What is Astoria VR Headset?

Published on: Jan 14, 2017

Whether you’d like to play games, watch movies, or enjoy sports, the Astoria VR Headset promises to work with any iPhone, Samsung, or HTC smartphone between 4.7” and 6” and to deliver a 360° viewing experience.

To help optimize your experience, the Astoria Headset features a 20mm knob to adjust the focal length of the built-in 8-layer nano-coating lenses, high-quality leather foam cushioning for comfort, along with a high tensile strength headband.

According to the manufacturer, you’ll also be able to experience up to 1080p 3D—and all of this without any special setup, programming, or extra equipment required:

  1. Choose your favorite app, including popular options like Bubblecars, Dive Launcher, and Shadowgun VR.
  2. Place your phone in the Astoria Headset.
  3. Place the Headset over your eyes and enjoy.

Will the Astoria VR Headset really deliver a “mind-blowing experience”? Are there any other smartphone-based VR headsets that should be on your radar?

Here, we’ll help you find answers to some of your most pressing questions—before handing over any your hard-earned money.

What Is Virtual Reality? How Do These Headsets Work?

The exact definition of ‘virtual reality’ largely depends on where you look, although it typically involves being immersed in a computer generated environment where you interact with it as you would the real world.

In other words, a simulated environment that ‘feels’ real.

There are many different methods of creating a virtual reality environment, although products like Astoria are worn over the head, with a front portion that completely covers the eyes. Unsurprisingly, these devices are known as HMDs, or Head Mounted Displays.

Inside the front section, a smartphone is inserted with its screen facing the user.

Specialized virtual reality apps simultaneously display two different images, one on each side of the screen. Each of these images is angled slightly in order to mimic how our eyes perceive the world.

Many VR headset models use two lenses placed between the user’s eyes and the screen, which focus and reshape these images to further create an illusion of depth while providing a wide viewing angle (typically between 100° and 110°).

Most virtual reality smartphone apps are also capable of generating video at anywhere between 60 and 120 frames per second (the speed at which individual images are displayed to fool the brain into thinking motion is occurring), which can enhance the experience and avoid side effects like nausea.

The new breed of VR apps also take advantage of the accelerometer and gyroscope built into smartphones, allowing the software to follow head movements as you look up, down, and side to side.

Many feature headphone support and a knob or wheel to adjust the focal length of the lenses, which might be especially useful if you wear glasses and don’t want to remove them to enjoy a virtual reality experience.

Now, how does the Astoria Headset compare to other popular models?

Astoria VR vs. Samsung Gear VR & Other Headsets

VR headsets are currently the talk of the electronics world. As a result, there are dozens of models currently available, each with their unique pros and cons.

And with consumers lining up to hand over their money, you can be certain many more will hit the market over the next several months.

However, many of these models were designed for use with standalone computers, such as PCs or modern gaming systems.

The good news is that you currently have a handful of different smartphone-based models you can choose from, some of the most popular we’ve compared below:

Model Price Compatibility Pros Cons
Astoria VR $35-$59, depending on quantity All phones between 4.7” and 6” Focal adjuster, inexpensive Largely unknown company, no controls
Google Cardboard $10 iOS/Android Least expensive option Uncomfortable for more than a few minutes
Google Daydream View $79 Select Google & Motorola phones Constructed of breathable fabric, Unique handheld controller Limited compatibility
Samsung Gear VR $100 Samsung Galaxy smartphones (except for Note7) Home & back keys/touchpad for interaction, Focus adjustment wheel High price, limited compatibility
Xiaomi Mi VR Play $16 All phones between 4.7” and 5.7” Many different styles, inexpensive, good for entry level No controls, customer reviews seem mixed regarding overall value
FreeFly VR $70 All iOS & Android devices between 4.7” and 6.1” 120° field of view, Bluetooth controller for games Controller doesn’t work with iPhone apps

Pro tip: It’s not uncommon for overseas factories to manufacture a single product that’s labeled with more than one brand.

To this extent, if you search online for Tepoinn 3D, you’ll find this model is designed and functions identically to the Astoria model, just with a different brand name.

On top of this, Tepoinn headsets are also available through Amazon for a lower price. And of course, your purchase will come with Amazon’s return policy as well.

Comparatively, what kind of refund policy does the Astoria Headset come with?

How Much Does the Astoria VR Headset Cost?

Astoria VR Headsets are priced as follows, including free shipping:

  • 1 Headset: $59
  • 2 Headsets: $97
  • Buy 2, Get 1 Free: $119.97
  • 4 Headsets: $169
  • 10 Headsets: $350
  • 15 Headsets: $525
  • 20 Headsets: $700

Regardless of the quantity you order, Astoria VR Headsets come with a 14-day refund policy, less S&H and a 30% restocking fee, which begins on the date your order is placed.

Important note: In order to be eligible for a refund, your Headset must be in “as new, unused, undamaged condition in its original packaging.”

To request a refund, customer support can be reached at 888-248-0201 or support@astoriavr.com.

Are There Any Astoria Headset Customer Reviews?

While we didn’t encounter any online customer feedback specifically for the Astoria VR Headset at the time of our research, there were nearly 80 reviews for the Tepoinn model mentioned earlier on Amazon, with an average rating of 3.6 stars.

There, most compliments referenced light weight, comfortable fit, solid construction, and competitive price.

On the other hand, many complained about its less-than-stellar view (you can still see the edges of your phone), poor fit, lack of controller, as well as side effects like eye fatigue.

About the Tepoinn, Warable noted, “Basic plastic rules here so anyone investing will have to acknowledge a less rigid set-up – shall we say.”

Since it’s branded differently, though, we can’t be sure you’ll experience the same with Astoria’s VR Headset. However, since they appear to be identical products (with the exception of branding), we think it’s certainly worth keeping in mind.

From a company perspective, the Astoria Headset is manufactured by Kanderian Enterprises, Inc. based out of Santa Barbara, CA. No additional information was available elsewhere online.

Is the Astoria VR Headset Your Best Option?

As you might imagine, ask 100 different people about the “best” option for any product category, and you'll likely receive 100 different answers. Why?

Because we all have a variety of needs and personal preferences, so what’s best for me might be a total flop for you, and vice versa.

Given this, for whom might the Astoria VR Headset work best? If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive option that can get you in the game (no pun intended) and you’d also like lens adjustability, it could be right up your alley.

Just remember that you can purchase an identical third-party headset model through Amazon for less money, as well as with a more robust refund policy. Additionally, here are a few other important considerations before handing over your money:

Are There Any Potential Side Effects from VR Headsets?

Because this type of virtual reality technology is so new, there remains a lot that we don’t yet understand about potential side effects from continued long-term use.

According to a CNBC article from earlier this year, spending even just a few minutes behind a VR headset can lead some users to experience stress and anxiety, eyestrain, nausea, motion sickness, and even seizures. More than one manufacturer recommends that VR technology shouldn’t be used by those under 13.

Samsung Gear VR’s disclaimer notes that, “Prolonged use should be avoided, as this could negatively impact hand-eye coordination, balance and multitasking ability.”

Some studies even indicate that virtual reality technology causes your hippocampus to temporarily shut down, since it’s a completely foreign environment to your brain.

Given these potential concerns, you might want to use you virtual reality headset sparingly until you know exactly how it will affect you.

Is the Astoria Compatible with a Lot of Virtual Reality Apps?

Note that VR headsets like Astoria act as hardware only. In other words, the apps (software) available will depend on your specific phone model.

The good news is that there seemed to be hundreds of different VR apps available through iTunes and Google Play at the time of our research, so you certainly have a selection. You’ll have to pay for many of these, though.

Pro tip: While the Astoria website mentions that you can experience up to 1080p 3D, this is based on the specific phone and app you’re using, not on the VR headset you’ve chosen.

What About Non-Virtual Reality Apps?

Again, it’s important to emphasize that VR apps are purpose-built for devices like Astoria, so this is where you’ll achieve the best results. But what about all those other apps on your smartphone?

While we didn’t test the headset ourselves, it’s still possible to use non-VR apps like Netflix and HULU with these headsets. However, these apps won’t have a 3D feeling, so it’ll basically be like placing a standard app a few inches from your eyes.

What About Games?

If you’re interested in downloading VR-based games, you’ll need a method of controlling the gameplay, which doesn’t appear possible with the Astoria Headset.

In fact, this seems to be the biggest disadvantage related to many of these smartphone VR headsets, compared to computer-based options like the Sony Playstation VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift, which are purpose-built for gameplay.

Bottom line: While the Astoria VR Headset might come with a lower price than much of the competition, it lacks many of the features you’ll find on higher-end models and it’s definitely not the “most affordable on the market,” as claimed by the manufacturer.

What did you decide? Did you purchase the Astoria VR Headset? How did it perform? Would you recommend it to others? Tell us all about it in your review below!

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10 Customer Reviews for Astoria VR Headset

Average Customer Rating: 1.4
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 1 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  9
Bottom Line: 10% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-10 of 10
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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Stay away

    It was the only Christmas gift everyone hated. I bought it knowing they had a return policy. Boy was I wrong. They have a 10-day return policy that starts when they print out the label, not when you receive it, and only if you don't open the shipping box. Now have you ever heard such CRAP? I ever offered to pay to ship them back.

    Do yourself a favor and stay away from this company.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    No customer service for Astoria

    I ordered a set of goggles and a remote and received seven goggles and other items I didn't order! When I emailed and called, I got automated systems that never returned my messages. I sent all the items back but got no refund, and still no return message or call.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Zero customer service

    The product might work for others, but not on my LG Android.

    I received the item on 12/30/16, even though I paid on 12/17/16 and was assured I would receive it before Christmas. I discovered that it was not compatible, so on 1/7/17, I requested a refund. I was told that I missed their 14-day return window. The return window was from 12/23/16, the day when they shipped item! So I should have requested it BEFORE I had received it. How stupid is that?

    I sent numerous emails to them and filed a BBB complaint, and they still would not help me. I do NOT recommend doing business with them. I also filed a complaint with the Texas Attorney General and it looks like I'm not the only one.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Astoria review

    • California,
    • Feb 10, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I did order this headset, and it did arrive a little late, but I'm very pleased with it.

    I went on YouTube and looked up on YouTube's Virtual Reality and Virtual Reality 360, and it's truly pretty cool. They have this roller coaster Star Wars and a neon roller coaster, and it's like you're on it. They have skydiving, space, shark attracts, and it feels like you're in the movie.

    I just don't think these people know where to look. I showed my uncle the roller coaster, and he couldn't believe it, and it was outside and in the day time.

    The only thing I don't like is the strap that goes over your head.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Scam

    On January 9, 2017, I received an email saying that the five headsets that I ordered on January 2, 2017, were shipped. According to the tracking number, though, they were NOT shipped, and there is NO WAY to contact them.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Made a mistake ordering

    • Massachusetts,
    • Feb 8, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I'm trying to reach a customer care representative, but when I call the number, it directs me to their website. I wanted to talk to a representative because I ordered one Astoria Headset, and instead, it ordered two wireless controllers and one Astoria Sonic Headphone. I don't need it, and it cost me over $73.00. Now I'm not happy because I couldn't talk with a representative.

    Please call me.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    No returns

    I have tried to return the product to no avail. They won't answer their online support lines, or my Gmail emails.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Company is shady, if not a scam

    This company is very shady, if not an outright scam. I was going to buy their product and had entered in my information. I then decided I needed to do some more research to make sure I got what I wanted and never finished the purchase process. They illegally charge my credit card anyway, ignored all my emails, wouldn't answer the phone and then shipped me the product almost two months later after repeated emails telling them I didn't order them or want them. Do not do business with these guys.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Wireless controller

    • Virginia,
    • Feb 3, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I think it's a scam. I bought the headset and the wireless controller in order to interact and play games. The controller pairs up with my iPhone6 but does not respond. I executed all the troubleshooting options and still received no response. Not only is there no response, there is no customer service phone number to maybe rectify the problem. Now I wasted $30.00.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Shipping

    I ordered a headset and controller on 1/4/17. I am still waiting for it. They debited my account the same day, promised delivery, gave me a tracking number, and that's it. There has been no delivery. I sent an email and got a computer generated response: "Support will review your request." Was I scammed?

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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