Sony's new HMZ-T3W headset is 720p Robocop-chic
BERLIN -- If you're weary of interacting with the real world, pop one of these on your head and you'll be transported to an alternate reality where you own a 750-inch TV.
That's the promise of this new headset from Sony, the HMZ-T3W Head Mounted Display, the third generation of in-your-face dual-screen headware from the company. It might look like something from a '90s movie about virtual reality, but it's a real product, unveiled here at IFA.
It's completely wireless, though you'd have to be very brave to take this thing on the bus. Sony promises "hours" of battery life, meanwhile. The 1,280x720-pixel OLED displays mimic a giant screen, and are 3D-capable.
Flexible headbands are one-size-fits-all, and have cushioned pads to keep things comfy. Its lenses are adjustable via two sliders under the set, so in theory even wearers of glasses can get involved, but in practise, the fit is quite snug, so we're not convinced you'd fit any spectacles comfortably into the viewing area.
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Impressive picture quality
Sony says the HMZ-T3W is equivalent to gawping at a 750-inch screen at a distance of 20 feet. That's not quite true when you try it out -- you'll still feel like you're really close to a tiny display -- but the viewing space is quite large, and once you fiddle with the adjustable lenses, focus is sharp.
The viewing space doesn't fill your vision, which might be what you'd imagine to look at the outside of this headset. Instead you're seeing a big rectangle surrounded by darkness.
Sony was showing off the headset with a selection of movie trailers and game audio, and I'd need much longer to determine whether you can comfortably enjoy a movie using this sci-fi gadget. Picture quality did impress in my brief hands-on, though -- the vision that's beamed into your eyes is bright, colourful, and very crisp.
It wouldn't be much of a virtual reality without sound, and included headphones -- with 16mm drivers -- artificially create 7.1-channel surround sound, for the full 360-degree experience.
You can connect the HMZ-T3W to your PC, game console, and mobile phone or tablet via HDMI plugged into a wireless processor unit that converts the input to an image that matches your two screens. Whether its wireless connection is fast enough for intense gaming is something we'll have to test. Sony does say the visor offers enough room so you can look down at your keyboard.
The HMZ-T3W is out in Europe in November for the staggering price of £1,300 ($2,035). A US launch date has yet to be penciled in. Would you splash out for one of these? Let us know in the comments and check out all the new gear at IFA on our show home page here.
Additional reporting by Luke Westaway