The concept of virtual reality is not new, but it does seem to approach mainstream success at a fast rate. With numerous major tech giants already involved in VR, and with companies such as Oculus and HTC betting big on the VR market with high-end headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, industry experts expect years 2016-2017 to be a deciding period of time for the future of the VR market as a whole. Although part of the hype is attributed to high-end VR devices, there already are numerous companies out there, who seem to be more interested in capitalizing on the budget-friendlier niche with entry-level offerings. Mattel is one of them and entered the VR game in February 2015 when it announced the first-gen VR View-Master. However, Mattel is now ready to tackle the market with a new product dubbed the View-Master Viewer DLX.
The upcoming View-Master Viewer DLX has a lot in common with Mattel’s first VR headset released last year, in that it follows the same formula set in place by Google Cardboard. Much like the original model the upcoming headset is not a stand-alone product, but requires a smartphone to function. Fortunately, the updated model will feature a reworked holding mechanism which will be compatible with a wider range of smartphones, including smaller ones such as the iPhone 5. In addition and unlike last year’s model, the View-Master Viewer DLX will feature a headphone jack adapter, which means users will no longer be limited to external speakers or wireless headphones solutions. The new model is also equipped with a focus wheel which will allow users to adjust the lenses on the fly for a better viewing experience, and last but not least, it’s worth mentioning that the new mode’s latch has been redesigned and should no longer be susceptible to popping open on its own.
According to View-Master’s Twitter, the company’s second VR headset will be available for purchase this fall. The new model will be slightly pricier than the one released last year, and prospective customers will apparently have to pay $40 (up from $30) to obtain one. Fortunately, this price tag keeps Mattel’s VR solution on the cheap side, and given the aforementioned updates and fixes, the extra $10 might worth it after all.