Pimax Portal, the Nintendo Switch-style handheld that can be used as a VR headset, is having a little trouble as the company announced that the VR portion of the device has been delayed due to a hardware overhaul.
Update (July 19, 2023): As first noted by MIXED, Pimax has delayed its View headset shell, which houses the previously launched Portal wearable device. In a blog post update, the company says the new VR shell is inspired by Pimax’s Crystal and ‘8K’ headsets, ostensibly offering better weight distribution and comfort. These photos comparing the old design to the new redesign can be seen under this update.
“The Portal is an ambitious device and we want to make sure the headset is really great,” said Snake Lin, Product Manager of Portal. “The first prototype works, but we don’t think it’s good enough for mass production. Its weight is not well distributed and the comfort can be improved a little. Also, we found that some components are a bit weak if the user is rough with the device.
View is available in two editions: one with a battery on the back and one without, which are expected to ship to over 600 Kickstarter backers in Q3. At some point, the company will open orders to the general public. The original article follows below:
Original article (April 18, 2023): Over the years, the Shanghai-based company has been known for its wide field-of-view (FOV) PC VR headsets that feature large, high-resolution displays and wide-FOV optics, making Pimax one of the few offering such devices directly to consumers. With the announcement of Portal and a standalone headset Pimax Crystalthe company, however, seems to be heading in a new direction from its PC VR roots.
As a hybrid device, Portal functions as both a Nintendo Switch-style handheld (running Android) and a Samsung Gear VR-style headset that uses a dedicated VR shell housing and Switch-style controllers, which snap into their own bespoke housing.
While securing an Android device in a helmet shell is decidedly a throwback concept, Portal has managed to attract over $350,000 from backers of the device. 2022 Kickstarter Campaign. Putting aside the Gear VR comparisons, the device is touted as a jack-of-all-trades, as it’s configured to offer both head and 6DOF controller tracking for VR gameplay in addition to acting as both a handheld console and living room entertainment center.
In a fresh status update, Pimax says the hardware for Portal is now finalized, with mass production set to begin. Granted, 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 “over 20 VR games” available for Portal VR mode. Additionally, Pimax says the QLED version of Portal will support native PC VR over HDMI, while other versions will support streaming PC VR content over WiFi e6 and USB-C.
This follows news from last month that Pimax had obtained a $30M Series C1 financing roundwhich the company says will make it easier to deploy the Portal and Crystal headsets.