Not too long ago, I was watching Game Seven of the Stanley Cup finals. However, when I watch my TV, I am unfortunately stuck with a small 13-inch screen. For a big event like Game 7, this would not suffice. I needed to have something bigger. I could have made a trip to Rent-a-Center and loaned out a big screen TV but, who can afford that? Thank God for Olympus when they sent me one of their Eye-Trek face mounted displays.
Claiming to be able to simulate a 52" screen from 6 feet away, I decided to give it a shot. So that night I connected the Eye-Trek into my VCR and turned it on. After some small adjustments, I was lying in my bed and immersed in the NHL. At first I couldn’t believe that it was simulating a 52" screen, but I used a nearby wall to test out scale. Turns out the distance was exact, and I started watching television more often using these glasses than my little 13 inch monitor.
Then I was thinking, if it’s this good for regular NTSC digital cable, how would it be for DVD? Reaching over to my computer desk, I disconnected the PlayStation 2 to my S-Video/VGA interface and plugged it in to the Eye-Trek A/V cable. Granted there was some minor visual quality (obviously a side effect of the switch from S-Video/VGA to composite RCA video) but it was still quite impressive. All the great movies from my video library (Gladiator, Crouching Tiger, Braveheart, Fight Club, etc.) were right in front of me.
If it were a widescreen model (the tested model had a 4:3 aspect ratio as opposed to 2.35:1 or 1.85:1 used in theatres) I thought I’d was at my local AMC theatre, but it was an experience in itself. Add to that the impressive sound coming out of the small earphones (which simulate true 180 degree audio), it beat anything I could hear on my old television speakers.
Most importantly I wanted to see how the Eye-Trek worked out when it came to games, and it passed with flying colors. My tests involved both Crazy Taxi 2 on the Dreamcast and Madden 2001 on the PS2. The image on both was sharp, ran fast without flickering, and did not cut out on me at all. I will mention though that I did have some trouble with some small text in Madden, namely in the play selection, but it wasn’t too distracting at all. In fact, a future model of the Eye-Trek will be designed exclusively for the PlayStation2, using the system’s USB port as a power source.
I do wish though I was able to test out a unit that offered S-Video support, since that’s what I use for all my gaming and DVD purposes, but the standard composite version was just amazing. I also would have loved to try out VGA displays, but only the top of the line model (FMD 700) features VGA support up to 800 by 600 resolution.
If there are any complaints I have about the Eye-Trek, they are very minor. First of all, first time users will suffer mild cases of disorientation once they are done, because they are used to an image in front of them. It will wear off over time though. Secondly, this is more of a personal complaint, but I wish I didn’t have to return these glasses, but they were only sent to the GiN Labs as a loaner model. If I had the $500 to cover the cost, I would pay for them without thinking twice about it. They are that good.
I know many people would rather sit in front of the TV rather than wear a TV, but I would be glad to throw my 13-inch monitor in the trash for a pair of these amazing glasses. These are definitely worth a perfect 5 GiN Gems for their innovation alone, and I can’t wait to see how the later models will turn out. They can only get better.