Minecraft Gameband review

The Minecraft Gameband let’s you take the block-busting blockbuster anywhere

The Minecraft Gameband is a high-quality USB watch that lets you take your creations anywhere along with a full copy of the game that you can play on any computer.
The Minecraft Gameband is a high-quality USB watch that lets you take your creations anywhere along with a full copy of the game that you can play on any computer.
The Minecraft Gameband is a high-quality USB watch that lets you take your creations anywhere along with a full copy of the game that you can play on any computer.

Highs

  • Easy to use for playing within minutes of plugging in to a new computer
  • Good construction and high quality materials
  • Generous cloud support

Lows

  • Niche appeal

Minecraft — Mojang’s breakout game of exploration, survival, and creativity — is a huge deal, and has a very passionate body of fans ranging from little kids on up through adults. Many of them should be excited to learn about Gameband + Minecraft, a USB bracelet that carries a copy of Minecraft and all of your worlds with you wherever you go.

Plug it into any computer — Windows, Mac, or Linux–and within minutes you can be playing your game anywhere. It’s the first product from Gameband, the first licensed wearable for Minecraft, and a new tech category altogether.

You can pop it into a parent’s laptop on a long flight or at the school computer lab.

In addition to the core game, the Gameband also comes pre-loaded with a bunch of special, modified scenarios created by top modders from the community like Sethbling, Hypixel, and Dragnoz. These include things like battle arenas, zombie survival, and a building contest. It’s a fun array of activities, and more will be added over time.

The main reason people will buy this, though, is to take their own custom worlds with them anywhere. All of the data is stored locally on the band, and if you have an Internet connection it will back everything up to Gameband’s cloud servers after you’ve finished playing. This is a free service for the first year, after which it will cost $10 per year.

The Gameband also acts as a watch, showing the time, date, and custom animations on its little, 140 pixel LCD screen. It includes an app called PixelFurnace that can also be used on any computer to customize what it shows, and you can select from pre-loaded animations, or create your own of up to 50 frames at 1-30 frames per second.

When fully-charged, the battery will keep the watch display going for 20 or more days of regular use, and it recharges whenever plugged into a USB port. It utilizes the most recent USB 3.0, which ensures the fast data transfer speeds necessary to run the game off of it.

The band itself feels very high quality. It has a flexible strap made of durable thermoplastic polyurethane, which is soft — somewhere between plastic and rubber; it’s easy on the wrist and resistant to smudging. It also has a nice weight to it, and the stainless steel clasp has a satisfying little click when you close it. Clasping it around your wrist is tricky with one hand, and there’s a slight danger of pinching, especially if your wrists are hairy like mine, but it’s easy to get the hang of.

I tested the large version, which is 7.2 inches around and fits loosely and comfortably around my normal, adult-sized forearm. It also comes in a smaller size at 6.7 inches with children in mind. The design on the clasp is based on redstone, which is appropriately the material in Minecraft used to build circuitry. Gameband says it will also release other designs in the future.

It’s splashproof, but not water tight, so you probably want to take if off for showers and squirt gun fights, and you definitely don’t want to take it deep sea diving.

So who is this for? Anyone that loves Minecraft and wants to be able to play it on any computer, wherever they go. The founder of Gameband told me that he got the idea from his Minecraft-obsessed children, and that seems like the most logical target audience for this. Pop it into a parent’s laptop on a long flight, or a relative’s computer during a family visit, or at the school computer lab (shh … don’t tell them I said that).

At first, this won’t make sense, but we recommend the Minecraft Gameband to anyone that might want the Minecraft Gameband. It has a fairly niche appeal, but for what the Gameband sets out to do, it does it very well, and there isn’t anything else out there on the market quite like it. It will cost you $80, but that seems entirely reasonable, given the quality. The team put a lot of work into making sure that this is a really nice object that you’ll want to hold on to.

This is the first product from Gameband, but the company promises to expand its Minecraft experience and adding new game lines later this year. I’ll chat with the team again at E3 in June and will share with you all what’s coming.

Highs

  • Easy to use for playing within minutes of plugging in to a new computer
  • Good construction and high quality materials
  • Generous cloud support

Lows

  • Niche appeal
Product Review

The Oculus Rift is cheaper, the Vive Pro is better. Is the original Vive still worth it?

The Oculus Rift may have brought virtual reality into the public eye, but HTC’s Vive, built in partnership with Valve, does it better. Does the Vive still represent the true future of virtual reality, or are there better competitors on…
Home Theater

What is MHL, exactly, and how does it work with your TV?

There are more ways to mirror your smartphone or tablet to your TV than you might think. Check out our rundown of MHL for everything you need to know about the wired protocol and its myriad uses.
Mobile

The Razer Phone 2 brings power, a super-smooth display, and RGB lights

The Razer Phone 2 is finally here, and it's got upgraded specs, that super-smooth 120Hz display, and an updated design. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Razer Phone 2.
Home Theater

Don't wake the baby! How to connect headphones to a TV

Do you need to connect a pair of headphones to your TV? Our handy guide will show you how to hook up your headphones in a variety of ways, whether you're using wired headphones, wireless headphones, or gaming headsets.
Gaming

Cortana, meet Alexa: Buy an Xbox One from Amazon and get a free Echo Dot

If you buy an Xbox One S or Xbox One X bundle through Amazon right now, you'll also receive a free Echo Dot. The device features integration with Xbox One through the Alexa and Cortana assistants.
Deals

The Acer Predator 17 gaming laptop can replace your desktop PC for $999

Gaming laptops have come a long way, and the Acer Predator series is a shining example. The Acer Predator 17 can be yours for just $999 for a short time. With its beefy hardware and 17-inch display, it rivals many custom-build desktop PCs.
Gaming

W. Virginia isn’t for mutants, but its tourism board doesn’t mind if you think so

Bethesda and the state of West Virginia are partnering on a new tourism program intended to bring Fallout 76 fans to the state. Vault Boy sightings have been recorded across West Virginia already.
Gaming

Be the last player standing with our Call of Duty 4 Blackout mode survival tips

Battle Royale fans will find that lots of their strategies are skills carry over into the new Blackout mode in Call of Duty: Black Op 4. But with the franchise's signature perks, weapons, and equipment, there's still a lot of new stuff to…
Gaming

From Blackout to Zombies, here's everything we know about 'Black Ops 4'

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 arrives on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 12. Here's everything you need to know about the game, including info on multiplayer, Zombies, Blackout, and Signature Weapons.
Gaming

GameStop manager marks ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ launch by mimicking cover art

To celebrate the launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, GameStop stores held midnight launch events across the United States. One manager even cosplayed as the cover star from the game, complete with an accurate haircut.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Mobile

Here’s our guide on how to get ‘Fortnite’ on your Android device

'Fortnite: Battle Royale' is one of the biggest games in the world right now, and it's finally on Android, even if getting set up is a bit long-winded. Here's how to play 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' on an Android device.
Product Review

'Black Ops 4' learns a few new tricks, but it's Call of Duty to the core

Despite nods to hero-based tactical gameplay, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s multiplayer feels as stable as ever -- even as the game trades in its story-driven campaign for the new Blackout mode.
Mobile

Put your iPad Pro to the test with these great games

Did you recently purchase a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, or are you enjoying the 12.9-inch version? If so, we've rounded up a few of the best iPad Pro games currently available on Apple's mobile platform.