First announced back at CES 2018, Lenovo and Google have teamed up to come out with the Mirage Solo VR headset and Mirage camera. The Mirage Solo headset is based on Google’s very own Daydream VR platform. Lenovo has been an avid supporter of Google’s Project Tango and Daydream VR pretty much from the start – they were putting Tango and DayDream in their phones and tablets back when VR was pretty much just a fledgeling technology, so this collaboration came as no surprise.
The Mirage Solo offers a very solid build quality with clean lines to compliment. Comfort wise, its padding makes it quite comfortable to wear, but its 1.5 lb weight causes it to quickly become heavy. However, we consider the weight to be a pretty fair trade-off for the wire-free, phone free, untethered experience you get – which can last for up to about 2.5 hours on a charge. The Mirage Solo connects directly to the internet over Wi-fi.
Navigating the Mirage Solo is easy. The included controller combined with Google’s Daydream VR platform is very intuitive, even for newbies to VR. The controller houses a touchpad that lets you navigate around the U.I. With that said, the controller is more limited than what we’ve seen from other VR platforms – it doesn’t let you grab objects and interact with objects in a more sophisticated manner.
The Mirage Solo utilizes a specialized LCD panel with no motion blur. This is actually superior to OLED based VR headsets that can cause ghosting and blur. The system also features Google’s WorldSense technology with its “six degrees of freedom” AKA 6dof. This kind of technology is something that pricier VR options like HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift offer, but not the Oculus Go.
WorldSense lets you lean, dodge, duck, move and avoid obstacles in a way that feels natural, and there’s no need to place a sensor accessory around you somewhere in the room. Just strap the headset on and you’re ready to go. Personally, I’m easily prone to getting motion sickness in VR. I did experience some level of motion sickness while playing certain games on the Solo, but I’ve experienced much worse on other VR headsets, and that speaks volumes.
There are currently over 350 titles available for Daydream, 70 of which are optimized for WorldSense. The assortment of games is pretty impressive and it’s growing fast. The Google Play store already offers a great assortment of games. In addition, you can also use the headset to watch YouTube videos. However, there isn’t support for a web browser – yet. This isn’t a deal breaker for us, and Google does have plans to bring Chrome to Daydream headsets. On the other hand, the headset does have built-in Chromecast integration which helps make the Mirage Solo a more social experience, allowing you to easily project what’s playing on the VR headset – onto a larger display.
Mirage Solo vs. Oculus Go
Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room. There’s going to be a lot of comparisons between the Mirage Solo and Facebook’s new Oculus Go. The Oculus Go is lighter, more portable, more affordable, and it offers a larger selection of content, but spec wise it’s not quite as powerful as the Mirage Solo, which is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 VR platform and 4GB of RAM. That means that the Lenovo Mirage Solo could potentially outlast and outshine the Oculus Go in the long run. There is another area where the Mirage Solo edges out the Oculus Go – and that is its heavy focus on content creation by using the Mirage Camera.
The Mirage camera is the world’s first VR 180 degree camera. It’s able to record a stereoscopic view of what you’re seeing in front of you, but not of what is behind you. Lenovo and Google have designed the Mirage Camera to be a perfect companion to the Solo headset. The camera makes creating content for the headset super easy – it’s pretty much point and shoot. We see the Mirage Camera as being similar to the Flip Camera, and the Go Pros that came before it, in the way that it’s the first VR camera that makes it simple enough for average folks to easily create their own VR content, and that really helps make the Mirage Solo stand apart from the competition.
And don’t worry – you won’t need to own a Mirage Solo VR headset in order to view the content created with the Mirage Camera. Fortunately, the Mirage Camera creates content that can be used on multiple platforms, including Google Cardboard. Your creations can be uploaded straight to Google Photos and YouTube.