CES 2020: Artisan Is A Lower Cost Pimax Headset With 140° Field Of View

If you’ve been wanting a wide field of view PC VR headset but can’t afford or justify the price of Pimax, the company is now offering a lower cost option: the Pimax Artisan.

Pimax Artisan promises a 140 degree field of view, 1600×1440 per eye resolution, and three supported refresh rates: 72Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz. It uses LCD panels.

Pimax tells us the headset “starts” at $449. A separate document the company provided claims that the Nolo positional tracking system is bundled, but we doubt that refers to the $449 offering. We’ve reached out to Pimax to find out and will update this article when we get a clear answer.

Nolo adds positional tracking and tracked controllers to almost any VR headset for around $200. However, it is a front-facing tracking system like PlayStation VR so it likely lacks the robustness of Oculus Insight or SteamVR Tracking. We should have updated impressions of Nolo’s technology from CES this week.

Artisan has full support for SteamVR Tracking though, so you should be able to add positional tracking and Index controllers from Valve for around $577 extra. Or if you already own an HTC Vive, you should be able to upgrade just the headset by buying an Artisan and using your existing base stations and controllers.

Pimax has been planning to launch its own controllers for quite some time. At last year’s CES, we interviewed the company’s Head of US Operations who told us they would likely ship at scale in summer 2019. This has not yet happened.

This would bring the total cost of an Artisan, base stations, and Index controllers to around $1026, almost the same as the Index full kit. Artisan seems intended as direct competition to Index, while claiming a wider field of view. Index horizontal FoV has been measured to be somewhere between 115° and 120°. However, Index has a higher maximum refresh rate (144Hz) and significantly better built in audio.

Pimax claims the minimum requirement for Artisan is a GTX 1050 Ti — the same as the minimum spec for the Oculus Rift S. This likely applies to using the headset in 72Hz mode or with Brainwarp- Pimax’s algorithm to extrapolate 60 FPS into 120 Hz (similar to Facebook’s ASW and Valve’s Motion Smoothing).

Artisan adds to a long list of headsets available from Pimax. We should note though that Pimax has a long history of shipping delays with its new products and repeatedly failing to hit its own self-imposed deadlines. As such, we recommend caution when ordering. To avoid disappointment, we recommending treating it more like backing a Kickstarter than ordering a product.

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