What Is It?
Back at E3, the gaming world let out a collective groan when Sony announced they were making a special 3D TV for the PS3. However, that groan swiftly turned into a clamor of adoration once it was explained that the TV, in addition to displaying 3D content, would also allow two players to play side by side, seeing different displays through two pairs of 3D glasses. Called SimulView, it was pretty darn cool.
Fast forward to December and the 24-inch TV has shipped and costs $499. The display has two HDMI ports and little else – you plug in a PS3 and start playing games and Blu-Ray disks. Is this PS3-branded widescreen 1080p monitor good? Definitely. But is it a necessary accessory for gamers and non-gamers alike? That remains to be seen. Read on.
What Do You Get In The Box?
First, I’ll admit that a 24-inch widescreen monitor for $500 is a hard sell. But you get a lot for your money.
The screen has two HDMI ports, stereo inputs, and component jacks on the side. There is also a stereo headphone jack. There are control buttons on the lower right side which makes for some nice hunting and pecking when you’re trying to turn things on. However, I suspect Sony believes many will just plug this thing in and connect a PS3 with little tweaking and I suspect they may be right. It’s a pure-play gaming monitor and the lack of a VGA or DVI jack bears that out.
PlayStation 3D display includes one pair of 3D glasses, a copy of MotorStorm: Apocalypse, and an HDMI cable. There is no remote control and there is no independent TV tuner.
The display is surprisingly thin and quite light, even with the small base attached. Although MSRP is $500, this thing is as low as $399 on Amazon and Wal-Mart right now, which prices it more in the realm of possibility for many gamers.
The picture was excellent in both 2D and 3D modes. I was able to try a few games and Blu-Ray disks on this thing and I was pleased enough to keep watching. The display has internal stereo speakers with subwoofer, LED backlighting, and a bright 1920×1080 pixel screen.
Setup is dead simple – HDMI in, power, turn it on. There are a few mode settings but most games will handle the jump from 2D to 3D with aplomb. The worst part is trying to find games that support 3D, a feat that could frustrate first-time players who pick this up expecting everything to start flying at them through the screen. You’re going to want to check this list for games that support 3D. For example, I put in Need For Speed: The Run, incorrectly assuming it was 3D-compatible, and spent a few moments switching modes before realizing it wasn’t. It’s not a big deal, especially if you’re, you know, literate and can perform a simple Google search, but clearly I am not.
That said, the games that do work in 3D are as good as you’d expect. I’ve played 3D titles on the PC and I found this screen to be equal if not superior to the older gear I’ve had for about two years. There was a slight dimming in 3D mode, but it became less noticeable over time. The high refresh rate ensures little crosstalk between lenses and 3D content is deep and clear without artifacts. Most of this is thanks to the PS3′s own graphics processor, but the display had a bit to do with it as well.
First, it was nearly impossible to get a good shot of this thing in the wild. The glossy screen is very reflective, a fact not noted in the marketing materials. It also takes fingerprints quite enthusiastically.
The buttons are definitely in the wrong place. Sony could have put a mode and power button on the front and, although it works with the Sony Playstation Remote, a small remote would have been a nice touch even for audio control.
Other than that, this 3D display is spot on, but I can’t say the same for its price tag. $500 is pretty darn steep, even for a 3D LCD, but clearly Sony has aimed this as a niche product for hardcore fans, so the market can probably support that price.
To be completely fair, you could get a 24-inch (non-3D) 1080p display (with a tuner built-in) for much less than $500 (although pricing has settled to around $400 right now with sales). However, the Playstation 3D Display is made for one thing – playing games – and it’s tuned to play PS3 games as well as it possibly can. It is definitely not a TV replacement and it’s not even a good 3D monitor for PCs (although the Xbox 360 looks great on it as well). It is, in short, a display made for gaming and, more precisely, 3D gaming.
Is it worth the investment? If you have a small room and a friend, then “Yes.” The SimulView feature is amazingly clever and the screen renders 1080p content beautifully although 720p is a bit more interpolated than I’d like. If you watch a lot of HD video and play newer games, you won’t notice any issues.
If this is supposed to be your primary screen, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. The display does not have enough features to act as a standalone media consumption monitor. You can feasibly use it with a PC if you so desire, but you’re probably better off picking up a dedicated, cheaper monitor. Extra glasses cost $50 if you want to play SimulView, which is the real draw here.
Again, this isn’t for everyone but if you’re a die-hard PS3 player and need a monitor for your bed- or dorm-room, you could do worse than to pick up this clever, cool, and ultra-thin display.