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Pimax Crystal – Is it the best VR headset for simulated gaming?

Many of us won’t remember the days before Meta Quest, when the only option for VR was to plug a handful of cables into our PCs, strain the US port, and hope we didn’t accidentally stumble during a tense game of Beat Saber Break down the display.

In those days, while I was happily playing on the Oculus Rift DK2 and later Oculus Rift, most of my experience was seated. I don’t have room size space. All I have is a nice comfy gaming chair, a stand for my racing wheel and pedals, and DIY chair arms that attach my HOTAS.

It’s like I’m about to reach my own simulation pit, which is awesome. After playing hundreds of hours of flight sims, space sims like Elite Dangerous, and racing games like Assetto Corsa, iRacing, and Project Cars, I can’t see anything other than VR Other ways to play the game.

Then we moved and I never got around to setting it all back up again, which I almost did. I could still see my Oculus Rift in the corner, and my sensors were still attached to the roof, but life moved on and everyone started buying Quests to break free. While the Quest 3 is a great headset that finally allowed me to experience at least some of the analog experience with its Air Link streaming setup, it’s not an out-and-out PCVR headset, and it does get a little confusing.

Pimax Crystal – A VR headset for simulation enthusiasts

Step forward Pimax’s Crystal – a headset that wouldn’t look out of place on a Cylon Overlord. The Crystal comes with the familiar rat’s nest of cabling and a long DisplayPort cable that I needed to fiddle with on the back of the computer to install, thereby removing one of my three monitors (yes, I did need them, thank you!). Ah, I remember all these pranks.

The Pimax Crystal comes in a much larger box than the Meta’s products, and when you open it you’ll understand why. This headset is huge in comparison, but it has to be able to accommodate the huge electronics it contains, More on that later. .

Looking throughout the rest of the box, you’ll find cables, batteries, and a USB hub for easy connection. Thankfully gone are the days when I had to buy extra USB PCi cards to plug into my Rift.

Pimax Crystal VR HeadsetPimax Crystal VR Headset
Pimax Crystal VR Headset

When freeing it from its beautiful packaging, it’s firstly worth noting that the Crystal, while probably the heaviest headphone I’ve ever felt, isn’t actually as heavy as I expected, and secondly, I pretty much agree that the device comes with suitable strap. It feels well made, secure on the face, and pulling the dial on the back shows everything is well balanced. I don’t want to be jumping around with it any more than I would any other plastic box strapped to my face, but since it’s going to be used for simulations, it feels pretty good.

Quick Download Pimax’s previously much-maligned (at least on the Internet) operating software. It installed quickly enough and started walking me through the setup, where to plug what, what was in the USB hub, and what needed to be plugged into the back of my device – a DP cable and a USB connector. Once that was done, I sat back and waited for the connection. there is nothing. A quick check revealed some user error, and according to the instructions for connecting to my computer, I had the wrong side of the hub. Thinking of VR in the past, I chuckled to myself. There’s still nothing weirder about exchanging everything.

I then plugged it into the port on the back of the machine instead of the front (I was lazy before) and it started working. I don’t think there’s enough power, at least on my setup, if it’s not connected directly to my motherboard.

Xiaopai SoftwareXiaopai Software
Pimax store in app

I can now see that Crystal is connected, so after spending a little time with the software I was soon able to get it to display my Oculus and Steam VR libraries, which is a nice touch. Pimax does have its own limited app store, so I downloaded the two free ones I found there, then got an error message saying I didn’t have enough disk space – which I did, so I left it . When I tried it a few days later, they downloaded just fine, so I don’t know what was going on there – I would actually use the game stored via Steam VR anyway).

The software obviously went through a lot of changes before I became familiar with it. The internet is full of reviews about how bad it is but overall it’s dated and while it’s not up to Apple’s standards I found it very useful and I also found a few features that I liked that could be changed exist. Pimax openly admits that the software still needs more optimization, but to their credit they have continued to release new and better versions.

Anyway, I’ll be discussing this via headphones soon.

Pimax Crystal – The best VR headset for graphics?

It’s a wow moment, and from the moment you hang the crystal on your face you can forgive any little quirks in its installation, the wires that might fall over, and the slightly awkward fit of having to fit one of the two batteries Strange situation. You can use it even when connected to a power source. Let’s get this out of the way first, I’ve never seen consumer VR look this clear. Now I understand why it is called crystal.

Dual 2880×2880 screens with refresh rates of up to 120Mhz will require a powerful PC to get the most out of them, but if you’ve had anything from the past few years you’ll enjoy what you see, rendered in crystal reality On the glass lens. There is no plastic on the optics.

The field of view is probably wider than anything you’ve ever had before, and Pimax is about to release some new lenses that will make it even bigger. You can seemingly easily replace them in a matter of minutes.

The software options I opened earlier were great. When you first put the headset on, make sure it is properly aligned with your eyes. Stay still and it will fix everything. You’ll then hear it buzz as the automatic IPD sensor adjusts the space between the lenses to the correct size for your eyes. There’s no need to fiddle with dials here, although there’s a manual option if you think you’d rather use that. This is a nice feature that removes any suspicion that you might be doing something wrong.

Pimax Crystal VR ControllerPimax Crystal VR Controller
Pimax Crystal VR controller recalls original Oculus design

The menu system in front of you should now display your game, and you can now select one using one of the Pimax controllers – if you’ve ever had a Rift, think of the original game, and you would have chosen it with the large halo protecting your knuckles game. These track well enough, and I’ve seen a lot of complaints about them, but I didn’t really lose tracking, but I was in a well-lit room. The controller may have inherited the design from the Quest 3, but I still use this headset for swimming, and certainly not for playing with a VR controller.

It’s worth pointing out here that the Crystal tracks via a camera on the headset rather than a base station or Lighthouse, although new panels can be purchased (not cheaply) to take advantage of existing Valve Index Lighthouse sensors.

So, from that point on, it was time to test the performance of the crystal in several simulations.

Simply do your best

Apologies for the terrible pun there. I couldn’t resist. After seeing how crisp the display looked, I couldn’t wait to fire up a game, so I headed over to Project Cars, a game I’m very familiar with from my Rift days. Once booted into the menu, I could use Crystal’s excellent eye-tracking capabilities to move the pointer over the option I wanted, and I could select it. Within a minute, I was in the car and amazed again. Hitting the sunny track, with no apparent screen door effect, was closer to the game than I’d ever been. At this stage of technology, pulling out of the pits and putting my foot down is definitely the closest I’ll get to the first corner. Overly excited, I pushed the car too far and slid into the gravel around the second corner. As the wall approached my out-of-control vehicle faster than I expected, I found myself closing my eyes and bracing for impact. The gravel was flying and the sun was glinting on my stationary rearview mirror, making me determined that I would never play driving again with anything other than Picorn crystals.

Movie images from Project CARS 3Movie images from Project CARS 3

Flight Simulator and check out DCS World and Microsoft Flight Simulator to see if they deliver similar results. From the moment you land in the cockpit you’ll notice the clarity of things is unique, and the increased field of view makes a huge difference to immersion. I struggled with the frame rate a little more in flight sims than in racing games, and found myself tweaking a few settings. The default settings for Crystal rendering in Steam VR are very hot, you can turn it back without much impact, but the extra legroom will give your GPU more room to breathe while rendering both above and below you. world.

in conclusion

Pimax Crystal is a serious VR kit. It’s pricey, and to be fair, there’s a learning curve. It’s not Meta Quest 3, but it’s not trying to be either. I’m not sure how much fun you’d have if you set this up as your first foray into VR, but if you want to take your sim racing or flying to the next level, that’s probably what you’ll do. Stick with it and you’ll get a VR experience that you may not be able to get elsewhere at this stage. It’s just that good.

Another thing that makes me like Pimax is that they seem keen on improving things. A recent software update introduced a pass-through feature that uses the tracking camera as a pass-through, so you can view your surroundings by double-clicking a Quest-style button on your temple. The cameras perform only as well as the Quest 2 camera, which is black and white and grainy even in good light, but I’m sure they’ll improve with future updates. Additionally, since the Crystal isn’t really designed to mess around where you’d normally be seated, a high-fidelity pass-through camera becomes less important.

We’ll be looking at Crystal and its other use cases in the near future, as well as how it stacks up against competitors like the Quest 3 and Apple Vision Pro, but for now we wanted to put it to the test for what we think is its best aspect. We haven’t even touched on how to use Crystal independently without a PC here. We simply don’t have space to cover everything in one article, so we remain focused on this specific niche.

Despite all the odds you may have to jump through, the Pimax Crystal is the best VR headset I’ve ever used for sim racing and flying. It’s worth the effort, the occasional frustration, and the rare disconnect. I still don’t really understand the battery situation, it seems to drain even when I think it’s off, so I always keep the second one charged and ready.

The technology inside this massive device is amazing and closer to immersion than I currently imagine. There’s no screen door effect, and while the clarity sweet spot may be larger when you’re sim racing or flying, you don’t seem to notice any slight blurring in the periphery because you’re mostly focused on what’s ahead of you. thing time, so everything works fine.

Is it worth it when you can easily buy a great ultrawide monitor for $1,500? I think asking this question is a bit missing the point, I want to feel like I’m in an F1 car or a Cessna light aircraft. I wanted to look at the dials as if they were right in front of me, and using Crystal in VR for the first time, I could see them and almost believe they were there. That’s it.

So if you’re serious about VR or simulation gaming and have the cash, it’s worth it. Hopefully, over time, the software will continue to improve and the user experience will become as polished as what Meta provided, it just requires more wires.

#Pimax #Crystal #headset #simulated #gaming

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