The biggest problem with the 3D-XL’s 3D results, though, is that they’re just not comfortable to watch. Right away we felt as if our eyes were having to work harder to accommodate the 3D-XL’s 3D images than they do with most other 3D displays. Closer scrutiny of why this might be the case suggests there’s some issue with simultaneously controlling objects in the foreground and background.
The easiest example of what we’re trying to describe here can be seen with a Sky 3D football broadcast. For while the footage of the pitch looks absolutely fine, the channel logo and scores foregrounded in the top corners of the picture look an unfocussed mess until you force/strain your eyes to focus specifically on them (which is, of course, a pretty tiring thing to do if you’re having to do it regularly while watching a 3D image).
With 3D Blu-rays, meanwhile, initially we felt that the depth of field was all over the place, with some background objects actually looking as if they’re in front of foreground objects. Again, this causes quite considerable eye and brain fatigue as you try and resolve what you’re seeing.
Thankfully this situation was improved considerably by activating the DW318’s 3D Sync Invert feature, to the point where watching 3D Blu-rays actually became fun, notwithstanding a few sporadic remaining depth errors.
One last concern that has to be aired here isn’t really the 3D-XL’s fault, but has instead to do with the sort of projectors it’s designed to work with. For it’s an inescapable fact that most 3D-Ready projectors to date appear to be designed more for business and education markets, making them pretty average in AV terms. Certainly as a 2D video projector, the DW318 is very uninspiring.
With this in mind it’s hard to know exactly where the 3D-XL’s problems end and the projector’s problems kick in. But in the end we guess the DW318 can be treated as reasonably representative of the performance with the 3D-XL of at least Optoma’s 3D-Ready projectors, otherwise the brand wouldn’t have sent it to us for our tests.
There are some pretty amazing things about the 3D-XL. Starting with its truly startling cheapness. And the fact that it can upgrade some models of projectors you might already own to 3D, rather than requiring you to buy a whole new 3D projector system. Also brilliant is its suppression of 3D’s dreaded crosstalk noise.
However, its 3D effect isn’t entirely convincing at times - or at least it seems to demand more effort from your brain and eyes than we felt entirely comfortable with. Plus we suspect that many of the 3D-Ready projectors it’s intended to partner won’t be much cop aside from their basic 3D readiness.