Toshiba Regza GL1 3D preview: no frills, no glasses, some issues (video)

It's with some surprise that we pen, finger to key to screen, praise for a 3D display -- particularly one that is glasses-free (the staff is still a bit divided, for example, on Nintendo's 3DS screen). But here we go. Toshiba's 20-inch Regza 20GL1 3D set was on hand at CEATEC, and it's actually a set we could see ourselves comfortably watching for a given span of time. Viewing angles are none too shabby, the refresh rate doesn't visibly distract or inherently cause headaches, and at 720p, you can actually get an enjoyable image. The 56-inch concept conjured up a worthy picture as well, but then again, it's a prototype with no immediate purpose other than causing attendee awe at this point. If we had to fault it, we'd say that the viewing angles where you see two distinct perspectives (see the picture above for an example) are too wide, which means you'd have to be really careful about where you sit on the couch if you were to buy something like this for your den.

Also on hand was a notebook, which at this point just didn't cut it. Perhaps it's just too early in development, but what was saw had minimal depth and an unfortunately low resolution / perceived refresh rate; when the video loop it was playing switched to the Windows 7 UI, it looked grainy and extremely difficult to read -- undoubtedly the side effect of trying to use a display designed for permanent 3D use in 2D mode.

That leaves us to talk about 12-inch 12GL1, and what can we express other than disappointment? The 466 x 350 resolution (yes, that's less than standard definition) is just awful, you can lose the 3D effect moving marginally to the left or right, depth is not pronounced, and medium-to-fast pace footage just doesn't work. For all the warm-yet-cautious approval we give to the 20GL1, its little brother is quite the black sheep, especially at ¥120,000 ($1,443). Not that ¥240,000 for 20 inches is a bargain, but at least you're getting a quality screen... and for once, you don't actually need additional eyewear to enjoy it. Decidedly two-dimensional snapshots and video taken from an almost pitch-black showroom (i.e. very not optimal) can be found below. %Gallery-104266%

Regza 12GL1

Regza 20GL1

56-inch prototype

Additional reporting and impressions provided by Chris Ziegler