already have a riftS I would wait until a newer headset comes out with a significant increase.  Changing from oculus to pimax ecosystem for the slight improvement might be irksome given that none of us know which headsets we will flock to this fall or next year.  

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2 hours ago, WIS-Redcoat said:

there has never been a single moment under any circumstance that the ear pieces have moved by head inertia

 

Same for me. The built quality of Index is quite superior to any Pimax.

I think that what Fenris described was an issue of his particular unit. And by simply putting more pressure in the T6 torx screw the problem should be solved.

And also the speakers can be removed if you want.

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I was simply unlucky I guess. Others had the same problem, and together with the glare it was just too much so I sent it back (I had free choice as I had the 5K+ as well). It wasn't as big as an issue as the broken first batch of Thumbsticks on the Index Controllers - that was a disaster. Kept mine at first, but eventually one failed so I had to RMA them. I now have perfectly clicky and registering Controllers though that are easy to press down while deflecting. 

 

I have no doubt that these units now all work properly if you order them now (just like the 5K+, Artisan or 8K+/x now).

Edited by SCG_Fenris_Wolf

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