So my unit DID in fact, arrive today (several hours late due to a new driver being assigned a route he wasn't familiar with).
Put it on and watched HTTYD 3D and here are my first impressions with ratings on a scale of 1-10 (10 being best) and why. I have also attempted to rate things in a specific order because each category affects another, and ultimately, the overall experience and satisfaction with this device:Optics (general): 6
The optics as the rating indicates, are adequate for the device. If I add sub-categories to the Optics rating, it might help explain the Optics (general) rating.Clarity/Sharpness: 8
When the screens are adjusted to the perfect sweet spot for me, I get sharp focus almost from edge to edge. I believe finer IPD (interpupillary distance) adjustments could potentially make this better, and optics with a wider sweet spot would go a looong way to improving this device overall. There are only 4 IPD positions and I'm on the 3rd widest. It would appear from adjusting between them, that a position somewhere around 3.2 to 3.5 (of the 4 positions) would be optimal for me.Sweet spot: 3
Herein lies one of the biggest problems with the device. The sweet spot where practically the entire screen is in focus (for each/both eye(s)) is extremely small. The easiest way to find this position for each owner/user is to remove the forehead pad, loosen all the straps as much as possible and hold the pressure sensor with a finger (to keep the screens ON), then hold the HMD to your face after adjusting the IPD. You will then find this spot and can feel how much space (if any) you have between the sensor plate (for room for a forehead pad) and where the straps need to be.
The problem though is that the sweet spot is so small, even a slight movement of the visor's relative position to the eyes throws things out of focus and trying to get the HMD to stay in a position where my eyes remain in the sweet spot without holding the visor is very difficult because of this.Light leakage/glare inside the device (in a dark room so I'm talking about the optics reaction to light within the device): 4
There are inescapable reflections from the edges of the optics, meaning when the screen has bright objects, I can see a ring of reflected light from the edges of the lenses. In a pair of binoculars that I broke back when I was younger, I discovered that the manufacturer painted the edges of each lens black. I'm assuming that it was to reduce/eliminate these reflections. Although the lenses and optics are coated, there is also a little glare from the lenses themselves.
It should be noted that I DO wear prescription eyeglasses and some of that glare was due to reflections from my eyeglasses (something I also noticed with active shutter glasses used in other 3D displays). I have learned with the active shutter glasses though, that I can reduce and almost eliminate the glare from my glasses by adjusting the angle of the shutter glasses relative to my eyeglasses. This familiarity has also allowed me to determine that not all of the glare in the HMD is due to my eyeglasses, because moving my eyeglasses causes some, but not all of these glare/reflections to move. The ones that move when I move my glasses are due to my eyeglasses and the ones that don't are inherent to the optics of the HMD.
Better optics with a wider sweet spot could make this device a lot better. For the record, although I could imagine that I was in the middle of a theater while wearing this, the focal distance (where my eyes feel like their focusing) is not at the 20m/66feet initially claimed by Sony. It actually feels like I'm focusing at a screen within the room based on me popping the HMD on and off my head (with all the straps loosened to make this easy to do) and comparing my eyes' focus on the screen vs their focus on objects in the room between 11' to 25' away. I also tried cocking the HMD so one eye was focusing on the room and the other on the screen and still had a similar impression.Ergonomics: 2
To call the ergonomics 'poor' would be to give the Sony engineers too much credit. Some folks have mentioned that when this was first demo'ed at trade shows, Sony reps stated that it was a protoype and wasn't really intended to go to market as-is. I can definitely believe this claim after attempting to use the unit.
It's like they designed the visor quickly and roughly to hold the OLEDs and designed the optics to make them usable, and then just slapped some straps on it to allow it to go to market.
One of the main problems with the device is that it is so front heavy. After finding the optical sweet spot, it has been a huge pain to find an appropriate adjustment/setting for the straps and forehead pads that can hold the visor in the sweet spot for extended periods. Every time I hold the visor and make an adjustment and then release my hold on the visor, the weight and front heavy balance alters its position (relative to my eyes) which messes with overall focus due to the tiny sweet spot mentioned in the optics section above.
I can now understand youngneil's obsession with his 'arse string'. It's an attempt to balance out this unit to prevent its front heavy nature from pulling it out of the sweet spot. I tried adjusting the rear strap so it goes just under the hump of the occipital lobe at the rear base of the skull but it still doesn't stay in place. The straps themselves as well as the plastic 'arms' of the visor feel very flimsy and it's especially unfortunate that there is no adjustability in the angle of the arms in relation to the visor.
The small optical sweet spot, coupled with the poor configuration of the straps and inherently horrendous balance of the unit all come together to make fitting this thing an exercise in aggravation.
IMO, an ideal configuration for future iterations of this device (and I firmly believe it DOES have a future), would be something akin to military style night vision goggles like these:http://www.amazon.com/Yukon-Tracker-.../dp/B000H1I7M0http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AN_PVS-7_Cyclops.JPGhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_vision_device
Basically, a strap configuration that can be adjusted for your head easily and independently with a center strap over the top of the head for maximum support for extended wear AND most importantly, a flip up type attachment.
If anyone has tried well made nightvision goggle headset, they are MUCH more comfortable to wear for extended periods, even though the goggles themselves are even heavier than the HMZ-T1, and all the weight is in front. Properly adjusted, it holds the optics secure. The biggest advantages to this configuration are:
1) Comfort. One of the configurations pictured above is much more comfortable for extended use/wear for hours.
2) With a flip up configuration, Sony can make the optics positional adjustments independent of the headsets straps, i.e. first you adjust the straps to fit to your head, then flip the visor/goggles down and adjust the position of the optics to get them to the ideal position from your eyes, and they will stay there. By separating the two, this will make setup/adjustment of the device much faster, easier and more accurate.
3) You can easily flip them up and out of the way if you need to see something in the real world
4) It will make it even easier for people with glasses to put this on and off, especially with the light blockers in place as the visor/goggles never slide over your face while putting the headset on (you put it on, THEN flip the goggles down).The dual OLED 3D image: 8
8 is the picture's ideal rating. What do I mean? Basically, when the device is in the ideal position from my eyes and I have more or less sharp vision across the field of view, the contrast is very good, as is shadow detail and whites are bright. Color out of the box appears to be quite good (which is a good thing as there is limited adjustment available).
To date, this is the best 3D image I've had with current technology, mostly due to the ZERO crosstalk and the good contrast and colors. The 3D depth from this HMD just feels very natural. Although there is little to no reference for objects popping in/out of the screen, the entire image just has loads of depth. Many folks have mentioned that 'pop out', while impressive to 3D neophytes is a gimmick.
IMHO, the difference between depth and 'pop out' can be analyzed in this manner; in a normal theater/living room, when an object 'pops out', it is amusing to the viewer because it's akin to viewing something outside through an open window, and suddenly having an object come through that window into your 'space', interacting with the environment in your space. It's amusing because it is now in your space, rather than outside the window and you can see its proximity relative to objects on your side of the window. As mentioned though, after a while, I feel like it is just a gimmick, because it isn't as if I'm constantly interacting with these objects in 3D space as I would be in real life. It's like being stuck in a room watching kids play outside and occasionally having a frisbee fly through the window.
Pop out with the HMD is far less obvious because of this lack of a frame of reference in proximity, but it is still there, every bit as much as any other type of display, if not more so. It is just less obvious without proximity references like seats/people in a theater or objects in your living room to compare to, because the only frame of reference is the plane of the screen itself, which also has no easy reference to anything else.
Compared to viewing 3D in a theater or HT, where objects occasionally come out of the screen into your space, but for the most part have depth as perceived 'through the window of the display', the HMD on the other hand is more like being in and viewing the world through a pair of goggles (albeit a very cumbersome pair of goggles with tunnel vision). If I was to use an analogy from a child's viewpoint, it would be like taking a piece of cardboard, making a box shaped tube out of it approximately 8" wide, 4" high and 12" deep and walking around in the real world with it held up to my face.
SDE Screen Door Effect/pixel structure is visible if I look for it, but it isn't overly distracting and it doesn't bother me once I stop looking for it and instead, watch the movie.
Why not a higher score than 8? 3 things could be improved with the OLEDs to get it closer to a 10, namely, resolution, contrast and some form of picture calibration. I'd also like to see Sony's MotionFlow implemented on this device.Headphone audio quality: 3
Yep, the headphones are garbage IMHO. As a background, my sound system consists of Boston Acoustics E100 fronts powered by Emotiva XPA-1's and fed by an Oppo BDP-93 via HDMI to an Onkyo TX-NR5008. I also currently have a pair of Etymotic ER-4P's and a pair of Denon AH-D5000 headphones (which admittedly, have an MSRP almost the price of the HMZ-T1),http://www.headphone.com/headphones/denon-ah-d5000.php
(yes, I admit, I'm a bit of a basshead hence the AH-D5000's with their slight rise in lower FR), and have had many headphones through the years. Even the cheap Sennheisers I used (with the yellow foam earpads) years and years ago sounded better than the HMZ-T1's headphones. Audio through the HMZ headphones is muffled and distorted, Bass is awful, but the worst thing about them is the lack of clarity.
I switched between all the modes and the surround modes sound the worst. For instance, the Cinema setting is muffled, hollow, tinny and has reverb added. The least horrible setting is the Stereo/surround Off mode, possibly followed by the Standard mode. There's also a Music mode that you couldn't pay me to use to listen to music.
I would liken the sound of the headphones to placing a large overstuffed pillow over the speakers. Yes, I've heard little IPod earbuds that sound better.
All that said, am I going to send these back/scalp them on ebay? Maybe, but I'm not planning on it at the moment. Yes, when you manage to hit that sweet spot perfectly, the picture is THAT good that I'm willing to out up with the rest of the downsides to this thing (at least for the time being) as I figure out how to optimize the fit of this HMD so I can maintain that image. As I've said above, with the absolutely crosstalk-free 3D image coupled with overall image brightness, color and contrast ratios that not many display technologies can duplicate WITH 3D at this time (though I haven't scoped out the seriously high end FP options), the HMZ-T1 produces an overall 3D image that is just extremely difficult to match/beat.
If I figure out a mod that satisfies my preferences for fitting this thing. I'll be sure to let you folks know.