That’s one giant leap for virtual reality.
Although it’s designed for use with a PlayStation 3 or Blu-ray drive, the real potential of this new head-mounted display (HMD) only shines when it’s paired with the sheer power of the PC. When attached to a gaming PC, the HMZ-T1 single-handedly revives the dream of viable virtual reality where so many other headsets have failed.
The key technology that makes this headset so promising are the twin OLED displays, each running at a native resolution of 1,280 x 720. Compared to other consumer HMDs this is a huge leap in resolution, and the OLED technology delivers vastly superior image quality. It’s still not quite sharp enough to be pin-sharp, but it’s more than bearable. A jump to 1,920 x 1,080 would remove any sign of pixels, so we hope the next version packs true HD screens. Each screen might only be the size of a postage stamp, but their proximity to the eye delivers an image that appears to be 750in wide at a distance of 20m. Each eye is given a totally separate image, unlike the technological trickery of other 3D solutions, resulting in the best 3D image we’ve ever seen, bar none. When paired up with a head-tracking unit, such as the TrackIR 5 Pro, users really are placed inside the game world. It’s amazing.
Unfortunately, the headset isn’t without its problems. Each screen must be precisely positioned to maintain a clear 3D image and the mounting system just isn’t up to the task, requiring frequent adjustment. It’s also a little bit heavy, leading to neck fatigue after a few hours.
Despite these flaws, the HMZ-T1 is a remarkable product, hinting that working VR is just a year or two away. We wait with bated breath for version 2.0.
- Dual 720p OLED screens
- 45° field of view
- HDMI in
Pros: Excellent image quality, stunning 3D, cheap considering the image size.
Cons: Fiddly mounting system, slightly heavy, can only be viewed by one person.
Available from Sony, retailing for $899.