Pimax announces new details on the high-end mobile VR headset Pimax Crystal. The version initially announced is revised and the price is reduced.
At the Pimax Crystal launch event, Pimax showcased its upcoming mobile VR headset and announced new features compared to the first presentation in October. In addition to the lens insert optimizations, potential buyers should be particularly pleased with the price savings. The high-end standalone VR headset will be significantly cheaper than originally announced.
Pimax Crystal: Lighter than the Pimax 8K X
It wasn’t until October that Pimax announced its high-end standalone VR headset. Highlights include:
- Eye and face tracking,
- QLED displays with MiniLED backlighting at 2880 x 2880 pixels,
- a refresh rate of up to 160 hertz,
- and aspherical interchangeable lenses with automatic IPD control.
Now there are more details. The Pimax Crystal comes with a Display Port 1.4 connector and a fifteen foot streaming cable. Unlike the Pimax 8K X, the Crystal would offer a narrower front and be “significantly lighter”. Changes in the choice of materials would have allowed the lower weight.
Replaceable battery at the back of the head
The package includes a quick-change 6000mAh battery that slides into the back of the headband to act as a counterweight. Pimax thus promises a better balance of the VR headset. Pico 4 (test) and Meta Quest Pro (info) also rely on a similar design.
Pimax wants to offer two interchangeable fronts for the Crystal. The “Lighthouse Cover” available at the launch of the VR headset comes with all the sensors necessary for tracking the headlights. The “Mixed Reality Cover” slated for post-launch release includes cameras for a passthrough mode. This also makes it clear that Crystal does not natively support passthrough.
The frame-mounted speakers support the DTS audio format and are said to deliver immersive sound. The Pimax Crystal’s controllers offer next to nothing new and resemble the Meta Quest 2 (test) touch controllers in design and layout.
Interchangeable lenses, Auto-IPD and HDR
As already announced, Pimax does without Fresnel lenses or pancakes for the Crystal. Instead, the VR headset comes with interchangeable glass-coated aspherical lenses. According to Pimax, this should significantly reduce image distortions such as God Rays, make images look sharper, and increase the field of view.
Pimax offers different pairs of lenses with different characteristics. The 35PPD set offers a wider field of view with 140 degrees diagonally, while the 42PPD variant offers a clearer image. When the Pimax Crystal was first introduced, the housings of the paired lenses were still attached with screws. Pimax has improved on this. Each lens can now be inserted individually via a magnetic mount, and screws are optional.
The Pimax Crystal automatically adjusts the lens distance between 57 and 71 millimeters. The eye and face tracking of the VR headset helps with this. There are buttons on the side of the case for manual readjustment. The Pimax Crystal’s QLED displays are claimed to deliver richer contrasts and deeper blacks than comparable headsets like the Quest 2 or Pimax 8K X via an HDR effect achieved by local dimming.
Pimax Crystal: PC VR mode via cable, WLAN or WLAN dongle
For wired PC VR mode, the included Display Port cable can be used. For wireless streaming, Pimax recommends WiFi 6E. There will also be an optional WiFi dongle for faster and more stable connections, as well as higher resolutions. “WiGig” supposedly works without latency at a distance of 15 to 24 feet from the PC and without a noticeable drop in refresh rate.
The “Pimax Power Station” is also available as an option. The compact, moddable computer is optimized for VR content and supposedly plays the “most demanding RTX titles” currently available. A WiGig module is already pre-installed. Pimax does not yet provide information on pricing and technical details.
Pimax Crystal: cheaper than initially announced
The company was able to reduce the originally planned price of $1,889 by optimizing the delivery process and improving the availability of certain components. The full Pimax Crystal QLED kit will now cost $1,599.
It includes the VR headset with battery, a set of 35PPD lenses, a DisplayPort cable and two controllers. Those who already own a Pimax VR headset can take advantage of a $100 discount when purchasing the Crystal and get the Lighthouse faceplate for half price.
There is still no concrete release date for the Pimax Crystal. In the coming weeks and months, Pimax wants to introduce the VR headset to live audiences at roadshows. The dates are not yet announced.
Pimax wants to grow
In addition to the VR headset, Pimax also showcased its expansion plans at the launch event. Again, Pimax was not specific. According to Pimax USA COO Kevin Henderson, “local service teams” and “technical support teams” are to be established in North America within the next year. The Chinese company also wants to be more present in other still unknown western regions.
“We committed to this with the understanding that this expansion will be to incorporate a large dose of Western DNA into all of our operations. This means that we will emphasize personal attention for each customer,” says Henderson.