Sony HMZ-T3W head-mounted display hands-on: wearable tech takes a turn towards madness
Space is at a premium in Japan, so we can see where the inspiration for the Sony HMZ-T3W head-mounted display came from. It's a headset that beams two 720p HD screens straight to your eyes as if staring at a 750-inch screen 20-metres away.
It's also bonkers crazy. We donned the T3W at the IFA electronics show in Berlin where we had to be assisted to get it all strapped up on our noggin. Once on it's certainly immersive - a bit like strapping a HD version of a Nintendo 3DS to your face - but, clearly, is a very odd experience to say the least.
Not that it's uncomfortable, as such. There's enough padding to avoid any discomfort; it's just disorientating. The inability to see forward - that's where the OLED panels sit pride of place to deliver a decent image - with only the odd peek at your toes below as a reference point, is blinding in a sense. Pop headphones on to complete the look - well, we say "look" with certainty that we looked barmy with the T3W on - and it's like escaping from reality.
That to some will be living the dream. It's like the virtual reality headsets that never quite made it into the real world back in the 90s. Only the T3W, somehow, has made it to market.
Not to bang our negativity drum too loudly, but we can't see many opportunities arising to get much use out of it. "An immersive big screen experience, wherever you are," states the press release that was the instigator to why we wanted to take a look at the device in the first place. Wherever? It's not like a wander down the shops with the T3W mounted up would work out well, especially if thereare roads to cross. Even a long train journey would likely result in missing your stop.
But because it's so bonkers the HMZ-T3W stands out. And we kind of love it for that. There's loads of tech on board too - the 3D images look great at 24p and 7.1 surround support is as effective as can be expected.
But we can't see anyone buying one. Sorry Sony, as fun as this home cinema strap-on is it's just a step too far towards madness in our view. We're glad we've been able to wear one - it's a bit like fulfilling our childhood dreams in a strange kind of way - but the T3W makes even Google Glass look positively pedestrain.