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Pimax Redesigning Delayed VR Headset For Portal Handheld Console

Pimax Redesigning Delayed VR Headset For Portal Handheld Console

Pimax is redesigning Portal View, the VR headset shell for its Portal handheld console.

Pimax is a China-based startup most known for its 2017 Kickstarter for an ultra-wide field of view PC VR headset. This evolved into a sprawling lineup that’s been marked by long shipping delays, inconsistent quality, software issues, and customer service concerns. Despite the appeal of the field of view, its three most popular models are used by less than 0.3% of VR owners on Steam.

Portal and Portal View were announced in November when Pimax launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund their development. Portal has a 4K display and runs Android phone games, but with the advantage of active cooling for sustained performance and physical controls in titles that support them. It features the same Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chipset used in Meta Quest 2 and Pico 4.

But as we pointed out when the Portal Kickstarter launched, Pimax has a history of repeatedly missing its shipping targets while pitching new products before delivering on what it already promised. For example, in May it started shipping Crystal, its new PC VR headset announced long before Portal, nine months late and without key selling points like standalone mode and eye tracking.

The Portal Kickstarter listed the shipping month as January, but when we went hands-on with Portal View that month we found the positional tracking was barely functional and the controller sleeves were unavailable, with Pimax using Crystal controllers for the demo instead.

In April, Pimax told backers it had "finalized the hardware", that "mass production is starting", and that both the handheld and the VR headset would start shipping later that month. But now three months later, while the handheld is now shipping the company is delaying the headset to redesign it.

Pimax claims the original design didn't distribute the weight well enough to be comfortable, and is "a bit weak if the user is rough with the device".

The new design takes inspiration from its other headsets. The company says two versions will be offered, one with a battery pack in the rear and one without.

Pimax claims the redesigned headset is "expected" to ship to its 600+ backers in Q3, between July and September, but as always with Pimax take that as a very loose goal rather than an estimate.

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