I tried. I really, really tried. I tried to like the 22-inch iZ3D monitor. I tried to be happy with the 3D mode. I did, I really did. But in the end, the iZ3D monitor failed to meet even the bare minimum of expectations.
I had concerns about the prototype iZ3D monitor I reviewed earlier, so I withheld the final verdict until I could get my hands on a production model. But the production model TechRepublic received in mid-September was, in many ways, worse than its prototype. I had hoped for marked improvement, but I am, instead, greatly disappointed.
The production unit of the iZ3D monitor is similar in physical appearance to the pre-production unit, but the new unit has more bulk. The screen resolution is the same, but the display seems brighter and fuller — I suspect a stronger backlight is the reason, but I decided not to crack it open this time to find out.
Before I talk about the 3D mode, I want to mention some problems I found with the conventional 2D display. Perhaps it is the iZ3D drivers, perhaps it is some fault in production, or perhaps it is combination of both, but the 2D display is not up to par with other less expensive 22-inch monitors.
I tested the monitor on my home Alienware PC with a NVIDIA 6800GT video card and was able to muster only 22 frames per second in World of Warcraft. Bill Detwiler tried the monitor on his Dell XPS system with an ATI Radeon card and got similar results. Both of us normally see frame rates in the neighborhood of 35 frames per second. A mere 22fps is not acceptable.
But it gets even worse. In 3D mode, we both saw frame rates fall to an excruciating 11fps. So even though the game appeared in 3D, it rendered at such a low frame rate that it was unplayable.
For a premium gaming product that costs $1,000, the lack of performance dooms the iZ3D to oblivion as a viable monitor option. With 24-inch HD monitors available for under $500 and 28-inch monitors shipping at $700, there is absolutely no reason to buy the iZ3D monitor. Even if the 3D mode worked flawlessly, I would not be interested. The premium price is too much when compared to the supposed benefit of a 3D display.
Now, before I get backlash from fan-boys, let me emphasize that I am not the only one to be saying these things. Bill Detwiler is in complete agreement with me — he used the iZ3D for a week and came to similar conclusions. Unless you are reading this blog post on an iZ3D monitor, you really have no idea how bad the equipment performs.
No one is more disappointed about the current state of the 22-inch iZ3D monitor than I. No one wants to expand the capability of electronic gaming more than yours truly, but the 3D display is still just a good idea waiting to be realized. Maybe some day a company will get 3D right, but it is not today and it is not the iZ3D monitor.