ST1080 HMD Update: Shipping Expected to Start Second Week in May, Light Blocker Detailed

Silicon Micro Display’s 1080p head mounted display (HMD), the ST1080, will soon be reaching reaching pre-order customers, according to the company. Additionally, Silicon Micro Display has revealed the final design for the ‘light blocker’ which is designed to reduce the ST1080’s 10% transparency to 0% for gaming and media viewing. Reviews should start popping up this month.

According to a recent post from the official Silicon Micro Display blog, the ST1080 [specs here] is expected to begin shipping to pre-order customers during the second week in May, and should be received by the very first customers during the third week. Pre-order customers were treated to a $100 early-bird discount which has since passed, currently the ST1080 is available for pre-order for the originally announced price of $799 (which puts it in direct competition with Sony’s HMZ-T1 [spec comparison here]).

The company also detailed some of the final steps leading up to launch and shared some photos of the manufacturing process:

In the month of April, most of the design and launch team traveled to our manufacturing facility in Korea to work on the final tasks before shipping the product. We’re working around the clock, literally, to get through the final tasks.

I’ve been tracking the ST1080 for several months now and I’m looking forward to the initial reviews. Curiously, many of those commenting on the aforementioned blog post seem to be excited about the ST1080 for gaming or multimedia purposes. Given that the ST1080 is the first consumer-available 1080p HMD to provide transparency, it seems to be better suited for augmented reality and wearable-computing applications rather than high-fidelity multimedia. I haven’t yet had a chance to test the ST1080 myself so I can’t say how the image quality compares to that of the Sony HMZ-T1 [my hands-on testing notes here] for gaming and multimedia, so we’ll have to wait and see.

ST1080 with attached light blocker strip

However, the ST1080 will ship with a light blocker attachment which will reduce the transparency to 0% when you want to be immersed in your media. Silicon Micro Display has revealed the final design for the light blocker which will come in the form of a reusable strip which will stick to the front of the ST1080. The company says that they looked into several different clip-on light blocker designs but ultimately decided upon the strip which had the benefit of almost no increase in weight (something that I’m sure HMZ-T1 owners would appreciate!). Several of the blockers will ship with each order.

Stay tuned with me here at Road to VR this month, I’ll be reporting on initial reviews as soon as they become available!


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