The use of VR headsets in Microsoft Flight Simulator has taken thousands of virtual pilots into a new dimension of realism and immersion. In the virtual world of MSFS, the realistic scenery powered by satellite data, accurate topographical mapping, real-time weather conditions, and true-to-life aircraft have all combined to give virtual pilots an experience that is getting shockingly close to reality. With the addition of VR headset compatibility, this experience becomes even more immersive. No longer are you merely looking at a screen; you are in the cockpit, surrounded by a myriad of controls and a 360-degree world waiting to be explored.
VR headsets are still a rare breed, for a number of reasons. They are cutting-edge technology that is not easy to develop and implement with the quality users are looking for. Furthermore, a good VR headset is expensive and requires immense computing power to deliver its promised experience. We’ve covered a few of the most popular headsets before, and today we’re bringing you details about a new product that recently came into the market: the Pimax Crystal.
The Pimax Crystal is an ambitious piece of hardware that aims to be the best consumer-level VR headset in the market. Its main draw is the astonishing 5760 x 2880 pixel display, making it the highest-resolution consumer VR headset in the market. Leveraging QLED+MINI LED panels, it promises deeper blacks and a wider color gamut with unprecedented clarity.
I had the chance to try the Pimax Crystal during FSExpo in Houston and, despite a mere 10 minutes or so immersed with headset and flying in MSFS, I came away very impressed. Make no mistake, the Crystal is a bulky kit and I expect that a couple of hours with it would become a strain, but there’s no denying that this headset does deliver a remarkable level of clarity and image quality that extends well beyond a perfect centre spot. I’ve owned an HP Reverb G2 and the Pimax Crystal is a step above in terms of image quality, no contest.
Design-wise, the Pimax Crystal features an angular and futuristic design. Pimax says its engineers have ensured that the weight distribution is balanced, which should help make it more tolerable for users during prolonged VR sessions.
The Pimax Crystal is now available for everyone to purchase, following an initial pre-ordering stage. It’s undeniably expensive at $1,599 (€1,499), but promises an immersive experience like no other, provided you have the hardware to run it with the simulator at high settings and can deal with the sheer size of the thing. Definitely worth a check!
Pimax has also recently announced the launch of a tracking extension accessory called the Lighthouse Faceplate. This accessory is designed specifically for the Crystal VR headset and will enable the headset to be compatible with SteamVR’s Lighthouse external base station system. By providing extremely high-precision indoor tracking performance and additional peripheral expansion, it seeks to offer users an even more immersive VR experience.
The release of this accessory is especially useful for users looking for a more complete VR experience that extends beyond the typical use with a simulator such as MSFS. The individual purchase price for the Lighthouse Faceplate is $199, with a limited release of 500 units, but there are also a number of bundles available to sweeten the deal:
Bundle 1: Crystal ($1,599) + Lighthouse Faceplate ($199)
When buying both items together, you get a $100 Discount, making the Bundle Price $1,698.
This offer is limited to 500 sets and is valid for four weeks.
Bundle 2: Crystal ($1,599) + Lighthouse Faceplate ($199) + Base Stations ($239) * 2 + Sword Controllers ($300)
When buying all items together, you get a $279 Discount, and the Bundle Price is $2,297.
This offer is limited to 100 sets and is valid for four weeks. The Lighthouse Faceplate is expected to be available for purchase on the Pimax official website in mid-August.
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