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Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great value for an electronic-age 3D stereo viewer, September 15, 2011
This review is from: Hasbro MY3D Viewer for iPod touch and iPhone Black (Electronics)
The Hasbro MY3D is a well-designed product that serves its intended use almost perfectly. I bought one with a new iPod Touch at Target not long after the MY3D came out. I accidentally purchased the 3rd generation iPod Touch, and after using it and being disappointed with the screen resolution, I realized my mistake and returned it to get a 4th generation iPod Touch with retina display. It makes a huge'll definitely want the higher resolution display!

The MY3D itself is light-weight but sturdy plastic construction. As you can probably tell from the pictures, it is sleek and streamlined. The 4 interchangeable cradles which hold the iPod/iPhone are attached with a clever spring-loaded pin that acts as a hinge, holding the device firmly in place but allowing for an easy one-handed release to change to a different cradle (not that you'll ever need to) when the unit is open. There is also a spring-loaded slider that the cradle snaps to in order to close up the unit for viewing. It is easy to open, but not too likely that it would open accidentally. I have my iPod in a Philips protective case, which fits perfectly into one of the cradles.

While the design is aesthetically pleasing and pretty well thought out, there are a few problems. First, as others have noted, the center divider is not actually centered, resulting in about a 40 pixel-wide portion of the left image showing up in the right-eye view when viewing normal (unpadded) parallel 3D stereo imagery. Not a deal-breaker, but it is distracting and I can't think of a good reason why they did this. To get around this, the left & right images must be padded or spaced apart in the center for optimal viewing on a MY3D. StereoPhoto Maker is a great piece of freeware with a built-in preset for exporting stereo images to the MY3D viewer with the proper spacing in the center. It's Windows-native software, but I've used it without any problems on Intel Macs with emulation software (I use Crossover to emulate Windows). I would hope that future versions of the MY3D have the center divider in the true center where it belongs, so that this kind of workaround wouldn't be needed.

The second problem is the optics. For plastic lenses, they seem to be decent quality, but I do need to wear my eyeglasses in order to see things in this viewer in focus. I have this same problem with most View-Master viewers, too, so maybe this is to be expected. It would be great to see an adjustable focus available on a future version of the MY3D. While this isn't a major issue, it would be a more immersive and comfortable experience I didn't need to wear my glasses. Because the lenses are plastic, I'd recommend storing your MY3D in a zip-loc bag to protect the lenses from dust, dirt, and fingerprints.

The third problem is one of form-factor, and this one really cannot be considered a design flaw. Because of the aspect ratio of the iPod's screen, when it is divided in half, what results are two images that are better suited to portrait-orientation photos. However, chances are most of your 3D stereo images & movies are shot using a landscape orientation. So, this means you're either going to be underutilizing the available screen space in order to view smaller landscape oriented photos & videos in their original aspect ratios, or you're going to have to crop those landscape oriented images in order to view them larger and utilize all the available screen space. Personally, I have adopted a hybrid approach. I have StereoPhoto Maker batch process smaller images in landscape orientation, so that I can view the entire image in its original aspect ratio (approximately 452x258 viewable area for landscape 16x9 photos & videos). Then I also have it automatically batch process 3 sets of each image, cropping them left, center, and right so that I can view the images at maximum screen size in the MY3D (resulting in a 452x640 viewable area). When viewed in a slideshow, this has the effect of panning across the scene. I set up 3 separate albums that contain the smaller uncropped images, the larger cropped images, and both types, so I can easily view a slideshow in whatever format I prefer later.

The IOS apps that came out from Hasbro for the MY3D are fine, but there's an obvious omission: dedicated stereo slide show and/or video players for users who would like to view their own content (saved as standard *unpadded* parallel 3D stereo views). While it is, of course, possible to display parallel 3D stereo images & videos using Apple's built-in IOS Photos & Videos apps, it would be nice to have apps that could pan & scale the views on the fly while retaining the 3D stereo effect (as can be done with the Fuji FinePix Real 3D W3), and also automatically add the necessary space between the left and right images to compensate for the asymmetrical center divider (although a redesign of the MY3D would better address that problem). My favorite MY3D app is probably Teleport L.A., which has some very good content, including some impressive interactive 360' panoramic stereo 3D movies shot from a helicopter. The 360' Sharks app is also a bit of a visual treat, even though it may not keep you engaged for very long. There are also some third-party IOS apps springing up in the iTunes store offering parallel 3D stereo viewing modes, which work acceptably with the MY3D (again, if you can overlook the mis-aligned center divider).

I initially was deciding between a combination of the MY3D + 64 GB iPod Touch or the Nintendo 3DS. I spent quite a bit of time examining a 3DS store display model. Although the Nintendo 3DS's autostereoscopic screen is definitely high-quality and cost lest than a 64 GB iPod Touch, I ultimately went with the MY3D + iPod for the following reasons:

1. Cheaper/free/many more apps on IOS...I've got thousands of IOS games & apps now, but have spent less on them than the cost of one 3DS game! When you've got an 8-year-old son who devours games, that's pretty important.
2. I already had the Fuji FinePix Real 3D W3 camera (which I love), so I really didn't need a second autostereoscopic screen
3. The media handling capabilities & browsing interface on the Nintendo 3DS seemed pretty inelegant...they are fantastic on the iPod
4. I love View-Masters, and the MY3D provides that same sort of immersive "darkened theater" feeling

If you have a 4th generation iPod Touch or iPhone and an interest in stereography, the Hasbro MY3D cannot be beat for the price.
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