Virtual reality (VR) is no longer an experience reserved for science-fiction movies or training for technical jobs. This technology has seen significant strides in recent years that now allows consumers to have greater access to VR products. This growth has been spurred by companies like Oculus, which has put significant resources into developing consumer-focused products.
Now, Mattel has joined in on this trend to remake its classic View-Master toy into a smartphone-connected virtual reality headset. Make no mistake, this is not the plastic viewfinder you enjoyed as a kid. This updated View-Master, first announced in February, includes top-of-the-line content from National Geographic and others. Trust us, this is guaranteed to hit everyone’s Christmas list this year.
View-Master uses a familiar but updated headset design with bright colors and subtle curves. Gone are the days of cheap plastic parts, this generation looks great. The premise is familiar: choose a reel of images that you’d like to view (called experience packs), hold the pass card to your smartphone screen and insert your device into the holding area on the View-Master. Then you’ll look through the viewing area at a reel that is set on a surface in front of you, then the content will begin to come to life.
One of the coolest features of this new VR-inspired model is the 360-degree experience of using View-Master. Each reel can be rotated to view every side of your chosen content. A click of the button moves onto the next feature on the reel.
Mattel includes one View-Master VR viewer, a preview reel plus an adapter for smaller devices like iPhone 5/s. There are apps for both iOS and Android operating systems, Mattel officially lists support for iPhone 6/s/Plus as well as larger devices like the Nexus 6.
There is also a full line of experience packs that include National Geographic’s Wildlife, and other reels like destinations and space. The former takes users to famous locations around the world while the latter provides a look at solar systems, space craft and an interactive star map. These expansion packs retail for $14.99.