UNBOXED: Reviewing the smART Pixelator
Conducting a review of the smART Pixelator really brought me back to my childhood. I had the “old school” version of this same toy back in the 90s and my mom will tell you that it was one of my absolute favorites. But back in the day, I followed a basic paper chart that showed you where the beads went, and now the smART Pixelator displays the images on a screen and even lets you upload your own.
The device came with a few starter beads and I also received a pack of pegs. I knew I wanted to test out both and I also wanted to try using one of the pre-loaded images and an image of my own. I connected the smART Pixelator to the smartphone app via Bluetooth, plugged in the included memory card, and began scrolling through the preset images. Since the device didn’t come with too many beads, I decided to do a small bunny that was considered a “beginner” design.
The process was exactly like I remembered: place the bead on its corresponding color then iron it when you’re done. Except, this time, my hands were much bigger than they were when I was six so placing the tiny beads on the tray took a few tries before I got the hang of it. At certain times, I would misplace a bead, try to correct it with the tool, and knock others out of place. I found it was easier to go from left to right since I am right-handed which helped avoid creating a domino effect of fallen beads.
After I was done, I set my iron to the recommended heat setting, placed the wax paper on top, and began ironing in a circular motion for 30 seconds as the directions recommended. When I picked up the piece of paper, I realized that I had knocked several beads out of place and that the 30 seconds was nowhere near long enough. I decided to put the beads back and try to do it again like the directions explained, but the same thing happened so I ended up breaking the rules a little bit.
After two failed attempts at molding the beads together, I decided to lay my iron flat on the design for about a minute and a half. Thankfully, this method worked! I’m not sure if my iron wasn’t strong enough or if I had actually had it on the wrong heat setting, but I decided this method worked much better for me.
For my own personal (and more advanced) design, I came up with the idea of doing Captain America’s shield. According to the app, a design like this would take about two hours or more to complete, and it was right. What was most surprising though, was that when I uploaded Captain America’s shield (which is red, white, and blue), the smART Pixelator pulled some odd colors like gray. I figured I’d just bypass them and stick to the three main colors and I think it turned out okay.
I admit that there is a bit of a learning curve with the smART Pixelator, especially with more advanced designs. I had a lot of fun despite some hiccups and was proud of my creations in the end. And with all the social distancing we’re doing right now, the smART Pixelator is definitely a great toy to help pass the time.