Hands on with Toshiba's glasses free 3D laptop

toshiba glasses free 3d 2

Toshiba has just launched its first glasses free 3D laptop, the Qosmio F750 3D. It's a 15.6 inch screen machine which uses a lenticular lens system to divide up the vertical pixel columns, not unlike the Nintendo 3DS. Basically, two images are displayed on screen at the same time, divided between alternating columns, and tiny lenses angle left eye images in the direction of the left eye and right to the right.

What's new with the Toshiba, however, is that the forward facing webcam locks onto your eye position, and then actually adjusts the angle of the lenses according to where it thinks your focal point is. The theory is that this will give you perfect 3D-o-Vision no matter where you're head is, so you don't have to look at the screen straight on.

I had a play around with the F750 at Toshiba's launch event yesterday, and have to admit it's impressive. We were told that the drivers didn't yet support 3D games on the pre-production models shown off, but watching a 3D video back worked pretty well. When you move your head there's a strange shimmer as the lenses readjust, but it's no more distracting than artefacts when you're watch glasses-unfree 3D.

What's really interesting is that the lenticular system is slid into place on a per-pixel basis. What this means is that you can be using a 2D application on one half of the screen, while a 3D movie is running in the bottom corner. Very clever.

With a measly GeForce GTX 540M graphics card, however, it's unlikely to be able to run games in 3D at any meaningful frame rates. The lenticular system still requires each frame to be rendered twice, and I'm not holding out much hope that this card is up to that.

Curiously, Toshiba is billing this as the first laptop capable of glasses-free 3D, even though ASUS announced a similar laptop a month ago. Since neither will be here until August, the race is on to win that accolade.

More interesting, for us at least, is the simultaneous announcement of the Qosmio X770 3D. This 17 inch beast packs a Core i7 processor and a GeForce GTX 560M, which is much more promising as far as gaming framerates are concerned.

It's also capable of 3D effects, but produces them using NVIDIA's active shutter glasses. That does mean that in 2D mode the screen is high quality for a notebook display and fast enough to be blur free.

On first impressions, the X770 3D also feels light enough to carry around with you - although the plastic chassis isn't up to the standards of some rivals I could mention.

Both notebooks will be here within the next couple of months we're told. The F750 3D will cost around £1300, while the X770 3D is expected to be a bit more expensive.