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A few weeks ago I tested a globe that can display additional information on the iPhone or iPad with the AR function: the Shifu Orboot. However, the imprint of this globe was very rudimentary and not comparable to a "real" globe. For this reason, I looked around to find an illuminated globe with a relief that would display political and geographic information. I found what I was looking for with the "alldoro 3D Lexi globe“, Which I had sent to me as a 32 cm version.
The manufacturer made the device available to me for free, but as always this will not affect the item. Likewise, the manufacturer had not had access to the article before it was published.
I think anyone who wants to remain credible as a blogger shouldn't leave any doubts here that the article reflects his honest opinion on the product. I hope I can achieve this with my critical blog posts.
To be honest, I really liked the alldoro globe because it is a connection between a “real” globe and an AR globe with an app connection. The Shifu Globus that I tested earlier impresses above all with its app. But if you don't have an iPhone or iPad at hand, it's a rather boring toy because the globe only offers a rough world map.
The alldoro illuminated globe, on the other hand, is a globe as we know it from before. You can use it without lighting and then see the geographical conditions and the heights in the color spectrum from green to dark brown. If you turn on the lights, you can see the political boundaries and terms.
As a child I was already enthusiastic about such glowing globes and I have spent what felt like ages looking for special places - the deepest point in the sea, the highest mountain, islands that pirates used to visit, the Bermuda Triangle and so on. It was just great to explore the world on the sofa. And as a child, the 32 cm globes seem huge. As an adult, I feel that 32 cm is the minimum size a globe should have.
A special feature of the alldoro globe is its surface, because mountain ranges and mountains are represented by a raised relief. In this way, children can even feel the height differences and thus explore the globe haptically.
However, the depth of oceans and seas is not taken into account in the relief.
When I had the Alldoro globe in my hand for the first time, I thought I had received a model without lighting. I'm still used to having power cables hanging on the things and first had to read the description that LED lighting is used here, which is powered by two AA batteries. This light element is cleverly plugged into the lower suspension of the globe and thus disappears into the sphere.
By the way, it is advisable to read carefully how to get to the battery compartment, because I thought I was getting on with my male intuition and accidentally pulled too hard in the wrong place. The result was that I tore something apart that wasn't supposed to be separated. Two cables came loose from the switch and the battery compartment, and the lights were gone.
You insert the batteries correctly by first loosening the small screw on one side with a screwdriver. Then you can - without any force - lift off the cover of the battery compartment and insert the batteries.
So that I could test the product despite my faux pas, I unpacked my soldering iron without further ado and soldered the cable firmly to the battery compartment so that the LEDs always light up when the batteries are inserted. This is cumbersome because you have to take the globe ball from the suspension to switch it off, but it works first. I'll have to go back to work soon and do the repair properly so that the switch works again.
Since the lighting works with LEDs, batteries last a very long time - even if the children spend a few hours with the illuminated globe. If you still prefer to use rechargeable batteries, you should not use normal NiMH rechargeable batteries, as these have a lower voltage than batteries. The result is that the lighting is a little weaker than is the case with batteries.
Instead, you can use NiZn batteries, which are still not widely used, which have a higher cell voltage and thus offer enough voltage for bright LED lighting. A good set of 4 AA batteries (you need two AA batteries for the globe) and a charger with USB cable can be found here with the UEME charger battery set. I cannot recommend the Ansmann NiZn batteries, which are also available on Amazon - but more on that in an upcoming blog post.
When I got the package with the globe, I thought at first that I had received an empty box. Of course, this was not the case, but when unpacking it immediately became clear that the globe dispensed with wooden and metal parts. Instead, the ball is made of very light plastic, but it is thick enough that you don't accidentally make a dent in the ball.
The bracket and the foot are also made of light plastic and feel a bit delicate at first. Now that I have disassembled and reassembled the globe several times, I can give the all-clear: The material is strong enough not to break, but still flexible enough that you can easily bend it open to remove the globe.
The appropriate app for the globe is called "IQ Globe" and can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store as well as from the Google Playstore getting charged. If you start the app, it wants to know the language of the user and then reloads about 1 gigabyte of data. When that's done, all you have to do is unlock the app with a code that is on the product packaging so that you can use all of the content.
The first start screen shows a room with a huge wall of books, three kids, a dog and a cat. Audio runs in the background, which unfortunately repeats itself every few seconds and there is - unfortunately also - no tutorial that the user (mostly a child) would take by the hand to explain how the app works.
A tutorial would be super helpful because I didn't understand, for example, that the microphone icon in the corner is used to start explanatory audio. On the one hand, a loudspeaker or an “info icon” would certainly have been easier to understand and, on the other hand, the audio could have been started directly on the start screen because it speaks to the child.
If you start the audio by touching the button, the three children immediately look into the camera and one of the children explains what the app is all about. It's actually done very nicely - it's a shame that it's so easy to overlook.
To use the AR function, start the app, select a topic and hold the iPhone or iPad at a distance (30 to 40 cm) in front of the globe. After a short time, the app recognized the globe and - depending on the topic - shows the country's flags, animals, plants or objects on the globe. In the area of space, the globe becomes a planet, the sun or the moon and you can turn it by turning the - unfortunately somewhat stiff globe.
It's done nicely, but as an adult I had problems holding the iPad in one hand and clicking something with the other hand. I don't think it's easier for kids.
Using it with the iPhone is again quite fiddly, as the 3D objects on the globe become very small and some of them are very difficult to click on
What I also think is a shame: You inevitably always have to use the globe and cannot listen to the topics without a globe. That would have been exciting, especially for car trips, to keep the children busy.
The app is divided into different subject areas in which you can get information with the globe. Here is the overview:
The term "spaceport" means launch sites for rockets from various nations. "Get out into space" is a little game in which you have to swipe your astronauts left and right around space junk and asteroids, while you should collect test tubes and crystals.
The little game is nice, but unfortunately the things you collect have no other purpose. There is no gamification in the game and so you are neither rewarded for collecting good things in the space game nor do you get points for information that you have listened to.
The Orboot Shifu has a nicer solution: There is a quiz in each information area that you can use and you have an overview page with successes that you can unlock and so the children are more motivated to play with the app from time to time.
I would also criticize that the information stored is very scarce. In the subject area “First Discoverers”, for example, there are around 12 ships around the globe that represent the respective explorers.
It may be that the term “first discoverer” may have been severely restricted, but names like Amerigo Vespucci or Afanassi Nikitin are on the list, but no Berlanga, no Amundsen, no Cook, no Grijalva. There are so many other important personalities who could have been introduced here.
The same applies to the other subject areas. There are already some animals and plants to be found, but overall the app is still poorly equipped and you get the impression that the world is home to 100 animal species and 20 plant species.
If I were allowed to whip up the alldoro globe with a team, the following items would be on my to-do list:
If you compare the alldoro Lexi in the human body and facts about the Orboot Shifu, then you have to be aware that both products address different target groups. While the Orboot Shifu comes with a ball that doesn't deserve the name Globus Eigeltich, with the alldoro Lexi you actually get a really great globe. On the other hand, the app at the alldoro Lexi is more of a goodie that you get with the globe. The app is accordingly not very complex. In my opinion, the Orboot Shifu scores above all with the app, while the "globe" is rather small and has a rudimentary print.
I would like a mixture of alldoro Globus and Orboot App - but unfortunately that doesn't exist. After all, I have already received feedback from alldoro that my criticism has been forwarded to the app developer. So there is reason to hope that the app will still see improvements.
I think the alldoro globe is a very good, illuminated globe with relief, but the “smart” department for this product still has some catching up to do. I hope the alldoro team doesn't hold the constructive criticism offended. I am happy to test a new version of the app when it is available and adapt my report to the new circumstances.
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.