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Review: Lume Pad 3D tablet

Jonathan has been a 3D enthusiast, hobbyist, videographer and photographer since 2009 and keeps abreast of all things related to stereo 3D.

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The first thing you'll notice when unpacking it is that it's a premium experience, from the sturdy packaging, to the shiny thank you note and the included travel pouch. The tablets body itself is a pleasure to handle, with champagne beige being my favorite color option. The specs are top of the line, with 128 GB of storage, 8 GB of RAM and a 7,760 mah battery with fast charging via USB-C. If yours doesn't come updated already, it'll come with a paper reminder to update to the latest software version. I tried to use it without updating first, and wasn't able to sign into my pre-existing Leia accounts in the various apps, so perhaps that's one of the things the update fixes.

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But of course the main attraction is the 10 glorious inches of glasses-free 3D screen. The pre-installed gallery app includes some of the same 3D samples from the Red Hydrogen One, but it also has many new ones. One of the new methods available from Leia for creating 3D videos involves taking a 2D video of either sideways panning movement, or a stationary video of a rotating object. After these videos are duplicated and one of them slightly displaced, you effectively have a different angle for each eye and a resulting 3D video. The gallery has multiple examples of these, and some are truly stunning. You can also easily make your own using Leia's software. The resolution of the screen is lower when displaying 3D because multiple angles have to be shown using the same amount of pixels. If you see text when in 3D mode this is apparent, but seeing as most 3D images and videos don't have text, this isn't a huge issue.

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One thing you'll notice right away when watching a video is that the sound is amazing. They could've thought that since they were focused on 3D they could go cheap on the speakers, but thankfully they didn't. The Red Hydrogen One was also good in this area, having big speakers on the sides for great spatial audio, and the Leia is even better with rich bass and 3D sound processed by Dolby Atmos. Included is a clip from Pixar's Coco, but you could also rip your own 3D Blu-rays to side by side format to watch on the tablet.

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One thing that is over-hyped in the marketing is the "holographic" aspect, which isn't truly accurate. From the standpoint of the user, Leia screens aren't much different than a parallax barrier screen. They aren't true holograms that can be smoothly viewed from any angle. There are still sweet spots, and inverted depth if viewed from the wrong angle. The major difference is that Leia's screen allows four different angles instead of just two, so that slight movement is allowed. What's great is that the player gives you the option to instantly switch between 4V (four view) and traditional stereo 3D (ST). There are several reasons why both serve a purpose. If an image or video was created in 4V, such as the aforementioned rotational videos or an image taken with four distinct angles, then 4V is rightfully the only option. Most 3D content has two views however. When viewing this in ST, the native 3D imagery is shown, but in 4V a depth map is generated on the fly and then used to convert into additional views. This can be a good thing for 3D videos with production errors, such as excessive parallax or inconsistencies between the left and right images, which will typically be fixed in 4V. However this conversion can also introduce errors into otherwise perfect 3D images, so in most cases ST is the ideal format for standard 3D content. Choices are good though, and thankfully the choice is always there if there is an issue to choose whichever looks best.

Several other new apps are included, such as Leia Frame, which lets you use the device as a 3D picture frame with various options, and a Dicom viewer for medical professionals to view x-rays and other medical images stereoscopically. Another app with more widespread appeal is Leia Viewer which lets you look at computer models in 3D, but also adjust their parallax, texture and lighting while zooming in and exploring them. The app is integrated with SketchFab, letting you browse their huge library of models featuring everything from characters to buildings and scenes. There are many more apps to be found in Leia's app store, not just for productivity, but also for games of all types such as casual, strategy, action and more. Also check out their own 3D 'YouTube' called Leia Stream. I recommend two videos from there in particular, one of them being the IMAX countdown logo, and the other being LG's demo reel with flower petals, which is absolutely mind-blowing in glasses-free 3D. There is also a third-party app available to let you stream any side by side YouTube video in 3D.

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When it comes to the Lume Pad's camera, things have taken a step back. While the Red Hydrogen One let you adjust resolution, frame rate and even bit rate, the Lume Pad allows none of those things. It films roughly the same specs of full HD at 30 frames per second, (with a slightly taller aspect ratio) but it doesn't allow a 3D preview while composing your shot. All in all the camera is bare bones, but it does the job and is essentially the same in specs as the Red Hydrogen One. However Leia has said that an updated camera app with more options will be available to download soon. Seen here are sample images taken with the Lume Pad, in half width side by side 3D format.

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Click here to see a full video review with camera tests, and click here to get a Lume Pad at a great discount.

© 2021 Jonathan Sabin

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