Z800 Review

The Z800 is a decent headset if you spend some time to get to know it. First if you want to use stereo3d you better have XP and an older Nvidia card with stereo drivers. All the stereo capabilities of the Z800 rely on Nvidia. Newer cards and Vista don't work. The biggest issue I had initially with this headset is that its NOT plug 'n play and the optics can be blurry if your not in the optimal position.

The Z800 comes with a breakout box for all the connections such as VGA and mic. This is standard on most HMD's that I've used in the past. What I was very disappointed with, especially from a display manufacturer, is that it doesn't autoscale resolutions on the VGA input. You have to set your output to 800x600 at 60Hz. This is just un-nessecary in a headset built these days. I can understand where Emagin is coming from though. They built this headset as a demo unit for their OLED displays and they wanted it to be as cheap as possible. I understand, but I don't like it. When the Z800 first came out it was 500.00. Probably well worth it at that price. But as lots of us know, about a year afterwards they hiked the price to 1500.00. C'mon!!!!! Its a nice headset but defintely not worth 1500.00. Emagin's offical response was they were refocusing on their military customers and so the price went up due to added software. Ummmmmm, no. Basically Marketing nonsense to justify the price increase.

Now if you can get over the manual setup, which is fine for most people in the VR world, its probably the best headset we've seen so far except for the VR920 (I love that thing). The Z800 has on-screen display adjustments, mic, headtracker, and ear-bud headphones. It will also do stereo3d using Nvidia drivers. So all in all its a pretty good headset but not very much improvement over say the I-glasses SVGA or even the orignal I-glasses VPC. But once you adjust those blurry displays so everything is clear, DOOM3 in 800x600 with headtracking is just freaking scary!!! Actually I quit playing after the first couple levels cause its scares the hell out of me. I'm serious!!! When compared to the VR920 displays you can defintely appreciate the higher resolution in games like DOOM3. The 800x600 OLED displays really do look beautiful.

Overall, a good headset for the VR gadget inclined. But shame on Emagin for the price. 1500.00 is too much. For a fraction of the price, if you're willing to let go of resolution, the VR920 is a MUCH better deal. I'd give the Emagin Z800 a 8 out of 10. Points docked for not being plug 'n play, having blurry optics, and the ridiculous price hike.