We're fans of Nvidia's 3D Vision technology, which uses a collection of hardware and software to create 3D versions of PC games. Our main knock against the concept has been that it requires several highly specific hardware purchases to work. In a recent article comparing Nvidia's 3D Vision technology to a new 3D laptop from Acer, we said:
Nvidia's 3D Vision requires a bundle of specialized hardware. At a minimum, the active glasses plus the USB emitter cost $199. But since 120Hz LCD monitors are still not common (and Nvidia only lists two officially compatible models, along with some DLP TVs and projectors), it's practically a requirement to purchase a bundle including the 22-inch Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ for $598. On top of that, a desktop (not laptop) GPU--generally GeForce 8000 series or newer--is also required.
That's why we're pleased to see that Asus is announcing an all-in-one solution in the form of a new 15.6-inch laptop with Nvidia's 3D Vision technology built in. The $1,699 G51J 3D has a 120Hz LCD panel, an Intel Core i7 CPU, a high-end Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M GPU, and comes bundled with a pair of Nvidia's active glasses and the USB-powered IR emitter required to make the glasses work.
This is still an expensive proposition, and one that requires you to charge up and wear a pair of battery powered 3D glasses--but flipping open a laptop will certainly be easier for most than setting up a separate 120Hz LCD monitor and connecting to your desktop gaming rig via a dual-link DVI connection.
We have yet to put the Asus G51J 3D through its paces, but the components seem well-suited for mid-high-end PC gaming, and the Nvidia 3D Vision technology itself goes from pretty interesting to mind-blowing depending on the game. Acer's Aspire 5738DG, in contrast, uses a different passive 3D technology that was not nearly as impressive, and was hampered by components that were not up to speed for 3D gaming.
The Asus G51J 3D system is available starting Tuesday from online retailers including Amazon and Newegg.