The Sony HMZ-T1 and Silicon Micro Display ST1080 are some of the highest quality head mounted displays to ever step into the consumer market. I’ve seen a number of people ask, “which is better,  HMZ-T1 vs ST1080?” I’ll be up front and tell you that, because I haven’t had direct experience with either of these HMDs (yet), I won’t be able to give a definitive answer to that question. However, I will compile here for those interested, a comparison of relevant specifications between the HMZ-T1 and the ST1080.

The first thing that needs to be considered is that there is a distinct difference between these head mounted displays, even if both are targeted toward the consumer market. The Sony HMZ-T1 has definitely been created to give the user an immersive and personal experience by by blocking out the user’s own audio and video, and replacing it with a massive virtual 150″ screen. The name of the game for the HMZ-T1 is sensory deprivation. We can see from the manuals that it even comes included with a number of extra pieces that are designed to block as much light as possible. A more obvious hint is that Sony’s incredibly catchy name for the HMZ-T1 is “personal 3D viewer”.

Conversely, when it comes to Silicon Micro Display’s ST1080 the LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) display allows the displays to be transparent. Silicon Micro Display went with 10% transparency on the ST1080, though they say that a later HMD will feature a user-adjustable level of transparency. To me, that it has transparency at all is a sign that the ST1080 belongs in a separate sub-category within the HMD realm. Transparency  means that the ST1080 will act somewhat differently during use, and has other potential applications. Augmented reality and wearable-computing immediately come to mind. Of course, the ST1080 can still be used for viewing 3d media — games, movies, and the like.

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Now, with that said, it is conceivable that someone is considering both for different reasons, and you may be interested to see how they stack up to one another. Here’s the breakdown:

I did my best to track down official figures for the most important specs on these devices, and there are plenty more detailed specs which were not provided by both companies and thus couldn’t be added to the table. To find those, see the related posts below.
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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Not the quake guy

    I’m afraid you got the FOV wrong.
    The HMZ has 45 degrees horizontal while the ST1080 has 45 degrees diagonal.
    Otherwise they’d simulate the same size screen at 10 feet… right?

    It seems the ST1080 has just 40 degrees horizontal FOV… that’s a real shame.

    • Hmm I’ll have to double check on this, but thanks as always for pointing this out! I figured the difference in display size could account for the different size of the virtual image, the display size figure that I have listed for the HMZ-T1 is not officially listed so it came through a secondary source unfortunately. I’ll update soon.

  • Not the quake guy

    I can’t find where I saw it specifically mentioned that the HMZ-T1’s 45 degrees is indeed horizontal but I’m sure I saw it. Pro HMD makers have already abandoned the silly notion of diagonal measurement ofc.

    • Really? Who? This is the first I’ve heard of this. Diagonal has always been the standard, and Sensics, who manufacture the world’s most advanced HMDs, still list diagonal FOV first.

  • Not the quake guy

    Oy vey, I’m afraid you got the weight wrongs too… it’s not 160 grams… it’s 420.

    • Bah, silly me, I switched the control unit weight of the ST1080 with the goggle weight of the HMZ-T1, fixing soon!

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  • Hagen

    Sony vs SMD
    I tried both. Sony look large but are quite comfortable. Video is nice and sound surprisingly good.

    Was eagerly awaiting SMD HMD because of Full HD and 10% transparence.

    Never wore such unconfortable HMD. Even if Image quality would be nice you still can’t use them for more than a few minutes.

    But (!) even Image quality is dismal. I thought they were broken. Center is still okay but in corners you can’t even recognize Windows menu items.

    They obviously knew this when they insisted on pre-payment … Its a shame.

    Rather use the Cinemizer glasses from Zeiss. The new ones even have a gyro