Pimax Crystal review - undeniably powerful, but unfinished

2 weeks ago 28

The Pimax Crystal is simply a almighty and well-designed PC VR headset featuring immoderate awesome hardware and stellar visuals. However, the incredibly precocious terms tag and underwhelming all-in-one mode clasp it backmost from greatness.


  • +

    Stunning representation quality

  • +

    Decent controllers

  • +

    Excellent audio


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    Standalone mode is bare-bones

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    Expensive compared to the competition

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    Heavy connected the head

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The Pimax Crystal VR headset’s ngo connection is to present the “ultra VR experience” for enthusiasts looking for the adjacent measurement successful immersive gaming. Armed with an exceptionally precocious pixel count, solid lenses, outer tracking cameras, and adjacent the enactment for an all-in-one mode, successful theory, there’s capable nether present to rival immoderate of the best VR headsets. However, this 1 isn’t rather acceptable for premier clip conscionable yet. 

However, factoring successful the precocious terms tag and the dilatory roll-out of promised features, the Pimax Crystal presently feels similar a merchandise that’s inactive successful improvement to beta testers alternatively than the be-all-end-all PC VR and standalone solution that it could be. 

Price and availability

The Pimax Crystal is disposable for $1,599 / £1,699 (around AU$2,500) which positions it arsenic 1 of the astir costly user PR headsets available. As a framework of reference, this is astir the aforesaid outgo arsenic the Meta Quest Pro erstwhile it launched and comparable to the HTC Vive Pro 2 with its controllers and basal station.  

Design and features

Pimax Crystal headset and controllers

(Image credit: Future)

Marketed arsenic having the “highest pixel magnitude of immoderate user VR headset”, the Pimax Crystal’s unsocial selling constituent is each astir the display: it offers a whopping full solution of 5760 x 2880 with 35ppd (pixels-per-degrees). For context, that’s importantly higher than the likes of the PSVR 2 and the HP Reverb G2, but considering the leap up successful terms tag here, that’s besides thing you’d anticipation for. It makes for an incredibly precocious solution of 2880 x 2880 per oculus which tin besides tally astatine either 90 oregon 120Hz depending connected the supported software.

The physique prime of the headset is coagulated and it’s constructed chiefly of achromatic integrative finished successful an angular design. It’s precise iterative connected the company’s erstwhile flagship, the Pimax 8K X, and wide looks and feels appropriate. However, astatine 960g / 2.11 lbs, it does consciousness a small dense erstwhile you’re wearing it. There’s a cog instrumentality astatine the backmost which tin beryllium tightened oregon loosened to strap you in, and there’s besides a ample foam insert for glasses-wearers if you request the other space. 

Where the Pimax Crystal stands retired from different PC VR headsets is successful its dedicated all-in-one mode that tin beryllium activated with the flick of a power connected the device. Powering that is simply a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 arsenic good arsenic the PC VR Engine Dual-processor chips. The included 5m / 16ft braided cablegram plugs into the Pimax Crystal and past has DisplayPort, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 which goes into the backmost of the PC.

There are 2 sizable artillery packs (6000mAh) included which tin beryllium charged with USB-C, and you tin swap batteries painlessly enough, utilizing a sliding mechanics that lands with a satisfying click erstwhile successful place. There’s besides the modular powerfulness button, measurement rocker connected the right, and an interpupillary region slider connected the near apical broadside of the headset with an autofocus scope betwixt 58-72mm that tin beryllium manually adjusted. 

Adding to the premium quality of the Pimax Crystal are the high-fidelity DMAS off-ear headphones built into the headset itself, and the 4 outer depth-of-field cameras wrong the headset - which means there’s nary request for a basal station. A basal presumption is traditionally utilized successful high-end PC VR headsets specified arsenic the Steam Index to accurately way manus and oculus movements. These stations tin instrumentality up a just magnitude of abstraction successful your setup oregon room, truthful it’s a large positive that this shaper has built the cameras into the exemplary itself to negate that. 

The 2 controllers that vessel with the Pimax Crystal are akin to what you’ll find connected the Meta Quest Pro with a instrumentality and 2 look buttons connected each one, combined with a bumper, trigger, and paper buttons. They are sleek and lightweight, with a bully consciousness successful the hand, and complaint via USB-C. 


Pimax Crystal broadside  profile

(Image credit: Future)

The institution promises a five-minute start-up clip from erstwhile you plug everything into getting into a crippled - and successful my experience, that’s not excessively acold disconnected the mark. The Pimax Play app itself is casual to usage and arsenic good arsenic depicting the headset, controllers, and tracking connected screen, besides allows you to marque further alterations from country settings, to configuring things specified arsenic level calibration, and starting the instrumentality remotely. 

For the bulk of my clip spent with the Pimax Crystal, the oculus and digit tracking functionality did not work, however, that’s present been corrected successful a caller firmware update, which has besides added the standalone mode. Inside the Pimax Play app, I was capable to calibrate my eyes and past look astir successful a virtual abstraction and it worked well, and the aforesaid tin beryllium said of digit tracking which, portion primitively glitchy and imprecise a fewer weeks ago, is present creaseless overall. 

The standalone mode features its ain suite of games disposable connected the Pimax storefront and, portion I tin commend the information that it works and looks coagulated enough, there’s a existent deficiency of compelling, must-have bundle close now. It feels similar an afterthought, and an yet unusual inclusion successful signifier for a high-end PC VR headset aimed astatine the hardcore assemblage who aren’t going to privation to usage this mode, yet adding some bulk to the headset and inflating the terms to what it is. It’s much of a novelty than thing you’ll get immoderate existent usage retired of. 

When it comes to PC VR, though, the Pimax Crystal genuinely shines successful supported software, particularly erstwhile booted up successful Steam VR. While the headset fundamentally emulates the Valve Index for usability, the idiosyncratic acquisition wide is genuinely top-tier. The solution of 2880 x 2880 per oculus means that the games tested, including the ground-breaking Half-Life: Alyx, were exceptional. Where I’ve antecedently had passageway imaginativeness oregon felt disconnected from VR environments utilizing the likes of the Meta Quest 2 and the older Oculus Rift S, this was not the lawsuit with the Crystal owed to however crisp and elaborate the textures were. There were times erstwhile I was near speechless reaching retired into the world. 

This is bolstered by the fantabulous audio prime of the DMAS off-ear headphones which added an immersive and close situation dependable experience. I could perceive everything from the whirling of space-age ships flying done the entity close down to much subtle noises specified arsenic a tin being kicked implicit oregon footsteps from down a closed woody doorway - it each sounded incredibly real. I person ne'er experienced audio of this prime from VR, and it would adjacent rival immoderate of the champion gaming headsets.

Ultimately, the Pimax Crystal is incredibly almighty and offers the champion ocular and audio fidelity you tin get close now, but you're paying a premium for the privilege. It's wherefore it is simply a hard merchantability to each but those enthusiasts who privation top-end performance, arsenic for everyone else, you're amended disconnected with thing with a much assertive price-to-performance ratio similar the Valve Index oregon thing standalone similar the Meta Quest 2. 

Pimax Crystal strap and battery

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…  

You privation starring representation prime successful VR

The Pimax Crystal features an incredibly precocious solution with each oculus moving higher pixel counts than galore different models connected the market. 

Stellar audio successful VR is simply a must 

The DMAS off-ear headphones are immoderate of the champion I’ve utilized compared to different PC VR gaming headsets disposable now. 

Don’t bargain it if…  

You privation bully worth for money 

The Pimax Crystal is 1 of the astir costly VR headsets that you tin bargain close now. The Valve Index and Meta Quest 2 are some amended options successful presumption of price-to-performance and besides travel successful astatine a cheaper starting price. 

You privation compelling standalone software 

While the Pimax Play present offers its standalone mode, the lacking crippled enactment leaves a batch to beryllium desired contempt bully functionality compared to the likes of the acold cheaper Oculus Quest 2. 

The Pimax Crystal volition beryllium capable to play immoderate of the best VR games, and you'll privation to marque definite you've got 1 of the best graphics cards and the best CPU to marque the astir of it. 

Aleksha McLoughlin

Aleksha McLoughlin is the Hardware Editor for TechRadar Gaming and oversees each hardware sum for the site. She looks aft buying guides, writes hardware reviews, news, and features arsenic good arsenic manages the hardware team. Before joining TRG she was the Hardware Editor for sister work GamesRadar+ and she has besides been PC Guide's Hardware Specialist. She has besides contributed hardware contented to the likes of Trusted Reviews, The Metro, Expert Reviews, and Android Central. When she isn't working, you'll often find her successful mosh pits astatine metallic gigs and festivals oregon listening to immoderate caller achromatic and decease metallic has debuted that week.

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