Pimax Crystal review: Crystal clear VR

Sayem Ahmed
Pimax Crystal headset on a desk

Pimax’s newest VR headset boasts an incredibly high resolution, but does it manage to impress, considering its costly price tag?

Pimax is a curious company, their PC VR headset was initially kickstarted back in 2017, and now the company is back with the Crystal, a PC VR headset, which also happens to have portable functionality too. But there’s just one problem: Its portable mode just isn’t ready yet.

However, Pimax insisted that we were okay to review their $1600 headset with this missing functionality in mind, as it’s still an accomplished PC VR headset. However, as ever with PC VR headsets, there are hurdles to jump through in order to ensure that everything is set up and working correctly.

We’ve tested the Pimax Crystal for weeks, and we’re finally ready to talk about our experience using the headset.

Key specs

SpecsPimax Crystal
Display typeQLED+ MiniLED
Refresh rate90/120Hz
Field of viewHorizontal:125°
LensesAspheric optical lens
Features35PPD, 15ms MTP latency, inside-out tracking, replaceable battery, Snapdragon XR2 processing chip.
Controllers2x included
Weight960g (With battery)


Pimax Crystal close up shot

The Pimax Crystal, as a PC VR headset, is fairly weighty and comes adorned with a matte black finish, alongside foam padding for its main HMD. A slick unboxing experience offers you absolutely everything you need to know, and while the design will put some users off, it feels appropriately heavy-duty for the price that it commands. You get a wealth of connectors, chargers, battery packs and more right in the box, which means that you won’t have to go around


The Pimax Crystal’s huge HMD makes use of slim lenses in addition to a complex strap setup which makes for a very comfortable experience. We’d argue that this headset, while in use, is more comfortable, and sits in place much more securely when compared to the PlayStation VR2. This is thanks in part due to its adjustable head straps, and the padding on the front of the headset when you turn it on.

Additionally, our version of the Crystal also comes with speakers, which hover over your head as you turn it on. In addition to this, the headset also supports IPD adjustments, and has several controls around the front, making it quick and easy to access.

Pimax Crystal side-on view

Clamping the headset around our heads was fairly simple, and you can adjust the tightness to find your ideal sweet spot very easily. It all feels appropriately high-quality, and while some won’t be a fan of the wider design of the headset itself, it does its job perfectly well.

Sadly, the headset does not come with a lighthouse panel out of the box, and the company aims for it to be available later this year.


Sadly, the same cannot be said for the controllers of the Pimax Crystal. They feel too light, and no button feels satisfying to press. The controller itself is reminiscent of the Quest 2 controllers, and while they work perfectly well, it feels like the company could have gone a step further in making them feel nice to use in your hands. The smooth black plastic isn’t especially comfortable, and we wished that they had a somewhat textured grip, in order to secure your hands in place slightly more confidently.

Software & setup

Pimax Crystal software utility with several options

Setting up the Pimax Crystal, you will find two batteries, which you can slot into the back of the headset, in addition to a cable that splits into three – these offer data, power, and a DisplayPort input for your graphics card.

It should be noted that in order to drive a screen this powerful, you should be running an adequately high-performance system. We used an RTX 4080 alongside a Ryzen 7 5800X3D for the duration of our review. Though, you can use weaker hardware, and scale down the massive resolution of the headset internally.

But, it seems like somewhat of an oversight, if you were to purchase this headset for PC VR without having a PC powerful enough to run it. The Pimax Crystal demands cutting-edge hardware to have the best experience. This is not an entry-level VR device.

After hooking up all of the various cables to the headset, you need to install the Pimax Client, which has an easy-to-understand process for how to hook up your headset correctly. The firmware update experience out of the box, however, is abysmal. Our headset firmware update repeatedly got stuck, and only after brute forcing the update through multiple times were we able to actually get everything up to date.

Once you are all updated, you can also adjust things like render quality, refresh rate, backlight brightness, and more straight from the app. The headset also offers automatic IPD adjustments, but you can manually tune this through software, or through the headset itself. Once you are happy, the headset is picked up in SteamVR without a hitch, and from there you can launch any and all of your supported games.

Is it good for gaming?

Pimax Crystal controllers on a desk

We tried various games, spanning from Half: Life Alyx to Superhot VR on the headset, and if you have a powerful enough PC, the quality is astounding. It’s leaps and bounds sharper than the Quest Pro headset, and not even in the same ballpark as the PlayStation VR2. The screen should be the main reason you purchase the headset.

In simulation titles, such as Asetto Corsa or Microsoft Flight Simulator, the Pimax Crystal shines, especially if you are building it around a rig. You’ll need some hefty PC performance to power the resolution, but if you have that, then it’s an absolute delight. The headset does have some fairly aggressive chromatic aberration. The screen, if viewed even slightly off-center does result in some fringing.

Additionally, the headset is very front-heavy, which can cause some strain on your neck if used for longer periods of time.

But, once you’re all strapped in and using the thing, and all of its parts come together, the headset shines. The audio is nothing incredible, but it’s a welcome addition, and the controllers, once updated to their latest firmware, were tracking very well in the headset too.

Should you buy it?

The Pimax Crystal, in its current form, is for the tinkerers, the hardcore VR enthusiast. It requires a hefty PC, and enough cash in your wallet to demand nothing but the sharpest VR experience commercially available. It has its quirks in the software, and the missing features in the standalone mode give us some pause. If you are spending this much on a headset, you should really be getting everything the company markets right out of the gate, which is one of our biggest complaints.

The Verdict: 3/5

As it stands, for the price, you do not get $600 worth of more quality when using the Pimax Crystal versus the Quest Pro. While the Quest Pro might not have certain features of the Crystal, it’s a much slicker and cheaper package. But, if uncompromised, crystal-clear screen quality is your main goal, then the Pimax Crystal offers it in droves, just be ready to face some hurdles along the way.