Over the years, 3D displays have periodically surfaced, but none has taken hold. The public just hasn’t had the stomach for them. Cost has been one factor, but also, the stereoscopic imagery used to create a 3D effect tends to cause dizziness and nausea in users after even short periods. Nevertheless, vendors keep plugging away at the concept, hoping to capitalize on the growing number of games and movies produced in 3D.
In fact, iZ3D stakes its very existence on this concept. The brand-new company’s only product is its 22-inch, 1680x1050 3D monitor. The display comprises two distinct panels, each of which connects to your videocard (two DVI ports and one VGA port are included). The back screen is a standard LCD, which displays all 2D content. The front screen is transparent; images on it are visible only when you wear polarized glasses—the display comes bundled with two pairs, as well as a clip-on set to wear over your prescription specs. The iZ3D driver you install renders content three dimensionally, creating both an image and its inversion, which come together when viewed through the glasses.
The iZ3D supports a number of popular titles (see www.iz3d.com/games)—we tested it with Far Cry and Call of Duty 2. In both instances, we found the 3D effect most pronounced when all the room lights were out. Hotkeys let you tweak the separation between the stereo images, but we found there was a very narrow gap at which images were comfortably viewable. The iZ3D seems more usable than other 3D monitors—although, we weren’t convinced we would enjoy it for long periods.
At least not enough to overlook some of the $1,000 display’s less appealing features. For 2D use, it has a washed-out appearance and poor vertical off-axis visibility—like all the 22-inch screens we’ve reviewed. The iZ3D also lacks ergo adjustments beyond forward and back tilt, and its only picture adjustment is brightness control. But the most amazing omission is this display’s lack of HDCP support. How can a product aimed at enlivening entertainment leave out support for commercial high-def movies?
More usable than other 3D monitors, but...
Washed-out color; no HDCP support; requires polarized glasses.