Sony PlayStation 3D Display Review

Sony has managed to make a $500, 24-inch display appealing by including some useful accessories, integrating 3D and offering the rather innovative SimulView feature.
Sony has managed to make a $500, 24-inch display appealing by including some useful accessories, integrating 3D and offering the rather innovative SimulView feature.
Sony has managed to make a $500, 24-inch display appealing by including some useful accessories, integrating 3D and offering the rather innovative SimulView feature.

Highs

  • Solid picture quality
  • SimulView is useful and entertaining
  • Acceptable 3D brightness

Lows

  • No remote
  • Terrible speakers
  • Small screen size

DT Editors' Rating

Every once in a while, Sony comes up with a really great idea, and we think this may wind up being one of them. At first glance, Sony’s new PlayStation-branded TV appears to be the product of some clever marketing down at Sony HQ — an effort to leverage the popular game console brand in order to move some TVs. As it turns out, though, the Sony Playstation 3D display is more than that. This display has a few tricks up its sleeve, not the least of which is the ability to provide two players with their own full-screen image in two-player game modes. In our Sony Playstation 3D display review, we break the display’s features down, rate its performance and discuss what sort of consumer the product is suited for.

Out of the box

What comes in the box with this Sony display is kind of important since, without its accessories, this unit is little more than a $500, 24-inch monitor. And let’s face it, 24 inches isn’t huge for a $500 display these days.

With the bundle Sony is currently promoting, consumers get the 24-inch display, a table-top stand, one pair of rechargeable active 3D glasses, an HDMI cable, USB charging cable, a copy of MotorStorm Apocalypse, and an AC power cord.

sony-playstation-3d-display-tv-review-display-glassesWhat’s not in the box that really should be is a remote control. More on that coming up later in our review.

The display measures roughly 13.75 x 25.5 x 1.70 inches (H x W x D). Sony hasn’t published the precise weight for this display, but suffice it to say that it is appropriately light and should be a cinch to wall-mount.

Features and design

You might have noticed that we keep referring to this unit as a “display” rather than a “TV” or a “monitor.” This is because, without some sort of tuner, it isn’t a TV and, with the inclusion of component video and analog audio inputs, several speakers and lack of a VGA input, it doesn’t really fit the description of a monitor either. That said, it can be connected to a computer as a monitor or to a cable or satellite box as a TV. Just what is this thing?

To be sure, it is an LED edge-lit, 24-inch, 1080p, 240Hz, 3D display complete with two HDMI inputs, the aforementioned component/AV inputs, two side-mounted, forward facing speakers and a rear facing “subwoofer” (a seriously loose interpretation of the term, we might add).

sony-playstation-3d-display-tv-review-side-inputsThe active 3D glasses Sony includes look just like the 3D spectacles made for the company’s standard 3D sets. A micro-USB port is found along the top of the glasses’ bridge, right next to the activation button and a tiny red LED. Inside the glasses frame, near the right temple, is a power switch. Sony says its 3D glasses will work with most active 3D displays.

The display offers some picture controls including backlight, brightness, contrast, color hue, sharpness and color temperature. Making any adjustments to these settings is a bit of a hassle, though. With no remote control, one is left with the buttons located on the backside of the display. This isn’t all that different than most monitors but, then again, this isn’t really a monitor. There’s also the volume control and power functions to consider, which would be much easier to control with a remote. Even a small credit-card-sized remote would have done.

Finally, we are perplexed as to why powering up or down a source doesn’t also power up or down the display. This is an increasingly common feature because HDMI facilitates communication between devices (called HDMI-CEC). Hopefully, this is a feature that will be included in subsequent models of this display.

Performance

To test the performance of the Sony Playstation 3D display, we connected a Sony Playstation 3. For media, we ran through clips from a handful of Blu-ray movies and played the co-op campaign in Killzone 3 as well as the Uncharted 3 singleplayer in 3D mode.

Straight out of the box, this display provides a great picture. In our medium-bright test environment, we had to crank the backlight to its maximum, but were able to leave the brightness setting at its midpoint. With contrast jacked up to about 90 percent, we were quite happy with the picture’s luminance and shadow detail in both 2D and 3D modes. The picture was impressively uniform for an edge-lit LED set, with no obvious bleed from the edges.

That said, the display’s highly reflective glass didn’t help us out when it came to our ambient-light situation. Overhead lights were all that was needed in order for our reflections to show up clearly during darker screen moments — clear enough to shave, even. While we do appreciate the glass panel’s clarity, the reflectivity issue is a problem.

sony-playstation-3d-display-tv-review-back-rearSony has installed a speaker in the back panel of the display to reinforce low frequencies, but we didn’t find it very effective. The sound from the speakers was a bit on the harsh side, and when turned up to a healthy volume, tended to distort. We had hoped for slightly better audio performance, given the amount of space the speakers take up on the flanks of the display. If nothing else, those large speaker panels seem to do a good job of hiding any LED edge-lighting bleed that might be present.

Uncharted 3 is noted as a 3D spectacle, so we expected some pretty impressive effects. We weren’t disappointed. While we remain unenthusiastic about active 3D in general, we could certainly see the appeal this newer dimension in gaming brings to younger gamers. During a rooftop chase segment early in the game, our depth perception was initially thrown for a loop, but after a few minutes, our eyes relaxed into the enhanced depth and spatial relations. Brightness took a hit with 3D engaged, but we didn’t have any problem seeing details in shadowy spaces and, overall, felt the image was plenty bright. Crosstalk was kept to a minimum, but as is usually the case with active 3D, we noticed a bit of flicker.

sony-playstation-3d-display-tv-review-glasses-angleSimulView is this display’s best trick. As best as we can tell, the feature uses 3D technology and reverses polarity to allow two players to see separate, full-screen images at once. In other words, one set of 3D glasses’ shutters are timed to show one image, while the other set is timed to show the second image.

Kill Zone 3 apparently requires that players wade through gun training before the SimulView feature goes into effect. SimulView must be turned on from the game’s main menu. If you turn it on before starting the co-op campaign, only one player can see their screen. The second image is a shadowy fixture in the background. If you start the co-op campaign with the feature turned off, you must save and quit the game, return to the main menu, turn on SimulView, then resume where you left off. Why not just have it active from the get-go? Granted, SimulView capability for this game came by way of a retroactive patch, but it still doesn’t make much sense.

sony-playstation-3d-display-tv-review-pictureWe got through the gun training, but had some trouble getting our 3D glasses to sync with the display properly. We’d power up the glasses and see the same image through each. We tried everything we could think of: updates, resets, settings in both the display and PS3…nothing worked. After a brief consult with a rep from Sony, we learned that clicking the power button on the glasses would switch the glasses from one “screen” to another. It’s always something simple and silly like that. Here’s to hoping Sony thinks to put that in the consumer packaging because that little tidbit of info was conspicuously missing from the demo unit we received.

Moving on, SimulView is a pretty nifty trick. We expected to see some “ghost” images from the other screen, but the effect was minimal. The only time we saw the alternate image was when one player was looking at a dark environment and the other at a bright environment. Otherwise, the ghosting was minimal and came across like some oddly placed shadows in the graphic landscape.

On a 24-inch screen, SimulView is a necessary alternative to split-screen, but we’re on the fence as to whether it is any better than a horizontal split screen on a TV 42 inches or larger, which $500 could certainly purchase. Regardless, Sony seems to have pulled this feature off pretty well.

Conclusion

Sony has managed to make a $500, 24-inch display appealing by including some useful accessories, integrating 3D and offering the rather innovative SimulView feature. While this display is not our cup of tea, we can see how it could be hugely popular this holiday season. It pulls off some slick tricks and comes with the desirable PlayStation branding slathered all over it. If the Sony Playstation 3D display winds up on a loved one’s holiday wish list, we say go for it. It’s a lot of fun. Just don’t expect it to entertain more than two people at a time.

Highs:

  • Solid picture quality
  • SimulView is useful and entertaining
  • Acceptable 3D brightness

Lows:

  • No remote
  • Terrible speakers
  • Small screen size
Gaming

‘Spyro Reignited Trilogy’ proves nostalgia only goes so far

Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a faithful and beatiful remaster of the PlayStation classics, but its dedication to retaining the original experience ultimately hinders the experience. Spyro was great in the late-'90s, but it hasn't aged well.
Product Review

Hisense’s new H8E 4K TV serves up a pretty picture at a very nice price

Budget TVs continue to get more attractive and that includes the latest from Chinese TV maker Hisense. The company’s new H8E, which offers 4K resolution, HDR, and a slick design for well under $500.
Computing

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Home Theater

Learn how to calibrate your home theater speakers for sheer audio bliss

Make your home theater rumble just right with our manual speaker setup guide, a simple, step-by-step walkthrough to getting the most from your audio equipment without needing to rely on imperfect automatic calibration.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Gaming

‘Final Fantasy VII Remake’ director sets record straight on game’s progress

Final Fantasy VII Remake director Tetsuya Nomura clarified some information about the game's progress. There were earlier reports that the RPG was put on hold in favor of Kingdom Hearts III, but that is apparently not the case.
Features

From NES to PlayStation, retro gaming is booming. But will it last?

Everyone craves the good old days, and companies like Nintendo and Sony are cashing in with their mini versions of beloved retro consoles. But is this fad built to last or will our fixation with pixelated graphics come and go like mom…
Gaming

‘Blockchain gaming’ startup gets $16 million in Series A funding

A gaming startup, Mythical Games, has raised $16 million in Series A funding to work on their concept of blockchain gaming. The aim is for the startup to develop games for the PC, console, and mobile markets.
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ named Ultimate Game of the Year at the Golden Joystick awards

This year's Golden Joysticks, the gaming awards handed out by GamesRadar, have been announced and Fortnite has been named the Ultimate Game of the Year. It beat out Red Dead Redemption for best game, but Red Dead was named critics' choice.
Gaming

Want to gift a Steam game so you can play with a friend? Here's how to do it

The holidays may have passed, but it's always a good time to give the gift of gaming (especially when there's a Steam sale)! Here's our quick guide on how to give a Steam game as a gift.
Gaming

‘Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers’ to launch next summer with gunblades, Viera

Square Enix revealed that Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers will be released in summer 2019. The third expansion of the MMORPG will include new story content, dungeons, and raids, in addition to gunblades and the Viera.
Gaming

The Fix PUBG campaign is over: What’s next for ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’?

The PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds development team declared that the Fix PUBG campaign was over. Here are the results of the three-month campaign, as well as the future plans for the multiplayer Battle Royale shooter.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!