XTAL 5K vs XTAL 3 vs 8KX - Wider FOV Headsets than the 8KX

Dear community,

Since 2020 I have my 8KX is usage, mainly for space sims and I am so far right happy with the headset. Only some MURA on the left screen is annoying me sometime, but in space sims it is not so often visibile.
I love the wide FOV, but since some time I am looking for headset with an even wider fov and so far I know only the XTALs Headset (usuable with all Steam VR Games, so no STAR VR One) are offering more FOV.

I could afford a XTAL Headset, but I am not really sure if that could make sense for me.

So I am looking for opinions and experiences for these Headsets in comparison with the 8KX.
I read here all XTAL Topics, but I am still unsure.
The 5K Version could be an option for me, true blacks for space sims like E:D
I tryed some time ago the 5K XR, but I sent it back due to the extrem screen door, was to strong for me. The XTAL 5K should be way better in terms of screen door, but should be behind the 8KX
VRgineers are offering right now some “refurbished” 5Ks for around 4K. FOV, as far as I know, of the 5K is also lower compared to the XTAL 3.

Important for me is some decent picture quality and minor visible screen door, blacks are also important.

I am kinda in a personell strange situtation right now and very inclusive, if I even reallly should consider a XTAL Headset. For wide FOV, the 8KX is right now the best price to performance Headset, but I want even more FOV and that all with its costs.

For the PC Hadware side, I have a MSI 3090 and a ryzen 5 2600x, but I think I will soon update my cpu with a I5 13400f and a new motherboard. I would also get a 4090, but I read here about some issues with latency for VR Hardware, so I will keep my 3090 longer for some time.

I am looking foward for any opinions, experiences with the XTALs and recommendations, thanks!

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@Djonko & @stixvr might be able to give some feedback.


wait for Pimax 12k. There are no current good wide fov hmds except pimax 8k X

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The XTAL 3 has no screendoor effect. However the lenses just feel ‘weird’ to me, others confirmed the same. Maybe best to visit a demo, if you can, to see for yourself before you purchase. To me it feels the XTAL 3 is not worth it.


@Djonko Do you also have some experience with the Xtal 5K Oled Version? I am also having some performance issue with the 8KX in General, even also in upscale mode. E:D is not so much CPU bound, quiet more on the GPU.

2,5 K native Resolution is much easer to deal with performance wise. I had also the 5K Plus some time ago, and had with a 2080 ti no Performance issues whatsoever in E:D. Had also supersampling at 1.5 and was very smooth. Screendor was then for me the main reason to upgrade to the 8KX, but I miss the great and easy to reach performance of the 5K plus.

I read some of the posts here and from the screen door effect the Xtal 5 should be more in the 8KX direction and quiet ahead the 5K Plus.
I could live with a little screen door effect, if the performance would be like with the 5K plus.
Also true blacks could be nice to have in space sims and in E:D exspecially.


No, I only have the XTAL 3. I think @stixvr had the 5K for a while before sending it back.


I had the XTAL 5K and XTAL 2 (8K). The SDE on the 5K was not bad, it reminded me of the samsung Odyssey + (the plus, not the original Odyssey). On the XTAL 5K unit there was something going on with the pixel density as to where it make it hard to identify the pixels, making them harder to see,though the SDE was not as good as the 8KX of course, but was better than Pimaxs 5K.

For me and my XTAL 5K, I had an older version of lenses where something was just not right, then XTAL sent me the 8K with the new upgraded lenses so that issue was resolved. Couple things I didnt like and that was the vertical FOV, its wasnt as big as the 8KX, it wasnt as bad as the Vive Pro 2 but still not to my liking. Also Im one whe suffers from the eye strain issues with all Pimax wide FOV headsets and it was no different with the XTAL headsets.

If you get the 5K refurb and your not happy with it they might let you trade up to their 8K unit for free, at least thats what they did with me.

Anyhow at least that way you can demo it, just have to pay for shipping. The XTAL team was great to work with.

Good luck!!


@stixvr Thanks for your insights for the Xtal 5K!
How was the black smearing on that headset?
I guess you had the with new lenses updated Version/ last Version of the Xtal 5K?
I can remember from my experience with the Pimax 5K XR and other OLED Headsets, that there is some black smearing always, but if that is well adjusted software vise, it should be not a huge problem. For me personally I noticed it on the XR, but was ok for me.

One another important point is warranty and repair service. Do you know something about that? I know that they offer a one year warranty, which is itself very short for such an „enterprise“ device. What happens after the warranty period endend and the headset suddenly stoppes working and have to be sent to Vrgineers for repair? Do I have then to pay the repair service? I am also wondering for the one year period, in Europe you have always the right to get a minimum of two year warranty for a electronic device, if the device is sold and shipped within the EU, which is the case for the XTAL.

How was the performance of the 5K version in comparison to the XTAL 8K version and the pimax 5K plus?
If the performance is like the 5K plus, I would be more attempted for the XTAL 5K.

Thanks again for your insights, helps a lot!

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With respect to the “black smearing” , are you referring to what I call “ghosting”, like when you move your head you see like a smear? To be honest I dont remember the smearing but I just dont remember looking for it.

My 5K had the older lenses. I beleive they ship all headsets with the newer style lenses but be sure to ask them.

I was worried too about the 1 year warranty. You might give them a call. I talked to Milan Kostilek. I beleive he is still with XTAL. They are really cool over there, even though we are just VR enthusiasts and not a big company like Boeing or something, they are still very helpful, and not condesending just because we are one person and not some huge company.

The performance (XTAL 5K) was much closer to the Pimax 5K+. I have a 3090 and i9-10500 CPU and it was running it with ease and was able to crank up in game settings usually to the max. My set up ran the XTAL 8K fine too but closer to 8KX performance wise. I never had issues running the 8KX even with my old 1080ti but of course I couldnt turn up any in game settings and if a game was poorly optimized it would drop frames. Anyhow I think your 3090 (Im not familiar with Ryzen) should run the XTAL 8K but might just not be able to crank up in game settings as much depending on the game of course.

:+1: :beers:


Black smearing was something iirc was more an issue on Oled displays vs ghosting.

Oculus Cv1 iirc crushed the blacks to help alleviate the black smearing.

I think most have that resolved.


@stixvr Yes, exactly. Now I know that there two names for the same Phänomen. Glad that you did not see it on the 5K Version, on the Pimax 5K XR it was visible on the „blackest“ setting in Pitool, but not bothered me much.

Nice to know that the performance of the Xtals can be compared to the pimax counterparts, resolution wise. I must say that with a 2080 ti, my 8kx run somehow more smoothly than with my current 3090, but resolution is now higher in my settings. I have sometimes micro jitter with the 3090, I tried all NVIDIA driver but always the same problem. With the 2080 ti I could not drive the resolution that high, compared to my 3090.
As always, you have to choice your personal best option, with all its down- and upsides.

I will write them a mail, which Headset there are currently offering, maybe they have some refurbished XTAL 3s laying around for some discount or some 5Ks.

Considering all factors and pricing of the different Xtal headsets, which one would you choose, the 5K Version (with the new lenses) or Xtal 3? Also considering that you would not have any eye strain at all and the big price difference.
Is the Xtal 3 worth the additional 5K $?

I hope that I will like the xtal lenses, in general I can have longer sessions in VR with wide FOV lenses than with „normal“ VR lenses. I love the Pimax lenses, it feels so natural for my eyes.

Thanks again for your opinion, helps me a lot!

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@Heliosurge I only saw it once very visible in the 5K XR on the highest setting in pitool, otherwise it is often not much visible, only minor in most Oled headset, after my experience. But I guess software calibration is very important to reduce ghosting or black smearing.

Could have been just the case, that with the XTal 5K the ghosting could be strong and maybe anyoing, now I know for sure that this is not the case.

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I’m pretty sure that @stixvr didn’t own the 3, only the 5k. I think I’m the only one on the forum here who owns the 3. And I surely would have returned it if I was tight on money since I just feel that the lenses are disappointing. So if you consider the 3, make sure you’re allowed to send it back, it’s a lot of money and I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d end up wanting to return it

That being said, it’s mostly still my daily driver. It’s just that the bang-for-the-buck ratio is so bad. If they’d sell it at $1500 it would probably be an interesting option. But even then, I feel most of the newest/upcoming headsets have a sharper image than the XTAL 3. My Aero definitely is WAY sharper.

Maybe you can think of the XTAL 3 als a Pimax 8kX with much higher pixel fill (so less SDE), a bit better colors, a little less sharp in the center, but definitely sharper on the edges and way less distortion. Then again, that’s just me. Our very own @SmallBaguette tried the XTAL 3 on some conference and he wasn’t impressed at all, he even said he liked the 8kX better. so your mileage might definitely vary.


@Djonko Your comparison with the Xtal 3 as a 8KX with some advantages and disadvantages helped me a lot, thanks!

The most problem I have with the 8KX is the needed performance. This of course is the same for all headsets with 2160p or higher resolution panels. If the 5K Version comes to somewhat close to the 8KX in terms of sharpness and SDE, I would consider to try it out. Since I have the 8KX, I miss the Great Performance of the 5K plus. But I can not go back to the 5K plus, the SDE is to much visible for me. That is the common thing with higher resolution headset, once you saw the better picture quality, you can not go back to your old headset, you now no longer can enjoy the old headset anymore, at least for me. But I heard that from many people too, this phenomena.

In E:D I want smooth FPS all the time, not depending on the location we’re I am. In Stations and Planets the FPS drop is ridiculous. In normal flying in space I have around 60 FPS, on stations and planets it drops down up to 30FPS, and breaks immersion for me.

I think that an „upgraded“ 5K plus, like the XTal 5K could be the perfect sweet pot for me between picture quality and FPS Performance.
I also do not like brainwarp or any other reprojection method, the artifacts are breaking my immersion. In E:D all visible stars are then doubled when I fly and moving trough space.

The 12K I think will be not an option for me, due to the high supersampling needed by E:D. Otherwise the sharpness and picture quality is very bad in that case. Even a upscaling mode from 4K to 6K per eye will not help much. I have the same problem with the 8KX and 1440 p upscale Mode.

I think I will try out and purchase the 5K Version, but only if I can return it and after I have the written statement for that from Vrgineers. I hope they have some refub for sale.
I will know more in the coming days!

The XTAL 3 is even heavier in terms of needed GPU power, simply since the FoV is bigger. Of course you can limit the FoV but well what’s the point of getting an XTAL then :slight_smile: So yeah in that case the 5K might be the better option.


Correct, I had the XTAL 2 which is the early 8K unit


Just to confirm I dont remember seeing the “smearing” or “ghosting”, it could have been there but I just didnt notice it or I just dont remember. Usually ghosting for me is not bothersome and its a trade off for OLED panels

Ok so if I didnt have the eye strain issue AND if it didnt have the lower vertical FOV, I would go for the XTAL 2 8K unit over the 5K unit. I LOVE OLED displays but the clarity on the 8K over the 5K was enough to make me like the 8K better.

Like @Djonko said just make sure you can send it back of you dont like it. Another note make sure you order the 6DOF “spider” thingy that mounts over the headset so it can be tracked, if you sweet talk the XTAL reps they might throw it in for free as they did for me.


Good to know about the performance needed, then I will try out the 5K first, if they have some still in stock.

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Interesting choice and win for the XTal 3, in this case. After @Djonko experience, I will try out the 5K Version, due to the better performance and the true blacks. If most people liked the 8KX more than the 8K Version, then this will be with high probability the same for me. I will save money too, if I like the 5K for my personal reasons like the performance and true blacks.

@stixvr How is the clarity and sharpness of the XTal 5K in comparison to the 8KX ?

I am even surprised, that in the middle of the picture the 8KX is sharper than the Xtal 3.

Thanks to you all, I have now made my choice and now know want I will order!


Yeah me too. For a moment I suspected that there was a problem with my lenses, but I mailed support, they said they checked the lenses before sending the unit out. They said I was welcome to return the unit for them to check, but that will cost me again big time import costs. However I’m now thinking, I’m travelling in 3 weeks to europe, I think I might take the unit with me and send it within europe to them. Because honestly I still almost can’t believe the lenses are really supposed to be like this (quite a bit blurry in the middle, sharp on the outer edges)