Pimax announces its Crystal: a VR headset packed with new technologies, already available for pre-order ($100 discount)!
The VR headset market is slowly progressing, and we have to admit that for the last few years, Pimax has been setting the pace.
So when Pimax releases a new high-end headset, it is legit to ask the question: is it a revolution? Will the goal of VR3.0 be achieved? (yes, that’s two questions actually).
Although it would be dishonest to answer these two questions just by looking at the technical sheet, we can already ask ourselves if this headset is relevant for us other sim racer.
A screen that is very good.
The Crystal follows the 8KX: always two 4k screens.
Here Pimax makes a very smart choice: first, reduce the field of view to increase the PPD (pixel per degree, the PPD defines the clarity). Indeed on the 8KX, the pixels were spread over a field of view of 200°, field of view finally very little used because requiring too many GPU resources.
Then, Pimax proposes two sets of lenses allowing to vary the field of view from 110° to 125° (in horizontal). Therefore reducing the FOV (field of view) directly increases the sharpness (where on the 8KX, the setting was computerized and did not increase the sharpness). This is a great first in VR, let’s hope that the integration is good.
In 110° we get 42 PPD against 22 PPD for the 8KX.
The refresh rate goes to 160Hz, when the 8KX was limited to 90Hz. The panel is a QLED that we imagine of better quality than that of the 8KX.
A standalone headset that is not?
Let’s be clear: this headset is the VR headset for the general public…very rich. It comes with a processor and a battery that allow it to be used in standalone. We might as well say it right away: for us who are equipped with powerful PCs, it’s useless.
But I can’t stop at this simple conclusion without asking myself the following question: is it reasonable to offer a 8K standalone VR headset? Indeed, it is very difficult to power the 8KX, even with a 3080ti… The processor used here is a Snapdragon XR2. It’s always complicated to find a PC equivalent, but basically it’s like having an i7-5700HQ and a GTX 750… yes … it hurts.
The built-in battery offers 6000 mAh… we’ll see what it gives in terms of autonomy.
Useless technos ?
Pimax offers with this headset an integrated eye-tracking, used to adjust the IPD automatically. I can’t help but think (bitterly?) about the eye tracking module for the 8KX which cost me 200€ and was simply useless because it was totally unstable and not supported by any simulation…
We can only hope that Pimax has completely revised its copy (proposing an update of the old module would have been a proof of good faith).
My global impression
I’m an inveterate fan of Pimax. Pimax is always ahead of the competition. Pimax is also often ahead of itself, by proposing technologies it doesn’t master. Let’s be clear: eye tracking for the 8KX has totally been abandoned.
So it is reasonable to believe that the first series of these Crytal headsets will give their users a hard time.
I would sell my father and mother for a few more hertz, even if it means struggling with the headsets. But what stops me here is the standalone features that don’t concern us, as well as some problematic ones. I would have gone for an 8KX+ (better refresh/optics), and I’m looking forward to the 12k!