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Eye On The Future: 3D Viewing Headgear

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Video glasses are the sort of gadgets that are straight from the science fiction department for just about anyone born before the turn of the century. Their promise of a portable immersive home-cinema experience has really not been met so far, but two new products from Sony and Epson may just change that. Do the Sony HMZ-T2 and the Epson Moverio BT-100 deliver, or are they just funky (and rather pricey) headgear? Read on…
Sony HMZ-T2

Wear the HMZ-T2, and you'll fit right in on a set of Star Trek: The Next Generation, it's sleek and has a distinctively futuristic vibe going for it. To set it up, you connect the headset to a HDMI pass-through unit which accepts the HDMI audio-video input, be it from a game console, a Blu-ray player or even a phone. Plug in your favorite headphones (or the included set) into the 3.5mm audio jack, switch it on and sit back. The dual 720p OLED displays in each eye of the T2 come together to give you the impression of watching a 72-inch TV from a distance of around 7 feet. The experience is extremely immersive, and you pretty much shut out the world when you're watching a movie on this.
If you have 3D video or game content, the T2 does a pretty bang up job of a flicker- and headache-free 3D experience, but even without the 3D capabilities, the picture quality is pretty good on this device, and the only real downside is that the additional HDMI pass-through unit puts this squarely in the "not-portable" category. Highly recommended as a companion to the recliner!
Epson Moverio BT-100
The BT-100 takes a different approach to the problem — you can actually see your surroundings while watching a movie, so you don't miss the refreshments trolley on that long-haul flight. Unlike the blacked-out immersive experience on the T2, there's a translucent shade over the front of the glasses to dim your surroundings, and the image is projected onto a layer right in front of each eye. Unless you're in brightly lit environments, the BT-100 works just fine.
The arguably clunky glasses are only one part of the equation. They plug into a portable base unit which runs Android and is the brain of the operation. On this unit, you get the standard Android buttons and a trackpad to navigate around the menus, plus the USB charging port and a headphone socket. The unit offers 1GB of internal storage and expansion up to 32 GB to store your movies while you're on the go. The trouble is that the unit is very finicky when it comes to supported file formats, and it really limits the capabilities of the device out of the box. And since there's no access to the Android Market, getting an alternate video player with better format support is not an easy task. That said, the included video samples showed off the 3D effect well, and while picture quality isn't as good as the T2's, regular DVD-quality content looks just fine. Consider only if portability is paramount.
Rating: 8/10
Price: Rs 69,990
Rating: 7/10
Price: Rs 42900

Head In The Game
Small Bluetooth headsets are quite the norm, so when the Plantronics Voyager Legend landed on my desk, I expected no less than a rich feature set for this rather chunky looking piece of kit. Despite its looks, the Legend is comfortable to wear, and its integrated Smart Sensor detects when the headset has been placed on the ear and automatically answers the incoming call. Call quality is excellent, and the boom microphone picks up your voice while reducing the effect of wind noise. I like the Caller Announce and Voice Command features in everyday use as well - the former reads out address book names for incoming calls, while the latter lets you speak out basic commands like answering/ignoring the call or checking on battery status. No gimmicks, just features that really work as advertised.
Rating: 8/10
Price: Rs. 5690/-

technocool at kanwar dot net