Until glasses-free 3D TVs are widely available, consumers will still have to don 3D goggles to experience the extra visual dimension and layering effects offered by most other 3D displays. Current glasses can be categorized into either active shutter or polarized versions and are also available in different designs and features. On top of the basic version, many brands have added higher-end rechargeable entries, as well as designer editions tailored for style-conscious users. Find out what makes a good pair of 3D eyewear.
First and foremost, lighter 3D glasses are highly recommended to minimize fatigue, especially over long periods of usage. Since the polarized types do not require batteries or any electronics to operate, they're lighter (at 16g or less) than their active shutter (23g to 40g) counterparts.
Samsung's new active shutter 3D glasses weigh just 23g.
Fit and support:
The ability to adjust parts of the goggles, such as its nose pads, can further ensure a closer fit and better support. Some examples include snap-on pads of different sizes in addition to extendable and bendable versions permanently attached to the frame. Another consideration is the foldable arms' designs, which can be arched to provide a tighter grip around the head or are flexible enough to apply just the right tension.
Size and finishing:
If you've little tikes at home, you might want to look for brands offering optional kid-sized 3D glasses such as Sony. However, most 3D TV makers favor a one-size-fits-all solution instead of providing adult and youth options. This limitation makes the eyewear's adjustability even more important. Same goes for the finishing, ranging from the soft rubberized nose pads to arms, for extra cushioning and grip.
The Sony TDG-BR50 is tailored specifically for youths and kids.
The placement of battery compartments (or USB port for rechargeable models) and a power switch is only relevant for the active shutter 3D goggles. This is a test of functionality versus aesthetics and the overall user-friendliness. For example, a removable battery should be easily replaceable without tools, while an on/off button ought to be conveniently accessible even when the eyewear is being worn by viewers.
Prescription eyewear users:
Most, if not all, 3D goggles are designed to accommodate prescription glasses with a wider frame. That said, only the better ones have universal compatibility. A foolproof approach is to utilize a full-wrap-around body with an overhanging ledge for additional support. This also has the benefit of blocking any ambient light from reaching the lenses. Another alternative are the clip-on polarized glasses offered by LG.
LG's latest clip-on Cinema 3D glasses.
Though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, here're some notable trends in eyewear design. Prettier 3D glasses are usually dressed in glossy hues compared with standard matte-black entries. Some even sport multiple-color schemes, as well as faux-metal trims and paneling to outshine their peers. LG Cinema 3D owners who prefer premium eyewear can also check out the designer version co-developed by LG and Alain Mikli.
Be prepared to pay a huge premium for this pair of LG/Alain Mikli designer 3D eyewear.
There're two common implementations as far as power for active shutter 3D glasses is concerned. Some entry-level models still use standard coin batteries that have to be regularly replaced, while higher-end models feature a built-in Li-ion cell and USB port that can be recharged via the 3D TV. Additionally, Samsung is offering a wireless charger for its 3D eyewear based on electromagnetic induction technology.
Samsung's wireless charging station charges up to four pairs of glasses concurrently.
Another consideration relevant only for shutter type goggles, is synchronization strength and reliability between the glasses and 3D TV. Though infrared communication is the prevalent technique used last year, more vendors have adopted Bluetooth technology to minimize interference. A tradeoff is that the newer 3D panels are not compatible with older eyewear.
This function is available for some 3D glasses and was conceived to allow simultaneous 2D and 3D playback from one display. The idea is to allow users to easily toggle between these modes at the touch the eyewear's button without interrupting other viewers. This is particularly handy for consumers who tend to feel dizzy or nauseas after watching 3D, but would still like to enjoy the 3D movie in 2D with their family.
Switch easily between 2D and 3D with this pair of Panasonic 3D glasses.
In general, polarized 3D glasses are a more affordable than active shutter variants. A pair of basic LG Cinema 3D (polarized) eyewear costs only S$10 (US$8.03), while prices for the active goggles start from S$26 (US$20.89).