3D is omnipresent these days; from next generation TVs to latest Hollywood blockbusters to high end gaming consoles. And the PC is no exception. In fact, it’s already well within the grasp of this latest phenomenon. A plethora of new 3D laptops make it possible for you to enjoy the stereoscopic content at the comfort of your home and on the go. A large portion of these offerings rely on Nvidia’s 3D Vision kit which comprises of a set of powered shutter glasses, a USB connected IR emitter and the appropriate drivers. These when combined with the right GPU and a 120 Hz screen provide an ‘active’ 3D experience. Passive solutions are also available which rely on polarized screens and glasses.
Our review of the latest 3D laptops will help educate you on the best available options to meet your 3D needs.
Its killer looks combined with Alienware’s pedigree in making the best gaming laptops in the universe.
Although the base model is available for $1,499, you have to shell out an extra $300 for the 3D version which includes the Nvidia 3D Vision Bundle and a full 1080p 120 Hz 17.3 inch WLED screen that packs 1920x1080 pixels. In order to take advantage of the Nvidia 3D Vision the graphics card is upgraded to Nvidia GTX 460M with 1.5 GB of GDDR5 memory.
Processing prowess is impressive with an Intel Core i7-2630QM at a clock speed of 2 GHz which can further Turbo up to 2.8 GHz. This second generation Sandy Bridge CPU has 6MB of cache memory. However, only 4GB of memory doesn’t sound that great. It’s a definite drawback if you're into gaming and spending so much for a laptop. The storage is also sparse at 320GB even if it’s at a fast 7200 rpm. You may also want to consider upgrading to a Blu-ray drive since the display features HD resolution.
Despite being a bit heavy, the Vaio F215’s sharp design makes it the nicest looking laptop of the bunch.
Sony's take on 3D for its laptops is novel. The laptop uses Nvidia's 3D Vision platform but instead of using active shutter glasses, Sony includes a custom pair, which works on the laptop as well as Sony's line of 3D TVs. As a multimedia laptop, it’s pleasing that the F215 has a full HD display with a 1920x1080 pixel native resolution. The upscale features include two USB 3.0 ports and a Blu-ray drive.
The F215 has an Intel Core i7-2730QM processor that can handle any task you throw at the system, including extensive multitasking. 6 GB of 1333 MHz DDR3 memory supplements the CPU well .The unit has a storage capacity of 640 GB @ 7200 rpm. The unit comes equipped with 1 GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M GDDR5 video RAM. However, the 16 inch laptop is put into a tough spot when it comes to battery life which could have been improved by using switchable graphics via Nvidia's Optimus setup.
At close to seven pounds, sans the AC adapter, the F215 is one heavy laptop. Surely, the 16 inch models are on the larger side of this family of laptops, but the Vaio F is far too heavy for daily commute.
The new offering from Toshiba is an ideal alternative to the more pricey laptops in its class.
The A665-3DV features a 15.6 inch, 1366x768 pixel, and 120 Hz glossy screen, and, uses Nvidia’s 3D Vision kit. This machine comes with a 1.73 GHz Intel Core i7-740QM quad core processor which delivers strong performance. The A665 has a big hard drive of 640GB but it’s slower at 5400 rpm. It is equipped with a GeForce GTS 350M for all graphics related chores.
One thing that favors the GTS 350M hugely is its ability to play Blu-ray 3D movies. Plus, it comes bundled with Corel Win DVD for Blu-ray 3D. The HDMI port lets you connect the laptop to a 120Hz 3D projector to enjoy your 3D content. The 12 cell battery makes it viable to use away from a power outlet. The A665-3DV’s all black finish and the keyboard which is underlit by blue LEDs make it aesthetically appealing as well.
The G74SX-XT1 matches style as well as substance at a very affordable price.
ASUS recently launched the successor to the popular G73, the G74SX. The G74SX-XT1 sports virtually similar hardware as compared to the more expensive G74SX-A1. A 17.3 inch full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel screen is standard with this configuration. The XT1 also boasts of a Blu-ray drive for watching HD movies on the laptop or on a compatible HDTV via an HDMI output.
You also get a quad core Intel Core i7-2630QM Sandy Bridge processor with a clock speed of 2 GHz. The laptop is also equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M card with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM. This card is top of the line with 3D Vision capability when combined with suitable hardware.
The 12 GB of 1333 MHz DDR3 memory is substantial for users, in addition to gamers, who do extensive multitasking. The XT1 has a single 500 GB @ 7200 rpm hard drive. The notebook comes with an 8 cell battery although playing games at maximum settings requires plug in power. This desktop replacement is on the heavy side at 9.4 pounds.
Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 is a fast machine that runs all the tasks in addition to games with élan.
The X775-3DV78 sports a quad-core Intel Core i7-2630QM processor for enhanced speed. It offers a clock speed of 2.0 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.9 GHz. This chip also has 6 MB of cache memory. It is equipped with 8 GB of DDR3 RAM which offers flexibility in multitasking and memory intensive applications. The overall design of the system is in sync with Toshiba's typical black and red color scheme with a red backlit keyboard and Fusion X2 finish. The 17.3 inch display packs 1920x1080 pixels and the 16:9 widescreen is 3D ready. The laptop comes equipped with an NVIDIA 3D Vision Kit with the 3D Vision IR emitter embedded in the display. The X775-3DV78 is equipped with a Blu-ray drive which is a nice feature to have considering the display supports 1080p video.
The Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 boasts of an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M graphics card with 1.5GB of GDDR5 VRAM and support for 3D Vision. This card includes 192 CUDA cores, a 1550MHz processor clock and DirectX 11 support which make it more than capable of running the latest games. Toshiba has also upped the ante with a dual hard disk configuration featuring a 500 GB hybrid hard drive and a 750 GB @ 5400 rpm drive. You can use the hybrid hard drive for your OS to improve boot times and save additional data on the 750GB drive. This offers a more affordable solution that is not as expensive as investing in a full on solid state drive.
The LIFEBOOK AH572 is probably the most mobile 3D laptop that is stuffed with features.
The LIFEBOOK AH572 combines powerful processing and advanced technology that immerses you into a unique 3D experience. It’s amazing as to what is stuffed into this incredibly mobile computer. The Blu-ray feature provides an extraordinary visual experience with sharp images and intense colors that appear to pop off the screen. By combining Fujitsu’s advanced LCD technology and integrating the Xpol 3D filter and Blu-ray, it transports you to a different world. The LIFEBOOK AH572 comes pre configured with software that allows you to watch 2D movies in 3D. Your standard pictures also become lifelike in 3D thanks to the TriDef technology.
An advanced processor provides all the computing power you will ever require even for the most challenging applications. With an equally advanced graphics, you are able to play fairly sophisticated games, edit videos, touch up photos and a number of other tasks which were once reserved for desktop computing only. This light weight mobile computer does a lot of heavy duty work. The AH572 features a strong exterior, highly durable hinges and a spill resistant keyboard. It comes with an accessible dust filter for easy user cleaning. This allows maximum airflow to keep your notebook running at maximum efficiency sans the danger of getting overheated.
The IdeaPad’s impressive hardware makes it a great performer at relatively low price.
The Y560d is one of the few laptops to have skipped the more widely used Nvidia’s 3D Vision technology. Instead, it uses a more competitive TriDef technology (a common feature in the Acer Aspire 5738DG) to display the 3D content. This laptop uses passive polarized glasses rather than the battery powered active shutter eyewear used by Nvidia 3D Vision enabled laptops and many other forms of consumer 3D devices. The TriDef is functional but not as impressive as Nvidia. It requires you to tilt the laptop screen to just the right angle and then run games through a third-party wrapper app which lowers the performance.
Apart from the TriDef, the Y560d is very nice looking and is a far cry from the office ready Lenovo products we've seen. The keyboard and touchpad are superb although the Y560d uses a tapered key keyboard (like the traditional ThinkPad model) rather than the flat topped island style one seen on most of the IdeaPad models. The 15.6 inch display features a resolution of 136 x768 pixels and is LED backlit. Images are crisp as well as vivid even though the audio has scope for improvement.
It’s under the hood where the IdeaPad Y560d impresses the most. With a 1.6 GHz Intel Core i7-720QM CPU, 500GB @ 7,200 rpm hard drive and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730 graphics, it's powerful enough for almost any task. The system holds its own against other high end laptops such as the HP Envy 17 and Toshiba A665 3DV. Although the plastic polarized glasses are passive they don't require batteries or recharging. Also absence of external IR emitter dongle makes the Y560d a more compact laptop.
The Envy 17 3D is among the first laptops to incorporate AMD's new 3D technology. Similar to Nvidia 3D Vision, AMD HD 3D Technology utilizes active shutter glasses to display 3D content. The basic HP Envy 17 3D is equipped with an Intel Core i7-720QM processor with a clock speed of 1.6 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.8 GHz. Apart from the quad core processor, the Envy 17 3D comes with an impressive 6 GB of DDR3 memory. The option to upgrade to 8GB is available, however.
Graphics look stellar in 3D with the inclusive HP Active Shutter Glasses and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 GDDR5 1GB graphics card. The 17.3 inch display is an asset with full HD 1920x1080 pixel resolution. The Blu-ray drive and the Beats Audio system combine to deliver ultimate multimedia experience. Storage is adequate with 500GB at a nice speed of 7200 rpm.
Dell’s aggressive marketing strategy offers great features at a very affordable price.
The 17.3 inch display of the XPS 17 3D boasts of full HD 1080p resolution that delivers crisp images. An integrated 2.0 MP HD webcam and Skype certification are other feathers in its cap. As far as the processing power is concerned, the second generation Intel Core i5-2410M processor with a clock speed of 2.3 GHz that can Turbo up to 2.9 GHz is adequate to handle a variety of tasks in addition to gaming. Of course, the option to upgrade is always at your disposal.
The amount of memory in the base configuration is standard at 4 GB. This dual channel memory is enough for mainstream users but upgrading to 8 GB enables the system to be future proof and makes running several programs simultaneously a smoother process. The XPS 17 3D features a brand new Nvidia GeForce GT 550M 1GB graphics card. With 96 CUDA cores and 11.8 billion per second texture fill rate, the GT 550M doesn't perform as well as the GTX 460M. The idea of upgrading to GT 555M that features 144 CUDA cores and 3 GB of video memory is advisable if you plan to use the XPS 17 for gaming rather than multimedia.The 500 GB @ 7200 rpm storage is decent enough for most users. You may want to upgrade the 6 cell battery to a 9 cell unit for a little extra life as this desktop replacement can’t run on battery power for long when gaming. Another nice feature is the integrated JBL speakers which offer nice audio quality. However, a Blu-ray drive isn't standard, which is a shame, as the Blu-ray movies look excellent on the 1080p display.
At a throw away price, the Aspire provides a 3D panel and many other features to keep everyone interested.
The Acer Aspire 5738DG-6165 grafts a 3D panel onto a mainstream laptop. Considering its very light price tag the Aspire gives surprisingly good results. The 3D approach employed in the Acer laptop uses a combination of a polarized panel and TriDef software.
The 15.6 inch panel is reasonably bright and crisp. The average experience with regular content offers pretty good color reproduction and the HD video played without any hitch.
As for the rest of the laptop is concerned, it possesses considerable firepower courtesy of a 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 CPU to go with 4 GB of memory and a storage of 320 GB @ 5400 rpm. ATI Radeon Mobility HD 4750 GPU performs the graphics related chores with distinction.
While the 5738DG-6165 isn't a powerhouse on the performance front, it still consumes a lot of power and runs well short of the 4 hour 14 minutes average for the all purpose portables. The keyboard is great and makes ample use of the space.
In other respects, the 5738DG-6165 sports four USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and VGA video outputs, a five in one flash card reader, a Webcam, two headphone jacks. For connectivity, the laptop gives you Bluetooth, 802.11 LAN, Ethernet and a passive modem port.