Lenovo's IdeaPad Y560D 3D Laptop Reviewed

3D Image Quality

While we were less-than-thrilled with some of the Y560D's 2D characteristics, we were fully prepared to wipe the slate clean if the 3D capabilities of said system delivered unto us previously undreamt vistas of movie and gaming delight.

The Y560D uses a program suite called TriDef. TriDef can play 3D content (the system contains a preloaded selection of 3D shorts) and can theoretically render 2D games in a 3D mode. We say theoretically because while we can confirm the program will *attempt* to perform this process, we never saw it do so successfully for any length of time. The games we tested (WoW and Half Life 2) would boot, briefly run in 3D mode, then crash. Frame rates were fine and the 3D effect was visible, but the TriDef converter mysteriously scrambled keyboard input in WoW while Half Life 2 Episode 2 wasn't stable.

This is the calibration image TriDef includes to help you find an optimal viewing angle.

Lenovo included a set of 3D movie previews, but we wanted to see the technology at work in a full-length feature film. There aren't many 3D movies for sale yet, so we tromped down to the local Blockbuster, certain that we'd find at least a small amount of shelf space dedicated to 3D. Unfortunately, we didn't find much, but snatched up a copy of Coraline in 3D, on DVD--remember, no Blu-ray drive in the Y560D.

Coraline in 3D looks a lot like Coraline in 2D—or at least it would if the latter had been filmed by a myopic cyclops with a fisheye lens. The center of the screen tends to look good in 3D mode, but the effect becomes irregular as the eye moves outwards towards the edges of the screen. One observer characterized the effect as "lumpy," which seems as good a word as any.

It's a pretty good movie, but DVD 3D isn't the best way to experience it.

This is one of the drawbacks to buying any 3D-capable display at this point. Just as the earliest DVD films occasionally looked like they'd been mastered off a VHS tape found moldering in someone's attic, the best 3D display can't spin straw into gold. Coraline's 3D, while uneven, is still better than the train wreck of Clash of The Titans. Unfortunately for would-be 3D aficionados, there's no guarantee of quality attached to the 3D moniker.

When we dug around for information on upcoming 3D releases (we'd have loved to have tested the 3D version of Avatar, were it available), we found some studios are considering confining their 3D releases to the Blu-ray version of a movie. Regardless of whether or not that's a smart move it again left us wondering why Lenovo doesn't sell some version of the Y560D with a Blu-ray player rather than a DVD drive.

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