Arms-on the Pimax Crystal Gentle at Pimax World Roadshow London 2024

Arms-on the Pimax Crystal Gentle at Pimax World Roadshow London 2024
Arms-on the Pimax Crystal Gentle at Pimax World Roadshow London 2024

Right this moment I host one other superb visitor article by Rob Cole, the VR ergonomics knowledgeable who has ideated the XR Caliper (later XR Modular) controller and has reviewed headsets just like the Pimax Crystal already on this weblog. Right this moment Rob will inform us about his expertise on the Pimax World Roadshow episode that occurred in London just a few weeks in the past. Let’s see how this occasion by Pimax turned out to be! Rob, the mic (or the keyboard) is yours…

pimax roadshow london
Crystal Gentle on a desk (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

Following the current information that Pimax was launching a “Gentle” model of their Crystal VR headset, there was quickly discuss of a Pimax World Roadshow passing by a number of US and European Cities in the course of the Summer time of 2024.

After receiving an invitation by electronic mail, I made a reserving for a demo session on the London leg of the Pimax World Roadshow which was going down on Wednesday 5th June. It was very helpful that it was solely a half-hour stroll from my home!   

pimax global roadshow
Pimax World Roadshow banner (Picture by Pimax)

So in case you missed the current information, what’s the Pimax Crystal Gentle? It’s a stripped-down model of the unique Crystal, purely for tethered PCVR, at an aggressive worth level for a headset of its class (35ppd). It’s aimed toward Reverb, Vive Professional, and Index house owners searching for a visible improve. Pimax moreover gives a SteamVR faceplate for these already utilizing Lighthouse base stations and Index controllers. 

Gone is the XR2 processor, taking with it the Standalone mode and wi-fi assist; gone is the Tobii eye monitoring with computerized IPD and Dynamic Foveated Rendering. Fortunately additionally gone is the detachable battery with its rear cradle and semi-rigid energy strap.

Eliminating all of those parts removes a reported 300 grams of weight, a lot taken from the entrance to provide what ought to be a extra balanced headset with much less inertia when transferring rapidly.  

These are the specs of the headset, in accordance with Pimax:

  • Extremely-sharp 2880 x 2880 decision per eye.
  • Glass aspheric lenses with a big candy spot.
  • 35 PPD for tremendous clear imaginative and prescient.
  • Variable refresh price (60Hz, 72Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz) offers clean gameplay.
  • Manually adjustable IPD (58-72mm).
  • Foveated Rendering: Mounted 2.0.
  • Straightforward setup with inside-out monitoring or increase with Lighthouse monitoring.
  • Audio: interchangeable 3.5mm jack, 2x microphone.
pimax cristal light options
Pimax Cristal Gentle choices (Picture by Pimax)

Crystal Gentle choices embody the next, with pricing proven beneath in GBP however excluding tax and delivery. There may be additionally a brand new “trial fee” at a diminished worth with the ultimate steadiness due after the 15-day trial, in the event you resolve to maintain the product.

  • Pimax Crystal Gentle with native dimming, no controllers £649
  • Pimax Crystal Gentle with native dimming, Pimax Controllers £729.00
  • Pimax Crystal Gentle with native dimming, no controllers, SteamVR faceplate £729

There may be additionally point out of a model with no native dimming as “coming quickly” with only a US greenback worth at $699… maybe one thing for the longer term then? (since going to press, Pimax introduced a small delay as a result of show panels). Pimax has already shipped a sizeable variety of Crystal Gentle headsets to pre-order prospects so anticipate to see opinions popping up in your favorite VR channels and web sites quickly.

In fact, there will likely be an unique in-depth overview for the Skarredghost as soon as a Crystal Gentle manufacturing headset is obtained for testing, which shouldn’t be lengthy after this text is revealed.

Discovering the London Roadshow

A few weeks later, we discovered the London leg of the Pimax World Roadshow hidden away within the sub-basement of a public library on a small housing property between Regent’s Park and Edgware Highway. Fairly an odd location, however momentary rentable area is at a premium in lots of massive cities, so it’s nice they really discovered an accessible location in central London.

It was a busy buying and selling day in Church Avenue with a thriving avenue market, bustling with giant numbers of individuals shopping for fruit and veg; the doorway to the library supplied a barely surreal portal for our VR demo.

Library entrance  pimax roadshow
Library entrance (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

A useful entrance desk contained in the library pointed us in the appropriate route, descending a number of units of stairs, at first discovering a “gaming centre” packed filled with desktop PC gaming setups for neighborhood use. This seemed promising, however wasn’t it. Nevertheless, in a room subsequent door, we noticed folks in black Pimax t-shirts carrying pc tools and headsets.

We had a fast discuss with certainly one of their employees members, who turned out to be their Chief Working Officer.  Following her pleasant introduction, she requested some questions on VR which I used to be more than pleased to reply.

pimax cristal light staff
Pimax employees member holding a Crystal Gentle (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

Two Crystal Gentle headsets had been arrange with gaming PCs (RTX 3070 and RTX 3080) on small tables while an unique Crystal was being arrange on a 3rd PC, with the wi-fi 60G module and a few driving sim tools. Earlier than my demo it was time for a fast take a look at the brand new headset, to see what had modified in comparison with the unique Crystal

The Pimax Crystal Gentle

I had been utilizing a Pimax-supplied unique Crystal for practically a 12 months with the fibre optic cable, DMAS audio system, and SteamVR faceplate, so had some strong expertise underneath my belt (together with 55 hours of “Into the Radius”) which I felt would give me a helpful comparability between the Crystal and Gentle headsets (you may examine my earlier expertise with the Crystal right here:

crystal light headset
Crystal Gentle headset (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

Most noticeable was the load discount when choosing up the headset, while creating a greater steadiness between the entrance and rear, with much less weight on the entrance. From what Pimax has mentioned, the Gentle is about 300 grams lighter than the unique Crystal, not shocking with the elimination of the XR2 processor, eye monitoring chip and lens array, the motorised IPD adjuster, rear battery with housing cradle and high energy strap, DP repeater field, and so forth. 

Stripping down the headset so folks might play SteamVR and OpenXR video games at an inexpensive worth with minimal fuss was a sensible transfer. The Crystal Gentle presents as a 2800×2800 DisplayPort headset containing high-specification QLED panels with native dimming possibility, aspherical glass lenses, competent inside-out monitoring with Contact-style controllers, and a easy tethered connection.

Ditching the standalone system and transferring to a PCVR headset made lots of sense contemplating the very excessive monetary value of populating a competing standalone VR retailer with compelling sufficient software program to entice folks into a brand new ecosystem. Once I final seemed, there have been solely a dozen apps on the Pimax standalone retailer, and nothing new had been added since launch.

Even established opponents like HTC and Pico have struggled to get this ingredient proper, with Meta and Valve taking nearly all of VR software program gross sales. Getting prospects and builders to join one other competing retailer, particularly one sparsely populated, was proving an uphill battle. Since Pimax makes cash by promoting {hardware}, it made sense to give attention to the bodily by leaving the multi-billion greenback firms to battle for software program gross sales in a backed market.

pimax crystal light rear harness
Rear headset harness (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

Choosing up the headset, I discovered a brand new and far improved wider high strap which replaces the unique “energy strap” and underslung “high strap” combo. This could present a giant enchancment when it comes to consumer consolation from the thicker, wider strap materials giving extra assist and stability in addition to a lot improved ease of adjustability when establishing your match.

If sharing the headset that is additionally very useful as the unique Crystal high strap was difficult to regulate because it was hidden underneath a thick energy strap, and was not notably supportive out of the field, leaving a lot of lovers to mod their head straps.

The Pimax Consolation Prime Strap for the unique Crystal has been confirmed by Pimax as being suitable with the Crystal Gentle, for customers who’re spending lengthy hours of their simulator and wish the elevated consolation from its Aero-like adjustable high cradle design. As somebody who lastly obtained my Consolation Prime Strap (from Amazon) I can verify it made a giant distinction to my unique Crystal, so effectively price wanting into as an possibility.

On the rear of the headset, the battery cradle has gone, changed by a brand new padded rear cradle with a big knurled dial for becoming the headset. Together with the highest strap, it ought to match throughout a wider vary of head shapes and sizes as the ability strap size on the unique Crystal may very well be a limiting issue for larger-sized heads.  

The mechanical IPD adjustment is granular with a spread of 58-72mm, with further software program offsets to be discovered within the Pimax Play PC shopper software program which has its personal model for the Crystal Gentle. 

The demo headset I used was fitted with the off-ear DMAS audio system, while the opposite demo headset had the common SMAS which comes with each headset. The DMAS audio system are an added additional usually promoting at GBP £80 which appears cheap for an Index-style audio improve utilizing BMR drivers from Tectonic who additionally provides the drivers in Valve’s Index. Now that Reverb G2 and Index are EOL, this leaves Pimax as the one vendor providing extra-aural BMR audio.

Making an attempt the Crystal Gentle headset

Being very conversant in the Crystal, I rapidly adjusted the Crystal Gentle to go well with my 59cm head. The vast high strap with a big velcro tab made for a giant enchancment in becoming and speedy consolation.   

The headset was fitted with the consolation face cushion which I don’t personally use in my Crystal: I began with the common face cushion bolstered with velcro facet items to slender the cushion. I’m now utilizing Studioform Artistic’s Crystal equipment which has some nice items to essentially dial within the match.

For this demo, the headset felt somewhat too vast however truly felt fairly steady from the brand new high strap and diminished weight. I’m positive with some ergonomic modifications to go well with my match it will be additional improved and that is one thing to look ahead to attempting with my take a look at headset sooner or later. 

trying pimax crystal light
Making an attempt the headset (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

Leaping into “The Blu”, the Crystal Gentle seemed tremendous sharp and had surprisingly misplaced the chromatic aberration and color shifting I generally skilled in my unique Crystal.

The optics positively appeared sharper, maybe the non-removable lenses benefitting from locked-down manufacturing unit calibration, or a 12 months’s price of producing expertise has made for a greater set of glass lenses than these present in my unique Crystal? Regardless of the clarification, I used to be actually impressed with the optics, which additionally appeared to have a slightly improved discipline of view.

The fixed lenses of the Pimax Crystal Light
The mounted lenses of the Pimax Crystal Gentle (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

Trying by the SteamVR library on the host pc, I attempted a lot of completely different experiences together with Pistol Whip which is at all times an ideal work out for monitoring methods with its speedy gunplay. I used to be impressed with the efficiency of the inside-out monitoring: I attempted occluding the controllers and transferring them out of vary to check their limits, they usually carried out as anticipated much like Meta and HTC inside-out monitoring. 

Trying up contained in the digital world (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

I truly had a greater efficiency of the inside-out monitoring on the demo than I get at residence with my unique Crystal, in all probability due to the library surroundings being comparatively cluttered giving the SLAM monitoring one thing to lock onto. At residence I had some monitoring points with my unique Crystal till I switched to the SteamVR faceplate, however I ought to level out that my residence SteamVR room is a worse-case situation for SLAM with white partitions and a black rubber flooring devoid of furnishings or work.

My ultimate take a look at was utilizing Half-Life: Alyx which is usually an ideal benchmark for picture high quality because of its high-quality belongings. I used to be additionally eager to attempt the “mounted foveated rendering” which was certainly one of two instruments (the opposite being upscaling) included within the new Pimax Play shopper to assist offset the heavy rendering value of Pimax’s 35ppd distortion profile. To present an thought of some numbers, SteamVR studies 100% decision for my Crystal as 4312 x 5104 per eye, which my RTX4080 finds troublesome to render even at 72hz.

pimax crystal light front face
Entrance view of me sporting the headset (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

Switching FFR to most, I seen one thing unusual in HLA while standing in a darkish hall a stationary air flow fan immediately in entrance of me.  The centre of my imaginative and prescient was pixellated and low decision like an previous Doom recreation, with very giant aliasing steps. Turning off FFR made this phenomenon disappear, rendering my whole discipline of view in excessive readability.

Pimax was conscious of this bug which appeared to have one thing to do with HLA and its recreation engine, so nothing to fret about because the headset has already had a software program replace since my demo.

Ending my demo, I used to be tremendous impressed with the visible readability of the software program I attempted, excluding the bizarre FFR bug in HLA. Lastly, I had one other good look over the headset, and checked out the brand new tether, as I used to be curious to see if the longer and thinner fibre optic tether may very well be fitted to the Crystal Gentle.

Crystal Light tether
The tether of the Crystal Gentle (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

Crystal Gentle has a brand new tether which is a copper DP cable with an inline energy injector working off a mains energy provide. This could guarantee loads of energy is obtainable, taking out the unique Crystal’s have to swap batteries each couple of hours or run further USB cabling to assist batteries throughout lengthy sim periods.

Sadly I discovered that the fibre optic cable received’t match, however the copper DP tether ought to work out positive for simming and roomscale use, and as one early reviewer discovered, it’s not troublesome to make use of energetic DP and USB cabling so as to add somewhat additional size if required. 

Subsequent, I had a take a look at the opposite Crystal Gentle headset which had the inventory SMAS audio system. I didn’t get to attempt them out so can’t touch upon the sound high quality which I’ve learn is satisfactory like comparable audio methods. The DMAS on my take a look at headset labored very well as traditional so I’d advocate paying the additional to convey Index-style audio to the Crystal Gentle.

pimax cristal light smas speakers audio
Commonplace SMAS audio system (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

Lastly I went over and had a take a look at the 60G wi-fi module which was being fitted to the unique Crystal connected to the third PC that they had introduced alongside. Sadly because of time constraints, I didn’t get to attempt it out, however dealt with the bottom unit which felt reassuringly heavy, and had a take a look at the neat headstrap-mounted dongle that matches onto the unique Crystal headset.

One thing to concentrate on is the truth that wi-fi is simply supported by the unique Crystal, which makes use of its XR2 processor to run the wi-fi system, which means the Crystal Gentle is only for tethered use. I look ahead to testing the 60G as soon as Pimax has a take a look at unit accessible for delivery.

pimax crystal wireless module
The wi-fi module for use with the Pimax Crystal (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

Earlier than leaving the demo, I spent about 20 minutes with a outstanding Youtuber who runs a flight sim channel, he was filming folks attending the Roadshow.  Numerous questions had been requested about my expertise with the Crystal headsets, Pimax and VR basically. It was unusual to be on the opposite facet of the digital camera, however hopefully they gleaned some helpful knowledge from my ramblings!

Being interviewed was fairly good (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

As we had been leaving the Roadshow, extra company had been arriving for his or her demo session, so we had go searching and seen folks had been having nice enjoyable trying out the most recent VR tools. There was buzz in regards to the Crystal Gentle with constructive suggestions from folks I spoke to, some fairly shocked in regards to the improve in readability as a result of they had been used to earlier technology headsets.

The overall consensus was that Pimax had scored win right here, making the Crystal Gentle accessible for open demonstration, bolstering confidence within the product and the corporate itself.

pimax crystal demos
Demoing Pimax headsets to prospects (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

It’s nice to have these sorts of demo occasions, as sadly they’ve been largely lacking for the reason that VR golden days of 2016-2018. Again then it was simple for me to stroll into London’s West Finish on a Saturday morning and check out the Vive, Rift CV1, Daydream, GearVR, and PSVR at completely different retailers all in brief succession.

Because the preliminary hype pale different merchandise changed the VR demos, after which in fact Covid occurred, to begin with placing a cease to any public occasions, and afterwards making folks nervous about sharing facially worn tools. This concern appears to have pale for a lot of now, as location-based leisure venues are reporting good enterprise, and other people appear extra snug sharing with venues adopting lightboxes and different cleansing options. 

As I discovered a few years in the past, getting heads into headsets is a confirmed gross sales device, as VR actually needs to be tried to be believed, particularly for the most recent headsets with increased resolutions and new lens expertise offering massive enhancements in optical readability. The times of 13ppd headsets and fresnel lenses are certainly numbered…

A consumer attempting the Pimax Crystal Gentle headset (Picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

From my transient demo of the Pimax Crystal Gentle, I got here away impressed with the product itself and the low pricepoint (in comparison with unique Crystal) which ought to enable a bigger variety of VR customers to get on board the next-generation practice with out blowing the financial institution. I used to be additionally impressed with Pimax placing on present at many areas throughout Europe and the US. Different firms might study from this, as there may be nothing higher than assembly your prospects immediately.

Huge because of Pimax and their pleasant employees for organising the London occasion, my because of you the reader, and to the Skarredghost for internet hosting my article.

(Header picture by R. Cole and S. Ramos)

Disclaimer: this weblog comprises commercial and affiliate hyperlinks to maintain itself. In the event you click on on an affiliate hyperlink, I will be very comfortable as a result of I am going to earn a small fee in your buy. You will discover my boring full disclosure here.

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