Review Price £1,299.00

Key Features: Twin OLED 720p HD screens; Virtual 7.1 channel surround sound; Streams HD and 3D video; Works wirelessly; Stream video from smartphones

Manufacturer: Sony

Hands-on: Sony HMZ-T3W Personal 3D viewer preview

What is the Sony HMZ-T3W Personal 3D viewer?

The Sony HMZ-T3W personal 3D viewer is the company’s third generation headset that offers an impressive 750-inch TV screen right in front of your eyes and virtual 7.1 channel surround sound for an immersive audio and visual experience.

The first version offered a 150-inch screen and a 5.1 surround sound, then upgraded to the 750-inch display for the T2. Both crucially needed to be plugged into a power supply so in its 3rd iteration you get a wireless cinematic experience.

Available in November for a whopping £1,299, it still remains an extravagant purchase, but you can’t fault that it works very a whole lot better than the slightly cheaper Zeiss Cinemizer, and fill the void as we wait to see a consumer-ready version of the Oculus Rift.

Sony HMZ-T3W Personal 3D viewer - Design

The build has not dramatically changed from its Daft Punk helmet look, but crucially shaves off some of the size from previous versions making it lighter to wear. Instead of the cheap, white plastic look, Sony has opted for a glossy, black finish that makes the headset look more stylish than the T1 and T2.

The dual headbands and headrest have a little more room for adjusting with soft cushion padding to sit snug against front and the back of the head but it can still be fiddly to adjust for the ideal comfort. We had actually had to get some assistance to get it to get it to fit secure and move it around in use.

It still comes with the small black processing unit box to create the wireless experience hosts 3 HDMI inputs, HDMI output and a headphone jack.

There’s a battery pack to slip into your pocket with HDMI In MHL and Wireless HD support to connect to a smartphone or tablet. It’s still a little on the big side, but to be honest we’d imagine most people would use this on the sofa than taking it out in public.

Beneath the visor, you’ll find volume and menu buttons plus sliders for each lens to adjust focus of each screen to give to get a comfortable and les disorientating view.

It’s definitely lighter than the two previous generations, but it still feels cumbersome to wear and some might still find it heavy to wear for long periods of time.

Sony HMZ-T3W Personal 3D viewer – Features

Two OLED lens perform the immersive work once again and still only manage to stream 1,280 x 720 HD and 3D footage to each eye. Sony claims it handles films at 24 frames per second, which should ensure smooth motion.

The headset does ship with a pair of Sony MDR-XB90 headphones and a set of in-ear headphones to deliver the '7.1' surround sound. Both are snug and comfortable pair of buds to wear. You can of course, use wireless headphones making it a far less cumbersome experience.

The battery pack manages to deliver 3 hours of life and seven hours via a HDMI connection. When you run out of juice, Sony claims it takes 2.5 hours to get back up to 80% of charge and 4.5 hours to get back to full capacity.

Sony HMZ-T3W Personal 3D viewer – Performance

We only had the opportunity to watch 2D HD content and despite that, the results are still very impressive. We didn’t notice any issues of blurring and the Gran Turismo footage used to demo the headset was exceptionally clear. Colours were vivid and really popped in front of our eyes. Considering this only manages 720HD, it feels like this has great potential for gaming. 

Movie footage was equally clear, but with talk that a PS4-optimized version is in the works, we think this is where the technology could really excel.

In a crowded showroom floor the headphones do a great job of drowning out the noise, but more importantly, deliver rich audio to compliment the high quality streaming.

First impressions

The Sony HMZ-T3W Personal 3D viewer delivers a great personal cinema experience, but at £1,300 it’s still very much a luxury item. Into its third iteration, it’s not quite the complete product, but if a PS4-friendly one with an even friendlier price is in the offing, that could be the reason to buy one.

Read more: Best tech to buy this month

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