I was at CES 2020 this week and got to try out the Pimax 8K X and the Xtal. A little background… I have most VR headsets, but will focus on the more recent offerings. All of this is purely based off of DCS - the only reason VR exists for me.
After hearing about Wags response to the Rift S last year (that he could clearly see the cockpit) I decided to check it out. Up to that time I hadn’t made the switch to VR as I didn’t feel the trade off was worth dumping my big screen, cougar mfds, etc. I was pleasantly surprised with the Rift S and finally thought it was good enough that I could spend some time in VR. Very comfortable to wear. Sound atrocious, requiring headphones taking the comfort level down a notch.
Step up in clarity and fov from the rift s. Way better sound. I know people say it’s comfortable, and I agree with that, but it definitely has weight and I actually found the Rift S (sans headphones) to be more comfortable. Also, I know guys that tried the reverb but the ipd just didn’t work for them and they had to go index.
This is where it’s at for me, at the moment. I’m running i9 9900 & 2080ti. I have SS at 150% and settings tweaked pretty high in DCS and it looks very very good. This is what has caused me to make a permanent switch to VR. As a side note, I have three HP reverbs (consumer v1, consumer v2, and pro v2). I know the specs are the same, but the pro is more clear than the consumer (not going to get into a big debate about this - I have done a perfect side by side comparison by literally swapping them out via the cable connection); the pro lenses must be a little better quality or something - and the colors are better than the slightly more washed out look on the consumer versions. It is possible that it just the luck of the lot, but I find it compelling that both consumer headsets look exactly the same, with the pro being different. As for comfort, I find the reverb to be the most comfortable out of the three, mainly due to the light weight. Doesn’t feel like I’m wearing a helmet. Anyway, the HP reverb is fantastic and currently the king for DCS VR IMO. But that will change in March 2020…
Pimax 8K X
When I hit CES, I made a beeline for Pimax. Got to meet Sweviver and introduced to VR Gamer Dude, both great guys. So they have people testing the 8K X with Aero Fly 2 and I’m thinking, “What? Give me some DCS!” I ask them if they can show me DCS, they have to switch computers and I’m sitting in the cockpit of the Su25T and I learn they that the frogfoot and the other free module TF51 are all they have running. I really wanted to sit in the hornet as I fly that most of the time and would be able to immediately see an apples to apples comparison. However, I was still able to make a pretty good judgment after flying for about 15 min. Immediately, I could see that the clarity was a bump up from the reverb, but not by as much as I was expecting (this could definitely be due to their in-game settings not being set as high as mine at home). But I could certainly tell the lenses were better. The colors were much more rich and vivid than the reverb, but they weren’t “cartoony” vivid that I feel the index colors kind of give you. At first it was a little blurry reading the gauges and I asked them if it had ipd adjustment. Sure enough a dial right on the headset in about 3 sec I had my ipd set and blurriness fixed. But the real game changer for me was the fov. I can’t describe how much better it felt in the plane with that clear and wide fov. It’s like I took my Reverb goggles off and was now looking with my normal sight. I have been very satisfied with the clarity of the Reverb and if I can have the same or better clarity AND this crazy awesome FOV?!! I’m telling you guys that the Pimax 8K X is going to take the DCS VR community by storm when it launches and the word starts getting out. Oh, and it was smooth at 40 fps without any motion reprojection - not sure why that was. Comfort… The thing looks huge, especially compared to the reverb. I was expecting a “weighty” feel more so than the Index. The thing is very light and with the strap, it was very comfortable. Can’t give a true comparison though until I spend more time with it side by side with the others. The sound was not very good IMO (I did get to try the Pimax 8K X with the vive deluxe audio at the Yaw booth and that was much better). I’ll be ordering mine with the deluxe audio as I feel that is a must. I should mention that the first attempt at DCS I was getting some flickering in the right screen, so Sweviver changed the headset out to a different one which had no problems. He did say that the problem headset had been dropped by someone. I really hope they don’t have quality control issues like HP had when first releasing the Reverb. If their launch puts out headsets like the 2nd one I tried, this will no doubt be the VR version 2.0 that everyone has been hoping for!
Okay, these guys had this thing setup properly with DCS. Demoing it with a $60,000 motion 6 dof motion simulator, Warthog hotas, and a proper DCS with the hornet or viper. First thing I notice is that the clarity is another bump up from the 8K X. Just very very clear. But things get weird. First, even though the clarity outside the cockpit and looking at the hud is amazing, the mfds are blurry, but not like normal VR blurry. It’s like I’m wearing glasses that aren’t the right prescription. I ask them if I can adjust the fov, but the fov is automatic ( a little bubble thingy pops up and supposedly auto sets your fov when you look at it), but it really didn’t work for me. The bigger issue for me was the distortion as I looked around, almost like a fishbowl effect. The cockpit would move and distort as you looked from side to side. What I was mostly impressed with was the main developer that was there asking for my feedback (which I provided as honestly and accurately as I could). He was very intent on knowing my experience so he could improve the Xtal. I really have no doubt that these guys are going to get it right. However, they really aren’t going for the consumer market as the one I tested was priced at $7,800. I think if they work out the bugs and get the thing down the $5k range, they may be able to pull in some VR enthusiasts, a very small niche I’m sure. As it currently stands though, it’s probably good for certain enterprise applications where that distortion in movement won’t really matter and crystal clear clarity is the only pertinent objective.
A quick note on motion sims… I recently purchased the p2 from dofreality and had not gone through the burdensome process of trying to get it working right with the Reverb (which would require vive emulation and a motion compensation setup). Now that I have tried the 8K X that uses base station trackers and has built in motion compensation in their software, I’m really pumped to get that setup on my motion rig. My other issue right now with motion rig and DCS is the friction in the movement which takes away from the desired “floaty” feel I’m seeking for flight simulation. That friction is not a problem with driving or coaster sims. So I check out the Yaw and the 6 dof rigs. From videos I watched, the yaw looks like it is rolling around on these smooth bearings. The only demo they had was a coaster sim, but I was surprised at how much friction I felt in the movement. The guy said it was vibration from the coaster, and he lowered it down, but it was still there and it was obvious the friction was the hardware. So I’m thinking I’m going to jump into this huge 6 dof rig and it’s going to be floaty smooth (this is the same one MRTV’s Sebastian tried last year). Immediatly I notice friction, but because the game sound is down low and I can hear very loudly the motors on the rig, I wondering how much of that is my brain creating the friction as it translates the sound from the motors. I’m still not sure how much friction was in my head vs reality. I was very impressed with the dev on the 6 dof rig. He and his Dad are pushing this tech to the limit with a 7 dof and 8 dof!
I came across this post on reddit, before considering getting my first VR headset. So 8KX is the better than Valve Index? Anyone can share some tips?
I need some help guys!