The Sony HMZ-T1 and Silicon Micro Display ST1080 are some of the highest quality head mounted displays to ever step into the consumer market. I’ve seen a number of people ask, “which is better, HMZ-T1 vs ST1080?” I’ll be up front and tell you that, because I haven’t had direct experience with either of these HMDs (yet), I won’t be able to give a definitive answer to that question. However, I will compile here for those interested, a comparison of relevant specifications between the HMZ-T1 and the ST1080.
The first thing that needs to be considered is that there is a distinct difference between these head mounted displays, even if both are targeted toward the consumer market. The Sony HMZ-T1 has definitely been created to give the user an immersive and personal experience by by blocking out the user’s own audio and video, and replacing it with a massive virtual 150″ screen. The name of the game for the HMZ-T1 is sensory deprivation. We can see from the manuals that it even comes included with a number of extra pieces that are designed to block as much light as possible. A more obvious hint is that Sony’s incredibly catchy name for the HMZ-T1 is “personal 3D viewer”.
Conversely, when it comes to Silicon Micro Display’s ST1080 the LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) display allows the displays to be transparent. Silicon Micro Display went with 10% transparency on the ST1080, though they say that a later HMD will feature a user-adjustable level of transparency. To me, that it has transparency at all is a sign that the ST1080 belongs in a separate sub-category within the HMD realm. Transparency means that the ST1080 will act somewhat differently during use, and has other potential applications. Augmented reality and wearable-computing immediately come to mind. Of course, the ST1080 can still be used for viewing 3d media — games, movies, and the like.
Now, with that said, it is conceivable that someone is considering both for different reasons, and you may be interested to see how they stack up to one another. Here’s the breakdown: