Sony HMZ-T2 Personal 3D Viewer: Virtual Reality gets a little closer to home
The Sony HMZ-T2 comes in two parts - the main bit is a 3D capable, home cinema visor; a headset with twin OLED video screens running at 720p and near flawless six channel Sony Virtual Surround sound. The second part is a breakout box, about the size of a Mac Mini, that does most of the device’s processing.
Whether you hook up the HMZ-T2 to a Blu-Ray player or connect it to your Mac to browse through 3D clips on Vimeo, watch iTunes movies or play games, the experience is a little like sitting in your own private IMAX. The virtual “screen” you see is equivalent to having a 150in telly at normal viewing distance.
The headset itself is smooth, streamlined and glossy, white plastic with a matt black undercarriage. It is, in the best possible sense, an Apple friendly design. Having tested it thoroughly with movies, 3D clips and first person games, we can report that the HMZ-T2 is immersive and amazing, fun and fantastical. But there’s also the feeling that the technology’s not quite ready for the mainstream.
Setting up the headset for first time use is quite a task. The unit is secured with plastic straps that wrap around the base of your cranium. There’s a second load bearing point, an adjustable pad on the forehead. The knack is to adjust the straps for comfort and also make sure that the HMZ-T2’s twin screens are correctly positioned in vision. When you first use the device, you’ll also need to tweak the screens themselves. On screen wizards lead you through this process.
Sony’s HMZ-T2 3D Personal Viewer offers unprecedented, immersive viewing, but with limited mainstream appeal.
Even with everything carefully adjusted, with the screens in focus and the straps balanced and rubber blackout strips applied to block out ambient light, using the headset is not entirely comfortable. You’re still wearing a third of a kilogram of electronic kit on your head.
Let’s not forget too, once the headset is in place, you’re blind to the outside world. You can play games if you know the layout of your keyboard or controller - but try using a remote control. You won’t get far.
Sony’s HMZ-T2 headset is one of the coolest consumer devices we’ve ever tried. It also proves that, though we’re pretty close to virtual reality at home, we’re currently still at the “home enthusiast” stage. To clarify, that’s one full step before “early adopter”. We can’t wait to see what the HMZ-T2 evolves into given a three or four more years of technological advance.