PlayStation 3D Display Review

Does anyone remember the last time we saw a television that was built specifically for gaming?  I do – the 13” Samsung GX TV.  I still remember the lame-ass ads (“Play it…wide open!”) and getting my hands on one shortly following its release, with its fold-out TV screen, attached speakers, and easy accessibility for connections.  It’s a shame it faded away the way it did, because we could’ve easily dealt with playing on a bigger model GX TV.

Gaming technology has changed, and now we have high definition televisions, HDMI connections, and 3D viewing options; it’s crazy how far we’ve come.  This holiday season, Sony is offering an interesting piece of tech that introduces us to the whole package with the PlayStation 3D Display.  Available for $499, the 24” device doubles as a secondary TV or a computer monitor, perfect for those quick sessions of Batman: Arkham City, or whatever other 3D-enabled game you’re playing (2D games work fine for it as well).

The set-up is fairly easy.  The buttons are located on the back of the unit, along with easily accessible ports for two HDMI devices (probably your cable box and your PlayStation 3 console), along with component outlets for another system.  Sadly, that’s it.  There’s no screw-in cable port, and no additional HDMI ports if you want to hook up, say, an Xbox 360.  Did Sony plan this?  Hmmmm…

Anyway, once you get everything connected, simply turn on the TV, go to the menu, and select quick start.  Everything should run easily from there, though you may want to adjust the volume for a bit and not worry about touching the 3D-specific button until the proper situation calls for it.  (More on that in a minute.)

The PlayStation 3D display comes with a pair of 3D glasses, with additional pairs needing to be purchased for $70 a pop.  While these are hardly cheap glasses, they can be a little uncomfortable if you’ve got a bigger sized head, as the sides kind of sit atop your ears and provide a bit of pressure to stay on your face.  That said, the glasses are big enough that you can wear them on your face while wearing contacts or prescription glasses, without the further need to adjust.  They work just fine and can be charged through an included USB cable, connected via the PS3.

Now, as for the screen itself, it’s dazzling.  It broadcasts in full 1080p, so you get to see every detail as the developers intended with their games.  The 3D effect is quite good too, on both movies and games (the PS3’s latest update provides 3D movie support already).  You may need to go into your system options and change display settings for it to take full effect, but it’s worth it, especially with stuff like Tron Legacy and any of the Disney animated outings.  (We like The Lion King and Cars 2 ourselves.)

That said, the size of the screen won’t be everyone’s ideal size.  It is only 24 inches, and compared to bigger screened televisions that provide 3D options, some details can be lost if you’re trying to view them from a distance.  That said, this television is perfect for up-close viewing, like in a second bedroom or a more confined gaming space.  Some of you with smaller apartments know exactly what I’m talking about.

The build quality behind the 3D display itself is impressive, with a solid screen on the front that resembles a gigantic PSP, and a well-built subwoofer on the back to handle sound.  We also like the fact that the PlayStation logo is featured on the back – though it should’ve lit up whenever we turned the TV on.

A word of warning – the PlayStation 3D display does NOT come with a remote.  It’s manageably easy to operate from the push-button options, and you can program a cable remote or a PlayStation remote to work with it, but you’d think Sony would’ve included one just for the sake of comfort.

What is included, however, is an HDMI cable, which is a huge plus since the traditional PS3 doesn’t come with one.  Furthermore, you automatically get a taste of 3D gaming right out of the box, as a copy of Motorstorm: Apocalypse is also included.  This is one of the better 3D gaming efforts for the system, so it’s well recommended.  The previously planned Resistance 3 would’ve been good as well, but this is better suited for all ages of players.

Now, let’s get to one of the device’s bigger features – Simulview.  With this, two players can play in a co-op or multiplayer session at once, but rather than doing the traditional split-screen, they each get to view their own images.  Granted, you need two pairs of glasses to do this, and there’s a 2D effect instead of the traditional 3D, as you see your own screen display through dividers.  This is where you hit the 3D button, choosing from either a side-to-side or top-bottom, depending how the game divides split-screen play.

While this can be annoying at first (and not every game features split-screen support), it’s a pretty cool feature that’s worth trying out if you have a friend over.  But some details can easily be lost, even with the size of the screen, looking all stretched out.  You’re probably better off sticking with the traditional display.

Overall, the size of the screen, lack of a remote and missing ports may turn off some people from checking out the PlayStation 3D display.  But, honestly, if you’re looking for a good gaming unit for your rec room or something small and adequate for your living space, it’s a splendid deal.  $500 buys you a quality 3D monitor that shows you a lot, and comes with a game and the necessary cable.  Simulview is a little gimmicky, but some of you may like what it has to offer.

Besides, what else are you gonna buy – a dinky little GX TV?  Gaming has changed, get with the times…and snag this monitor.