Posted By TheRealDunningKrugee on r/pimax
TL;DR - a bit of a wait, a few bumps in the road, Wow! and DFR is a game changer (for me).
I have been invested in VR since 2016 and have 1000’s of hrs (PSVR1, Valve Index, Quest2, and now Pimax Crystal), i also come from a very technical background (I enjoy a bit of software & hardware tinkering).
I play mostly Pavlov, but also any other good PC VR game (HLA, Boneworks\lab,RE8 mod, etc)
Pre Crystal I mostly used my index, knuckles, 3 base stations on a 4090 FE (upgraded from 3090 in prep for Crystal) and a Ryzen 9 5900x.
I did a fair bit of research on Pimax and the Crystal before I pre-ordered as well as while I waited for delivery. So I think I was well prepared for the slipping deadlines and ambiguous\ misleading communication. Also I had a fair amount of leniency for Pimaxes mistakes and delays given they are a relatively small company, based in a very different culture\ language, trying to create the best most feature rich headset on the market today.
Getting a (working) Crystal:
-Pre ordered 25th Nov 2022
-Requested\Made payment 7th June 2023 (6.5months from order)
-Confirmed address 14th June 2023 (2 weeks from payment)
-Received shipping email 16th June 2023 (but then was cancelled)
-Received new shipping email and was delivered 23rd June 2023 (1 week from confirm)
(Cost £1534 inc VAT, free shipping)
Included the controversial: Glass lens(35ppd), fibre optic cable, usb power hub & DMAS.
On receiving my Crystal the lenses screws were not in, so 1 lens had become dislodged during shipping, easy to reseat. There was also something rattling around inside the headset. I discovered the ipd adj was not working. After some investigation (removing
the lens and lifting the surrounding gasket slightly) I found that the rattling was coming from a small white plastic gear that had come off the IPD mechanism.
I raised a Case on the Pimax support portal the same day (23rd June 2023), I uploaded pictures with a full description. They got back to me in 2 days (on a Sunday) to acknowledge and move the ticket to the relevant team. Over the next week they quickly confirmed they would be sending me a replacement headset and I gave me the choice of returning the other headset before or after receiving the new one. I chose to delay returning the broken headset so I could continue testing and end up with all the right\working bits, etc.
After reconfirming my address the replacement headset was sent out, I received it 2 weeks after the initial ticket was raised (7th July 2023). The new one was in good working order (inc ipd) all the accessories were the same except the cable was the copper one (not the fibre optic one i got with the first one).
After about 2 months Pimax sent me the return label (21st Aug 2023) to send back the broken headset. Packaged up in the original box and sent it off 2 weeks later. Can see it has been delivered to them but have not heard anything more.
I also ordered the Lighthouse faceplate on release date (14th Aug 2023). Was in the first few orders so lucky enough to get the $100 discount (£122 inc VAT & shipping) expecting shipping before 23rd Sept.
This took a few hrs of tinkering to get right.
The head set would not connect if I had 3 monitors plug in.
Seems to work best if I just have 1 monitor plugged in and use the 1st DP port for the headset.
The headset would only connect if I use the “correct” usb port.
Seems to only like my USB 2 ports and not work on my USB 3 ones.
Battery charging cradle took some getting used to.
There was some instability which was fixed by bypassing the short extension cable attached to the headset. I have subsequently removed the extension altogether.
I switched off smoothing and fixed foveated rendering and set my res setting to 0.75 (in Pimax tool) in steam i had it set to about 120%. 120Hz seems to work fine using the Fibre cable.
Tried the different face gaskets, they are both ok, but ended up switching to a PU leather one i had for my quest 2 (from VR covers). I also had some side cushions that I could put under the gasket to make it fit my narrower face. I also added a thick left-right top strap (one made for the quest pro) right at the front near the hmd part. With a little fiddling I got this to be very comfortable (similar to the index).
FOV is fine, feels like the index, better than the quest 2.
On start up I regularly ended up under the floor and or off to the side. This was easily recentred with OVR Adv setting (fpsVR works too).
I seem to be able to get 5-6 hrs of continuous playtime from one battery (while using the stock usb hub) which is enough for me. Also with a 2nd battery charged and waiting this seems more than adequate.
Love the over ear speakers (as i loved the Index ones), quality seems good and they go up very loud.
Seems because it uses Glass lenses (which are cooler) it fogs up a bit at the start of a session. But once the lenses warm up a little this stops happening.
Initially the controller tracking was not very good, hands would jitter about and fly off occasionally. Could not play Pavlov effectively but could get by on some other games.
There have been a couple firmware releases that improved the controller tracking.
As of the most recent release the tracking seemed really good and definitely good enough to play Pavlov.
I prefer using my knuckles controllers and lucky some clever person updated the space calibrator tool to recognise the Crystal. So while I waited for the Lighthouse faceplate I bought some steam dongles and used this to pair the knuckles with the Crystal.
The set up was simple and they work well. It does require a calibration and recentred at the start of each session, but this can be done from inside the headset (most of the time).
If switching back to the Crystal controllers I need to clear the calibration to get them to line up correctly, but again normally be done from inside the headset.
I needed to use a usb extension cable and a splitter to connect the steam dongles. This was to ensure they were far enough from the PC and each other to reduce interference. I do get some occasional tracking jitter but I believe this is due to BT\USB\dongle interference, it was waaay worse when the dongles were plugged into the PC directly.
Looking forward to receiving the Lighthouse faceplate, I think this will improve\remove the minor jitter (BT connection will be closer to controllers). Also should remove the need to recalibrate each session as all will be lighthouse tracked.
DFR (Dynamic foveated rendering):
I installed the firmware update yesterday that included eye tracking and was instantly impressed. I installed Matthieu Bucchianeri’s Quad view & OpenXR Eye Trackers and tested Pavlov (this type of DFR only works on DCS & Pavlov). And the gains were insane!!
Previously I had, AA on low, Pimax res on 75%, and Steam res on 120% and I could get 120fps.
Now I can have AA on ultra, Pimax res on 100% and Steam res on 150%, locked a 120fps and the fpsVR graph shows the GPU as doing almost nothing (0.4ms frame time)! This is effectively the equivalent of running at 5264x6228! It looks amazing!!! And runs perfectly!
I’m excited to test this out more. Also excited for if\when Pimax release 144Hz & 160Hz mode
I was wondering if I should have gone down the Bigscreen Beyond route and I think DFR has confirmed that the Crystal was the right choice for me.
The only slight artefact I saw was when getting shot the dark red hase that flashed across the screen (to show you have been hit) now does not fill the screen, it just occupies a large square in the middle of your view. Not sure if this is a Pimax, Quad view or Pavlov issue.
The mic is good quality but is very quiet. In Discord and OBS it seems to work fine, but in Windows and Pavlov it is sooo quiet that it only picks you up if you shout, and even then only at a few %. I raised a case with Pimax recently and they confirmed “we have realised the problem and our engineers are in the process of solving it”.
In the meantime i’m using a mini usb c mod mic plugged into the bottom USB c port on the headset, which works fine.
I’m impressed. The clarity and resolution looks amazing and paired with DFR performs great (at least for my most played game).
Very shortly (post LH plate and mic fix) this headset will be almost everything I want. I expect with future software updates (more Hz, more user friendly, fixes, etc) and hardware modules (wigig, mixt realty cover, etc) it will keep getting better and better.
Well done Pimax. Not a perfect execution but we got (getting) there in the end.
Keep up the good work.
I also appreciate all the beta testers that have been pushing Pimax to make the Crystal the best it can be as well as sharing great info, videos & support.