Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Jakks Pacific EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles
A toy for all ages.
- Good visibility in complete darkness, excellent build quality, they look like the genuine article
- Easy to leave switched on, they freak out babies
The EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles are every bit as cool as you'd expect. They bring the awesome to the table in ways that few toy gadgets can dream of. Get 'em before they ban 'em!
Price$ 139.99 (AUD)
Once in a while, a toy gadget comes along that really makes you sit up and take notice. As soon as we heard about the EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles, we just knew we had to get them in for testing. Like the original Etch-a-Sketch board or the first batch of Robo-Sapiens, they have that ‘wow’ factor that most toys lack. It simply screams “Look at me! You have to buy me!” (Or to paraphrase the Funzo commercial from The Simpsons: “If you don’t own Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles, you’re NOTHING.”)
The EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles do exactly what they say on the box. Loosely based on the MNVDs worn by the US Armed Forces and shady CIA field operatives, they essentially let you see in the dark using infrared technology. The right goggle is fitted to an LCD display monocle similar to the viewfinder on a camcorder. The left goggle, which is just plastic, can be flipped up to allow you to see when the device is switched off (although you’ll presumably be in the dark at the time, which kind of defeats the purpose).
Despite their somewhat high-tech appearance, the EyeClops couldn’t be easier to operate: simply fit the adjustable strap over your head, switch them on, and you’re ready to roll. You can choose between green or black-and-white viewing modes, but for old school authenticity, you’ve got to go for the former. There are two sensitivity levels: Stealth Mode, which allows you to see at close quarters, and Surveillance Mode, which allegedly grants a viewing range of up to 50 feet. We suspect this might be a tad generous, but the device does offer good visibility and the images it projects are suitably sharp. (While there are no focusing options for the vision-impaired, the goggles have been designed to fit over most glasses.)
Frankly, you’d have to be blinder than an eye-plucked Cyclops not to see the fun offered by this product. From spooking buddies in the dark to enacting stealth-action video games, the potential for juvenile shenanigans is almost limitless. According to the press release, they also “take spotlight tiggy to a whole new level”. We haven’t the faintest idea what 'spotlight tiggy' is, but it sounds awesome. They also make a good parenting tool for checking sleeping babies at night, although we found the Buffalo Bill look tends to freak them out a bit.
In terms of build quality the EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles are a hard product to fault. We were particularly impressed with how comfortable the goggles were, especially when you consider they’ve been designed to fit all ages and head sizes. They also look surprisingly authentic, with no obtrusive logos or tacky colour schemes to spoil the effect. (They will therefore make ideal props for plays, short movies and other creative endeavours.)
One problem we had with the EyeClops was the lack of an automatic power save/shutdown function. If you forget to switch the goggles off, you’ll end up wasting the batteries, which at five AAs a pop can get pretty expensive. During our assorted office hijinks, we accidentally left the goggles on twice, resulting in two sheepish trips to the corner store. Mind you, we’re not sure how a power-save mode would work in practice: there’s no way for the device to know whether you’re using it, so it can’t just switch itself off like a camcorder. (Perhaps some sort of motion sensor could be implemented in version II?)
As it stands, we predict that the average EyeClops owner is going to go through a lot of batteries, especially if they have forgetful kids. Which brings us to our other complaint: did the battery plate really need to be fastened down with screws? This is bound to become irritating over the long run, especially for little rascals who are too young to use a screwdriver.
Despite these minor caveats, the EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles are one of the coolest toys we've had the pleasure of fooling around with. They will make an ideal Christmas pressie for everyone from 14-year old nephews to creepy uncles.
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