|Sony has done it again.
Theyve made our dreams into reality. Well, theyre dang close, thats for
sure. The Sony Glasstron is a pair of goggles you cant see through. Rather, there
are two 0.55-inch LCD screens whose images combine to give the effect of viewing a 52-inch
screen 6.5 feet away. It is a Personal LCD Projector. Wow, that just sounds so cool. In
addition, it has a built-in sound system. The two Sony ear bud headphones are remarkably
clear and provide a fully immersive experience when wearing the unit.
We got to test the Glasstron in the lovely GF! offices for the past couple of weeks, and our reactions were mixed. First off, all the visually impaired folks on staff were upset that they still had to wear their glasses under the Glasstron. They had expected that since the screens are so close they would be able to see television without corrective lenses, myopic dreamers they are. Unfortunately, the Glasstron doesnt work that way. Fortunately, the Glasstron did accommodate the wearing of glasses underneath it, so they could use it. Still, we had a couple of GF! staffers who just couldnt make their eyes bring the screens into focus. These are the same folks who cant see those Magic Eye posters. But for most of us, the Glasstron worked just fine. Or at least, as fine as it is supposed to.
The Glasstron is really meant to go with the portable video devices Sony has put out. The Watchman TV, the Handycam, and their portable DVD player are the obvious devices for which the Glasstron would be a stellar accessory. Hunkering over, looking at small screens, is just an invitation for head and neck pain, so the Glasstron would allow viewers a clearer, bigger, and more comfortable picture. However, we dont have any of those. We have some friends with some of these devices, and they agree that the Glasstron sounds remarkable. We did plug them into our stationary DVD player and television, and it was fun watching. The picture is about as good as a regular television, only bigger, and, again, you can watch in any position. Laying down, watching the Daily Show on your back is pretty fun kind of like the best part of being at the dentists office.
But to play video games on your back is even better; sitting up takes so much valuable energy. We plugged it into a variety of systems, including our PlayStation, and it worked pretty well, at least for some games. Driving and FPS games were, obviously the coolest experience. The sense of speed and being "in the game" were definitely enhanced. I was a little disappointed that the screens didnt encompass my whole field of vision, but thats not whats advertised, either. For some titles, the Glasstron was perfect. The resolution isnt so ideal, though. Text was very difficult to make out, which made text-oriented games, like RPGs and games with lots of menus, almost impossible to play.
Overall, the Glasstron is still a product of developing technology. With a price tag of $499, its targeted at the consumer who has a lot of disposable income and wants the newest, coolest thing. For that guy, the Glasstron is a must-have. For the rest of us, it is a glimpse into what will probably become a normal choice in viewing format. It would make sense for airlines to offer Glasstrons for in-flight entertainment. Sony is constantly at the forefront of technological innovation, and the Glasstron shows that once again. Its the kind of geek-chic that makes even normal folks stop and notice.