Following IFA Berlin, Electronista
has had a further opportunity to get hands on with the third-generation Sony Personal 3D Viewer, the HMZ-T3. We gave the original HMZ-T1 a full review
as recently as April of 2012 and felt that wasn't quite ready for prime time -- it was potentially uncomfortable to wear, though it offered possibly the best 3D viewing experience around. It is merely 18 months down the track, but Sony seems determined to get this product right with a speedy revision cycle - so how does the new model stack up?
When compared to the original, the HMZ-T3 is a much slicker looking device. The original already had a futuristic look, but the new model is much more refined and cohesive. It is made from much higher quality plastics with the rubberized bands much more substantial and also of higher overall quality. The original seemed to lack the traditional Sony polish, but the latest version is classic Sony. As with the intermediate model, the latest model also drops the low-quality built-in headphones and allows users to use their own headphones instead, although the company does include a set of complimentary ear buds nonetheless. Virtual surround sound processing has also been boosted from a 5.1 channels to 7.1 virtual channels.
The new HMZ-T3 continues with the original's dual OLED panels with a display resolution of 1280x720 pixels. It gives you the impression of viewing of viewing a 150-inch display from twelve feet away. It is a great experience for viewing movies and playing games, although it does not support motion tracking in the vein of the Oculus Rift, but it does offer a 45-degree field of view. We wouldn't be surprised to see Sony add support for motion tracking in the future, but as it is, you'll find it difficult to find a better 3D viewing experience. The reason of this is simple - with a separate image being delivered to each eye, there is zero cross-talk, making for outstanding 3D depth and clarity.
Perhaps the biggest improvement over the original is that the HMZ-T3 has the ability to support MHL output directly from smartphones or tablets. The original model required the headset to be connected by a cable to a box, which acted as a processing bridge between you and the source. This meant that you were tied to the lounge room or study - not any more. You can take the HMZ-T3 on the road with you, making it particularly handy when travelling. The compact battery box that accompanies the headset also charges your smartphone or tablet while watching a movie or even playing a mobile game on the go. While you might look somewhat odd, you will certainly be cocooned in your own little world. You can, however, certainly take the unit to your bedroom and watch a movie before you nod off without upsetting your partner (too much).
Overall, the comfort is also markedly improved from the original with a large cushioned head pad reducing wear pressure from the device, which now weighs just 320 grams. The original could cause pain for users, particularly if your nose has a broader bridge, as it was also front heavy. The TMZ-T3 spreads its weight out much more evenly and is thus reaching the point where it is something that we can seriously suggest that you consider, particularly if you have the disposable income and find the device intriguing. The Sony HMZ-T3 will reach markets from November priced at around $900. Though not cheap, it is just the type of forward-looking technology that will appeal to gadget lovers from all walks of life.
By Sanjiv Sathiah