Best Buy's "Insignia" Cardboard Viewer

November 15, 2016

Price: $9.99

Durability: Sturdy Cardboard

Optics: Acceptable

Ease Of Use: Simple

Compatibility: Works with all devices and platforms

Short Review: Very inexpensive way to try out some fun immersive experiences. 

 

I'm reviewing Best Buy's new inexpensive version of the original Google Cardboard because it's only $10.00 and for that price, you can't lose! This is a fantastic stocking stuffer, gift for employees or a conversation piece at the house. Surprisingly good quality for a cardboard device!

Over the past few years there have a hundred variations and incarnations of "Google Cardboard". These were first spawned with Google's creation of their own app allowing you to view stereo-graphic images, videos and 3D experiences. Google would allow you to purchase this inexpensive cardboard kit which would be sent to you by mail and you would simply fold up and put together. Amazon and other companies jumped on board with their own renditions, and then there was a flood of bigger and better products with even better optics. There are now many mobile apps that support this viewer.

 

If you've ever had your hands on an original Google Cardboard viewer you will notice that they're almost identical. Google has since modified their cardboard viewers to support larger mobile devices and the Insignia version has done that as well. The only draw-back, as with many other viewers, is that it won't accommodate the thickness of your phone while it's in a protective case. You will need to remove the phone from the case for it to appropriately fit.

 

There is a rubber band that grips the phone to keep it from sliding out of the sides of the viewer and it uses Velcro tabs to secure the phone inside. The optics are just cheap plastic pieces, but work surprisingly well. Like Google's original viewer, there is a trigger button on the top of the viewer which is used for interacting and navigating. This simply acts as a lever and presses against the screen which tells the cardboard compatible app to interact or move.

 

Something I liked that you didn't get with the original Google Cardboard is a foam lining where the viewer rests on your nose. Ergonomically, this is a very comfortable viewer. Because of its rigid and basic design, it does allow for glare and light to sneak in around your face, making it not ideal to be used outdoors or in bright lighting.

I tried the app using Google Street View app and some of my own Virtual Tour experiences. There is still a little bit of disorientation and dizziness caused by the motion sensor and some very subtle delay. This is something that takes getting used to. However, when trying some 3D generated experiences in Google's Cardboard app, it was very smooth and natural feeling. I experienced no dizziness or motion sickness.

 

You can find these viewers in-store at your local Best Buy or you can order them online.

 

 

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