|Comes with all this, except I lost most the NRG rounds.|
Tek Recon, where do I begin? I started out with no enthusiasm at all, and slowly began to get more excited as information came out. Being frustrated with Hasbro for lack of information, and even denying products existed, it was refreshing to find a company that was actively reaching out to the community and interacting with it. The app kept sounding better and better, and while I was still not totally sold on the ammo, I was willing to give it a shot.
It’s tough to think of when I’ve been this disappointed in a blaster before, it borders on betrayal. First off, in hopes of a company really potentially being made for my age group and having the potential to grow into a competitor for Nerf I donated to the KickStarter campaign. For $60 I would receive a Hammer Head and a Havok. I wanted to test both blasters, and Shawn got a kit that included four Hammer Heads targets, and some other cool lookin’ accessories so we could promote it to our Nerf/blaster enthusiast friends. Tek Recon was good with sending updates on their Facebook page, and via e-mail. Like this beauty I received August 6th:
“We're in our final stages of our APP development and we'll be releasing it in late-August. We are incredibly excited to unveil the App but want to make sure it's just right first! Thanks to all our fans for your continued interest in Tek Recon. We'll be posting on FB when our APP will be released.
In other news - we're hoping to be getting our KickStarter rewards into our office soon! We'll let you know when they arrive & we will start shipping out the rewards as SOON as we can!”
So when they announced not long after that the app was available for download on iOS I was ecstatic! I even updated my iPhone from iOS5 to iOS6, something I’d not wanted to do for various reasons. I made the sacrifice for the Tek Recon App though. Sure none of my friends had iPhones, so we couldn’t really test it out, but the app was satisfying. It delivered mostly what they had promised and gave us a taste of things to come, not only with app updates, but hopefully with the blasters.
|Hm... No mention of ranges on the front...|
|...Or the back.|
So, I get the thing home, and open it up. First obvious thing I noticed is this thing feels CHEAP! Second thing I realized is it only comes with 15NRG rounds. THE BLASTER HOLDS 25! It’s emblazoned in huge letters on the front of the box! Where most blasters advertise the distance, it tells you capacity. In fact, speaking of distance, I couldn’t find a single spot on the box where the distance was advertised. The front just says “Max Distance” like that’s supposed to mean something. Come on, Nerf at least gives me enough ammo to fill up whatever magazine comes with any given blaster! Darts are at least large enough to recover, these things are going to be getting lost left and right and you can’t even give me enough to fill up my $20 blaster?! Bad form guys, bad form.
|It's a little hard to load these things|
The ammo is a little difficult to load up but one of the only satisfying features about this blaster is inserting and releasing the magazine. It clicks in very reminiscent of a real firearm, and the ambidextrous magazine release is located in what I feel is a good spot in the bottom of the trigger guard. When you release the magazine it doesn’t fall out, but rather pops out an inch or so. There’s a spring that pushes it out a little, and while it will come out easily if you’re running and holding it vertical, if you hold it horizontal while replacing the mag it’ won’t fall. It’s just a snazzy little feature that actually feels cool. If you were waiting to get to all the positives, you can pretty much leave now.
The trigger is way too far away from the handle. I have small hands, but I can barely get the tip of my pointer finger in position to fire this thing. It’s definitely not as satisfying as being able to wrap your finger around a trigger and exert a firm, full amount of pressure per shot, and you need to with this blaster. I have small hands, but I have much larger friends than I, and they all agreed with me on this point. It’s uncomfortable, and with an “Ages 8+” on the box you have to wonder how kids will be able to wield this thing without using two hands.
|Look at this reach!|
Next up: The “pump action trigger” beneath the barrel. The regular trigger is referred to as the “rapid blast trigger” on the box, when it takes much longer to operate than the “pump action trigger” for some reason. I guess they just couldn’t think of any good “cool” names (hint: call it a “trigger”! It doesn’t need any cool name!) Regardless of what they call it, the pump feels grossly out of place, especially on a pistol. It would have made much more sense to put a “slam fire” like feature on the “slide” of the blaster. This at least would have felt better. The pump itself is supposed to look like some sort of tacticool accessory like a flashlight or laser pointer. Why not just make this a rail so you can attach accessories like that to the blaster?! Instead, with a bulky pump grip on this pistol, you can forget about trying to holster this thing. Since it doesn’t prime then shoot like a Nerf blaster, if you do try to put this in a holster with any substantial grip the blaster will go off. You don’t need to hold down the trigger while pumping; just the simple act of pumping fires the blaster. This is a feature better suited to rifle type blasters with considerable more length, and even then I do like needing to pull the trigger to set this off.
|The top of the phone mount.|
The “real action recoil” is a joke. While trying to be innovative, it comes off as feeling gimmicky and cheap. The ergonomics wouldn’t be terrible if that trigger was closer. The Phone mount while it seems to hold my phone (with case) rather sturdy, it feels like there’s a lot of potential for things to go wrong. I don’t like the Nerf app, but at least their mount holds firm AND protects your valuable electronic devices. The muzzle looks weirdly huge. This is due to the phone mount. They could have chopped down a bunch of extra space, made the whole thing a bit more streamlined and used a rail to attach the phone mount instead of adding height to the front of the blaster, then not filling in the barrel and leaving you with a hole that looks like you’re going to blast golf balls out of this thing. The ammo is tiny, easily lost and hard to feel when you've been tagged. Oh yeah, also the “stylus” attachment that is supposed to work with the recoil to tap your screen so the app registers when a round is fired is terrible. Simply put, it doesn’t work. While vertical adjustment of the phone mount is easy, the horizontal adjustment is difficult, and the stylus seems to be either constantly touching the screen, or just out of reach. Also, the app assumes you loaded a full magazine, which, OH YEAH YOU ONLY GAVE ME 15 ROUNDS! Then you have to tap the screen to show that you’ve reloaded. WHATS THE POINT?! In game I want to reload quickly and efficiently. I don’t want to have to find the corner of my screen and tap it to signify I’ve just put in a fresh mag. That’s the problem with this being a physical to virtual conversion. If you plugged the phone into the blaster you could relay this information like shots fired and reloads electronically and not have to worry about hiding a stylus in a thinly veiled attempted to achieve “realistic recoil”.
|The bottom device mount and stylus.|
Finally, the NRG rounds. I saw a few iterations of these throughout the process and honestly wish we had gotten the fat doughnut shaped ones instead of these things. They aren’t quite rubber bands, but they lack the mass some of the prototypes seemed like they had. As for ranges, well I want to say they are getting ranges as advertised, but again there’s NOTHING on the box that says anything about ranges. So, in not advertising them I suppose you can’t complain. I’m hitting about 30ft flat on “low power”. Now here’s where things get interesting. The “power selector” doesn’t actually put more power behind the round to give you more distance. Instead it just ARCS THE SHOT FOR YOU! Yes, if you put it up to full power, the round springs out and, instead of going straight forward, arcs in the air (potentially missing a target in front of you) to get the max distance it can. Thanks guys. THANKS! I had no idea if I arced it they would go farther! DUUUUH! It’s a horrible feature that should have never been included. If you can only get 30ft, either go back to the drawing board or say that you get 30ft.
All in all I can’t find anything that would make me want to run this blaster in ANY game EVER. If/when my Havok comes in, I’ll likely play with it and give a quick review, but I can’t imagine that things will be much different from this guy. Ranges can’t really be increased or decreased since the potential power comes from the round and not a spring or something that is upgradeable, so we’re pretty much seeing max performance here. For those of you who donated to the KickStarter like myself, all I can say is I’m sorry. I think the app is cool and I’ll likely be using it with a Nerf blaster. I really feel like they are doing something no one else is with this app, but it’ll stop being supported when the blaster line inevitable fails. Maybe they could focus on their app and just charge for it and have 99¢ in-app power ups for purchase. But really, it’s not worth it to buy these blasters just to see the app do well. Maybe they can sell the technology to Hasbro and the Nerf app can offer actual features. But seriously guys, don’t buy this, I feel like I’ve been swindled.
**Range test video coming soon... if we can find enough NRG rounds -_-**
**Range test video coming soon... if we can find enough NRG rounds -_-**