Varjo Aero VS Pimax Crystal

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Varjo Aero VS Pimax Crystal

Key differences


Both are among the clearest VR headsets on the market right, but many reviewers have said the Crystal’s image is clearer. This is due to a couple of reasons.

  • – The Crystal has slightly more pixels than the Aero, with 2880 x 2880 pixels per eye (compared to 2880 x 2720).
  • – Both have aspheric lenses, but the Crystal’s lenses are bigger and made of glass instead of the resin ones on the Aero. Glass has a higher transpaceny than resin, so there’s less image distortion such as color fading and glare. This is part of the reason the Crystal’s panels are much brighter to the user. The Varjo is rated at 150 nits, the Crystal at 200 nits.
  • – The Crystal has local dimming. Local dimming helps darken dark areas on the screen, so colors really pop out and dark areas are really black, instead of a grey backlit. (See photo below).

Why it’s good to have Local Dimming on your headset

Local dimming is a technology for LCD displays that allows for independent control of the brightness and darkness of different areas or zones of a VR display. The Crystal has 24 rows horizontally and 24 vertically — so 576 zones per panel, or 1152 local dimming zones in total. These can be darkened individually, whereas with conventional panels, the backlight will light up also the zones that should be dark. It’s also adjustable on the Crystal.

Local dimming in VR is good because it improves contrast, enhances immersion, provides deeper black levels, reduces light bleed, saves energy, and can improve comfort and reduce eye strain, making the VR experience more realistic and enjoyable.

Field of view

The Crystal has a slightly wider horizontal Field of View (FOV) than the Aero, at 125 degrees vs 115. The Crystal achieves a slightly higher horizontal FOV because its panels are tilted. (Even having a higher stereo overlap than the Varjo Aero). Also, the Crystal has interchangeable lenses, so you can increase the FOV with the upcoming bigger FOV lenses. This allows an even more immersive experience and makes it easier to see your surroundings.

The biggest difference is the vertical FOV, with many users noticing a small vertical FOV of the Varjo Aero. When you play flight sims, the vertical FOV helps you look at the dashboards above and below the cockpit.


The Crystal uses inside-out tracking for its positioning. Four cameras track the user’s location. The Varjo Aero uses base stations (this is also possible with the Crystal if you buy the optional Lighthouse faceplate cover). Base stations need to be installed in your house on the walls, and they are around $199 a piece (and most users will want two.)


As of October 13th, 2023, the Pimax Crystal: $1599 costs which includes controllers, tracking and integrated audio. The Varjo Aero, after its price cut, is now $990 (from $1990), plus, you’ll need headphones that connect with a 3.5mm audio jack.

Users will also have to buy two base stations ($398) and controllers (The Valve Index Controllers are $279). Even if you want to use flight sims or racing sims, you still need controllers to navigate SteamVR. This puts the Aero ‘package’ at $1667*, not considering an audio solution.


Software features:

  • – Both headsets come with eye tracking, which enables automatic IPD and foveated rendering.
  • – Both headsets support wired PCVR, (but Crystal also has a wireless standalone mode, and wireless PCVR if the optional 60G wireless is installed.)
  • – In terms of compatibility, both headsets work with Lighthouse base stations (the Crystal will need the optional Lighthouse cover to make this work. The Crystal also works without base stations as it has inside-out tracking. 

Biggest similarities

  • – Similar pixel amount
  • – Works with base stations (if Crystal has the lighthouse cover)
  • – Automatic IPD adjustment and build-in eye-tracking
  • – Both support body & hand tracking (Crystal requires a hand tracking module)
  • – Both headsets are high-end VR devices loved by racing and flight simmers.
  • – Both of them are focused on professional use is reflected in its high image clarity and eye-tracking technology, which are important features for professionals who need to view and manipulate detailed 3D models, and compatibility with popular gaming software and platforms.

Biggest differences

  • – The higher color saturation on the Crystal (and darks are really dark thanks to local dimming) and higher image clarity
  • – Crystal has a bigger FOV, especially vertical FOV
  • – Crystal has inside-out tracking so it doesn’t need external base stations for position tracking
  • – Crystal has interchangeable lenses
  • – Crystal can work wirelessly with the 60G wireless module
  • – Crystal has a standalone mode
  • – Crystal comes with controllers
  • – Crystal has integrated audio 


Device type PCVR + Standalone PCVR
Platform SteamVR + Pimax Store SteamVR
Retail price $1599 with controllers
$990 headset only (no basestations and controllers, no audio)
$1667 [HMD+2 Base Stations+1 pair of controller]
Type of lenses Aspheric (glass) Aspheric (resin)
Pixels (per eye) 2880*2880 2880*2720
FOV (horizontal) 125° (with 35PPD lenses) 115°
Local dimming Yes No
60G wireless module Coming No
Wifi streaming Yes No
Tracking system Inside-out, Outside-in (Lighthouse Outside-in only
Base stations Optional but not required Required
Speakers Integrated No
Max brightness 200 Nits 150 Nits
Max refresh 120 Hz 90Hz
Eye-tracking Yes Yes
Foveated rendering Yes Yes
Auto-IPD Yes Yes
Base stations Optional but not required Required


Early reviewers have also mentioned the clarity is higher than the Aero.

Photo comparison by Lao Fan:

Visual comparison by H-Misaki in SteamVR Home (Crystal on the left, Aero on the right).

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