Hands-on with Sony's newer, lighter Personal 3D Viewer

We wanted to like the first iteration of Sony's futuristic Personal 3D Viewer. If not for its heavy weight and freakish assortment of cumbersome adjustment straps, the head-mounted visor's virtual 150-inch TV projection would have been a winner. Sony's updated $900 Personal 3D Viewer is only available outside of the U.S., but with a welcome weight reduction and other improvements, we couldn't help but go heads-on.

For the most part, the new Personal 3D Viewer is a big improvement over last year's model. Strapping it on your head is way easier due to fewer adjustment straps, and the entire thing feels comfier on your head because it's lighter.

The new forehead pad is a little bit larger and aids in keeping the Personal 3D Viewer mounted firmly on your head. It doesn't slide down as much as the original model and the nose bridge seems to hold in place better this time around.

The virtual 150-inch projection viewed through the pair of 0.7-inch OLED screens is still as sharp as the original. Thankfully, Sony fixed the sliders used to adjust the clarity of the display, so content stays in focus when you move your head. The 3D is clear, but with so much buzz over 4K, I can't help but feel 3D is dead. And gaming on the head-mounted display is still as immersive as ever.

The new Personal 3D Viewer also has a new trick: detachable light shields that can be clipped below the visor to block out exterior light from seeping in. It's not quite perfect, but it's a welcome addition.

To reduce the weight, Sony had to shed the built-in virtual 5.1 ear cups. Instead, Sony now recommends you use your own earbuds or headphones with it. Earbuds help keep the Personal 3D Viewer nice and light on your head, but if you've got a nice large pair of DJ headphones, you'll find the visor stays held in place better.

Overall, I enjoyed using the updated Personal 3D Viewer. It's still expensive at $900 and could still stand to lose a lot more weight, but if Sony keeps refining it at this rate, we should have a near-perfect 3D heads-up display very soon.

Posted on location at CES 2013 in Las Vegas. All photos taken by Raymond Wong for DVICE.

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