SONIQ is a very cheap brand, sold by JB HI-FI and associated retailers. There are some other cheap passive Full HD TVs to choose from that are not much dearer (some of which are being sold by WOW, currently in receivership). LG passive models (a cheap, but mainstream brand) are more expensive. This year PANASONIC will be releasing LED LCD passive sets. (PANASONIC's 50" shutter glasses plasma sets have dropped to very low prices. It'll be interesting to see what the pricing is on PANASONIC's new LCD LED "ET5" passive range. See: http://ces.cnet.com/...passive-3d-lcd/ )
I'd seen the SONIQ in the showroom and had been a bit concerned with how visible the horizontal lines are close up when odd-numbered lines have one circular polarisation, and even lines the opposite sense circular polarisation. However, I was looking forward to escaping the timing mismatch I am sensitive to with shutter glasses operating at 120Hz. (At the cinema, where Real D is the norm for 3D, the polarisation alternates at 144Hz..) Also the colour didn't seem quite right with the SONIQs, but if the purpose was mainly as a pc monitor, did that matter?
Impressions after having the set for 24 hours
SOUND QUALITY: poor, typical of a cheap set. Even for watching the news, this set would benefit from connection to an external AVR and speakers.
PICTURE QUALITY IN 2D MODE: a bright picture typical of LCD screens. When displaying off-air digital, the TV was able to show shadow detail, and yet have plenty of brightness for high luminance parts of the picture. There are several predetermined settings for colour, and a user setting for individual control of Red Green and Blue. The default colour setting gave very rich colours and for my taste over-prominent orange. The default sharpness setting was quite sharp; something softer would suit my taste.
USB STICK MEDIA READING CAPACITY: not tested comprehensively but the TV was able to play various off-air recordings made with tuner cards, including MPEG-4 AVC, and it was able to play some AVI files. Able to be manually set to treat video files as side by side or top and bottom 3D. Was not able to recognise 3D still pictures with the MPO extension. (Nor able to be set to read jpg files as side by side 3D files.)
PICTURE QUALITY IN 3D MODE: in parts of demanding scenes, cross-talk (ghosting) was visible, and sometimes a little distracting. Vertical viewing angle was crucial: eyes needed to be aligned with the middle of screen or a little below. However plenty of angle available for use left and right of a central seating position. I fished out some 3D glasses my partner and I had obtained at public cinemas. After the dust was removed they performed no better and no worse than the two pairs of polarised glasses supplied with the set.
Smoothness of movement with 25i sport: very good. A vast improvement for me when watching the 2010 State of Origin. (I had never been satisfied with my Panasonic 50" VT20 plasma in that regard.)
Smoothness of 3D effect with 24p film on a Blu-ray disc: very good. I am a person very sensitive to flicker and to mistiming between Left and Right and it was a real delight for me to watch 3D with this set. I was able to stare at the picture and drink in the 3D without any feelings of flicker or strain. My partner too was very impressed with the 3D performance with a 24p Blu-ray.
Brightness: the 3D was watchable in daylight. And at night there was no need to turn off the room lights. Plenty of colour and brightness, though of course not as much as in 2D; because each eye is being shown only one half of the horizontal lines.
Interfering effects of only using half of the lines for each eye: these effects were clearly visible at a very close viewing distance (1.8m), but not particularly noticeable further back (3m). The instruction manual recommends a viewing distance between 2.5m and 5m. I generally prefer close range viewing and about 2.0m was to my taste, and I could see some artifacts.
For the purpose of an aid to editing 3D home videos this display will be very useful. I'll be able to reduce high contrast parts of some scenes to reduce the cross-talk demands for later viewing by other family members with 3D displays.
It'd be quite ok too as a moderate quality set for off air TV, or for 2D Blu-ray, if used in conjunction with an AVR and speakers.
As a somewhat unexpected bonus, this cheap little set is likely to be the display of choice in my household for watching 3D movies. The lack of flicker and the smoothness of movement are impressive, as is the level of brightness. And if guests want to see some 3D material, there are plenty of glasses to hand around (acquired for $2 or $3 each when attending 3D screenings at public cinemas).
My main concern at the moment with this passive technology is the level of cross-talk. In evaluating any of the new passive sets coming onto the market, this will be something to take an interest in. (I assume that the limitation is not with the effectiveness of the passive glasses themselves.)
I have no idea how reliable this set will prove to be. It is a budget range set and there may have been some corners cut in its design and manufacture that will cause me problems further down the track. At this point however it appears to be performing quite adequately, and in 3D mode is arguably better than my Panasonic set.
I have not seen any detailed reviews on the net of this SONIQ model.
I found that a firmware update available on the SONIQ site was handy for 3D side by side videos and stills, when using a pc connected via HDMI. See http://www.soniq.com...136/task,topic/ It took little time to install.
Edited by MLXXX, 04 March 2012 - 09:27 PM.