Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream Standalone VR headset review

Virtual Reality headsets have been around for years. And they were divided into two major types. Tethered or not tethered. Both types have pros and cons. Tethered VR allows you to move inside VR world, but it needs to be wired all the time. Non-tethered VR has no wires, but you can’t walk in VR. One is free from wires, but no movement in VR. And the other is wired but capable of moving in VR.┬áIt’s contradicting.

Lenovo and Google worked together and created a headset with a new technology that filled the gap between those two types of the headset to some extent. Lenovo Mirage Solo doesn’t require cords and wires attached to a computer or mount a smartphone on the front of the headset. A display, sensors, and processors are all built into the headset. And integrated cameras and proprietary technology allow you to make a limited movement in VR.

What’s in Box?

  • Mirage Solo VR headset
  • Daydream controller
  • USB to USB-C cable
  • Wall adapter
  • Earbuds
  • Instruction Manual

Specs

  • Dimension: 10.6″ x 8″ x 7.1″
  • Weight: 22.7 oz

The Mirage Solo is currently the heaviest VR headset on the market. The second heaviest one is PlayStation VR. Both headsets have the same type of headband which is responsible for extra weight. It’s even heavier than PC-tethered bulky headsets such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Compared with mobile VR headsets like Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream View, it’s much heavier. Even when a smartphone mounts on these headsets, the Mirage Solo is still heavier. And Oculus Go, which is another standalone VR headset with 3DoF, and it weighs 16.5 oz.

Design

The Mirage Solo has a very similar design to PlayStation VR headset. You wear the headband like a crown. There is an adjustment knob on the back to make a secure fit. A center part of HMD is attached to the front of the headband. You can adjust the distance between them. No matter how much you tighten the headband, you can relieve the pressure on your face separately.

The most of outer body is made from matte plastic in white and grey. The front of the HMD is an exception. It’s made of glossy black plastic with integrated WorldSense tracking sensors, which makes it possible to move inside VR.

On its side, there is a USB-C charging port and a Micro SD slot (expandable up to 256GB) with a little cover. On the other side, there are volume buttons and power/sleep button, and headphone jack. On the bottom, there is a mechanical button to adjust the distance between the HMD and the headband.

Comfort

To be honest, it’s not that comfortable for me. It’s challenging to find the perfect fit. That’s because it lacks adjustments. The adjustments it has are the knob on the back of headband and the button on the bottom of the HMD. Neither of them can set the vertical position of HMD after you wear the headband. So, first, you have to put the HMD against your face, find the best position and hold it there. Then, tighten the knob of the headband. The headband is fitted partially on the upper part of the forehead, but mostly on the head. You have to tighten the headband relatively hard in this position. If it’s loose, the HMD is likely to go down itself and get out of focus. Despite its large construction, I don’t feel much weight of the headset. But I always feel a pressure on the head, instead.

Setup

Unlike Oculus Go, the Mirage Solo doesn’t require a smartphone for initial assistance from a mobile app. It requires the headset, controller, WiFi network, and nothing else. After setup, it takes you to the Welcome app to teach how to use the controller and navigate. In this app, you can immediately start experiencing WorldSense technology. Try taking a step or two, leaning, and ducking, and you will see the display move correspondingly

Controller

The Mirage Solo comes with the controller. It’s entirely the same as one come with Daydream View. A touchpad is on the top. The Back and Home button below the touchpad. And volume button is on the side. It packs a rechargeable battery. You can charge the battery with a USB cable through a USB-C port located on the bottom.

Audio

The Mirage Solo doesn’t have integrated speakers. You have to use a pair of headphones connecting the audio jack on the side of the headset. The Oculus Go’s integrated speakers are fantastic. Its spatial audio provides dramatic and immersive 3D sound. For that reason, the Mirage Solo’s audio system is disappointing. Included earbuds offer decent sound, but they can’t compete with Oculus Go’s integrated speakers at all.

VR Experience

Although the Mirage Solo has higher resolution lenses, it won’t surpass the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive due to lower refresh rate. But it offers much better quality than Gear VR or Daydream View. There is no overheating messages or screen-door effect.

What’s new among all VR headsets is Lenovo’s WorldSense Motion Tracking technology. The technology allows you to move in VR world without external tracking devices. It’s also called six degree-of-freedom or room-scale. However, the area you can walk around is very limited. When you get out of the area, the display will be blank with a warning message. It’s ironic that the non-tethered Mirage Solo offers 6DoF in narrower space than PC-tethered headsets like Rift or Vive.

Apps and Games

You can download and install apps and games from Daydream library. At the time of writing, there are over 350 titles including over 70 titles optimized for WorldSense.

Battery Life

The Mirage Solo has a 4000 mAh rechargeable battery. According to the manufacturer, its battery life is 2.5 hours for general use. Thanks to a proximity sensor, the headset automatically goes into sleep mode when you take it off to save the battery. But remember it doesn’t power it off. When you take a rest for a while, it’s better to power off and connect the charging cable. Unless you play VR for many hours continuously, the battery life of Mirage Solo is sufficient.

Storage

The Mirage Solo has 64GB of onboard storage, which is expandable with Micro SD card up to 256GB, sold separately)

Mirage Solo Camera

The Mirage Solo Camera will be released weeks after the Mirage Solo headset. The camera allows you to create 3D images or videos on your own. Then, you can watch on the headset. A regular price is $299.99.

Conclusion

The Mirage Solo’s 6DoF without external tracking devices is huge progress in VR technology. A solid headband is uncomfortable for watching a movie while lying on a bed. Thus, it’s not for casual user but gamer. Keep in mind that your movement in VR is very limited. You can’t expect the same kind of experience HTC Vive or Oculus Rift offers. The controller is the same as Daydream View. It’s useful for selecting and clicking apps, but it’s not optimized for games. Besides, the controller is still 3DoF. What’s more, apps and games in Daydream platform are far less than ones in Oculus platform.

The retail price $399.99 is a little pricey for the headset that provides limited 6DoF in limited apps and games. However, you can feel a lot of potential from the headset. Despite drawbacks, the Mirage Solo’s WolrdSense technology is a big step forward for the future of VR. Click here to see the latest price.

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