The Alternative Realities of Our Time

The Mattel View Master is one of the most popular headsets for an entry-level virtual reality experience. The headset costs only $10 and it includes many basic features, but will it be enough to satisfy your VR needs? In this Mattel View Master review, we will describe the main features of the headset, its design and performance specifications and its pros and cons.

Mattel View Master Features


  • Immersive sights and sounds. The device features 360-degree viewing and listening.
  • The device ships in several color schemes. Each scheme gives off a “retro” vibe.
  • The device is compatible with all Google Cardboard apps.
  • Mattel offers several starter packs for all-inclusive View Master purchases.
  • The durable frame is perfect for children who may accidentally drop the device.

The Good

  • The device is easily the best VR headset for under $10. It provides more value than headsets in the $20 – 30 range.
  • Accessibility is one of the View Master’s surprising strong suits. It’s compatible with most popular phone models and VR apps.
  • The strong and durable frame is great for the price, and weight is distributed evenly across the body of the device.
  • The View Master’s setup is quick and easy. Mattel promotes a “plug-and-play” mentality with the View Master, and it’s easy to hop into your VR experience.

The Bad

  • The device’s phone cartridge is temperamental. Loading and unloading your phone is slightly more difficult than with other headsets.
  • Bigger phones are prone to overheating inside the phone cartridge. The device doesn’t provide much room for phones to breathe.
  • The device is on the larger side. Though it’s marketed to children, it may be too large for them.
  • The View Master supports 3D audio, but it’s difficult to plug headphones into your phone during use.

About the Mattel View Master

Mattel View Master back view


Upon release, VR enthusiasts approached the ultra-affordable View Master with skepticism. Could a $10 device feature decent enough materials for longevity? As it turns out, the View Master is one of the more durable headsets on the market. It’s built of strong plastic materials, and its elastic strap is sturdy enough for frequent use.

The main issue with the View Master’s design is the device’s overall bulkiness. One Mattel View Master review after the next points to the company’s aim to appeal to children, but the device is large enough to cause problems for kids under the age of 13 years. The View Master’s strap helps to distribute weight evenly across the head, but only an adult-sized head can take advantage of the foam padding and other protective features.

Users also report difficulty with the headset’s phone cartridge. Upon initial use, the device’s slider is tough to work with and seemingly gets stuck in the locked position. After a few days of use, however, the slider becomes more workable and easy to use.

Visual Performance

The View Master provides a surprising level of visual power for its entry-level price tag. The device’s 3D viewing capabilities are modeled after more expensive headsets, and the View Master provides a superior experience to most other devices in the price range.

Unfortunately, the base View Master model does not offer adjustable lenses. This requires more adjusting of headset positioning and angle to enhance the viewing experience. Once again, it’s difficult for children to wear the headset at all, let alone in a way that promotes the optimal 3D viewpoint.

When the positioned correctly, the device’s picture quality is extremely high for the price. Google Cardboard apps are a treat on the View Master, and the device continues to hold its own as newer and more graphics-intensive apps get released.

Audio Performance

In conjunction with the 3D viewing experience, the View Master includes options for 3D sound. The newest View Master models include a built-in audio jack, but older models require users to use wireless headphones for phone sound. In either case, any VR app with 3D sound functionality is compatible with the View Master.

The quality of the sound, however, is one of the device’s weaker points. Compared to a full-featured VR headset, the View Master doesn’t provide the same level of immersion. Even nicer headphones will struggle if plugged into the device’s built-in audio jack. But, for the price, it gets the job done.


Mattel’s lack of proper controller options is a thorn in the side of the View Master. Controllers are becoming increasingly necessary in VR, and Mattel hasn’t introduced any information on potential first-party controller products. Instead, View Master users must rely on temperamental third-party products.

Headsets in the price range of the View Master don’t always need controllers as much as their more expensive counterparts. Most consumers will purchase this product with an understanding of the device’s recommended uses, and controller-intensive apps aren’t necessarily on that list.


Like other entry-level headsets, the View Master is not optimized for intense VR gaming. This Mattel View Master review is based heavily on the device’s performance within Google Cardboard apps, and your mileage may vary depending on the games you want to play. Without adjustable lenses, certain games may be impossible to play altogether.

The majority of the device’s recommended games are for children and work perfectly with the device. It’s important to purchase the View Master knowing its capabilities. Users can’t expect a great device for cutting-edge VR games in the $10 price range.

Summing Up

Even with its minor shortcomings, the Mattel View Master is a powerful device for its low price. This Mattel View Master review has highlighted the device’s position atop the world of entry-level VR headsets. Anyone looking for a basic VR headset should consider the View Master. Many users will want something capable of playing advanced games, but the device is perfect for videos, pictures and 3D demos.

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