Are you asking yourself, “Which shutterglasses are the best value?” or, “Which are the absolute best shutterglasses money can buy?” Well, you are in luck. We’ve put the RealD CrystalEyes, NuVision 60GX, eDimensional and Samsung SSG1000 shutterglasses to the test. The test setup was the reference standard Sammy DLP 3D-Ready HDTV and a big honking PC with a recent nVidia card running Peter Wimmers’s Stereoscopic Player. All of the tested glasses are 100% out-of-the-box compatible with all 3D-Ready TVs from Samsung and Mitsubishi. The test images were shot through the shutterglasses lenses with a fixed exposure point-and-shoot digital camera.
RealD CrystalEyes (Model 3 reviewed) - Most stereo enthusiasts have worn CrystalEyes at least once. Originally sold by Stereographics, these are the glasses that NASA uses to view stereo images coming back from space. They are time tested and have seen 3 revisions in the 20+ years they have been available. At $600 without emitter, these are the most expensive (by far) glasses that we have come across. Besides the price, we can find little to criticize – they are very good.
NuVision 60GX – These well-made glasses are marketed as a lower-cost alternative to CrystalEyes. They are 100% compatible with the CrystalEyes IR emitter. These shades use a large LCD Pi-cell which is cheaper than the CrystalEyes lens material, but suffers from a long warm-up time. This results in visible specks in your eyes for the first 60 seconds of use. The Pi-cells have an unusual bluish cast when powered off, but this does not impact the transmitted image quality. The 60GX’s retail for $450, sans emitter.
eDimensional ED Wireless – The eDimensional are the smallest and lightest of the glasses tested. The formfactor has been around for years in wired and wireless PC CRT shutterglasses sets. The eDimensional shades are a fraction of the cost ($50 for the glasses) of CrystalEyes or NuVision, and it shows. The plastic frames are flimsy and the battery cover is just plain junk. There are a few more unfortunate annoyances as well. The automatic power-off that kicks in when the glasses loose contact with the emitter is way too fast. Just handing the glasses to someone can result in a power-off. Also, the IR emitter is on the same wavelength as household remote controls. For instance, when the emitter switches on, you cannot use the TV remote control to change the volume (bummer). Finally, the lenses are a bit too small for big-screen viewing. The effect is slight tunnel-vision… making you constantly aware that you are looking through glasses.
Samsung SSG1000 – These are the new kids on the block. Amazingly, they are the lowest cost glasses that we tested ($45 for the glasses). They are the least goofy looking of the four – looking a bit like ski goggles. They are built very solidly and are quite comfortable. Samsung has designed these with the home user in mind and they have, as usual, done a great engineering job.
Transmission Image Quality:
These test images, shot directly through the lenses of each of the glasses, demonstrate light transmission and color balance. While the results are not widely divergent, the NuVision and Samsung glasses produce the results most true to the original. The eDimensional glasses have the most distorted result.
Conclusions and Specs:
|Comfort (1 -10)||9||7||5||9|
|Fit Over R/X Glasses (1-10)||10||10||1||7|
|Fit on Kids (1-10)||7||7||8||9|
|Tested Color Distortion (1-10)||8||9||3||10|
|Transmission||32% typical||32% typical||unpublished||30% typical|
|Weight||93 grams||89 grams||45 grams||87 grams|
|Lens Size||6 x 3.5 cm||5.3 x 3.8 cm||3 x 2.5 cm||6.8 x 4 cm|
|Max Field Rate||160 Hz||180 Hz||unpublished||120Hz|
|IR Range||12 feet||16 feet||10 feet||16 feet|
|Battery Life||250 hours||600 hours||100 hours||80 hours|
|Power Switch||button||temple arm||button||button|
|High-Power Emitter Available||yes||yes||yes||no|
|Standard Emitter Price||$150||$210||$50||$24|
|Total Package Price||$750||$660||$100||$69|
The best overall value are the Samsung SSG1000 glasses, hands down. If money is absolutely no object, you may want to spring for the CrystalEyes for the slightly better comfort and fit over prescription glasses. Otherwise, the Sammys are the way to go.
There are some interesting new players on the hozion as well. Nvidia has bandied about a very stylish set of glasses. It's not clear if they will be out-of-the-box compatible with 3D-Ready TVs - or - will be intended for new high-speed, page-flipping LCD displays from Viewsonic and others. Stay tuned.