HMZ-T3W is a helmet-visor with two 720p OLED screens, wireless functionality and a diagonal equivalent to 750 inches.
For those not satisfied with the large diagonal offered by today’s HD TVs and want to have a truly home theater, Sony offers its HMZ-T3W, a helmet-viewer (viewer or staff, according to the official definition of manufacturer) that uses two separate OLED panels at 720p resolution to provide a viewing experience equivalent to that of a 750-inch screen viewed from 20 feet away. The price of this technological device is at least ambitious as its technical credentials: Sony HMZ-T3W is in fact officially proposed to EUR 1,299.
Design and equipment
The Sony HMZ-T3W is composed of three distinct parts: the display itself, a battery unit that powers it via wired connection and also incorporates a wireless receiver and, finally, a main unit multi-hub that is connected to the HDMI source video (also with support to multiple sources) and acts as a transmitter.
This equipment allows more flexibility of use and the use of different configurations, depending on the specific situations. Indeed, we can connect the transmitter to the receiver via HDMI cable to have an experience as stable as possible, take advantage of wireless transmission between the two units for more mobility, or directly connect the video source to the battery / receiver, bypassing entirely the base unit multi-HDMI, where we wanted to, for example, connect to the helmet mobile devices such as smartphones or tablet (which we will also charge thanks to technology MHL).
Also of note is the function of video passthrough integrated into the transmitter module, which allows you to send the image to the TV when you do not intend to use the helmet.
The display unit of the Sony HMZ-T3W is pretty well built and based on a relatively slim design and lightweight (320g) can be attached to the head through a series of adjustable supports, specifically two bands that go to shake his head and a support for the front which also helps to adjust the visual distance from the OLED panels.
These latter are mounted on a device that makes it possible to cart adjusting the horizontal distance between them, to allow a better adaptation to the eyes. The site is surrounded by rubber parts that serve both to make it more soft touch helmet on the face, both to isolate the view from the outdoor lights. These standard tires are removable (to allow, for example, more space, and allow the viewer to use even with glasses), but in our test were really shaky and too easy to drop, making the experience less comfortable to wear helmets than we would have expected from a product that costs over a thousand Euros.
Set-up and comfort
The non-perfect stability on the tires of the Sony HMZ-T3W is reflected, unfortunately, any other media of the helmet, which do not allow a perfect balance hook to the head and turn the set-up in a more complex and cumbersome than expected. Finding the right location of the screens for optimal viewing experience is already quite complex (the rest of the panels is really close to the eyes), and even once managed in the calibration, there is a risk that even a slight movement ports the displacement of the screens and therefore the loss of this asset so valuable and sought after patiently. Not surprisingly, the operation of Lens calibration shall be performed at each ignition of the helmet, which therefore can not be considered a tool to be set once and then quickly use for all subsequent occasions.
Another problem we encountered is the difficulty of use by those who have a less than perfect view. Especially for those who employs normal eyeglasses, the set-up can be even more complicated: it is not present in the device diopter adjustment function, which would offset any short-sightedness, as is the case in many optical viewfinders of cameras . The absence of such a characteristic, therefore, forces the use of contact lenses, or to come to terms with an operation of calibration even more complex and unstable.
With regard to the general setup of connections, fortunately, this Sony HMZ-T3W is much more easy to manage. Connect one or more sources via HDMI video transmitter unit is, of course, very immediate and take advantage of the wireless link between the latter and the helmet is really simple, with a synchronization is done automatically and quickly.
Moreover, by setting up a wireless connection you have the ability to position themselves comfortably on your couch or at any other location you choose, regardless of the distance from the Blu-ray or video source selected, which makes the ‘user experience quite pleasant. In our test, the wireless connection was shown to be flawless in image transmission, with some slight hiccups or artifact updating video and some nasty impurities in the audio, but overall the experience is certainly positive.
Quality of vision
From the point of view of the vision of content, whether it’s HD movies or video games, the display Sony HMZ-T3W certainly provides a performance very interesting. The video quality expressed by two OLED screens is remarkable in terms of color and contrast, while the diagonal is truly monumental and gives the impression of being in a real movie theater.
Obviously, given its nature, and depending on the user, the experience can also be alienating or lead to some side effect such as, for example, eyestrain is certainly advisable to make a pause of a few minutes of time to much.
The resolution of the panels, as mentioned above, stops only 720p: it is a vision so close, it is impossible to make comparisons with the performance of standard Full HD TVs, but we must say that in some scenes you may notice a slight loss of detail due to a visibility of pixels slightly too strong. Beyond this minor flaw, however, the visual impact is overall very good.
Even the ‘sound is of good quality: the viewer integrates a standard headphone output jack (to which you can connect the set in-ear headphones supplied in the package or any other headset), provides support to virtual surround sound up to 7.1 channels and expresses in general, powerful bass and crystal clear high enough.
Obviously, the presence of two distinct screens makes this Sony HMZ-T3W a tool that can handle extremely natural viewing of stereoscopic 3D content. This and other functions can be managed easily through the internal menu, which is operated by the Rotary 4-way integrated into the helmet. The amount of options available is not comparable to that of the most advanced televisions, but still allows you to intervene on parameters such as color temperature, sharpness, contrast, etc.., To configure an image appreciated.
The display Sony HMZ-T3W is clearly an innovative, ambitious and aimed at a niche market: the price of only € 1,299, ranking well above the cost of a good modern TV Full HD and therefore makes it a gadget for lovers extremes of the audio-video.
Its technical characteristics are good and the quality of vision expressed, under optimal conditions, is truly remarkable, as well as positive is also easy to set up a wireless connection and view their HD content in complete freedom wherever you are.
We have found, however, excessive difficulties in practical use with regard to the set-up, the coupling to the head and above the maintenance of a stable and comfortable viewing angle, a problem which is even more evident in the case of imperfect sight and use of glasses.
Like all pioneering products, the Sony HMZ-T3W is therefore a very interesting device but immature, that we can recommend only to those who are willing to come to terms with its shortcomings in order to take advantage of a unique, extremely innovative.