When I was picking up the Sony NEX-7 last month I spotted the Sony Personal 3D Viewer on display. I had just finished reviewing the Vuzix Wrap 920 which I wasn’t impressed with and was interested in trying the Sony version to see how it would compare. Right off the bat I need to make one thing clear, while the Vuzix Wrap 920 were portable, the Sony personal viewer is not.
The Sony Personal 3D Viewer is big and and also comes with an external processor unit around the size of a small satellite receiver. You need to hook up the processor unit to a power supply, you then run an HDMI cable from the unit to say your AV Receiver, Satellite Receiver, Videogame console or any other device and finally you connect the personal head display to the processor unit with a very long cable. So again this is not a portable head display.
Once you put on the display and turn it on you’re going to be in for a surprise. I really wasn’t expecting it to be this freakin’ good! I was behind on Mad Men and had three episodes to watch and I watched them all one after the other on these Sonys. My regular tv is a 50″ plasma that’s around 3 meters in front of me so it’s a pretty large picture. The Sony personal display made it look small in comparison. Watching Mad Men through the Sony unit felt like I was sitting in a large movie theater. The picture quality was ridiculously good and because the Sony uses OLED screens, the blacks were blacker than my regular tv which was unreal. I then made my brother try them out and this is what he had to say:
Hey, so this is what I thought of the device.
I didn’t expect it to be as good as it turned out to be. This device added an extra level of immersion that made playing video games even more entertaining.
The screen inside feels big, the image is sharp and the sounds coming out of the headphones was better then I expected it to be. The first game I tried out with it was Sleeping Dogs and it looked great, but I felt the strongest point came when I tried games that use a first person perspective. When I put in Skyrim I was blown away by how crisp and beautiful everything looked, I felt like I was there in the world, it was pretty breath-taking. I also tried Battlefield 3 with it and that was another strong point, it’s difficult to explain how good these games look through the headset and it’s difficult to explain how this headset helps with helping the gamer feel more immersed in the game they’re playing.
It’s not perfect though, the headset started feeling uncomfortable after a while and it felt like there was too much pressure on my nose. I could only really play comfortable for about 40 or so minutes and then it felt like the device was weighing down on my face too much. I wouldn’t be surprised if these kind of devices became a lot more popular, I hope more companies release tech like this and at more affordable prices.
Now I did find issues with the Sony Personal 3D Viewer. The first is something I experienced but my brother didn’t which is I had a hard time getting the whole display in focus. Not sure why but in my case I could either get the center in focus and the far corners out of focus or the outer corners in focus and the center slightly not. The second issue I had was the price. They cost KD259 at the Sony dealer and it’s not because the dealer is expensive, even Amazon sells them for around KD225 before tax and shipping to Kuwait. This is why I had a hard time figuring out who would use or need these. If they were say KD99 I would get one right away but at KD259 its not an impulse buy. There is also the issue with comfort, I found them very comfortable sitting on my comfy chair with my head leaning slightly back and supported by my chairs headrest. My brother on the other hand used them while sitting on his couch most likely leaning forward like he always does and he ended up feeling stress on his nose after a period of time.
I was having difficulty figuring out who to recommend these to but after my brothers feedback I realized this might be great for gamers. With the display on you disappear into this dark space with a large display in front of you and with videogames thats a great way to really immerse yourself. Since these are 3D displays I imagine 3D games would really take you some place else.
So yeah you can tell I really love these but I just wish they were a lot more cheaper. If you want to try them out, they had them on display at the new Sony branch in Tilal Complex. Not sure if they have them on display at their other branches as well. Personally I’m going to be keeping these for a few more days before I give them back since I want to try a view games with these myself.