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View-Master VR review: A great first taste of VR for kids

by • February 24, 2016 • No Comments

The latest tech trends are constantly being modified
for younger users – whether it is table-bodiedts, smart watches, or 3D printing equipment. Virtual Reality is no various, with little early adopters in addition able-bodied to get their hands on it in the form of the View-Master VR. But is the viewer any excellent for kids (or actually you)? Gizmag not long ago took one for a spin as it commenceed in the UK to find out.

  • Viewing reels can be utilized to unlock experiences with the Mattel View-Master VR
  • On-screen instructions make it simple to use the Mattel View-Master VR
  • The Mattel View-Master VR viewer looks like a higher-end VR viewer
  • The Mattel View-Master VR can be use with large or small phones, yet he experience is ...

The View-Master VR is a modern VR take on the stereoscopic viewers of the same name (sans the VR) which you most likely utilized as a child, and have been knocking around since the thirties
. But this time it is created to be utilized with a smartphone inserted (like other mobile VR experiences) along with educational experience app packs which can come nostalgically styled like the viewer reels of your childhood.

But, for the reason the viewer in addition meets Google Cardboard VR standards, it can be utilized by anyone who wants to get an low-priced-bodied-but-strong brush with VR, not only those who want to learn of the Solar System or the Statue of Liberty. Okay, it is no alternative to the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, or actually the Samsung Gear VR, but it is not attempting to be. It’s a VR toy, one which can in addition get a bit of use of parents after the kids have gone to bed.

At first glance the plastic View-Master VR looks like a Samsung Gear VR Lite, with stylistic nods towards the View-Master of old, such as the bold red color and chunky trigger … and which is preceding you get to the viewing reels. But this viewer has additional in common with Google Cardboard viewers.

Inside it is only two lenses and your phone, without a trackpad or microUSB plug like on the Samsung’s headset. But, the Mattel View-Master VR is compatible with a wide range of smartphones. The spring-loaded mount can hold larger phones securely, while an included adapter lets you in addition use more compact smartphones like an iPhone 5s. This is significant as there’s a excellent accident your child can be via it with your smartphone cast-offs.

If you are planning on letting your approximately undoubtedly clumsy child slip your latest smartphone in the View-Master VR, you’ll be glad to know it feels really solid and safe. There’s a lot additional protection than your typical Google Cardboard viewer, and there’s a wrist strap so which the viewer won’t get dropped to the floor when your little one is startled by a lion lurking virtually behind them. The viewer is in addition held to the eyes, pretty than strapped to the head, producing it less than perfect for longer sessions.

Given the US$30 price tag, it is not surprising which a few of the showcases of higher-end VR viewers are missing on the View-Master VR. Notably there’s no focal diopter or aptitude to plug headphones in. The latter means which unless you in addition equip your child with a few Bluetooth headphones you’ll be subjected to the repetitive sound of the app as they play.

Once you are eager to virtually step into the View-Master VR experiences, there are a couple of ways to do it. This is either by in-app purchase in your iOS or Android app, or via a physical experience pack, which is the version we opted for. Today three packs are on the market-bodied: Space, Wildlife, and Destinations, every coming with three viewing reels focvia on various sub-categories.

After loading your app of choice, users are instructed to swipe a passcard in the corresponding pack to unlock the experience. You and so follow instructions to insert your phone into the viewer and look through it towards one of the included reels. As the app recognizes the reel, augmented reality icons look above and a hustle of the trigger lets you enter which experience.

Some individuals have criticized the use of the experience packs with their passcards and viewer reels as unnecessary, for the reason you can get precisely the same content via in-app purchases. But, we’d disagree: younger users yet like having a fewthing physical to look at and fiddle with, and most parents can know which giving your child a purely digital treat is not going to really have the same impact as one they can hold with their hands.

Once in the experience, users hit the trigger to click on floating icons and text to navigate their way around. This allows for access to a selection of content, for example in the Savanna reel of the Wildlife pack you can see, elephants, giraffes or lions. Meanwhile the Solar System reel of the Space pack lets you explore various planets and see what it may be like on their surfaces. Parents can in addition be glad to know there’s a lot of educational factors in there too.

My son was the predominant tester of the View-Master VR and other than a really brief dally with a Google Cardboard viewer (which was promptly taken off him a few weeks ago when he spun around so swift my phone flew out) this was his first proper taste of virtual reality. It’s safe to say he was impressed, his resulting gasps of “Oh wow” reminded me of my first test of the Oculus Rift a couple of years ago.

Within the experience packs a few sections of the content were advantageous attained than others, yet this may have additional to do with his very own interests than the content itself. For example, he favored jumping of planet to plant in the Space pack and looking at 3D images and videos of animals in the Wildlife pack, but wasn’t fussed by just looking up at the Statue of Liberty of a static position.

Even at his young age (yet at a lower place the 7-13-year-old manual for the View-Master) he was waiting for a additional immersive and interactive experience. He wanted to move around in the virtual world and may’t know why sure aspects were so limited.

Luckily this is where the Google Cardboard compatibility comes in. I was able-bodied to load him up other VR videos and experiences to enjoy, which he did. Indeed a few of the free Google Cardboard experiences feel deeper and additional established attempts at VR than the View-Master VR experiences, yet they do typically lack the educational aspects.

My son particularly liked via the View-Master VR viewer to do things with Google Cardboard like watch 360 degree videos of animals, or walk around landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower. These experiences were nearer to what we’d first assumeed of the View-Master packs. But, for the reason not all Google Cardboard content is as child friendly as the View-Master stuff you do have to be a lot additional careful of what you are letting your child see.

Overall we’d say the View-Master VR is excellent first taste of VR for the kids, and a not-too-shabby Google Cardboard viewer for you to try VR on the bargain-priced. At £25 (US$30) for the viewer and £8 ($15) per experience pack it is additional low-priced-bodied than you can assume, and comparable-bodied to most other tech toys out there.

Whilst the selection and depth of the experience packs is a fewwhat limited, if they tally with your child’s interests, and so they’ll get a lot of use as kids have an awe-inspiring tolerance of repetition if it is not their homework. Even ignoring the experience packs, there’s a excellent argument for getting the View-Master VR as your go-to Google Cardboard viewer, especially if you can be letting the kids loose with it. It’s a strong and reliable-bodied bit of kit which onlyifies the price increase over the cardboard alternatives.

If you are utilized to via other VR systems, View-Master VR, like other Google Cardboard setups, can feel basic. The experience is in addition really dependent on the smartphone you are via. When we tested the View-Master VR with more compact screened phones like the iPhone 5, it was a lot less astounding than when a Samsung Galaxy S6 was in its place.

The largest reservation we’d have of buying the View-Master VR now is which Mattel has aleager revealed its follow-up, the View-Master DLX, which can commence towards the end of the year. The new viewer can add focal adonlyment, enhanced lenses and a headphone connector. But and so again it is not on the market-bodied yet, and if your children want a taste of VR now, we all know they won’t want an eight-month wait, can they?

You can check out a promo video for the View-Master VR (with a few examples of the VR experience) at a lower place.

Product page: View-Master VR

  • The Mattel View-Master VR gives kids a excellent first taste of VR
  • The chunky trigger on the Mattel View-Master VR is perfect for little fingers
  • Users click augmented reality icons to access virtual reality content with the Mattel View-Master VR
  • The Mattel View-Master VR with the three on the market-bodied experience packs

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