HP 3D: Passive vs. Active

By  |  Monday, November 7, 2011 at 9:27 am

Then there’s the HP TouchSmart 620 3D Edition PC. It’s a whole touch-screen PC that also uses a 23″ screen, and it’s the first TouchSmart that does 3D (and comes with a built-in 3D Webcam). Unlike the 2311gt, it uses active glasses, and comes with one set of them. Other than the 3D, it’s a typical TouchSmart, with HP’s touch interface–until Windows 8 arrives, HP is the only company that’s put the effort into making touch work well on Windows–plus a fold-back screen and Beats audio. It costs $1899.99, with a $300 “instant rebate” that brings the price down to $1599.99.

HP showed me both new products last week. How’d the 3D compare? Well, I’m not the best person to render a verdict. I wear glasses and have a bizarrely wide head, so most 3D glasses (including HP’s) fit me poorly, hurting both the stereoscopic effect and my skull. Even aside from that, I find 3D < a href=”https://www.technologizer.com/2010/09/03/3d-tv/”>gimmicky at best. (That said, I’m more excited about it for game-playing and creating 3D photos than I am for movie-watching, so 3D PCs are at least marginally more alluring to me than 3D TVs.)

It seems that HP went with passive 3D on the monitor to keep the price low, and chose active for the PC because it believes it to be the superior technology. (A representative of the company pointed out to me that active 3D has a wider viewing angle than its passive cousin.) I don’t see a dramatic difference between the two technologies–and again, I’m not a fan of either–but I’ve found passive to be easier on my own personal eyeballs. (I liked some sample 3D still images which HP showed me.) And it’s certainly easier on the wallet.

Active 3D has been around for computers for eons; passive is still just getting started. I’ll be curious to see if both technologies coexist, or one of them prevails over the other. Or maybe the whole world will largely lose interest in 3D…


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Joomla Design Says:

    Quite true the coexistence of the three possibilities would be interesting to see. But on a side note I am very much exhilarated with the present leap of technology…enjoying this flight !!

  2. Max Says:

    Passive means your halving your resolution (and brightness), active your frame rate.
    Most active displays are 120hz to compensate, but the 2311gt panel is only 1080p so you’re loosing 1/2 your res in 3d mode.

    I agree with Harry that passive is preferable to active, but the tech needs to be significantly further refined before I would actually use it regularly when gaming/watching movies.

    Stereoscopic 3d + head tracking in a game could make it more interesting, as you could actually get a different view on the world when you moved your head. It would limit the display to 1 user though.