The trend that nobody asked for is back. At least, that’s what Acer is betting on with its newest gaming laptops and monitors. Using advanced “SpatialLabs” technology, these new devices automatically convert 2D content into glasses-free 3D. But the immersion offered by this feature comes at a price.
Before we get lost in the details, let’s clarify how SpatialLabs glasses-free 3D technology works. Acer uses a special lenticular lens to achieve this effect—still, most of the juicy stuff happens at a software level. Real-time rendering allows Acer’s new devices to convert 2D images into stereoscopic 3D, and eye-tracking ensures that gamers will never fall out of the 3D “sweet spot.”
Now, SpatialLabs isn’t blindly turning stuff into 3D (although it can do that). It uses the depth data that’s already in games to create a 3D effect, and it even adds effects (like shaders) to increase a game’s sense of realism.
Obviously, this aggressive real-time rendering requires extra processing power. That’s why the company’s first 3D laptop, called the Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition, offers some impressive specs. In its maximum configuration, it packs a 12th gen Core i9 CPU, RTX 3080 graphics, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and M.2 PCIe 4.0 storage.
Acer also offers this technology in a 15.6-inch 4K portable monitor, called the Acer SpatialLabs View. It’s a nice accessory for LAN parties, according to Acer, and creatives can use it to view 3D objects in Blender or Maya. (There’s also an Acer SpatialLabs View Pro monitor, which is intended for businesses and kiosks.)
The problem is that SpatialLabs is quite demanding. When this technology is enabled, your SpatialLabs laptop or monitor will run at 60FPS with 30ms of latency. And that’s a shame, because this stuff nearly costs a fortune.
Acer says that the Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition will start at $3,400 when it launches in Q4 of this year (sometime between October 1st and December 31st). And the SpatialLabs View monitor arrives this summer for a crazy $1,099. Bear in mind that this monitor only works if your PC has decent specs—Acer tells Ars Technica that you’ll need a Core i7 CPU and RTX 2080 at the very least.