With 3D making its way into living rooms in the form of 3D TVs and 3D video games, it was inevitable that computers would join the 3D club. Asus, Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba, and Origin, a boutique PC manufacturer, have all announced or already released 3D laptop models. Asus and Acer were the first to release 3D laptops, but the other three companies would counter this with their own announcements in 2010.
As technology advances the specifications and capabilities of 3D laptop models are constantly changing, with an ever increasing number of more powerful models being released.
Here in this article we'll look at the critical technical elements to consider when choosing a suitable laptop, and then move on to take a look at some of the models already on the market. Just to the right of this article you'll find the latest news and development plans from the major manufacturers.
The critical thing to watch for when choosing a 3D gaming laptop is the specification. Cheaper laptops can look great, but processing power and the graphics card are both important when it comes to playing games in 3D. The 3D laptop models featured above are all designed with the gamer in mind, you can click on the links above for real buyer reviews. You're looking for excellent quality 3D imaging which is able to adapt to changes in your viewing angle at a very fast speed. The latest 3D laptop from Toshiba that was demonstrated at CES 2011 achieved excellent results from this perspective, by using its built in camera to lock on to the users face and adjust in real time to give the right image depending on the users position. Yes, this looks to be an excellent model which doesn't require the use of glasses!
The graphics card (sometimes known as the Graphics Processing Unit, or GPU) is important for keeping a solid frame rate - for 3D games you'll need a high quality, standalone graphics card with its own dedicated RAM. NVIDIA is a good example. Just as important is the processor, or CPU. For 3D gaming you'll need a powerful CPU with fast processing speed.
Next up is the Random Access Memory or RAM, which is critical in determining the running speed of a 3D laptop. You'll need at least 1gb of RAM, more will improve the laptops gaming capability. Some of this RAM is set as dedicated video RAM, it's good to check the value of this as is understanding what type of RAM you have.
Aside from the hard drive, the other important factor is of course the display. Good quality 3D laptops come with full 1080p displays. Be sure to focus on the display size and resolution.
The Asus G51J-3D entered the market in February utilizing Nvidia's 3D Vision system to produce a 3D effect. The boutique PC company Origin went a similar route. While the Origin EON15-3D was the first customizable 3D laptop, it uses Nvidia's 3D Vision, same as Asus and Acer. This form of 3D production uses LC shutter glasses that sync with the display's refresh rate, allowing only one image into each eye.
What's so innovative about the Asus and Origin laptops is that they let users select specific areas to appear in 3D while leaving the rest of the monitor in 2D. This level of control over the 3D display is unique compared to other available and announced laptops.
Lenovo's Ideapad Y560d 3D laptop uses a different form of 3D production, the TriDef system of polarizing filter. It's capable of producing polarized anaglyph images to create 3D effects. What this means is that Lenovo's display can generate an image with two different light levels. Polarized glasses are required to see the 3D. Each lens of the glasses is polarized in a different way so that only one light level enters each eye. Lenovo's product, though, carries a comparable price tag to the Asus model.
Possibly the least expensive option, the Acer Aspire 5738DG 3D, uses the TriDef system of 3D creation just like Lenovo's laptop. This primarily software-based system uses polarization to produce three-dimensional images, and allows for a more inexpensive laptop.
Finally, there's Toshiba, which has one 3D laptop currently on the market and has recently announced it is developing the first glasses-free laptop for release next year. The Satellite A665-3DV makes use of Nvidia's 3D Vision like the Asus and Lenovo laptops, and is already available for purchase. The planned glasses-free laptop will be a 12-inch model, making it smaller next to all the other glasses-based 3D computers; All other 3D laptops are at least 15 inches in size.
While all of these laptops can convert 2D media, such as movies, into a 3D experience, they are primarily geared toward 3D gaming. The models which use 3D Vision are perhaps the best choice if gaming is your goal. TriDef systems, though, are a more affordable option because they don't require the expensive hardware necessary for Nvidia's system.
It important to remember, when considering a 3D laptop, what you'll be doing with it. If you're just looking for a way to see 3D movies, a TriDef system is probably your best bet. If 3D gaming is more your style, spring for an Nvidia 3D Vision laptop.
If home 3D entertainment truly catches on, this is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
More 3D Laptop Models
Toshiba A660 - a powerful 15.6 inch LCD display laptop - plus LED backlighting and 120Hz refresh - equipped with Nvidia 3D Vision technology and GeForce GTS 350M GPU/Graphics Processor. Additional Toshiba Video Player software gives capability of 2D to 3D conversion. Bundled with active shutter 3D glasses, the laptop also comes with 1gb of video memory.
The Satellite A660 also supports the new Nvidia 3D TV Play software, allowing you to connect up to a 3D TV and access a range of 3D content - including streaming video, 3D games, movies, and photos.
Copyright 3Dtvguide.org 2011
Jan 2011 - Toshiba demo no glasses 3D laptop
at CES 2011 which uses built in an eye tracking
capability - basically a moving webcam -to determine the position of the user and adjust so that excellent 3D images are delivered at all times. The webcam locks on to the users eyes within seconds, and almost immediately images begin to be seen in 3D. Quality is not as good as with 3D glasses, but it's early days and shows what the future might hold.