It was over two years ago that Pimax began officially talking about its “Sword Series” virtual reality (VR) controllers, controllers that at the time looked to rival the Index design. If you pre-ordered a pair or are simply looking for an alternative VR controller system there’s some good news, the Pimax Sword Lite’s have finally entered mass production.
Up until now if you bought one of the various Pimax headsets currently available the only controller option you’re given on the website are the Index controllers. With the Pimax Sword Lite, customers will have a second option, one that is fully SteamVR compatible supporting both 1.0 and 2.0 base stations; four hours of use per charge and what Pimax calls a “special protection coating that provides a deluxe non-slip texture to the controller.”
The battery is one of Pimax Sword Lite’s most interesting features because even though four hours doesn’t sound a lot – and it isn’t compared to the weeks a single battery can last in an Oculus Quest 2 controller – Pimax has made it as pain-free as possible. First off, the battery is hot-swappable so you can pop new ones in without any interruption. Using a dual replaceable lithium battery design – an NP-BX1 by the looks of this Reddit post – you should be able to buy cheap replacements online rather than expensive custom batteries.
As you’ll notice from the new images the Pimax Sword Lite comes with a large trackpad on each controller, one raised button and one slightly recessed button. A far more simplistic design than most rivals. Currently, there’s no mention of the Pimax Sword Sense model which featured a more complicated array using a thumbstick, a smaller track panel and three face buttons.
“Pimax team insists on serving customers as our first priority, the participation and every piece of advice from our customers has affected the Sword Lite, development thoroughly,” said Pimax Founder Robin Weng in a statement. “We can say that the Sword Lite is a product that is built and refined by all VR users around the world. Our foreign users have provided many valuable suggestions that were used in the design for the Sword Lite”.
As for availability now that mass production has begun, Pimax says the Sword Lite’s are going out to pre-order customers this month with official website sales opening in October. At the moment, Pimax hasn’t said what the final price will be.
For continued updates, keep reading VRFocus.
Update: Pimax has come back to clarify that the Sword Sense model hasn’t been “dropped” as a previous version of the article stated, confirming to VRFocus that “we are still developing it”. In regards to finger tracking, Pimax says there are sensors to track the position of all 5 digits but “the software is still doing the optimizations”.
Update 2: Clearing things up on the Sword Lite finger tracking, Pimax issued this statement: “For the finger tracking, we have already installed all the hardware on the controllers, but for the software part, we are still doing the deeper optimizations, therefore, the finger tracking cannot be implemented now.”