Entertainment without the interruptions: we go hands-on with Sony’s 3D head-mounted display

With the launch of Sony’s Uncharted 3 on the PlayStation 3, we put our hands on a new gadget that gives you a massive 3D screen for your eyes in the space of a tiny headset.

Reminding us of virtual reality technology seen in the 90s, Sony’s HMZ-T1 is the company’s first headset in a long time. We can remember the Glasstron from well over a decade ago, and this model feels like the highly improved version.

Like a pair of glasses, the headset features one screen per eye, with the combined effect creating what is essentially a cinema screen for your head encased in a pair of goggles. To make this effect, Sony has equipped the HMZ-T1 with two 3D-capable OLED screens, headphones, and an HDMI switcher capable of sending the picture back to a TV, useful if you want to show friends the game you’re playing.

The headset isn’t remarkably light, and we wouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself craning your head forward. Ultimately, you’re not quite sure what to do with our head: do you keep it up, do you bend it down? If we ever take this thing home, we’d probably sit down while we used it.

Playing Uncharted 3 through the headset last night, it’s clear that these is one of the more immersive gaming experiences we’ve ever had. The screens were bright, colourful, and very easy on the eyes. Even the 3D was top notch, no doubt due to the quality of screens in front of your eyes. We’re told the picture quality was HD 720p and crosstalk-free, and from what we briefly experienced, we’d believe it.

As for the audio, the on-ear pads sounded fine, but the room we were in was very noisy at the time, not exactly lending itself to superior audio testing.

Overall, it’s a pretty cool experience, and we can see ourselves using it as a means of playing games or watching movies while the significant other wants to watch some TV. In fact, it’s surprising that the headset doesn’t have a PlayStation Portable or PS Vita built into it, as that would be a pretty cool portable gaming experience.

Sony told us yesterday that while there’s no plans for an Australian release at this time, it could see itself available here if the demand was right. In America, the headset is making its way to stores now with a $799 USD price tag, giving us an idea of what it might cost here if it gets released.