01:10 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren

Mobile 3D: Not Ready For Prime Time

One of the whiz-bang features being proffered by smartphone and tablet makers is 3D video capture and 3D playback. Trust us, it doesn't live up to the hype.

One of the whiz-bang features being proffered by smartphone and tablet makers is 3D video capture and 3D playback. Trust us, it doesn't live up to the hype.For the record, I like 3D movies. It's fun to go to a movie theater and watch 3D films on the big screen. All that real-life stuff popping out at you so large makes you feel like you can reach out and interact with the movie. This experience translates poorly on small-screened mobile devices.

Take for instance the LG G-Slate / Optimus 3D Tablet. By all accounts, the tablet itself is a winner, with the right combination of hardware, software, size and so on. The 3D features I saw demonstrated, however, totally failed to impress, and in fact, looked like a pain in the rear to deal with.

Here's how it works. The G-Slate has two cameras and can record stereoscopic 3D. This films two versions of the same thing. 3D video capture, yay! Too bad you can't watch the 3D video you captured on the G-Slate at all. You have to upload it to YouTube, where YouTube can handle stitching the two videos together into something that doesn't require glasses to enjoy. Without the software that merges the video on the device itself, 3D video capture feels pretty worthless.

The G-Slate can also do the standard red/blue style 3D capture, which can be viewed on the device. Pity that this requires glasses to enjoy.

I can understand watching 3D content in a movie theater, at home, where it is easy to store and find a pair of 3D glasses. But that goes against the entire point of a product such as this. It's a tablet. It's a mobile computer. It's a computer that's meant to go places outside of the home. Are you going to remember to bring glasses with you? Are you even going to want to bring glasses with you? 3D glasses are just one more thing to carry and/or lose when out and about. No thanks.

Don't get me wrong. I like the idea a lot. I just think the execution is still lacking a bit.

Bottom line, buy the LG G-Slate because you think it is a good tablet, not because it can record 3D video.

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