Hands on with Acer's 3D laptop
Polarising specs at the ready...
First Look Acer will enter the record books today by releasing the world’s first 3D-capable laptop. So Register Hardware caught-up with the firm behind the technology – Dynamic Digital Depth – to discover how 3D content will look on Acer’s machine.
The 15.6in Acer Aspire 5738DZG 3D laptop has a screen that is coated with a thin 3D film. You wear polarising glasses rather than active shutter or red and green anaglyph glasses.
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DDD’s TriDef software, which can be used with any GPU, facilitates playback of both 2D and 3D content, company President Chris Yewdall told Register Hardware.
Our initial response to the on-screen 3D display was good and - despite it only being capable of a 720p resolution – the content was clear, crisp and vibrant.
The depth of the 3D image displayed depends heavily on the screen’s tilt angle. Angle the screen too far forward or too far back and you’ll probably only see a blurred 2D image – as you do when you take the glasses off altogether.
While the laptop is supplied with a stylish and light pair of polarising glasses, Yewdall claimed that opticians aren't too far away from offering to make up prescription 3D glasses. In the short-term, though, DDD can also supply a pair of clip-on polarising specs.
Converting 2D into 3D is as simple as right click with TriDef
Acer’s 5738DG won’t display everything in 3D, so you can forget browsing through Windows 7’s icons in 3D or jazzing up Excel with 3D spreadsheets. TriDef is largely limited to media content.
TriDef enables almost any 2D content to be transformed into 3D, Yewdall explained, as he took us through a slideshow of 2D photos converted into 3D. He also showed us a selection of movies and games that TriDef converted into 3D.
For the user, this conversion process is as simple as right-clicking on say, a JPEG, and selecting “Play with TriDef Media Player”.
The difference in 3D quality between a film and JPEG or videogame was negligible, in our opinion.
However, a ‘3D adjustment bar’ inside TriDef enables to tweak the depth of the displayed 3D content.
With such an apparently simple 3D system, why hasn’t DDD signed deals with Sony, LG, Panasonic, et al to create other 3D laptops?
Acer ships the 3D laptop with polarising specs, but clip-on filters are also available
Yewdall claimed that DDD is “in talks with several of them for 3D laptops”, adding that the first 3D laptop that hasn't got Acer branding will probably arrive in early 2010.
Acer’s 3D laptop will undoubtedly be cheaper than, say, a 50in 3D TV. But for those times when you need a slightly larger viewing area, the machine’s HDMI port enables 3D images to be displayed on an ordinary HD TV.
But in order to make this happen users must first select TriDef’s ‘anaglyph output mode’, which Yewdall claimed “doesn’t hold a candle” to the normal polarised 3D that the combined Acer display and TriDef software usually offer.
It’s worth noting that Acer’s laptop will work with 3D-ready TVs, and Yewdall stressed that TriDef’s output resolution can be bumped up from 1366 x 768 to 1930 x 1080 in such cases.
TriDef allows you to adjust the 3D depth
To capitalise on the increasing popularity surrounding 3D films and hardware, DDD has also developed a dedicated online portal – Yabazam – where 3D PC customers can download specially made 3D content, including Imax movies and blockbusters.
The Acer Aspire 5738DZG 3D laptop is on sale now for around £600 ($982/€662). ®