Pimax Portal, the Nintendo Switch-style handheld that can be used as a VR headset, is experiencing a bit of a road bump, as the company announced the VR portion of the device has been delayed due to a hardware redesign.
Update (July 19th, 2023): As first noted by MIXED, Pimax has delayed its View headset shell, which holds the previously launched handheld Portal device. In a blog post update, the company says the new VR shell takes inspiration from Pimax’s Crystal and ‘8K’ headsets, ostensibly offering better weight distribution and comfort. Those photos comparing the old design to the new redesign can been seen below this update.
“The Portal is an ambitious device and we want to make sure the headset is really great,” Portal’s product manager Snake Lin says. “The first prototype works, but we feel it’s not good enough to mass produce. Its weight isn’t distributed well and the comfort can be improved a bit. Also, we found some components are a bit weak if the user is rough with the device.”
View is coming in two editions: one with a battery pack on the back and one without, which are slated to ship to the 600+ Kickstarter backers sometime in Q3. At some point afterwards the company will open orders to the general public. The original article follows below:
Original Article (April 18th, 2023): Over the years, the Shanghai-based company has been known for its wide field-of-view (FOV) PC VR headsets which include large, high-resolution displays and wide FOV optics, making Pimax one of the few to offer such devices directly to consumers. With the announcement of Portal and standalone headset Pimax Crystal, the company seems to be striking out in a new direction from its PC VR roots though.
As a hybrid device, Portal works as both a Nintendo Switch-style handheld (running Android), and a Samsung Gear VR-style headset which uses a dedicated VR shell housing and Switch-style controllers, which snap into their own bespoke housing.
While strapping an Android device into a headset shell is decidedly a throwback concept, Portal managed to attract over $350,000 from backers in the device’s 2022 Kickstarter campaign. Putting Gear VR comparisons aside, the device is being couched as a jack of all trades, as it’s set to offer both 6DOF head and controller tracking for VR gameplay on top of acting as both a handheld console and living room entertainment hub.
In a fresh status update, Pimax says it’s now finalized Portal’s hardware, with mass production set to start. Admittedly, Pimax says it’s currently optimizing the software for Portal, with heat dissipation, power consumption, and controller connection marked as areas in need of improvement. This also includes what it calls “rare” tracking issues and SDK-related game porting issues.
By the end of May, Pimax says it will have “more than 20 VR games” available for the Portal VR mode. Furthermore, Pimax says the QLED version of Portal will support native PC VR via HDMI, while other versions will support streaming PC VR content via WiFi e6 and USB-C.
This comes on the heels of the news last month that Pimax had secured a $30 million series C1 financing round, something the company says will aid in the rollout of both Portal and Crystal headsets.