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Xpand X104 YOUniversal 3D glasses, up-close and dorky (pictures)

For the narrow niche of users who need active 3D glasses that work with most 3D TVs regardless of brand, the Xpand YOUniversals are great. For everyone else, they're overkill.

David_Katzmaier.jpg
David_Katzmaier.jpg

David Katzmaier

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Top view

With passive 3D TV, the kind used in most U.S. movie theaters, just about any cheap polarized 3D glasses will work with any TV. With its rival active 3D, however, things are less simple and more expensive.

XpanD, a manufacturer of active 3D glasses for movie theaters and, increasingly, 3D televisions, aims to make active 3D glasses simpler to use. Its YOUniversal 3D glasses are the company's latest specs designed to work with multiple brands of television, and the first and only 3D glasses available said to work with every active 3D TV released in 2010, 2011, and this year. They're a bit more expensive than competitors', but better and more versatile in many ways.

I'll be comparing these glasses with the Samsung SSG-4100GB and Panasonic TY-ER3D4MU throughout this slideshow.

Read the full review of the Xpand X104 YOUniversal 3D glasses.

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Top view, folded

Xpand offers the X104 in five different size/color combinations. I was sent the large, blue/black variety, which when worn over my regular glasses, made me look even dorkier than usual.
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Back view

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Head-on, with prescription glasses

The Xpand glasses are heavy and tended to pinch the back of my head behind my ears more, especially when I wore my prescription glasses, and they perched further on the end of my nose.
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Side view, with prescription glasses

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Head-on, no prescription glasses underneath

The thick frames and even thicker temples -- the "legs" that hook your ears to the frames -- exude a kind of Buddy Holly hipster cred, however, and feel more solid than the Panasonics and especially the flimsy Samsungs.
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RF dongle

The optional RF dongle ($20) attaches to the end of the temple. It's a requirement for compatibility with active 3D TVs that use Bluetooth.
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Power button and battery indicator

Like all active 3D glasses, you have to manually turn these on. Xpand estimates 35 hours per on a charge, five more than Panasonic.
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Accessories

Xpand includes more accessories than does Panasonic and Samsung, namely a nice case, two different detachable nose bridge pieces, a cleaning cloth and of course a charging cable. One end of the cable is standard USB, but the other is proprietary, and its matching connection on the glasses is where you'll stick the RF dongle.
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Glasses in case

I especially liked the included hard case. Read the full review of the Xpand X104 YOUniversal 3D glasses.

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