Customer Reviews: Zoom for Kinect - Xbox 360
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on December 18, 2011
There is a definite lack of quality control on the part of Nyco which explains why some say the zoom works whilst others say its absolute rubbish.

I tested this out for myself (coincidentally) and came to this realisation.

I tried 1 Nyco zoom and found it great! It worked fine in 8 games I tested. Calibration and setup worked fine. The kinect unit could see me fine and could track my head, arms, hands, torso and feet just fine. I was quite impressed and couldnt understand why people would say it didnt work. Only issue I had found was that you had to slow down your gestures in XBOX dashboard as movements would be amplified. Quite straightforward to understand as it is a wide angle lens and would have the fish eye effect.

I then noticed a tiny little speck behind the camera lens that was encapsulated and no way to get to it. So being picky I took it back to the store lol and got a replacement.

Guess what? The brand new replacement is complete rubbish!!!!!
Kinect's view (as seen in tracking screen via setup) was different from the lens before. It had a less expanded view, more dark spots and quite clearly could not track me very well.
When trying to setup the unit kinect could not see the floor (a problem it does not have on its own nor with the previous zoom lens).
When trying to use in dashboard it was virtually useless and quite random.
Gameplay was obviously affected by lack of accuracy, kinect losing track of me and inability to interact with components properly.

It was only then that I understood why people could say its rubbish and waste of money.
Clearly if I had only tried the 2nd unit I would have had the same opinion or alternatively if I had only tried the first unit I would have been happy. But Having tried BOTH units I can see for myself the massive difference between the 2 and why some may hate it and think its rubbish whilst some may like it.

It is because there is an obvious lack of quality control on the part of nyco and hence not all zooms are equal. You may get one that works quite well or you may get a complete dud.

What Nyco should do is change the lens to proper glass optical lenses (to reduce the massive distortion and degradation caused by the cheap plastic ones) and improve its quality control measures thereby producing a product that actually works quite well and does so consistently. Ofcourse it may then want to charge slightly more(mainly because of glass optical lens) but Im sure most would be happy to pay that extra bit more for a product that actually works and works quite well.

I hope this helps explain it all and I really hope nyco pays attention as in the long run it is to its benefit to actually produce a product that works well and that people would actually buy and spread the good word about.

UPDATE: I went out and replaced the 2nd zoom lens with another one. ie a 3rd one.

Nyko 1000% is not controlling the end quality of this product.

This 3rd lens has blotches on the reflective coating on one of the lenses and has a smaller (than 1st zoom) spec behind the lens.

This however did work and games were again playable and dashboard was useable. Kinect could see the floor and able to track movements etc.

Exact same conditions including clothing, lighting, setup, calibration etc was used to keep the it fair and equal and thereby only 1 variable the zoom itself.

Nyko needs to get its act together!
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on September 14, 2011
I pre-ordered and received yesterday. I anxiously tried it out, hoping to be able to stand closer to the kinect. Alas, looks like the product is fundamentally flawed. The Infrared picture is totally dark start with, and the kinect tries to increase the contrast. Was able to see me OK, but the hand tracking was EXTREMELY erratic to the point of being UNUSABLE. Painfully went through the Calibration process a few times. Sometimes, the Kinect would complain that it could not see the floor. Sometimes, it could see it OK, and calibrated fine using the card. However, when I try to play any game, just getting it started is a chore, since the hand movements are barely successfully tracked. I thought this was because the room was not too well lit (I have two lamps in front, none in the back), so I tried it again this morning. Same results. Calibrated OK, but could not even get a game going. Looks like the IR light is severely attenuated by the lens, so the kinect can only barely see me in IR. I will be trying some more tests when I get back home tonight, but so far, the verdict is that this is a total NO GO for me. If it is like this again tonight, I will be returning the unit to Amazon.


I think I figured out why the reviews are so bipolar. I have my Kinect mounted ABOVE the TV, because that is what works best in a limited space. However, the Zoom seems to work best when the sensor is BELOW the TV. I unmounted mine and placed it below, and went through the whole calibration routine again. Now, I was actually able play some GAMES! How about that. Played with Kinect Sports (Soccer, Ping Pong), Kinect Adventure (Reflex Ridge) and some Dance Central (just the basic Poker Face). It all played OK, with me standing about 3-4 feet from the sensor. HERE is an additional catch: when the sensor shows if you are in the "good" or "best" position in the game, try to stand back as far as the room allows so it thinks you are farther behind. Then, when the game starts go ahead and move up front. It seems to work best this way. Perhaps the initial distance determination is by some kind of an ultrasound range finder, and that can't be fooled by a lens, but the subsequent computations are based upon the IR field, which IS influenced by the lens. Also, the IR reflection is stronger the closer you are to the device, so it works better.

Anyway, I am revising my stars to 2 because I could actually enjoy some game play with this thing. However, Nikko should have warned about the fact that this ONLY works for sensors mounted below the TV, and that too only in a limited fashion. I still have trouble getting it to recognize a hand wave even in the lower position. Takes me a while, but once it does, it seems to go better from that point. ALL REVIEWERS: Please state where your Kinect is mounted along with your review, thanks!


I tried various games last night. Even in the lower position, hand tracking is very erratic. On some games it is totally unacceptable. For example, in Child of Eden, the hand tracking is critically important, and with this thing, you keep shooting at the wrong time, totally spoiling the fun of the game. At this point, I have given it the largest measure of the "benefit of doubt" and am giving up. I just filed for an RMA. Oh well, it was such a nice idea. I believe the only way this will work is if MS creates a supported update firmware that recomputes the geometry based on this new optics, or comes out with a version of their own (Kinect 2?).
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on September 15, 2011
My experience was the polar opposite. Granted, I've only tried it with the Kinect Tuner and Dance Central so far, but I took the two minutes to install it and my Kinect experience immediately improved.

My setup: I have a 40" Sony LCD HDTV standing perhaps 2-3 feet off the floor, atop a piece of furniture. The Kinect Sensor sits on the TV's base, so it's just under the screen. I only have about 6 feet of space between my TV and couch (with a wall directly behind the couch), with hardwood floor underneath. The room was well-lit at the time I used it.

Prior to installing the Zoom, my Kinect Sensor could ALMOST get my whole body in the frame when I was standing all the way back against the couch. Now, I can stand 1-2 feet in front of the couch, and it sees my whole body, with lots of room to spare! During my time with the Tuner, it didn't see me at one point; I walked away, then came back, and all was fine from that point on. Hand tracking functioned 100%, but the positioning feels different now because you don't have to be so far away! I don't have any games that check for the floor, so I can't speak for that.

I can now actually play Dance Central, so this is a 5-star item for me and worth every penny. It may be that the Zoom will or won't work for you based on your setup. I second the notion of the reviewer asking for folks to post their setups along with their reviews.
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on January 26, 2012
Like some previous reviewers have stated. You MUST do a few things correctly first before using this Kinect add-on.

1.) Clip the Zoom onto your Kinect and make absolutely sure you line up the lenses properly. Also, don't forget to put the protective plastic on between the Kinect and the Zoom if you are going to take it off and on a lot.

2.) After clipping the Zoom on THEN turn on your Xbox 360.

3.) Immediately completely redo your Kinect ID AND run the Kinect calibration afterwards. We used the cardboard calibration card that came with our Kinect.

4.) As some have said, under the TV and right on the edge so it can see the floor works perfect.

Done and have fun. Works great in our small living room.
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A key issue with the XBox Kinect is that it needs a large space to operate properly. With the XBox Zoom add-on device, you can now play in far less space. How does it work - and DOES it work?

First, let me explain what the device is. Photos make it seem like an entire Kinect system, but all it is is a clip-on that goes over the three lenses. So in the image you see, the Zoom part is ONLY the plastic raised clip area that is over the three lenses. In essence it's putting "glasses" on your Kinect system, so the lenses see more close up.

This means that those Zoom lenses MUST BE PERFECTLY CLEAN. If there are any smudges, or fingerprints, or anything else on those lenses, it is going to greatly distort the image the Kinect sees and make the games not read your motions well.

The Zoom comes with a think plastic protective shield - make sure you pop out the three circle areas that would go over the lenses. You want nothing at all between the Kinect's lenses and the Zoom's lenses and your body.

When we first put the Zoom onto our Kinect, there was a "ghosting" effect around our body. Apparently we hadn't had it seated quite right. Once we removed it and re-seated it, the ghosting went away completely.

I loaded a photo onto Amazon so you can see what the positioning difference is. You can see it by scrolling up, looking at the main image in the top left, and then clicking through the options for alternate images. Mine is the side by side avatar image. The image on the left is my "avatar" in a normal Kinect game. On the right is the exact same game, from the exact same location, but now with the Zoom installed. You can even see that I'm holding the camera up. So there's no ghosting or other issues, and the character is definitely much more centered within the available space.

I tried a set of games without and then with the Zoom. I got the same scores in the game either way. So my performance wasn't negatively impacted by the Zoom addition. My moves on screen seemed as smooth in either situation.

A key here is that the Zoom requires the optics to be perfectly clean and flawless. It could be that your Zoom unit has gotten dirty or smudged if it's not working. It could be that it's not aligned exactly perfectly with the Kinect's lenses. It could also be that you got a Zoom unit that had inherent flaws in its lenses.

However, it seems if you get a good Zoom unit, and then take care of the lenses properly, that it can be a godsend for people like me who only have 8 feet of space to work with in the living room.

We have our Kinect located beneath our TV.

Rating: 10/10 for me.

I purchased my Zoom with my own funds.
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on September 14, 2011
Reviews seem to be very positive or very negative among people who actually have used this.

In my case, it doesn't work. Games that are doing very coarse body tracking (the sports games, I noticed, are fine) seem to work relatively well. You do get to play in less space.

That said, this dramatically impacts fine-grained tracking. Apps that are very sensitive to your position (Leedmees, for example) are basically useless with it, because your skeleton skips all over the place. Menus become very hard to navigate because hand tracking is very inconsistent. The hand pointer slides off the button targets. The fish-eye effect also causes people who are standing off-center to be seen by the Kinect as standing at an angle -- something that appears to mess up games like Dance Central.

Another problem, with games that involve moving front-to-back -- the Kinect is calibrated to know how the appearance of your body changes as you move forwards and backwards, and adjust that so it knows how far away you are. Because of the fish-eye effect with this, it sees your front-back motion as being exagerated the closer you are to the TV, which will impact games that work along that axis.

I also suspect, but got tired trying to determine for sure, that it really causes issues if you have a low ceiling.

Re-calibration didn't help, particularly with the hand tracking problem.

If you have a lot of problems with space, maybe $30 is worth it as an experiment, but (at least in my case) the Zoom is useless.
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on December 6, 2011
I made this purchase from an in-store large retailer for fear of possible knock-offs (it was on sale for $24). With that said, I'm 6ft 1inches and slim. My play space is approx 7ft 2inches and then I hit my couch. I also have the issue with width (approx 5ft 6inches, only a problem when 2 people want to play). My biggest issue was when playing Zumba or Dance Central 2, anything with arms straight up my kinect would not see, it it sitting under my wall mounted flat screen approx 4ft off the floor. I didnt want to buy a tv mount to put it on top because i dont like the look and there was concern it wouldnt see my feet, plus i have some shorter friends.

With the details out of the way, I read almost all 125+ reviews on here before purchasing to find the common issues based on setup and then just didnt do those things & my unit works as intended.

#1 I mounted my Kinect below the TV (still approx 4' off the floor). And connected this accessory while the xbox was off.

#2 The Zoom holes ARE larger than the Kinect lenses, (like the zoom directions state) when you look at the middle lens you should see the center of the Kinect lens in the center of the circle. If its not, you need to move the Zoom over (adjust). **Note: this is where zoom lost a star. Sccrraaattttccchhhh. even when you remove the zoom as recommended, it scratches the glossy finish on the Kinect. If you have an issue of a black ring showing on your camera once its turned on (like some other reviewers) then your zoom isnt placed correctly.

#3 I did NOT just enter setup and re-calibrate. I went into "initial setup" and "set up my console" (location, date, blah blah) and most importantly KINECT. You know where it makes you listen to the sounds, and stand in the circle and wave, That sets the room lighting and gets the best reading of "you," calibration is just fine tweaking.

#4 While in initial setup I noticed the kinect seemed jumpy & didnt follow my hand motions as smoothly as I was used to. That freaked me out a bit. The setup took waay longer than i remember, i felt like I was waving for 5min. finally i took a 1/2 step back (even though it initially said i was in the middle of the circle) and boom everything worked perfect.

#5 I ran calibration just in case

Now everything is up and running and I only have to stand 5ft from my tv and kinect can see my whole body, and tracks my moves perfectly. A friend brought over child of wasnt really my cup of tea (though the music was decent) I dont think i understood the point. I was just glad he was able to play it without me having to move out of the way. He said the movements were pretty accurate, im sure i would have heard some choice words if they weren't.
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on September 16, 2011
So for most of us that dont have 8-12 feet of open space in our house to devote to kinect, this is a must!

First thing you need to do is re-calibrate everything, even the ID thing needs to be re-calibrated. Also make sure you get the zoom on there nice and straight, for me its was easy, it pretty much snapped to the perfect spot on its own.

First thing i noticed is that navigating the XBM is kind of clunky with the zoom on, but once you find that sweet spot its not so bad. Once you get into a game though, you dont even know the zoom is there, it works flawlessly.

I played the Kinect Adventures and a Dance game, and there was no issues at all, and i was approx. 2 1/2-3 feet away from the kinect!

You do have to watch for being to far, i got used to being a certain distance from my kinect, with the zoom on, it was too far to be detected, so move on up to the kinect!

So overall, its not perfect, but its a major improvement for those with limited space. You may have to give up using Netflix, Hulu,etc, with the kinect, but its worth it to play the games and have plenty of room. Now my wife and i can play games together!
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on September 15, 2011
So I read some of the reviews and was a bit sketched out, but decided to pick one up anyway, just to test it out. My living room is pretty cramped, and I barely play the Kinect because I always have to move my furniture around. I punched out the holes on the protective sticker, placed it on my kinect and then put the Zoom on. Easy enough, but when I went into the Kinect Hub to calibrate it, I ran into a few problems. At first, it was not detecting me properly because it could not see the floor. I read through the troubleshooting on Nyko's site and made some adjustments with the lighting and the tilt angle in the Kinect Tuner, which helped somewhat, but then I noticed it was a bit jumpy. It looked like my legs were dancing on their own and the cursor was also a bit jumpy. I had the kinect mounted on top of my TV, and decided to put it below just to see what would happen, and sure enough, it worked a lot better. I started playing the game Joyride, and it worked fine. Went back into the Kinect Tuner before switching to Dance Central and noticed it was a bit jumpy still. Popped in Dance Central, started jerkin' to some Audio Push and it seemed to track just fine. I also tried it out on Kinect Adventures, Kinect Sports, and Gunstringer and had no issues. I was able to play closer and did not have to move my couch.

I guess it might just be in the Kinect Hub where it's a bit weird, because during gameplay, I did not have any problems. Overall, I am pretty satisfied with it. Tis a keeper!
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on September 23, 2011
I am a tech-savvy guy in my late 20s and I've never been bested by a device or hands on project, so when I saw the Zoom's mixed reviews, I assumed I would overcome its setup challenges. Well, you've bested me, Zoom.

I set this up above and at the base of my TV, constantly checked lense alignment, tried it in well-lit, modestly lit, and unlit settings (I have several lights and windows with heavy curtains) at varying degrees of tilt. I then carefully and lightly dusted all the lenses with a lint-free cloth, made sure there were no smudges or finger-prints, and repeated this entire process. For every adjustment, I shut my X-Box down completely, restarted, and re-calibrated the sensor.

Despite mixing and matching settings and games (Fitness Evolved, Adventures, Sports, and Rise of Nightmares) for over two hours, I could not achieve a satisfactory experience for anything requiring acute hand-tracking. Jumping, ducking, and big arm movements were picked up, but shooting activities and even menu hopping were significantly less accurate. When I removed the sensor, everything was immediately fine again, except that I still have to move my couch to play.

I strongly recommend against buying this product.
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