VIDEO GOES PER­SONA AL

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - TEST BENCH - — BY NANDAGOPAL RA­JAN

Just when you though the next best thing with video will be an even larger screen, com­pa­nies have started test­ing the wa­ters for a whole new seg­ment — the per­sonal video player. While mu­sic went per­sonal with the Walk­man over three decades ago, video is tak­ing this turn quite late in life. Within a month two com­pa­nies have launched per­sonal video play­ers in In­dia, both ca­pa­ble of play­ing Ful­lHD video with 3D. A look at the two de­vices.

THE 3D STAR

The Sony HMZ-T2 has a very sci-fi look to it, as if it is some­thing out of an Isaac Asimov novel. Well, it is cut­ting edge, no doubt. In fact, this has to be the best ren­der­ing of 3D for a con­sumers at the moment. But this one is just a per­sonal video viewer, though a very good one at that.

HOW IS WORKS

The de­sign is a bit like a thick sun vi­sor, but worn in front of the eye. You need to ad­just the strap on the back and the pad in front to get a per­fect fit. Un­less the de­vice is in per­fect po­si­tion, you can­not see any­thing on the small LCD screen in­side. But once you start see­ing the im­age, you have ad­just­ments un­der each eye to get the im­age in per­fect po­si­tion. The de­vice also has a power but­ton, vol­ume con­trols and menu but­tons with ar­rows to se­lect. There is a catch though. You need a Blu-ray player – or some other HDMI source – along with a pass through box to see any­thing on the HMZ-T2. This in many ways rel­e­gated the de­vice to some­thing you will have to keep near your TV, or at least wher­ever the Blu-ray player is. So porta­bil­ity is not a fea­ture here.

SHOULD YOU BUY IT?

The HMZ-T2 is an ex­cel­lent video viewer and really scores a 10/10 with its 3D. How­ever, that fact that it needs life sup­port from a Blu-ray player or gam­ing con­sole re­duces its prac­ti­cal­ity a bit. In the end you will need a ded­i­cated space to en­joy this de­vice.

TRULY POR­TA­BLE

Not much larger than large-size sun glasses, this de­vice gloats over its com­pact­ness. In fact, its con­troller and play­back de­vice is not much larger than a smart­phone and, not sur­pris­ingly, runs an An­droid op­er­at­ing sys­tem. The eye­piece has nose cush­ions and L-shaped an­gles that can be used to ad­just the po­si­tion for peo­ple us­ing spec­ta­cles. The lat­ter can also take the load of your nose by shift­ing the de­vice weight to the spec­ta­cle frame. There are drop down ear­phones on both sides, a stop but­ton on the main wire and vol­ume con­trols on the box. Con­tent can be down­loaded to the 1GB in­ter­nal stor­age or to a Mi­croSD card for which there is a slot on the de­vice.

HOW GOOD IS IT

Pic­ture qual­ity is cer­tainly the USP here. The 3D, for in­stance, is much su­pe­rior than any­thing you will get to see in a the­atre or in your ex­pen­sive 3D tele­vi­sion. This is truly im­mer­sive 3D. The sound is real good, but to ex­pe­ri­ence that you will need to plug in a bet­ter ear­phone than the one that comes in the box. An­other good thing about the de­vice is that you can con­trol the play­back from the eye­piece and don’t need to turn to the Blu-player re­mote for ev­ery­thing. The menu also gives you de­vice set­tings, and make sure that you use this to switch on 3D dis­play which is not de­fault. We guess it will work su­perbly as a gam­ing de­vice con­nected to a PS3 or Xbox. To con­nect to the In­ter­net or to play files from a USB you will have to rely on the player com­pletely.

HOW IT WORKS

The eye piece is trans­par­ent, and you can see through it when the de­vice has not been pow­ered on. But when Move­rio is work­ing, two small LCD pan­els light up in­side. Viewed to­gether they give an im­age, that is sim­i­lar to the large screen you have in a movie the­atre. You also get a per­cep­tion of dis­tance, as if you were sit­ting a dozen rows away from the screen. But since the rest of the eye piece con­tin­ues to be trans­par­ent, you can view what is hap­pen­ing around you as well. This is good to the ex­tent that you are not com­pletely cut off from the sur­round­ings, but on the flip side it is a bit hard to con­cen­trate on the im­age if the am­bi­ent light is too strong.

HOW GOOD IS IT

It takes about a minute for your eye to ad­just to the im­age in the eye piece, but af­ter that it is un­bri­dled view­ing plea­sure. At times you feel as if there is a vague line where the two im­ages are meet­ing, but it does not af­fect the qual­ity of the over­all im­age. How­ever, the same is more prom­i­nent if you are try­ing to browse the Web through WiFI. Yes, thanks to the An­droid 2.2 OS, this de­vice can do pretty much ev­ery­thing your smart­phone does and that in­cludes brows­ing. This is not that easy as you have to use the touch­pad and ar­row keys on the con­troller to type on the vir­tual key­board. But it works and we streamed some HD video from YouTube. The other great thing about the de­vice is the Dolby Mo­bile sur­round sound that adds to the over­all im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence. There is 3D too – even a 2D to 3D con­vert but­ton, but we felt it lacked a bit of throw though the depth was good. The bat­tery is good for at least four hours af­ter a reg­u­lar recharge.

SHOULD YOU BUY IT?

If you are movie junky and an early adapter for tech­nol­ogy this is a great de­vice to have. It gives you the kind of movie view­ing ex­pe­ri­ence no large screen or home the­atre sys­tem can repli­cate. Plus, as we were fear­ing, it is not a pain on the nose.

GG

SONY HMZ-T2

Price:

` 69,990

GG EP­SON MOVE­RIO BT-100

Price:

` 42,900

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