I've had my HMZ T1 for three days now and would like to share my views.
I own a 60in 3D TV and worked in the games industry when 3D was first introduced and failed. Due to high prices and lack of support. Also the shutter glasses tended to flicker resulting in serious head aches. At the time Virtual Reality HMD had fuzzy low res graphics and costing over +10K, they were out of most peoples options.
So when i heard about Sony's HMZ T1 i thought, ive been waiting for this for 15years! And only £800, it was worth a go. I thought, a better 3D TV than my current one would cost 3.5k, so Sonys HMD is a good price considering its a first generation. I read loads of reviews and knew i would have to mod it for comfy use. I felt it was important to support this type of product, or we may never see it again... until another 15 years.DAY ONE:
My eyes found it really difficult to get focus of the screen. It would shift in and out of focus as my eyes tried to work out what was infront of them. I had read a review where a AVSFORUM member said that it takes a day to adopt your eyes to it, so i was prepared to be patient. However... the more i used it the more frustrated i got. I knew it was meant to be uncomfy... but it feels like a medieval torture device! Annoyingly even tho the pain was immense... the picture when my eyes started to settle is clearly amazing, just as many reviewers have said. But as i played my games i kept on cursing to myself. The pain was unbearable and i could not see my self keeping it. Also i was annoyed by the fact i was not able to get more than what seems like 40% of the FOV in good focus. I went to sleep that evening considering returning the unit.DAY TWO:
Motivated by glimpse of fantastic cross-talk 3D and superb image quality. I experimented with various comfort Mods. First up was the overhead strap and pads applied to the head back straps. Good, but still very painful after 10mins. Next up was the baseball cap mod. The cap i used is not overly padded. Better, but after 20mins the weight of the HMD caused the cap to slip and the forces again focus on ones forehead. I was determined to find a solution that would not mark ones forehead. Im not going to use this device if i can't go talk to family or go outside after using it without looking like ive been punched in the forehead! Success, i got a foam cycle helmet from a sports shop and chopped it to mount the HMD. Using elastikated fabric strips to tie it into place.
The elastic does not mark the unit, and is firm yet allows one to make fine adjustments to the HMD relative to the helmet. I have to say, it may look weird, but i can wear it for 2hrs each session taking 15mins break to rest my eyes, then get back to another 2hr session without any forehead strain. For me this solution is perfect as i don't care who sees me wearing it as its a product you are gonna use alone anyway.
The helmet solved a second problem... getting good focus. In its default form and even with a cap mod... i can't get a good focus across the FOV. For many getting a good focus requires having the unit as close to the eyes as possible. For me when i first got the HMD, that felt like the best way too. But i found that i get best sharpness if the HMD is actually further away from my eyes. And thats where the helmet succeeds. It allows me to float the HMD above and slightly away from my face... hence no pressure on my face and very light pressure on my forehead.
With this solution i get excellent focus in the middle, and good focus on the edges. Tho i must admit it seems my unit is slightly less in-focused on the right side where the menu appears. Do others have the same problem?DAY 3:
My eyes have completely learnt how to 'see' with the HMD. I'm somewhat addicted to this thing. The picture quality is simply amazing! Yes, in the whites you can see the pixel grid. But the blacks, vivid colors, general sharpness is so good it makes up for it. I sat with the HMD on and aligned it to my 60in Plasma on my wall. The
HMD screen looks a bit more than twice as wide, so it looks like a 150in screen if it was mounted to my wall.
Yet i know if i had a 150in screen, at 720p... it would look simply awful, with the giant pixels disappointing.
Yet in the HMD... it looks fantastic... and the resolution does not look like 720p... it appears higher. Maybe its because of the quality of the screen? Very odd.
3D performance - As many reviewers have pointed out... theres not as much 'pop' as active glasses. But the 3D imo is far superior. There is practically no cross talk. The 3D is so natural, so smooth. People don't look like cardboard cutouts, but ever so slightly rounded. Its by far the best 3D experience i have ever had. Blows my 3D TV out of the water. I'm a huge 3D fan and have played nearly every Xbox360 and Ps3 game on 3D TV. To compare i decided to launch my XBOX360 Crysis 2 on my 3D TV. OMG, the HMZ T1 simply blew it out of the water! The cross talk i had trained my eyes to ignore was so obvious. Now i can understand why when i invite friends over to check out my 3DTV, they don't get it. Its because i have learnt to ignore the cross talk... yet my friends have not. This is where the HMZ wins hands down. Next to no cross talk, great depth perception, full brightness with vivid colors, AMAZING.
The first games i tried on the HMZ was Crysis 2 on the XBOX360. I was disappointed initially. As i noticed while the device is great for movies... playing games felt like the unit had a refresh rate of 24~30fps. Clearly too slow for fast paced first person shooters. Disappointed.
Then i launched the HMZ on my PS3, something i rarely use.... OMG! Its amazing! Crysis 2 was responsive, SuperStarDust HD at what felt like 60fps! Ultra slick and super smooth! I was so pleased. it appears the HMZ
refresh is not capped. Then i thought maybe because the XBOX360 insists that for 3D to work in games you must
set it to 1080p... hence the HMZ decoder has to scale it down to 720p, the negative result is frame rate drop/capping = sluggish response.
So far ive played Crysis2 (GREAT), SuperStarDust (STUNNING), Killzone3, Uncharted3 (OMG) & Motor Storm
Apocalypse 3D (wow), the gameplay is so immersive, the 3D is better than anything i have ever experience in the
home. Normally after using my active shutter 3D TV for games i have eye strain and annoyed by the flickering and
constantly edit the 3D settings to try to maximize 3D, but trying to tolerate cross-talk. I am amazed that Sony
have produced this product for the consumer at a reasonable price. Allowing us to experience 3D like how we see
with our very own eyes everyday. Well done. However they really need to make it cost £300 so the general
consumer can own one and 'get 3D', because right now so many of my friends and family hate on 3D.NEGATIVES:
Very uncomfy in its out of the box form. I recommend spending some time and trying the cycle helmet mod. They
cost about £15 which is nothing compared to the device itself. And if you do it right... you will be amazed at
how much clearer and how long you can use the HMZ for.
I'd like to ask others:Q
My unit has less sharpness on the right side. Is this true for anyone else?Q
Would removing the centre gear help me get better sharpness on the right edges?Q
I am sure with the display unit in the Sony store i was able to get 100% sharpness/focus across the entire FOV, or i would not have considered buying it. Can anyone here honestly claim to get 100% FOV focus? Plz share your view.Q
I find i get sharpness FOV when my eyes are away and not pressed against the device? Is this true for anyone else? I don't wear glasses and have perfect vision.
Sony, thanks for risking on this device. Its a real shame that you guys messed up the comfort. I recommend Sony releases a helmet that you can attach the HMZ to, really... geeks like me don't mind it not looking cool. We like the HMZ for its visual quality. I can't wait for a higher res V2 with comfort design in!
I highly recommend the HMz T1, but only if you can take time to do a helmet mod. The future is here, and im sure Sony will blow our socks off with V2