Unbiased 8KX Review

Greetings! I posted this review over on Reddit a few days ago and some folks suggested I should post it here as well. Hopefully this helps others in the community that may be evaluating the 8KX.

I do not work for Pimax, or any other company that would influence my opinion, and I have not been paid for this review. Pimax as a company has obviously had plenty of issues, but these have already been talked to death in countless forum posts. I purposely chose to keep this review focused on the 8KX itself and provide feedback based on the 8KX’s own merit. Love Pimax or hate em’, truth is…they’ve delivered a real gem.

Configuration, Background, and Reference Info
My PC consists of a Ryzen 3900X, Nvidia 2080 Ti, and 64G RAM. I’ve been a gamer for approx. 30 years, but I am still a layman. I’ve been using VR for approx. 4 years, but I am not a professional reviewer or a VR expert. I am an original Kickstarter backer (#1xx). For reference, I’ve used the Oculus Rift CV1, Valve Index, and the Pimax 8KX and I will be using the Valve Index as my primary basis for comparison of the 8KX. Below is a list of VR games I tend to play in order of time spent:

  • DCS World
  • Elite Dangerous
  • Pavlov VR
  • Half-Life: Alyx
  • Eleven: Table Tennis VR
  • Blade & Sorcery
  • Arizona Sunshine
  • No Man’s Sky

The Good

  • Packaging: 10/10. Everything arrived safely in one piece. The packaging definitely gives the impression of a premium look and feel.

  • Setup: 8/10. This is my first Pimax headset and I was told they are very difficult and/or “nuanced” to set up, but that was not my experience at all. Set up was relatively easy and painless. The 8KX paired up with my Valve Index base stations and controllers out-of-the-box and without issue. I did have to Google a couple of things to define particular settings and subsequent impacts to performance (more on this later), but it was relatively painless overall. I recommend watching SweViver’s Pimax setup vids on YouTube as they were hugely helpful. SteamVR is a slightly different story, but that has nothing to do with Pimax.

  • FOV: 10/10. The increased field of view is fantastic and makes a huge difference, at least it does to me. Aside from straight up looking better, it offers some legit real world advantages in some games like Pavlov and DCS World. It’s difficult to articulate what a wider FoV truly adds and will most likely vary based on opinion. Personally, I find it so much easier to forget that I’m wearing an HMD and get lost in games. At this point, it would be very difficult to go back to a smaller FoV with another headset. The 8KX definitely spoils you in this regard.

  • Clarity: 10/10. Resolution is unrivaled. Text is crisp and very legible. I personally can’t see any screen door effect at all.

  • Colors: 8/10. The colors seemed a bit cold out-of-the-box, but improved substantially when I followed SweViver’s setup instructions. An OLED display will definitely beat the 8KX, but the colors are still great. In my non-expert opinion, the colors are better than the Index. However…it is very hard for me to accurately compare the colors on the 8KX with the Index due to god rays (see below).

  • God Rays: 9/10. I noticed ever-so-slight God rays on a few games and places (namely SteamVR Home and Arizona Sunshine). By comparison, the God rays on the Index were horrendous. Easily worse than the 8KX and Rift CV1 put together.

  • Comfort: 8/10. The 8KX is heavy and definitely heavier than the Index, but it really didn’t bother me at all. Both the face and back cushions are very comfortable as is the HMD rig as a whole. However…keep in mind I’m a pretty big dude, so your mileage may vary. If you start feeling neck strain from wearing the 8KX, or any other HMD for that matter, just stick with it. Your neck muscles will adjust eventually.

  • Nose Flaps: 10/10. I absolutely LOVE these things. It’s a tiny detail, but they make such a huge difference in immersion. They block out the light perfectly from entering the bottom of the HMD and are so comfortable you don’t even notice them. This is a fantastic design choice and every VR headset should come with these. I really hope other manufacturers are paying attention.

  • Modularity: 9/10. The external audio jack and USB-C ports are fantastic design choices. Again, I hope other manufacturers are paying attention. My only wish would be for more than one USB-C port to support multiple add-on modules simultaneously.

  • Overall Design: 9/10. Pimax put a ton of thought, effort, and love into this headset and it really shows. If Pimax added slightly more adjustment options for the HMD rig and depth adjustment for the lenses it would easily be 10 out of 10.

  • Overall Build Quality: 8/10. 8KX appears to be very good quality. It’s really hard to assign a value to something that hasn’t been battle tested, but these are my initial impressions. The 8KX feels slightly less solid and durable than the Index, but that is highly subjective and pure speculation. Time will definitely tell. I can already tell the face and back cushions will wear down fairly quickly (more on this later).

Miscellaneous Good

  • Cable guides. The plastic cable guides/seats are great! They give you slightly more options as to where and how to run the 3-way cable on the rig versus forcing a particular orientation. It’s a small detail and not really that important, but it’s yet another good design choice in my opinion.

  • Silicone Sleeve. Great look and feel! I suspect it will attract dirt and gunk like crazy, but I personally love it (I’m a big, dumb animal and I’m hoping the silicone grip will help prevent me from dropping the headset).

  • Hinged “Flip Up” Design. You can flip the front of the HMD up while keeping the rig on your head. Very cool, yet subtle design choice. That said, I’d say it is marginally useful considering you have to loosen the screw tension adjuster on the back crown to be able to flip it up in the first place. But still…if something is 25% more convenient it’s gravy in my book.

  • On-board Volume Control. The 8KX has two up and down volume control buttons located on the top right-hand side of the HMD. Very cool feature. However, I probably don’t appreciate this as much as I should because I don’t use the built-in audio (more on this below).

  • Analog IPD Adjustment w/Digital Feedback. The 8KX has a scroll wheel on the bottom right-hand of the headset that is used to adjust the IPD and provides the exact digital measurement feedback (in mm) inside the headset. This definitely comes in handy…

The Bad

  • Lens Distortion. I experienced heavy distortion around the left and right the edges, but I removed this from my original review as others in the community rightly pointed out this was due to using the uber-thick face cushion. They were 100% correct and using a thinner cushion eliminated this problem almost completely (thick cushion users be warned!!!). However… I still see slight blurring/distortion around the edges (top, bottom, left, and right) when using a thinner face cushion. It is especially noticeable when reading text. It is slight, but it is definitely there. It’s a little disappointing that a small portion of the 4K-per-eye goodness is wasted on the lens design. That said, I don’t typically notice it unless I’m specifically looking for it and no headset is perfect. That is certainly true here.

  • Back Cushion Material. The cushion quality on the face is great, but the back is just OK. I think Pimax cheap’d out here considering the retail price of this headset. The cushions on the Index are flat out superior. The Index cushions feel a bit more “cushy” and are much cooler to the touch (vastly underrated feature IMO). They are also more resistant to moisture. I think Pimax should steal the Index’s cushion material and use it everywhere on the 8XK.

  • Balance and Fit. This is mostly subjective, but the 8KX feels a bit more “front heavy” and doesn’t “fit” quite as well as the Index. I was told some people had balance complaints with the Index and the 8KX is definitely heavier so it could theoretically feel worse. That said, I personally never had a problem using the Index for extended periods and used the 8KX for numerous multi-hour sessions, both standing and sitting. I personally found the 8KX to be a little more more comfortable overall, even though the Index technically fit better and felt a bit more stable on my head.

No Opinion

  • Audio. I use high-end studio monitors (Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro) with my 8KX, so I’m probably not the right person to speak to the audio quality. I’m not even sure which audio kit I received (SMAS?!?), because I straight up don’t use it. For what it’s worth, I quickly test drove the built-in audio on both the 8KX and the Index for the purposes of this review and the Index beat the 8KX pretty handily. I assume this can and will change based on settings and the different audio kits Pimax is offering for the 8KX.

Nit Picks

  • Pitool. The software is pretty simple and easy to use, but this is an enthusiast-level headset. It would be nice to see an “advanced mode” with far deeper levels of customization. Also, Pimax needs to improve the “?” help bubbles to accurately and thoroughly explain what each setting does along with it’s potential impact on performance. Doing so would save users the time and effort of having to consult the Googlizer. Note: I was told Pimax already has a new version of Pitool software (including a cloud-based version) in the works with more advanced configuration and features. Hooray!

  • Lens Depth Adjustment. It would have been nice to see Pimax add depth adjustment for the lenses similar to the Index (another vastly underrated feature IMO). The lack of depth adjustment made it more difficult to get the fit and focus dialed in on the 8KX. I suspect Pimax’s hands were tied due to the size of the PCB on the 8KX, but it would have been a great addition nonetheless.

Wish List

  • Linux Support. (through SteamVR/OpenHMD/Open Source drivers). I know VR on Linux is a niche of a niche of a niche, and most people don’t particularly care…but I do! Pretty please, Pimax! I beg you!!!

TL;DR: The 8KX is truly fantastic and offers a legit next-level VR experience. It is unrivaled compared to anything else I’ve tried and is -by far- the most immersive experience you can get on planet earth. I still think the Valve Index is probably best for most people (especially those new to VR or those with potato/middle-of-the-road PCs), but the 8KX crushes it most areas that matter: resolution, FoV, and overall immersion. In my opinion, it is easily the top choice for enthusiasts.

Edit - Updated for clarity and added my take on lens distortion after some additional testing.


You should try using the SMAS mainly because we need more opinions about it.


Thank you for your impressions! :slight_smile:


Honestly, my experience with the built-in audio on the 8KX was not good at all. Spacial audio was OK (yet still inferior to the Index) but the volume levels were way too low. That said, rather than knee-jerk bashing it I thought it best to defer to folks that have tested it thoroughly and can subsequently offer a more informed opinion.


Thank you for your impressions. Very concise.


An excellent and in depth review, thank you.

I’m hoping there are new updates on the forum from Sweviver/Kevin about the Deluxe Audio upgrade for $100 - the DAS - and also the physically larger drivers and ear cups on the KDMAS. It really can’t come soon enough, as if Pimax nail the audio, for 2020 at least, 8K-X looks pretty unbeatable specification for the price. I imagine to ward of criticism, the DAS will become standard on 8K-X in the near future as will a redesigned housing that supports two USB devices simultaneously without a USB cable run to the PC or hub.

For reference, the ground breaking Oculus Rift headset was launched 8 years ago with 90 FOV and 640×800 per eye. In 8 years with Pimax’s 8K-X, we now have 170 FOV and 3840 x 2160 per eye with ability for Eyetracking with Dynamic Foveated Rendering and Hand Tracking and no real SDE to speak of, or God Rays.

Just think what the future holds. Hopefully we will all arrive there together in health and good spirits.


I know right!!! I’m so excited for the future of VR and love it when upstart companies similar to Pimax (and formerly Oculus) come out of nowhere to push their competitors and the industry forward. That’s why I backed the original Kickstarter and why I was so excited to receive the 8KX.

I also agree with the additional USB port. I suspect it’s a matter of time before we see it. Pretty much have to with all the modules they have.


Thanks for the nice, concise well thought out review!


Good review @littlej0e , it answered a lot questions. Enjoy your 8KX !!!


Well done thanks for sharing. :beer:


me worried about cushion material now…

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To be clear, the cushion materials aren’t terrible. They are just sub-par compared to the Index. The front face cushion in particular is actually quite good and very comfortable. The back cushions, however, feel cheap and absorb sweat like CRAZY…especially the back crown cushion. After one week of steady use it is incredibly greasy to the touch and just feels…gross. I suspect users will need to wash these early and often and I sincerely doubt they will hold up over the long (or even medium) term. I hope I’m wrong… Given the high cost and enthusiast status of this headset, I really think Pimax should have done better here.

That said, Pimax did make a very good design choice that helps offset this to some degree: all cushions (face, ear/speaker, back and back crown) are attached to the rig with Velcro and are easily replaceable. If for some reason Pimax decides not to sell better cushions in the future, I suspect a 3rd party company will eventually. Consequently, this is pretty much a non-issue but it is still a gripe nonetheless


Sup littlej0e,

When I first signed up for this forum one of my first posts/threads was about the viability of wearing headphones over the 8KX. Given the fact that it has a comfort kit and the SMAS fitted on it as the base option. You mentioned in your review that you run headphones on top, as opposed to the over ear speakers on the SMAS. Do your headphones fit on top nicely? Or do you have to position them weirdly or do modification to get them to fit. Do they contact the SMAS? Do the SMAS over-ear speakers come off? That might be important to clear room for the headphones. I run headphones over my index (over ear speakers removed) and they work pretty well. I’m hoping my headphones will clear the SMAS as well, as I too have no intention of using the 8kx’s over ear speakers.


So if you kept your stretch goals, you should be getting a new strap and face cushion according to the new stretch goal slides from the event. Hopefully having two sets of cushions will let them stay decent for a while. I read your review on Reddit and it seems we both saw the same thing at one point…when I got my 5K+ Loaner I was immediately impressed with the lack of Godrays. Can’t wait to go back to that.

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Hey, Adam! The short answer is yes. Your external headphones will likely fit over the 8KX depending on size and shape, but they probably won’t fit perfectly. You’ll have more than enough room on top, but the sides are a bit crowded. I have to wear my DT 1770’s slightly back on the top of my head to get around the circular hinge/speaker mechanism on the side of the rig (take a look at a side view pic of the 8KX and you’ll see what I mean: Pimax Vision 8K X VR Headset Hands-On: 8K Resolution VR Gets Comfier | Tom's Hardware). As long as you’re OK with this I don’t think you’ll have a problem. It doesn’t bother me at all and I don’t even notice it.

I removed the external speakers from the Index as well! The audio kit that came with the 8KX has the speakers built directly into the headset and do not appear to be removable. They do not hang down like the Index over ear speakers do and are embedded within the headset itself.


Thank you for the review. I have some questions for you.

Tell us how you have configured Steam and Pitool

Coming from the index, i would like to know what FOV you are using and if you have seen distorsions on game basis

You have played at elite dangerous and No Man’s Sky
Please share with us what do you think of blacks and contrast of 8K X compared to Index

FOR SCIENCE i am asking you to make a try
Please connect your 8K X to a blue usb port instead of a red Port and tell us if you see differences
in colors or everything else. I am assuming you have connected pimax 8K X to a red port

FOR SCIENCE compare 8K X Native mode with dual mode
Use Steam 100% and Pitool 1.0 refresh rate 90 hz

What version of Pitool are you using ?

Thank you again


The 8kX speakers are removable, they are held on by a screw under the pad on the inside. You can swap those speakers for DMAS later if you wish. You can swap very fast. We did a little video on pimax now where we upgraded from smas to dmas.


Once we receive our 8KX with SMAS, would it still be possible to pay $100 more for the DMAS speakers if we don’t like the SMAS sound? And how long would those take to produce?

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I do own an index, too. And the 8kx sat better on my face, with less preassure feeling on my forehead. But that was with the thicker foam included. Even with using the thinner 5k+ foam on my 8kx i could play for hours without feeling preasure on my forehead or front heavyness.
Using my index i would need to restrict my gaming sessions to a few hours each. The foam is softer, but it is a more front heavy headset than the 8kx.


Thanks for the review, really helpful. I like your choice of monitors too hehe :+1: