Hasbro my3D brings 3D gaming, movies and photos to your iPhone
It seems the tech world is 3D-crazy these days, with myriad 3D TVs, cameras and now phones coming the market. I'm not convinced 3D TVs are going to garner mass appeal unless it's for gaming, but handheld gaming devices are another story. With the recent release of the Nintendo 3DS ($249) and several 3D smartphones (around $200) coming soon, the handheld 3D market is exploding. So when I first heard about a device from Hasbro that would bring the 3D experience to the iPhone and iPod for $35, I figured it would be a disappointment. I was wrong.
The Hasbro my3D system for the iPhone and iPod touch came out on Sunday exclusively at Target stores. I went to my local store and found an end-cap display that was about half sold-out. I was unaware they came in two color combinations (white/blue and black/blue) and thought I was getting a black one as shown on the box. If color matters to you, check the top flap of the box or open the front cover to confirm the color.
The my3D is basically a viewer and it requires no batteries. It looks like a View-Master on steroids and you use it with special apps available in the app store and for now at least, all the apps are free. At launch there were seven apps available, one of which is basically a demo app touting all the features of the device.
In the box you'll find the my3D viewer and four different adapter trays that are used to attach your device to the viewer. The trays will fit all iPhones from the 3G up and generation 2-4 iPods. The trays are marked in very small, raised type on the inside to tell you which tray works with each device. Each tray has cutouts for all buttons and the dock connector so you can access them at any time.
The trays attach by means of a spring-loaded hinge pin. Once the correct tray is attached you just slip your device in the tray and launch one of the apps, then follow the step-by-step instructions on the screen. Close the tray, slip your thumbs in the holes and look inside. Easy-peasy.
The best app to try first is the one called my3Dpresents, because it gives you a rundown on how to work the controls and also shows the different types of content you can view, including photos, game trailers, movie trailers and 3Net 3D television from the Discovery Channel, Sony and IMAX. You can download the apps in advance but none of them work without an activation code found in the my3D box. Once activated you can run the apps without the viewer and you'll see that it uses side-by-side images to achieve the 3D effect.
I didn't expect much but I was wowed right away. The 3D photos really jump out at you. The movie and game trailers are really good too, although certain scenes are better than others. In the 3Net demo there is a shot with a barracuda and it looks like it's going to swim right off the screen. My wife, who because of her astigmatism usually cannot see 3D content like this, could see it right away in the my3D and commented about how good it was.
Game play is achieved by inserting your thumbs in the two holes at the bottom of the viewer. The you use your thumbs on the iPhone/iPod touch screen for game control, along with moving the viewer and yourself.
Currently there are six games available for the my3D system and all are free downloads:
- Tunnel Pilot - A futuristic racing game that reminds me of Star Wars pod racing in a tunnel.
- 360 Sharks - You become a shark and swim around, attacking fish and eating them so you can grow. (I found out I would never make it as a baby Great White)
- Sector 17 - A space shooter game that reminds me of the scene with Han Solo and Luke Skywalker in the Mellenium Falcon. This is a 360 game.
- Shatterstorm - Similar to the classic Atari Tempest game. The 3D effect and graphics on this one are not particularly good.
- Bubble Bolt - You are a cartoon fish in a bubble and you have to roll around different levels of an obstacle course. Similar to the popular Marble Blast game.
- TelePort: LA - You have been sent via teleport to the Santa Monica pier, where you are asked to spin around and find things based on clues. The 3D effect is OK but the questions are really silly and the objects too easy to find.
Of the six games, Sector 17 and Tunnel Pilot are the best. Some of the games are 360, meaning that you can stand up and spin around to explore the entire gaming space. That's a pretty cool experience but be careful. It's easy to start spinning around and lose track of where you are in the room. It looks like someone in the Hasbro legal department noticed this too because mine had a warning sticker on the box and the user manual that looked as if it were included late in the game.
For $35 the 3D experience delivered by the my3D system is excellent and it exceeded my expectations. The device itself is pretty big and clunky, however, and that will make it difficult for some people to hold to their face for long periods of time. I can't imagine watching a full-length movie with it pressed to my face, especially when there are more discreet options coming for that. I'm also not fond of looking like a Rebel Alliance scout using one of those big, electronic binoculars. (That's three Star Wars references in one a review. A new record!) I see this primarily as a gaming and entertainment system for kids who already have iPods. The my3D box shows mainly young adults, however, so we'll have to wait and see if Hasbro missed their marketing mark.
If you ever need to take creepy, magnified pictures of your eye looking through a hole, you can do that with the my3D too. Just turn on the front-facing camera on your iPhone 4 and snap away. Why? Because you can!