I buy more than my fair share of crap from Amazon but I’ve never returned a product. The Nyko Zoom Kinect accessory may be the first. If you don’t know what it is, it’s like a pair of glasses for the Kinect which lets you play in a smaller area than the Kinect was designed for. Ideally, you need 10’ to use the Kinect but that’s tough in an apartment. So put on some glasses that adjust the depth and you should be able to just snap it on and play, right? Well I read a few reviews before I bought it and they all seems wildly positive and at the time the Amazon rating was pretty high too, so I went for it. The final verdict: fail.
The installation is exactly as they state – you just snap in on and it’s set. Then you just recalibrate the sensor and you can start using it. If only it would calibrate…
So you know my setup, I have a wall/tv mount and because of the limited space I have, I had my Kinect on the wall above the tv, where it was about 6’ high (with my tv coming to about 4’ high and being about 1’ off the wall). I’ve never loved having the sensor so high since I always think I need to make motion towards it but the real reason I got the Zoom is that I picked up Your Shape Fitness Evolved and that really needs to be able to see the floor and your arms at the same time. So I initially left the Kinect wall mounted, slapped on the Zoom and went to calibrate. One problem – it couldn’t find my floor. Yeah that’s what it said and when I tried to use the Kinect and it couldn’t find me. Ok, maybe it was having an issue with the wall mount or where my tv is so I swapped the mount and it went onto the tv. It still had issues finding the floor and locating me and I let my wife take a shot at it with the same results. It would find me at times but not enough to even pick up waving an arm. I tried paying Fruit Ninja and it would occasionally pick up a swing here and there. It simply wasn’t playable regardless of if I was 2’ away or 10’ away.
So back to the net I went and after reading a few more reviews I read that placing it below the tv was better. OK, let’s do it. So now it’s below the tv, I recalibrate and…awkward. My tv is on a stand about 2’ off the floor so the sensor has to tilt up to capture me. Not a big deal but with the Zoom you actually stand really close to the tv to play and trying to play Fruit Ninja was still unplayable. I was off the screen so I actually had to play on my knees so that my upper body was on the screen. That’s not going to fly. I adjusted the tilt of the sensor and I’m still not happy with how much it picks up (or should I say misses) and the overall sensitivity of the Kinect went downhill. It didn’t matter how I adjusted it, there wasn’t a way for me to get near my normal scores in Fruit Ninja (and yes, that’s my yardstick). Even selecting menus became more difficult as the onscreen ‘hand’ jumped around.
Now I’m not sure what makes some people have a great experience with it and why it totally fails for others. What I do know is if I go back to Amazon now it’s a different picture. Like this kind of a picture:
I’m not sure it’s salvageable. I really wanted it for Your Shape Fitness (well and helping make other games better wouldn’t hurt) but I think my better option is just to turn my tv a bit to use some apartment length and keep the Kinect on a tv mount.
So you know, I still love the Kinect. It’s still something I can’t get over and regardless of the game the gimmick never gets old. I can’t wait for the Xbox update to come out (November 15th?) but I think the Zoom is about to be the first product I have ever returned to Amazon in years of buying stuff from them.
Anyone else out there try the Zoom? Is there something I’m missing here?
Oh and I know this isn’t ‘mobility’ related but I use a PC, have a Windows phone and simply couldn’t leave me tv barren of Microsoft love so I went for it and I’m sure a lot of you have the same setup as me.