Artisan review, the good the bad and the ugly

Artisan review, the good the bad and the ugly
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So I’ve received my Artisan yesterday and here are my impressions:

THE GOOD

  • First thing that I really liked about the Artisan is the build quality! Where my Pimax 5k+ feels cheaply made, the new rubberized casing feels so much more professional. This really is a big step up and a great improvement.

  • The FOV. It’s a nice step up from the Index. I’ve tested it both in ROV and in @risa2000’s tool. With the first one I measured 120 horizontally, with risa’s tool it came down to 121. This corresponds to the ‘small’ mode of my Pimax 5k+, which is a nice step up from the Index, which is 108 horizontally. Although in numbers this 11% extra FoV doesn’t feel like much, it really makes a difference! I’m not a particular fan of Beat Saber but this game really shines on the Artisan and I actually thought that of all the headsets I own, this game looks the best on the Artisan.

  • The 120 hz mode. I’ve come to appreciate 120hz on my index a lot, everything just feels much more ‘real’. Especially in games that easily drive 120hz, it looks fantastic on the Artisan. The Index had an advantage here but with the new Pimax series like the Artisan that advantage is now gone. Sure, Index has 144hz but personally I don’t see much difference between 120 and 144. For me 120 hz is the ‘sweet spot’ of refresh rates

  • The resolution/SDE. The artisan has 6% more pixels than the Index and about 11% FoV, so in theory the resolution/SDE should be slightly worse. I don’t see much difference in resolution though, it looks pretty much the same as the index. I do see a bit more SDE though, I think that’s because the Artisan doesn’t come with an SDE filter like the Index has. I do think the Index takes a small lead here on the SDE point, but not by much.

THE BAD

  • The comfort kit. I’ve read raving reviews about the comfort kit. I think the only negative comments I’ve read about it came from my fellow Pimax user from the Netherlands, @john2910, who said the comfort kit pushed his face too far away from the lenses, causing all kinds of distortion. I experience exactly that. When I first put on the headset, the distortions were way worse than my 5k+. And not only that, it just felt uncomfortable, putting too much pressure on my forehead. So then I took out the foam and replaced it with the 5k+ foam and the distortions were much better. However this presented a new problem, now the fabric that blocks the light around the nose, was pressing into my face and felt really uncomfortable. The only option I saw was cutting that fabric off, which kind of feels a horrible thing to do with your newly arrived headset.

  • Distortion ! This is a hot topic on the pimax forums. Some don’t see any distortion at all, some see it but don’t mind and others are bothered with it. I fall in that last category. With the comfort kit the distortions were really horrible. After replacing that foam with the standard 5k+ foam, I felt that the distortions were pretty much on the pimax 5k+ level. I always thought that maybe something was wrong with my specific 5k+, causing the distortions, maybe panel placement. Now I know for sure that that’s not the cause. My current theory is now that Asian faces, who typically have their eyes more ‘outwards’, so closer to the panel, might experience less distortions. If I compare my own face with photo’s of chinese profiles, my eyes are more ‘recessed’ into my face while Chinese seem to have their eyes more ‘flattened’ to the rest of their face, causing the panels to get close to the eyes. I don’t think it’s the whole explanation though, I think there’s also a difference in how susceptible people are to seeing it, just like some won’t see difference in refresh rates, while to others it’s a big deal.
    In short, Artisan distortion pretty much equals the 5k+ distortion, I don’t see much difference. Which make sense, since the lenses are identical.

  • The colors. The colors are pretty much the same as my 5k+. So that’s pretty washed out, compared to the index, which already is a step down from OLED. Too bad, had hoped for some improvement here.

  • Software settings/glitches. When I tried my artisan first, the FFR option was set to I think agressive. This looked horrible. I never played much with these settings on my 5k+ as I don’t use that headset much anymore. I guess for a Pimax newby it’s hard to figure out what’s ‘wrong’ though with the image. Anyway, then I wanted to turn it off, but there was no ‘off’ option, in the software, only ‘closed’. I kind of figured ‘closed’ would mean ‘off’, but come on pimax… This kind of stuff makes you look like chinese amateurs. Call it ‘off’. Anyway, after fixing that I experienced some other glitches, mostly the ground floor level being wrong after starting some games. Also the software still has some detection problems sometimes, especially after connecting the headset for the first time, you need to restart the service, wiggle the headset etc and then it comes back on. The index never has those kind of issue’s.

THE UGLY

  • The strap system. Oh man, this standard Pimax strap is just SO bad. It’s a crime that Pimax is shipping those out :slight_smile: Really, this is bad.

  • false advertising. Pimax advertises 170 degrees diagonally and 140 degrees horizontally for the Artisan on their website: https://www.pimax.com/products/pimax-artisan. Really, this is the kind of stuff that Pimax really makes look bad. Trying to sell their products with blunt lies about the capabilities, is just so NOT done. Really really bad.

CONCLUSION.

To me the Artisan felt like a nice step up from my 5k+. The 120 hz mode really is a game changer to me. Also my 5k+ 202 had black dots, the Artisan has them almost invisible (pretty much like the Index). Also the build quality is much better. Of course, not having the big FoV modes is a step down, but I’d recommend the Artisan over the 5k+. The Artisan doesn’t come close yet to the Index in my opinion, the Index is just much better in too many area’s (distortion, software, colors, sound, comfort). But all in all I do think it’s a nice headset.

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A very nice review,exactly my thoughts too about the pimax artisan…

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So just to confirm the FoV measurements were tested at it’s max FoV settings at both 90hz and 120hz? If so is concerning. But does indicate more strongly why tge Artisan has a nicer picture than the 5k+; it has more Resolution within the FoV vs the 5k+.

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There should be more Fov at 90 hz? Going to check that now, only checked it at 120 hz.

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Thank you for your very objective feedback Heliosurge, I made the choice of a Artisan and apart from this problem of distortion, you confirmed me in this choice
Did your artisan take a long time to arrive?

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Ok just tried in 90 hz, same thing. No extra FoV option and no extra FoV.

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Mine had a bit of delay at the shipper, about a week, after that I had it pretty quickly here. All in all about 20 days after I ordered I think.

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I was surprised you found the resolution to be on par with the Index. I would have expected it to be substantially worse, having the same resolution as the 5k+. Have you tried anything VirtualDesktop or flight sim related?

Also, maybe I haven’t read closely enough, but did you know the comfort kit foam is attached by velcro, and can be removed? Whatever trimming you are considering, might be more reasonable if you can (very carefully) cut some of the foam into pieces to be used separately if desired.

Regarding false advertising… what do you think the correct FOV numbers are?

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I don’t have a flight sim, quickly tried VirtualDesktop, seemed about the same as the index. Also did the eye test in ROV tools, A/B-ed that with the index and it was about equal. Which seems about logical to me since the PPD must be pretty equal.

As per Risa’s tool, it’s 121 hz horizontally.

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Thank you for getting back to me with these results! Also, do you think it is possible a 140Hz FOV would be achieved with one’s eyes nearly touching the lenses?

Because my own experience with the pre-comfort-kit foam was eyebrows touching the lenses, and I found an approximately 140deg FOV at least credible in my own tests with that tool.

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thank you for your return, in fact, it is a very correct deadline, you have made your order on which platform?

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Well Risas tool reports the theoretical maximum. The maximum in practice is always equal or lower than that number but never more. In practice I found 120 with the rov tool

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Ali express seller…

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Okay thought it might have been like the 5k with 120hz max FoV being smaller than Max FoV at 90hz.

I had thought I had read Artisan had Normal FoV and Small and Maybe Potato.

So no FoV options? Either way this is not ideal with the advertisment.

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Only normal and small

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@risa2000 tool extracts a headsets requested render FoV from my understanding. So it doesn’t change what you can see but reflects what you could see at potential max.

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So by the sounds of it Artisan Normal is 5k/8k Small and Small is likely potato.

It would be interesting to read up on how pimax is estimating there FoV as it sounds like a problem in the math.

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Well I bought the headset mainly for fun, to see if it was any good. But if this was my only headset and I found out that it was 120 wide instead of the advertised 140, man I’d be really pissed.

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As Risa I believe added probe support for Oculus it would be interesting to see if Oculus matches Steamvr results.

I thought i’d leave and additional impression.
I received my Artisan yesterday. I had a Vive Das and Pimax adapter ready so comfort was great - 3 hours no problem. I have almost the same impressions as your write up. I found that setting contrast to +1 and brightness to -1 for each eye is almost the same as my index. The index may be slightly more saturated if doing an immediate A/B test but after 10 minutes in the Artisan it’s very hard to tell the difference. I really like the Artisan.
Sweet spot clarity is about 80%. The clarity is as big as the entire Index FOV.
The distortions - in normal mode it’s very slight. In bigger open world games like Skyrim VR and InDeath looking into the distance and moving my head around it’s barely perceptible for me. The eye can tell when geometry isn’t perfect and for me it’s just the smallest amount off. Adjusting the headset (pushing the comfort kit in) and setting software IPD to -.5 helped (edit for -.5 not -5). And really when i’m not looking around the edges i adapt to it very quickly. I’m still messing around with this. On small mode the distortions are identical to the Index or 0 distortion. FOV is about the same as well.
I’ll do an ROV test later and post.
I’m with you on the immersion. It feels good to be more in a game.

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