I got my first taste of autostereoscopic (glasses-free) 3D back at Mobile World Congress in February. It did not taste good.
It’s been fairly quiet on the 3D front since then, but the announcement of the HTC Evo 3D this week got me thinking about the third dimension again. Initially I thought: ‘Sweet, the HTC Evo 3D is coming out over here after all. That’s good.’ But is it? Is it really?
3D is inherently rubbish. Would you want to see the Godfather in 3D? Or Citizen Kane? No you would not. Fair enough those specific examples are slow-paced classics, but even action films like, say, Die Hard or Star Wars or Temple of Doom – I’d much rather watch them in glorious 2D.
The problem is that 3D is gimmicky. It’s tacky. It’s cheap. It lacks class. It doesn’t add anything (er, other than the third dimension). A crap film is no better in 3D.
Again, hats off to Avatar, somewhat of an anomaly in the world of 3D cinema, but that’s because it was specifically developed as a unique viewing experience. Oddly, I wouldn’t care to watch it on DVD in plain old 2D (let’s face it, the story is crap). But it’s the only exception in my mind.
Outside the cinema, on phones and portable games consoles, 3D looks awful. Remember those little hologram thingies you used to get free with cereal?
I’ve been in two minds about getting a Nintendo 3DS. One of my mates picked one up recently and I played Zelda: Ocarina of Time on his couch for aaaages. Yes, it’s still one of the best games ever.
However, interestingly, I had the slider set firmly to 2D the whole time. Fast-paced action + 3D = melted eyes. Also, you have to hold the console in a very precise position relative to your eyes for the optical illusion to work.
Worryingly, at one point, my brain simply refused to compute the 3D-ness, instead perceiving the two independent displays that are used to create the illusion of depth. Sort of like Magic Eye in reverse, I guess.
The 3D element actually puts me off buying a Nintendo 3DS. And that seems to be the case worldwide, as the Nintendo 3DS is still being outsold by the humble DSi.
Incidentally, it’s interesting that portable 3D devices invariably have a 2D/3D slider. If 3D is so good, why the heck would you want to turn it off? Answer: battery consumption.
Battery life is the bane of the modern, always-connected smartphone user. Apps, browsing, email, good old calls and texting, a big 4.3in display if you’re so inclined… they all gnaw away at your battery. The last thing we need is another battery guzzler, not least one that is utterly pointless.
I sampled the LG Optimus 3D at Mobile World Congress and was not impressed to say the least. I had a quick fiddle around in the menus, took some pictures, and played Asphalt 6: Adrenaline Rush for a bit. Ten minutes later I walked away with a sore head. That seems to be a common symptom with portable 3D-ness.
Going back to the HTC Evo 3D; it’s essentially the same as the tasty HTC Sensation, but adds 3D, and the question I have to ask is: why? Why on earth would you choose to view any content – be it photos, video, games, menus – in 3D?
Given the increased weight, cost and battery consumption, I reckon 3D’s days are numbered. And the sooner the better. Not that it effects me, but, y'know, I'm a moany git.