Hands On With Oakley’s 3D Glasses – CES 2011

Posted Thu Jan 6, 2011 at 04:04 PM PST by Dick Ward

The folks at Oakley set out to convince me of the value of their specialty glasses – I come out convinced.

If you know me, you know I’m a 3D skeptic. The new passive tech displays at CES – paired with high quality 3D glasses – may make a convert out of me. It’s not there yet, but the new tech is winning me over.

When Oakley announced their special edition ‘Tron’ 3D glasses, I was as snarky as anyone. Who would pay good money for something that comes free with your movie? Why would you want designer glasses for an experience where no one will see you?

Inside the Oakley trailer I got to demo their 3D glasses with new passive tech sporting 3D TVs from Vizio. Their glasses are comfortable and light, as you might expect. They also look just as good as Oakley sunglasses – the real question is whether or not they improve performance.

The folks at Oakley said not to think of them as a glasses company. Sure, they make stylish sunglasses, but their main focus is on quality optics. That’s why going into the realm of 3D was a natural move.

So that I wouldn’t be swayed one way or the other without getting to A-B some gear, I brought in a pair of theater style 3D glasses that I picked up at the Sony press conference. The difference in comfort and style is obvious, but Oakley’s glasses actually improved the viewing experience as well.

Rather than using flat, flimsy lenses, Oakley’s 3D specs use hard lenses and wrap around your head to give you some peripheral vision. They also block less light than the generic 3D glasses, allowing videos to look brighter and colors to be represented more accurately.

I switched between the two pairs of glasses a few times during the demo and noticed a definite improvement with the Oakleys. There’s no question that they’re better, but cost is definitely a concern.

The Oakley glasses I tried on were $120, which is considerably more than the cheapo freebie glasses you get at 3D movies. As an investment for going to see 3D movies, I don’t think I’d shell out for them unless there were more high-quality 3D movies. Even if you see 12 movies a year, that’s another $10 a ticket.

As an investment for the home, they make perfect sense. If you’re going to pay for a passive tech 3D TV and a 3D Blu-ray player, getting a pair or two of these glasses seems like a no-brainer. Obviously, you’ll still want to keep some freebie pairs around for the kids and guests.

If passive technology is the way you want to go then Oakley’s glasses seem like the way to do it. I’d love to have spent more time with them to really get a feel for them, but I’m definitely impressed.

I also had a chance to see Oakley’s Mobile Lab where they test and demonstrate the quality of their eyewear. You’ll find pictures on The Bonus View later on today.

See what people are saying about this story in our forums area, or check out other recent discussions.

Tags: 3D Glasive, Oakley, Passive 3D (all tags)