Sony HMZ-T3W with prototype head-tracking review: first look

Sony’s HMZ-T3W turned plenty of heads back at IFA 2013, but now Sony has demonstrated the head mounted display in tandem with a prototype head-tracking device. This small battery-powered sensor clips to the rear of the HMZ-T3W, and provides users with a virtual reality style experience.

3D headgear

If you didn’t catch it back in September, the £1,299 HMZ-T3W is something special. Looking like something straight out of a Kubrick movie, the headset crams in twin 720P OLED panels for crisp HD-quality 3D video.

Meanwhile, the wireless battery unit provides a single MHL or HDMI input for connecting anything from games consoles to a smartphone, and also packs in wireless HD connectivity. Sony claims up to 7 hours of battery-powered usage via HDMI, and 3 hours of Wireless HD. If watching films on the back of a plane seat just isn’t high-tech enough for you, this could be just the ticket.


Virtual reality

Now, however, Sony is looking to take on the Oculus Rift VR headset. With the simple addition of a small sensor located on the rear, Sony demonstrated a bumper-mounted video of a racing car speeding through a town’s streets. With the video playing from a Sony Xperia smartphone in a custom app, it’s possible to freely look around while the car was moving, giving the impression of actually being strapped to the car’s bonnet.


Our verdict

For gaming, we can really see the appeal of virtual reality headsets, but it’s going to take some time for them to really take off – right now, the HMZ-T3 is still in the realms of the dauntingly expensive. And if it’s hoping to garner the attention of VR-hungry gamers, it’s got a serious rival in the form of Oculus Rift.

As the device is only in the prototype stage, there’s no current pricing or release date. For now, we’ll be badgering Sony for one to play with, but until then you’ll just have to peek at the video to get an idea of what’s possible.

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