Posted:Hello everyone :) I have decided to do a personal review on two of the prominent graphic/visual pois on the market today in hope of helping artistes who are considering buying one of these. I own both the Visual poi v3 from Pyroterra as well as the Graphic poi Deluxe 72 from A Technologies and am going to share my personal views on both products. My reviews are based on my personal views/ preferences as a performing artiste. I have been using both for some time now, and will point out the advantages and disadvantages. I will go straight to the important features that distinguish both in performance and design.
Design/Construction: Weight--The V3 (pyroterra)has a sleeker design compared to the 72(A Tech). It is slimmer and lighter with a very even weight distribution. It is light to spin and can accomodate for very high speed spinning for those who prefer so. The 72 is prominently heavier with a not so even weight distribution that is centred more towards the handle area. I did a personal test on a friend with eyes closed n the comment is one feels twice as heavy as the other. Although still ok during spinning, I personally prefer a light weight and even distribution for a considerably larger poi like this, without sacrificing the precision of stalls n such. Also even with 80 pixels compared to A Technologies' 72 pixels, it is almost the same length! Especially for less advanced spinners, this weight difference would make a big diff.
Aesthetics-- Personally I feel V3 looks much sleeker and classy/clean in reality. In the online photos, 72 looks really cool, with a very nice, bronze-like kind of color. However the actual poi feels/looks more like it's being pasted with glittery stickers that can wear off with use over time.
On/off button-- The V3 is way superior in this design with a flat on/off switch. There is no bulge at all, as compared to 72's push button which sticks out of the poi body. V3 has an advantage here as it requires one to hold the button for about 3 seconds before it can be turned on. 72 can be turned on immediately once your finger pushes or hits the button. This is a very important aspect to consider for those performing on stage, especially if one does more advanced moves like catching the pois, which often can trigger an accidental pressing of the on-off button when the poi is swung back and caught in the hand, like an overhead butterfly catch. With nothing sticking out of the poi body and a requirement to hold the button before anything can be switched on or amended, the v3 provides much safety when performing on stage to choreographed music. Not only that, it is also not as easy to switch on accidentally during transportation. I feel this is one of the very important things to consider as assuming one purchases the visual/graphic pois for it's power to program to music. Once it's accidentally switched off, the graphics will miss the music.
Battery indicator-- The V3 has an advantage when it comes to checking of battery life. Once switched on, one can immediately see the amount of battery remaining by means of a blinking light on the poi. The 72 however requires connection to a USB cable to check it's level. Being able to see battery life immediately gives one the confidence when running multiple shows in a day.
Capacity: When it comes to capacity and poi power, the V3 is a clear winner. It has 4 memory banks to store 4 different sets of programmed images!! The 72 on the other hand can only accomodate 1 set of programmed images at one time until you reset it on a computer. This is to say, I can program the V3 to RUN 4 different SHOWS at a go before I need to change anything again!! This is a huge advantage for a working performer who runs more than one show at a time. This itself, just my personal opinion, is justification to choose the V3.
Another clear winner, the V3 shines when it comes to the software itself for programming images. Both programs are kind of similar but the v3 software has a HUGE advantage for performers. It has a visual display/preview of the programmed image. There is a spinning image of the graphic which gives one a preview of the outcome of the spin. From the computer screen alone, you can see how the eventual image will appear when spun in hand. From this, you can tweak the size and spacing without having to upload the images to check physically and re program again. It cuts down a lot of "checking time". The 72 does not have this ability though. Also, 72 has only a 1x or 5x zoom into the music timeline, whereas the V3 has a very detailed millisecond zoom which enables one to pinpoint to the finest detail when programming image to music. One can also drag and paste images from the screen onto the music/image bar. Very clear cut and visually easy.
My computer has certain issues with the 72, and there is a problem with the sound I had to fix. Although this is explained in the user manual and apparently easy to fix, it wasn't as easy for me as I have to admit I'm not a techie kind of guy... For the amount paid and being an artist, not a tech person, I would really prefer not to have to fix these problems with the arrival and new use of the product. There was another compatibility issue with the 72 program and my computer, and similarly, I have to admit, I'm very bad at such things, I got someone to fix for me and there was slight frustration
Personally, I feel Pyroterra has a better level of customer support. Both are very fast to respond when it comes to purchase enquiry but the big difference comes when you have actually made the purchase. I feel Pyroterra has a more clear-cut way of selling the visual poi compared to A Technogies. I wasn't able to purchase a visual poi from pyroterra until they physically had stock. It was only then that you would be informed of your ability to purchase the poi. The 72 was available for purchase when I ordered it, but it took about 3-4months before it arrives. At A technologies, you would be bound to an agreement where you had to agree to wait for a possibility of up to 45 days before you can receive the product before you can be allowed to order. Once you agree, you would have to pay up and not be able to back out(at least from my personal experience). As a performing artiste, I think it is very important you have the freedom of choice to switch to another product if you feel the waiting time is too long. I had felt that a buyer would agree to the terms thinking 45 days is about the average time needed to make the prop. However, it took way way longer than that. Having paid up for the product and not able to switch to another choice for upcoming shows is a big headache. It is not a product that one could just "buy another" just like that. It is expensive! Having to wait and constantly check whether the product is ready with weak communications is a hassle. I personally prefer how Pyroterra openly declares out-of-stock on their web page until they are officially ready for purchase. This allows one to choose another product without being "bound". Having to wait a long time after you pay up and miss show opportunities is not a nice feeling.
As an added advantage, Pyroterra also has very fast technical support when it comes to troubleshooting. The emails never quite take more than a day to respond and even sending back to the home country for technical tune up is extremely fast and efficient.
Overall, the V3 would be better suited in my opinion for a real worker/ performing artist. It is visually sleeker with much more powerful features and design. The online promotional videos by A Technologies are very spectacular compared to Pyroterra, but when it comes to the real product, Visual poi 3 is a hands down winner considering the price for both is almost the same, with Visual poi 3 slightly more expensive, but, definitely more worth in terms of its superior features. Many of the old problems with the visual poi 2 has also been solved, like accidental switching on n off of the button but which still exists with the 72. With the added advantage of strong technical support( which I feel is extremely important with regards to electronic products, and might I add that's so expensive!), it is pretty clear a choice to go for the Visual Poi v3.
I hope this review gives an idea of how both products function and may it help you in your preference/performances.