GEAR REVIEW: Spy Gear Sonic Distractors – Thanks to Spin Master Toys for the sample! The opinions and thoughts are my own, however.
MSRP: $9.99 Available: Now Range: As far as you can throw it
Includes: 2 x Sonic Distractor spheres (1 black, 1 grey – 4 different sounds apiece. See the video for the different sounds) 1 x belt clip/holder
This is an interesting little gadget from Spy Gear. Relatively inexpensive (some stores have them on clearance), and in the right scenario/gametype, maybe these would be of some use if you have a particularly sneaky style of play.
2 spheres, and you hold the button down to trigger a timer, and after a few seconds the distractor makes 1 of 4 noises. If you can remember the sequence of the noises on each sphere, you can readily select which one you’re using (birds cawing, a cat yeowling, laser blasts) but in some instances maybe just a sudden noise of any kind would be enough).
Maybe even a game like this:
I didn’t whip these around on concrete (also I would NOT suggest throwing these at people) so I couldn’t tell you how durable they are from a dropped height. I believe ideally you would roll these into position to use them, though rather than throw them around. They are of a hard plastic construction so they would definitely bounce around. Still, the amount of sound effects available, the compact build, included holster, and easy to use button are nice little touches.
You might even find these on clearance at the moment, so if you have the right group and location, these could be a handy fun roleplay (spy vs counterspy, thief vs guard) element for your game types. What do you think? Would you try them?
STATS: MSRP: $59.99 (order at Meijer – on clearance for $14.97!) Includes:
Mount x 1
Housing x 1
Rubber band x 1
Velcro wrist strap x 1
USB recharging cord x 1
Suction cup Wall Mounting x 1
2 GB microSD card (will use larger microSD cards too… I haven’t run into any issues yet)
CD w/editing software
Specs: W/2 GB card:
2000 HD pics
10 Mins. of video recording at 720p (at full charge).
Test Images (various lighting conditions.
Office lighting (reasonably good lighting)
Hallway of my storage unit.
Low light, a peek inside the actual unit.
At $60 the resolution isn’t the clearest in low-light (a touch grainy), but surprisingly better than I expected in well lit situations (also given that this is for kids 8-13 years of age). it is a fish eye lens, in order to encompass the “360” look attached to a swivel that moves within a 90 degree arc.. Initially, I had wondered if the lens would be remotely operated somehow, but that isn’t the case. Where ever you place the camera, the lens has to be aimed ahead of time. With the fish eye lens though, there’s little room for missing something. Given the low profile of the camera alone, and even the housing/mounts, getting the right angle shouldn’t be a problem. Obviously, any other additions such as a viewfinder or anything would add to the visibility of the camera, and the cost. For what it is, it is a pretty good price for your homegrown spy in training.
The housing functions as a “hockey puck” style mount for the camera (see the video) and a container for the wrist strap, one of the little touches Spin Master does with its toys that I really like.
It takes a few hours to charge using the included USB cord. I have used both my computer and other wall-mounted plugs with a USB connector, so you’re not stuck if you have other electronic devices. The included instructions were easy to follow, and I was up and running (literally) with the camera in minutes. Already having editing software, I just use the microSD card in my card reader, and that does the job. I haven’t used the editing software myself (I already have my own), but if you do perhaps you’ll get a kick out of it.
Bottom line, I found it a lot of fun to try and see what angles, and just what the capabilities of the camera were. Sliding the camera into position was hilarious, and various options of how to use the camera (wear, wall mount, super sneaky off the mount, etc.) might be a good time for a kid. It goes without saying that the camera must be used responsibly, and those issues need to be brought up during purchase.
As far as game types go, I don’t know if I’d use this as a mount or anything to record gameplay, but if you came up with a spies vs. counterspies scenario, this might be something to play around with (having to record a document or something else; let your imagination go wild, for the 10 mins. the charge will last recording video) With the speed that a typical game can run, I don’t think this camera could keep up, and there are full on cameras for a little more that might be better to use. This is still a toy for roleplay purposes, but even with that, it is still an impressive piece of tech.
Some great shots of Spin Master toys, makers of Doctor Dreadful and Air Hogs! They had some pretty cool stuff for boys and girls, in particular interest was Spy Gear. Formerly of Wild Planet, Spy Gear’s got some great gadgets on the way. I wasn’t allowed pictures at the show, but I’ll manage to get some from a press kit.
For some highlights:
Flutterbye (flies like Air Hogs)
That’s right… a “no bake” donut maker!
Best. Board game. Ever. Roll the dice, push the sticks, and hope it doesn’t pop on your turn!