The View-Master – that viewer that allowed us to experience 3D photos – has had a 21st century makeover so users can enter a new world of augmented and virtual reality.
This new device has been redesigned to brings you images from outer space, the wild and the world’s most noticeable landmarks.
The new platform takes advantage of your compatible smartphone which can fit inside the headset to power the experience.
The View-Master can fit a wide range of smartphones including the iPhone 6S Plus, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the LG G4 thanks to the adjustable frame inside the viewer.
To get started you download the View-Master app and scan the passcard from the corresponding experience pack.
And here’s where we struck trouble. The problem we had was trying to scan the card.
You’re supposed to hold the card close to the smartphones screen and wait for it to scan.
After several attempts we finally got it to work.
We wondered why we even needed to bother with the passcard but this is supposedly for piracy protection.
There are three experience packs – Space, Destinations and Wildlife and each comes with three View-Master discs and its own passcard.
Next step is to insert your smartphone into the View-Master device and to look through the viewer at one of the three View-Master discs.
Even this took a few attempts to get right. You need to have the disc on a flat well lit surface for it to work.
When it works, it triggers an augmented reality display which can then take you into the virtual reality display for each experience.
Not only can you view the virtual reality content but you can also view facts about the objects you’re looking at and also your surroundings.
There are also games and photo galleries to view.
With the Space experience pack users can view the solar system as well as 3D models of spacecraft and an immersive star map.
The Destinations experience pack takes you round the world to see the Statue of Liberty like you’re actually standing on Liberty Island, the Mayan city of Chicken Itza and the Tower of London.
In the Wildlife experience pack you travel from the Australian outback to jungles of the Amazon and the African Savannah and all of the wildlife and creatures that live in these locations.
Just be sure to give yourself plenty of room when you’re wearing it so you can turn around 360 degrees.
The View-Master provides an impressive experience but it takes a few steps to get there like scanning the passcard and looking at the View-Master discs before you plunge into the virtual reality world.
The View-Master VR is enjoyable to use but, like the original View-Master, there is no strap – you have to hold it up to your eyes. After a while your arm is going to get really tired.
It’s more involved than the Samsung Gear VR (which has a strap to hold it in place) and it has less content but it is also cheaper at $49.99 for the starter pack with additional experience packs priced at $18.99 each.
The View-Master VR viewer is also compatible with hundreds of Google Cardboard compatible VR apps.
The View-Master virtual reality starter pack is available now from Target, Big W, Kmart and Toys R Us.
View-Master experience packs – $18.99