XPAND YOUniversal 3D Glasses Review: Compatibility Comes at a Price

Today's 3D TVs use any one of three active shutter technologies—IR, RF, or Bluetooth. If you own more than one 3D set—or you're always short a pair of glasses at a friend's house—you'd appreciate a pair that can synchronize with multiple systems. That's better than keeping track of several pairs of backup glasses. Isn't it?

What Is It?

Active shutter glasses that work with any active shutter 3DTV from the last two years, as long as it supports IR synchronization.

Who's it For?

People tired of juggling competing synching technologies among life's many 3DTVs.

Design

Blocky. Like the ones Ricky Vaughn sported, but thicker.

Using It

If your television uses IR synchronization to communicate with active shutter glasses, you're in luck. Just hold down the power button for three seconds to activate the auto-sync protocol and bing, bang, boom—the XPANDs work. If you have a set that uses RF synchronization, you'll need to use an RF adapter that plugs into the tip of the right temple.

The Best Part

No matter what sort of television set you may encounter, you will always be able to watch it in 3D.

Tragic Flaw

The price—$100 just for the frames, then another $20 for the dongle.

This Is Weird...

These look like Buddy Holly's glasses had sex with Good Charlotte's belts and the unholy union's offspring crawled onto your face.

Test Notes

  • The dust cap that protects the RF port had a broken retaining strap less than 17 seconds out of the box.
  • Heavier and wider than the active shutter frames that typically come included with the set. But, at just 44 grams, not uncomfortable, and the extra weight actually makes them feel a bit less flimsy than the stock glasses.
  • The included literature says that the adapter can only be used with 2011 or newer Samsung sets, but it successfully paired with two Panasonic sets.
  • The size of the RF adapter can make the glasses sit crooked.
  • Will not work with passive 3D sets.
  • Samsung's line of Bluetooth sync'd 3D TVs work with the RF dongle.
  • The glasses are rechargeable, relying on an included USB cable (which also allows it to receive firmware updates from a PC.
  • These can be worn over your normal prescription lenses.
  • Compatible with select 3D computer monitors and XPAND-enabled cinemas.
  • The battery made it through a full Kill Bill marathon followed by the Star Wars Trilogy on a single charge.

Should You Buy It?

Maybe, if you are a member of the presumably tiny consumer niche that watches 3D content on multiple screens throughout the day. Even then, do you really need to buy another pair of glasses? These should, for your purposes, perform the exact same function as those that came with the set—and at this point, those are free.

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XPAND 104X YOUniversal 3D Glasses Specs

• Shutter Type: Active Lens
• Compatibility:IR and RF
• Battery Type: USB-charged Li-Ion
• Battery Life: Several hours—see above.
• Weight: 44g
• Price:MSRP of $100 ($20 more for RF dongle) but Amazon has them for $65.
• Gizrank: 2.5