Ben10 MP4 Video Watch Review

The only MP4 Video Player that doesn't play MP4's?
The only MP4 Video Player that doesn't play MP4's?

I have just bought a Ben10 MP4 Video watch from Targets sale for $99. In theory this looks like the product I promised to make my son from a video photo frame and an old Ben10 watch surround, so why bother making it? This way it has custom Ben10 animations and everything right!?

First things first. What’s in the box. The box itself says it includes Earphones, USB Cable and CD-ROM. Open it up and guess what, no USB cable. That’s not such a problem though as it’s the micro USB sort that often come with a camera, so I had a couple of those knocking around. STOP THE PRESS – I’ve just found it. It is about 2cm long and part of the strap.

One thing missing from the box…instructions. There are none. That’s right none at all. Not even a brief explanation of the buttons. I guess that might be on the CD, but it is one of those microsize CD’s and I have a slot loading drive on a Mac, so I can’t have a look to find out. So I searched the web and nothing (hence this post) the supplier Canal Toys has a website that is “Under Construction”.

Okay, so I have a few set backs here, but no problems, according to the box it will play “mp4, avi and wmv (software included)”. I can’t get to the software as it’s on the CD, but I have Quicktime Pro, Handbrake and a number of other video converters that will move things over to mp4 and avi just fine.

Plug in the watch, and up comes the disc with no problems. The file system is easy to see so I navigate into the folder and ….the file is smv, not mp4 or any other format.

I had played the video before and found that it looked a bit rough with a very low frame rate but I had put that down to some dodgy encoding but on further investigation it seems that the only thing that will play is this SMV format (which was originally designed for the Super Nintendo to give you an idea of quality). Hmm an MP4 Video Watch that doesn’t play MP4’s!! I have looked for a converter but with no luck for the Mac.

By the way the ‘speakers’ are so quiet that you can’t even hear them well in an almost silent room. Think taking ear phones out of you ears and listening to those.

The next thing I tried was putting mp4’s in there and see if it will read them. I dragged on mp4’s formatted to 160x128px and 15fps (to be safe). Then tried to unmount the watch. It unmounted, then remounted. I tried again and got the same. After multiple attempts I had no choice and just pulled to cord, which corrupted all the data despite having made sure there was no writing going on. Now I have a watch even without the free Ben10 episode included!

At this point the problems have ceased to make the device fun, and have basically crippled it to the point that it is impossible to use and the only thing I can do with it is try to take it back.

I haven’t even mention that while trying to navigate the watch I managed to crash it to a shell script 3 times!

This is a really, really disappointing product. Any Ben10 fan should love it, but instead it doesn’t include what it should do in the box (no printed instructions is unforgivable), it doesn’t work at all with a Mac (no compatibility info on the box), even if it did, the video was poor, audio via the speakers was non existent, and it crashed to a shell prompt 2 or 3 times in the few minutes I played with it.

I haven’t even mentioned the potential legal problems I’m sure the company could get into by calling the product an mp4 video watch when it won’t play mp4 videos!

What is really disappointing is this stuff isn’t that hard and for $100 ($130 rrp) you should get native mp4 support out of the box, and with a decent frame rate.

Note that there seems to be a few versions of this watch about. Others seem to have a 1.3-1.5″ screen. This one was 1.8″.

The product again is the Ben10 MP4 Video Watch officially endorsed and supplied by Canal Toys and bought at Target in Australia in July 2009.

Avoid this like the plague even if your kids beg for it!

Simons Rating 0/5