Pimax 8K X Review - An Ultrawide Headset with Amazing Visuals

Updated: Jun 24

When looking to buy a VR headset, the discussion often comes down to the three industry titans: Valve Index, Oculus Quest 2, and the HTC Vive series. VR enthusiasts, however, should be careful not to overlook Pimax, an independent newcomer offering potentially one of the best headsets around: the Pimax 8K X. With 170 degrees of horizontal FOV, and 4K resolution per eye, the 8K X is currently the best-looking headset in the consumer market.



Features


The main feature of the Pimax 8K X is its unparalleled visual fidelity. Each screen is a 3840 x 2160 resolution CLPL display. CLPL is Pimax’s new proprietary technology, and the acronym stands for customized low persistence liquid. Essentially, this display allows for a higher physical pixel density at a lower cost and enables a higher refresh rate and lower response time.


These displays are accompanied by two ultrawide lenses, which allows for an FOV of up to 200 degrees, or 170 degrees horizontally. This FOV can be adjusted via the Pimax software in order to balance performance and FOV width. The large setting takes full advantage of the FOV, while medium, small, and “potato” are 150, 130, and 90 degrees respectively.



Software


The Pimax is not natively compatible with SteamVR, but fortunately Pimax has its own software for the HMD called Pitool. This software optimizes the settings on the headset, both automatically and with support for custom configurations. Pitool also manages firmware configuration and updates its own drivers.


In addition to adjustable FOV, the Pitool software also includes support for fixed foveated rendering. This setting decreases the visual clarity at the edges of the FOV, while maintaining it in the center, in order to increase the performance of the headset. While this feature might sound disruptive, the foveated rendering only happens on the outer corners of your field of view, which would normally not be visible at all on other headsets.



Peripherals and Accessories


One of the drawbacks of the Pimax 8K X is that accessories are not included in the roughly $1250 price that the headset sells for. Pimax does offer accessories like controllers or base stations as add-ons, and the full package is around $1800. While this is fairly steep, it does make the Pimax 8K X a great upgrade headset for those who already have a VR gaming setup.


There are two upgrades to the headstrap. The standard is SMAS, or standard modular audio strap. This is the base headstrap that comes with the headset, and has small speakers built into the strap, similar to the speakers on the Oculus Quest 2. The DMAS, or deluxe modular audio strap, is the upgraded version, which comes with upgraded speakers which cover your ears. The KDMAS, kickstarter deluxe modular audio strap, also comes with upgraded speakers, which are increased in quality over the DMAS, and hover over your ears rather than touching them directly. These speakers are supplied to Pimax by Valve, and are the same speakers as the ones on the Valve Index. The KDMAS is also compatible with a wider variety of Pimax headsets.


Pimax has partnered with UltraLeap for their second add-on, a hand tracking sensor which mounts to the bottom of the headset. In supported games, this eliminates the need for a controller. Outside of games, the hand tracking functionality can be used in a variety of simulators and creative software.