A Look at the Lenovo Mirage Solo Virtual Reality Headset
For the past few years, virtual reality headsets have needed a smartphone, a PC or a game console in order to work. This requirement for interfacing and setup has been one of the key factors for the low adoption of VR headsets.
However, 2018 has seen something of a breakthrough. For the first time, virtual reality enthusiasts now have standalone headsets that bundle together all the essential functions including the screen, the computing power and the motion sensors into one self-contained VR headset that you can simply strap on and begin enjoying your VR experiences. Two pioneering standalone headsets that have revolutionized this new virtual reality experience are Oculus Go and the Lenovo Mirage Solo, both of which were launched in the month of May, 2018.
The all-in-one headset format makes a whole lot of difference when it comes to usability of the Mirage Solo. It is more comfortable, easy to set up and easy to use. The Lenovo Mirage Solo has been built with a rich set of sensors that provides for greater versatility in use. You can wear these virtual reality headsets and stand, squat, crouch or lean in your virtual world. This versatility, that is missing in other headsets, is referred to as the six degrees of freedom. In the VR lingo, it is simply called “6DoF”.In other popular virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR, you need an external motion sensor that is set up around a room or on a desk to track the headset movements in order to attain 6DoF. In this regard, the Lenovo Mirage Solo gives a vast improvement in functionality.
This is where you will find the Mirage Solo VR headset a bit underwhelming. Unlike a top of the range VR headset such as HTC Vive that delivers powerful immersive room-scale VR, you can only take a few steps with the Mirage Solo before the sensors begin losing tracking.
In the Mirage Solo, all the processing power of the device has been embedded in the headset so you will get a quality of graphics that is similar to that of a smartphone-based virtual reality viewer. The Mirage Solo is powered by the same Daydream software that is found in some of the recent Android smartphones.
The Mirage Solo standalone headset uses the Qualcomm processors similar to the ones found in the smartphones. It has a powerful chip that is capable of handling more advanced tracking when in use, thus contributing to its versatility.
The Mirage Solo is the first Google Daydream headset that is a standalone headset. It utilizes the same control found in the original Daydream headsets. The controller gives users three degrees of movement. In virtual reality, it is locked into a single position but it can twist around to allow you to interact with various things in the environment. However, expect to see some drift in the controller so there’ll be need to frequently reorient it by holding its bottom button. In practical use, the control issues are going to pose a serious limitation.
The Mirage Solo has features that are standard in many modern virtual headsets. The headset has a large dial that is built at the back of the strap which you can use to loosen or tighten it in order to get the best fit.
There is also a button at the bottom that you can use to slide the optics of the headset towards and away from the face, depending on the kind of fit that you are looking for. The Mirage Solo fits in snugly even if you are wearing glasses. The headset is comfortable and you can wear and adjust it with relative ease.
Both the headset and the controller can be charged using a standard USB cable. This is included in the product package at the time of purchase. The headset system also has 64GB of storage although you can extend the storage space with the help of an SD card. Once charged, the battery can last anywhere from two to three hours depending on type of use.
The power button and the volume controls on the headset are easy to find even if you are inside virtual reality. It doesn’t have any included speakers although there are ear buds. If this won’t serve your sound needs, you will have to shop for something better.
So far, the Mirage Solo isn’t offering good enough games that will fully utilize its better sensors and head tracking functionality. You can still find some good titles such as Narrows and Rez Infinite that feel great on the headset. However, you can expect the titles to improve with time once the product has been in the market for some duration. The headset retails for $399.99 which is reasonable for a standalone VR headset with room-scale VR and full controller tracking.