Reviewed: The Carl Zeiss Cinemizer Plus


6 Nov 2010

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Video glasses that show 3D content from your iPhone sound very cool. But are they really a must-have gadget?

Practicality

The Cinemizer Plus is a pretty unique gadget, to say the least. Looking like a pair of bulky sunglasses, it sort of reminded me of what someone in the 1950s would imagine how we’d watch television in the future.

One issue that struck me was where I’d consider using it. I’d be reluctant to wear it on a bus or a train. First, because of the nature of the glasses, both my hearing and vision would be totally obscured, meaning I’d probably miss my stop.

And two, because, well, of how they look. While the fact they are video glasses is pretty cool, I’d feel like I’d get a few funny looks wearing a pair of chunky, futuristic sunglasses wired up to an iPhone. Not everyone would have that issue, but I’d imagine a lot of people would.

That said, it could be nice for watching your own personal favourite shows in your room or for keeping entertained on long-haul flights. From what I can tell, the audience for this gadget may be pretty limited, but I can see it having its fans.

Look and feel

The Cinemizer weighs about 115 grams. It offers two adjustable speakers which go over your ears as opposed to on or in them, and a dock for your iPhone or iPod device. The wire connecting the glasses to the dock got in the way a little bit, but it wasn’t a deal breaker.

The dock itself has some functionality on it, such as volume control, three-click brightness settings and a headphone jack for if you want to keep the sound to yourself.

They’ve made a few design improvements on the last model, including three padded nose clips to suit every nose shape. It also has adjustable handles at the sides to suit the shape of your head.

While this model was not overly heavy, it did feel a bit weighty on me. I would have liked the design to be a bit slimmer and more streamlined, though I suppose, for what it can do, it’s not bad.

Media

Of course, you can’t talk about video glasses without mentioning the screen. Or, in this case, screens. There are 2 640×480 OLED displays for each eye. While it sounds pretty low, it has been optically tuned to appear as though it were a 45-inch screen from 2 metres away.

For non-3D footage, it has a pretty good screen. There were a few issues in regards to contrast, however, it was perfectly acceptable. The sound from the adjustable speakers wasn’t so great, though with the ability to plug in headphones, it can be avoided.

The device also can show side-by-side 3D footage, which looks great. This is where I thought the glasses really shined. Having images leap out at you while wearing video glasses is a lot of fun and considering that the device costs much less than a 3D TV right now, I could certainly see it as being appealing for this.

Right now, however, content for this is lacking. According to a statement, Carl Zeiss is lobbying Hollywood for more 3D consumer content, and with 3D becoming increasingly accessible, it soon will be. Because of this though, it’s difficult for me to say you should run out and get this gadget straight away.

Overall

The Cinemizer Plus is a pretty cool concept, appealing to my inner sci-fi nerd. However, I’m not sure if I could justify it as a practical purchase.

While watching videos on it works fine, I could only see limited times where I would use it and the design needs a little bit of fine tuning to be a very comfortable method of watching content.

3D early adopters may find it highly appealing but content for 3D is still thin on the ground. It will take time for the true strengths of the Cinemizer Plus to flex their muscle.

The Carl Zeiss Cinemizer Plus is available from Opticks and costs €399.

66

DAYS

4

HOURS

26

MINUTES

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