We take a look at the soon-to-release monitor/TV from Sony to determine if it’s worth the $499.99 asking price.If you’re like most of the GI editorial staff, you still need some convincing before you’re sold on the need for a 3D television. Between the clunky glasses, lower resolution, occasionally blurry visuals, high cost of entry, and dearth of content built from the ground up with 3D in mind, home 3D is still a hard sell.
For better or worse, Sony has jumped in headfirst with 3D, and the newest slate of games for the PS3 increasingly have the “3D Compatible” label prominently on display. To further open up the market, Sony created this new monitor built for use with PS3 3D games. We took the final model for a quick test drive, and here’s what we discovered.
The Basic Specs
The PlayStation 3D Display has a 24-inch slim LED screen that supports 1080p resolution. It releases on November 13, and the suggested retail price is $499.99. The television comes with one pair of 3D glasses, a copy of MotorStorm Apocalypse for PS3, and an HDMI cable.
Strangely, the monitor does not come with a remote, so like a PC monitor you need to reach behind the right side of the screen to fumble with the close-spaced volume and menu buttons. The television has two HDMI ports, but no USB port to charge the glasses – you’ll need the PS3 for that.
The display almost looks like a gigantic PSP. The rounded sides, shiny black exterior, and flat front immediately bring to mind Sony’s soon-to-retire portable. Many gamers in recent years have gotten used to console gaming on 40, 50, or 60 inch televisions, so this TV’s smaller size may be a deal breaker. The PlayStation 3D display is much closer in size to most modern desktop monitors, which would be great for a small room or a desktop display. For larger spaces, a different TV might be in order.
The set of 3D glasses that comes with the system have the same blocky styling that most 3D glasses sport, but at least the sleek black style of the display carries over into the glasses. You need to plug the glasses into the USB port of your PS3 (or other device) to charge, a process that takes a little less than half an hour. Once charged, a switch on the inside of the glasses turns them on, and offers a few hours of playtime before a necessary recharge. If you’re prone to eye strain, like most 3D displays this monitor doesn’t alleviate the issue.
This display may be small, but it sure is pretty. Even if you’re not running in 3D, the 1080p resolution looks crisp and the colors, from deep blacks to bright reds and blues, are gorgeous.
The active 3D effect is one of the better I’ve seen in my limited experience with 3DTVs, with a minimum of blurriness. I tried both Motorstorm Apocalypse and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and found the glasses provided an impressive depth to the game world. Like most 3D effects currently available, the darkened glasses mean you’ll lose some of the brightness on 3D games or movies you watch on the monitor – yet another reason many are still skeptical about 3D technology.
The PlayStation 3D Display’s most impressive feature isn’t available for use with the initial bundle. SimulView is a new technology that allows you to see two completely different images at the same time using two different sets of 3D glasses, which is perfect for local co-op. Since the second set doesn’t come with the TV, you’ll need to buy another set of glasses for $69.99 before you can try out SimulView.
Presuming you make that additional investment, you’ll have a cool feature to show off to friends. At launch, SimulView is available for MotorStorm Apocalypse, Gran Turismo 5, and Killzone 3. While you lose the 3D effect, the 2D visuals are near perfect and your view isn’t cramped by splitscreen. While you see your perspective on the screen, your buddy sees his or hers. We tried the effect in several races of Motorstorm Apocalypse, and it works exactly as promised. As a side note, this makes viewing the screen without the glasses even more ridiculously garbled than when you’re playing in 3D. This technology is extremely cool, and once more games and televisions offer support it could replace the need for splitscreen multiplayer in many households.
While sound on monitors or televisions rarely reaches the fidelity of standalone audio systems, the PlayStation 3D Display has good built-in sound output for such a compact model, including a built-in subwoofer that delivers those deep bass thumps.
Considering you can get a 42-inch 1080p HDTV for the same price, $500 is a high price to pay for a monitor this small, whether it has 3D of not. I have few complaints about the display’s form factor or its game performance, but if you really like 3D, don’t you also want to see it on a nice, big screen? That said, if you’re looking for a dorm room option, or a desktop monitor that will work will with your console and are interested in 3D, this could suffice.
PS 3D Display