NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 With ASUS VG278H
Far from perfect, but better than the first NVIDIA 3D Vision
Bright images; Large viewing area; Full HD 3D; Supports over 500 games and Blu-ray 3D
Relatively low but noticeable flicker; Not recommended for extended use; Very expensive.
NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 With ASUS VG278H
Price (As On 23-Oct-2012): Rs 47,000 (Monitor, 3D eyewear, and IR emitter) (Flipkart.com); Rs 12,000 (3D glasses and IR emitter); Rs 8000 (Extra pair of 3D eyewear)
3D visual technologies are becoming more sophisticated by the year; most TV manufacturers have 3D models now. NVIDIA has been pushing its active shutter 3D technology into desktop computers for 3D gaming and 3D Blu-ray movie viewing. Their latest iteration, the 3D Vision 2, improves on earlier attempts with a brighter image and lower flicker — addressing the two problems that have majorly plagued the technology. Active shutter allows Full HD 3D viewing on a 120 Hz monitor. The ASUS VG278H is a 27" monitor that supports active shutter technology; the monitor comes with NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses, too. So did 3D just become more bearable?
Design And Features
The NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 kit consists of a pair of 3D shutter glasses and a USB IR emitter that pairs with them. If you already have a 3D monitor with a 120 Hz refresh rate, you can use the 3D Vision 2 with it.
The ASUS VG278H is an NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 certified monitor that has an integrated IR emitter. It comes bundled with a pair of 3D glasses — the same as those that come with the 3D Vision 2 kit. (That is, the monitor has a built-in IR emitter, and you get the NVIDIA glasses along with it.) We received the ASUS and the glasses for this review.
To briefly explain the fundamentals of active shutter technology: The screen displays left and right eye images alternating at a fast rate (120 Hz), which is effectively 60 frames per second (for each eye!). The shutter glasses sync with the IR emitter to alternately open and close the left and right glasses so that each eye sees the frame meant for that eye when the frame is displayed on the screen. This effectively creates the 3D illusion. NVIDIA has tweaked its 3D Vision of three years ago; more on those later.
The 3D glasses in the 3D Vision 2 kit have a 20% larger viewing area than what the original 3D Vision offered, which makes for a more comfortable viewing experience. Compared to the original (from 2009), these glasses look a lot less clumsy and geeky, sport a thinner frame, are lighter, and more comfortable to wear. They even have adjustable nosepieces. And they are large enough for you to wear over your spectacles.
A micro-USB port on the side lets you charge the (internal) batteries from a powered USB port. Once charged, they work for around six hours. They work better with larger 3D monitors (such as the 27" ASUS VG278H).
The VG278H features a TN panel that measures 27" diagonally. It has an in-built IR emitter compatible with the NVIDIA 3D Vision; the emitter sits atop the monitor, embedded in the bezel at the centre. A hinge lets you adjust the vertical angle to get a line-of-sight with the glasses. Because it’s a TN panel, the viewing angles of this LED-backlit monitor aren't great, nor is the image quality the best, but its low response time of 2 ms — and the 120 Hz refresh rate — makes it good for fast action gaming and movies. The stand can be adjusted for height, and the monitor can be tilted backwards. It can also be wall-mounted (VESA mount compatible).
The control buttons, with front-facing labels, are under the bottom bezel. HDMI 1.4, DVI-D, and VGA inputs are provided at the back, with a cable management loop on the stand. The monitor comes with two 3W internal speakers, which are loud enough for general use. 3.5 mm stereo input and output ports are also provided.
3D stereoscopy based on active shutter glasses effectively halves the brightness: The light from the monitor is divided between the two eyes. A new technology called 3D LightBoost in the NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 makes images appear brighter, compensating for that effect — and eliminating one of the basic complaints with the earlier version of 3D Vision. With LightBoost enabled, the LED-backlit monitor increases its brightness to twice the normal level when in 3D mode — so images appear just as bright as in 2D mode.
NVIDIA 3D Vision supports over 500 PC games and is fully compatible with Blu-ray 3D players. We tried some games and Blu-ray 3D titles by connecting an NVIDIA 3D Vision compatible PC and a PS3 via HDMI. We focused on 3D rather than 2D.
The PC games — Far Cry 2 and DiRT 2 — worked really well; the perception of depth was striking. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception on the PS3 was also a good example for us of how 3D can change the gaming experience.
The Blu-ray 3D titles included Avatar, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn — in addition to a few sample 3D demos. We also watched some streaming 3D videos from 3DVisionLive.com and YouTube.
We must mention here that the games provided a perceived depth, while the movies had depth as well as objects popping out of the screen. (The reason is that most 3D movies are shot in such a way as to enhance the 3D effect, while games are programmed to be rendered behind the plane of the screen.)
The earlier 3D Vision had quite a bit of flicker; that is largely diminished with the 3D Vision 2, but it’s not entirely absent. Depending on sensitivity and tolerance, you can sit for a few minutes at a stretch before your eyes tire out.
You can choose one of three presets to control the power of the IR signal in order to minimise interference with other devices. The LightBoost intensity can be adjusted (or switched off).
Overall, the NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 (in conjunction with the ASUS VG278H) isn’t perfect, but it performs much better than its predecessor. The Full HD 3D movie and game playback are realistic. The large glasses and large screen size expand the field of view, making for a more immersive 3D experience. The flicker, though, is a sore point; we can’t recommend watching 3D visuals for more than a few minutes.
The NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 kit is priced at Rs 12,000, which is pretty high for one pair of 3D eyewear and an IR emitter. An extra pair of glasses — not available officially in India, but available on eBay — will set you back by about Rs 8,000.
The ASUS VG278H, which comes with an integrated IR emitter and the 3D eyewear, is priced atrociously: It costs a whopping Rs 47,000. You might as well buy a 32" 3D TV for that much. You might even be tempted to buy a FPR-based 3D monitor instead, with passive polarised glasses that allow for hours of tireless viewing. However, the level of game support and Blu-ray 3D compatibility is nowhere as near. Also, 3D is limited to half the Full HD resolution in this case. The moral of the story is that if you are looking for a PC-centric 3D solution, nothing comes close to this one.
Value For Money: 2/5
Overall Score: 3.5/5
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