Hands-On: Lenovo Mirage Solo VR Headset
Although Google IO 2018 was mostly about software and AI, several hardware partners made announcements in tandem with the event. We saw JBL unveil a Soundbar with Google Assistant, a trio of manufacturers showed Smart Displays with Google Assistant due out in July, and Lenovo followed on the heels of Oculus Go by announcing their standalone VR Headset- the Lenovo Mirage Solo.
We spotted the Mirage Solo at the combined Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality tent at #IO18 where we put the new headset to the test. Here are some initial thoughts after using the Mirage Solo for a brief demo.
How does it fit?
I’m a new recruit of the “glasses not contacts” club and was happy to learn that the Lenovo Mirage Solo fits perfectly fine overtop glasses. After putting on the headset there are two adjustments you can make to ensure a snug fit.
The main fastener on the rear of the headset is dial-based, which I love. It tightens in small increments as it turns, gently clicking into each notch. This mechanism ensures a really snug wrap around my gigantic dome and one that won’t slip or come loose while in use. It rides higher on my head than other headsets, which seemed to take weight away from my face, but it felt a bit too high.
Luckily the second fastener mostly addressed this issue. While holding a button on the bottom left of the headset, you can move the headset further or closer to your face, accommodating various face and nose shapes and sizes.
This greatly improved the fit of the Lenovo Mirage, but it wasn’t perfect. It felt loose on the bottom, beneath my eyes, which was most noticeable when looking down. That may sound like a minor complaint, but it’s not. The goal is to be truly immersed in the VR world. A less than perfect fit is a constant reminder that you’ve got a big machine strapped to your face.
I wouldn’t rule out buying the Lenovo Mirage for this reason alone, though. Not yet at least. I only had 5 minutes to toy with it and there’s a good chance with some practice and fiddling it would fit fine. For others, like my #IO18 partner in crime Derek Ross, there were no complaints.
Fit and comfort are of ultimate importance in VR. At 400 it needs to fit properly. The primary tightening dial is a great inclusion and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this adopted by competitors, but the jury is still out on the overall comfort of the Lenovo Mirage Solo.
One key advantage of PC-driven virtual reality headsets like the HTC Vive is room scale interaction. Sensors placed in the room interact with sensors in the headset, allowing users to not only move their head up, down, left, and right, but also move around in the physical world with the virtual world reacting appropriately.
Headsets like the Gear VR, Daydream View, and even Oculus Go don’t approach this realm. They FOCUS only on directional head movements with clicks of a companion controller used to teleport you within the virtual space. The Mirage Solo does have a remote and can be used to move through space in the VR world, but it’s not a limiting dimension.
The Mirage Solo has built-in proximity sensors, two tracking cameras, and “WorldSense” positional tracking that understands where you are in relation to objects in the room. This allows a more seamless connection between the physical and virtual worlds and thus a more immersive experience. As explained by Lenovo:
Lean and duck to navigate your way through tight spaces; jump to traverse pitfalls and dodge to avoid incoming projectiles. Objects and landscapes stay fixed in place no matter where you tilt or move your head.
At least that’s the idea. In our demo we sat in swivel chairs, giving us the ability to explore a full 360 degree range of visibility, but without any lateral movements. Sure, we could duck our heads and see the 6-degrees of freedom in action, but not to an extent that shows its value beyond the competition.
This is an important distinction to be explored in a full review.
The primary difference between the Lenovo Mirage Solo and the Oculus Go is content. A VR headset is only as good as the apps and games you can get on it; the Oculus platform has 1,000 titles to choose from while the Lenovo Mirage Solo – powered by Google’s Daydream 2.0 – sits at only about 250 titles.
That number will obviously grow, however there aren’t hoards of new and compelling VR experiences launching on the regular. It’s still early days in VR and Mirage Solo owners are very much early adopters. Release momentum will pick up when VR headsets themselves become more commonplace, giving developers more incentive to build on the platform. But guess what? I said that a few years ago when the HTC Vive originally launched and the ball is still rolling rather slowly… steadily, but slowly.
You can choose from a ton of video content via YouTube and Google Play Movies TV, but watching 2D video in a VR headset isn’t the primary use case. Explore the types of content and experiences Daydream 2.0 offers right here.
Specs and Battery Life
The Mirage Solo is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 VR, 4GB of RAM, and seems to run Daydream 2.0 flawlessly. The visuals on the 5.5-inch LCD screen with QHD resolution were good, but expectations should be tempered- this is a dedicated VR headset but it still can’t compete with an experience powered by a full PC.
The Mirage Solo only has 64GB of storage but a MicroSD slot will allow you to ramp that up easily if you want access to more movies, TV, apps, and games. However much content you have, you’ll be limited to about 2.5 hours of continuous use with the Mirage Solo’s 4,000 mAh battery. That’s a little bit disappointing, but par for the course- consider it a built-in reminder to rest your eyes and tether it to an external battery if you really want to push its limits.
You’ll get audio by connecting a 3.5mm headset jack directly into the Mirage Solo and thankfully there are VR optimized headphones that come in the box. We didn’t have a chance to try these specific headphones, but for the best experience, you’ll likely want to select headphones of your own.
Size and Weight
Coming in at 1.42 pounds the Lenovo Mirage is heavier than its direct competitors. Its most direct competitor – due to the fact that it also has a built-in display that doesn’t require your phone – is the Oculus Go VR headset from It weighs just 1.03 pounds.
Two other popular alternatives, the Gear VR and the Google Daydream View, require users to snap their phone into the headset, thus serving as the display. The Gear VR totals 1.09 pounds when accounting for the headset (.76 pounds) and a Galaxy S9 (.36 pounds) while the Daydream View weighs just.80 pounds split between the headset (.49 pounds) and the Pixel 2 (.31 pounds). Obviously if you’re using a heavier device the combined weight will increase, but they’re unlikely to approach the 1.42 pounds of the Lenovo Mirage.
It doesn’t feel dramatically heavier, though. It feels solid. Substantial. Built with purpose as its own hardware rather than an accessory that tags along. Unfortunately, you pay for those materials and that build quality.
Bottom Line: is it worth 400?
If you’re looking to purchase your first ever VR headset, Lenovo’s Mirage Solo is among the best places to start (400 at Amazon). It’s a much better experience than the Gear VR (90 at Amazon) or the Daydream View (80 at Amazon), but is also 4X the price. If you’ve already got a compatible phone and haven’t tried VR before, I’d start with the Gear VR or View and upgrade if you feel compelled by the concept and want a better experience all-around.
The real competition is with the Oculus Go which is half the price and has 4X the apps and games. However, the Go doesn’t cooperate with Google’s Daydream ecosystem. It’s a tossup.
If you value the portability of a VR headset then you should absolutely pick the Oculus Go or one of the smartphone driven headsets over the Mirage Go. The Mirage Solo may be more sturdy and comfortable, but its design and materials are rigid, making it difficult to pack for trips unless you’ve got a lot of extra room.
At this point, I’d say start with the Gear VR or Daydream View if you’ve never tried VR; upgrade to the Oculus Go if you want something affordable, but better quality that you can travel with; and upgrade to the Mirage Solo if cash isn’t an issue and you want the best casual VR Headset for your home.
Which VR Headset would you pick?
Do you already own a VR Headset? Which one do you have, why did you pick it, and how do you like it? Let us know in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев and share how you think the Lenovo Mirage Solo stacks up against the competition.
Lenovo Mirage Solo Review. Image Quality, Software and Verdict Review
There are several aspects to the image quality of VR headsets. Resolution, any associated screen-door effect, motion blur, field of view and lens quality all matter.
The Lenovo Mirage Solo performs well in most of these categories. It uses a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440-pixel LCD panel. This is actually a higher resolution than either the original HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.
I have issues with the resolution of all VR headsets. You can always see the pixels, and it’s the same with the Mirage Solo. However, sharpness is good enough to make game worlds immersive and films enjoyable. As long as you’re not too picky about visual clarity, that is. Screen-door effect, where you can see the black space between pixels, is minimal too.
I’m also impressed by the lack of motion blur. The best early VR headsets all used OLED panels because they have much faster-reacting pixels, but the Lenovo Mirage Solo has a fast-ish 75Hz refresh rate panel. Some people are more sensitive to motion blur than others, but I haven’t noticed it here. This is excellent news, since it’s blur that can cause motion sickness.
There is a visual effect mentioned earlier that can appear like motion blur, however. The Lenovo Mirage Solo’s lenses smear the image at the edges, causing chromatic aberration and purple fringing. Only a relatively small area at the centre is perfectly sharp. High-contrast white text on a black background starts to blur at just 15-20 degrees off-centre.
You can see the fresnel lens pattern here
This isn’t such a big deal in games where you move your head instead of your eyes, but it isn’t great for movies. Who moves their head to look at action going on at the edge of the frame in the cinema?
Field of view is good, however. This determines how much of your vision is taken up by the VR image. Here you get 110 degrees, matching the HTC Vive, and up from 90 degrees in the Oculus Go and 101 degrees in the latest Samsung Gear VR.
Some “porthole” effect is visible, where the extreme edges of your vision are blocked off, but I find the image wide enough to let you get lost in a VR experience.
After a few hours I started to notice the black level isn’t close to that of an OLED headset, but this only serves as a reminder that VR headsets such as this are still quite young. It doesn’t ruin the experience.
Lenovo Mirage Solo – Software and Games
Google Daydream VR has been around for a while, but the Lenovo Mirage Solo is a launch device for WorldSense, which makes use of the headset’s additional positional sensing.
Right now, there are around 60 WorldSense apps and games, some of which were existing Daydream titles now upgraded with extra freedom of movement. Extreme Downhill, for example, is a cartoony snowboarding game, where the extra movement tracking is used to let you duck down under barriers as you slalom down a mountainside, collecting coins.
This is the interface you see when using the Mirage Solo
The most famous Daydream VR games are probably the racer, Need for Speed: No Limits, and Hungry Shark VR, which sees you play as a shark, swimming through the sea, eating stuff. In titles that don’t support extra movement tracking, vertical movement won’t actually be tracked.
Other high-profile titles to check out include Ultrawings (£8.99), Toy Clash (£4.79) and Lola and the Giant (£8.49). It’s probably worth visiting the WorldSense library to see if anything appeals, before buying a Lenovo Mirage Solo.
You can also watch Netflix, YouTube and Google Play Movie content through the headset. These put a big cinema-style screen in front of your face. Resolution is far from perfect – it looks around 480p quality. However, there’s still a thrill to maxing-out the view window then sitting down in front of it like a kid who’s booked out their own cinema. The screen appears epic.
WorldSense and Daydream don’t yet feature any games that would make me want to go out and buy a Lenovo Mirage Solo instantly, however. There’s no Skyrim VR or Resident Evil 7. The titles are more mobile games you might otherwise play on your phone.
However, many of the apps and games on offer are fun and interesting, a good fit for the shorter kind of play sessions most people want from VR. Nevertheless, you still get a higher-grade of experience with an HTC Vive.
WorldSense is fairly new, and the apps and developers of this ecosystem are those of the mobile rather than console space, and since the Lenovo Mirage Solo uses mobile phone-style hardware, the experience with the HTC Vive is markedly better.
Lenovo Mirage Solo – Internals
The Lenovo Mirage Solo has a Snapdragon 835 processor, one of the most powerful phone processors of 2017. 2018 phones have the newer Snapdragon 845. It seems likely either the headset was designed before this chipset was available or that adding it would have pushed the cost up further.
This runs most of the available VR experiences extremely well, with frame rates high enough to avoid the kind of judder that can make you feel sick or disorientated.
You get 64GB storage for your apps and games, plus a microSD slot on the side to add more space.
There are no speakers built into the Lenovo Mirage Solo, unlike the Oculus Go. You can plug earphones into the 3.5mm jack on the side, however.
The battery lasts for around three hours – or less, if you use a GPU-taxing game rather than mostly VR video or 360-degree image apps. This may not sound like much, but it’s actually decent. I’ve used the Lenovo Mirage Solo for 20-minute sessions here and there. Thanks to the auto-standby function, it’s lasted a week.
You can dip in and out of using it much more simply than an Oculus Rift or any headset that requires a phone.
Why buy the Lenovo Mirage Solo?
The Lenovo Mirage Solo is the most interesting standalone VR headset to date. It’s a pretty compelling vision of VR’s future. There’s no fiddling around with cables, plus the headset turns on when you need it to, and goes to sleep as soon as you take it off.
It could be more comfortable; the lenses could certainly be better. In addition, while a 6DOF standalone controller poses some technical conundrums, the Lenovo Mirage Solo could do with one.
The main reasons to hold back purchasing this headset lie elsewhere, though. While the Mirage Solo has the tech of a phone that might actually cost more than £399, this feels quite a lot to spend on a casual VR setup.
On the portable side, the Oculus Go is the obvious comparison. It’s half the price and, while its positional tracking is only half as good, it’s a bit early to tell whether WorldSense’s 6DOF apps are worth spending £200 on.
The PSVR also warrants a look. Yes, it’s a cabled headset and it requires a PlayStation 4 to work. Iits images appear significantly less sharp, too. However, it has far more AAA-style VR experiences and, nowadays, it’s possible to pick up a PSVR and a PlayStation 4 for not much more cash. And then, you’d also have a great console and media player for when you’re not using a headset.
Full freedom of movement in a portable headset is a major step forward, but the price is off-putting unless you love the look of many WorldSense titles.
Lenovo Mirage Solo Review: No-wires VR arrives, and it’s pretty awesome
At a Glance
- Six degrees of wireless freedom
- Comfortable headband
- Incredibly reliable positional tracking
Best Today: Lenovo Mirage Solo
Lenovo’s new Mirage Solo with Google Daydream separates “good” VR from a glorified View-Master experience because of one thing: the ability to move. No, not turn your head as though locked in a brace, but actually kneel on the floor and feel as though you just put your head underwater to get a better look at a kelp bed below.
As the first stand-alone VR headset to let you do just that, without needing a gaming PC, console, or separate doohickeys and emitters, the Mirage Solo with Google Daydream almost aces it, despite a few key letdowns. But first let’s bask in its wireless six degrees of freedom.
What is 6DOF?
The secret sauce of the Mirage Solo, and what likely raises its cost over the competition, is its six degrees of freedom (variously abbreviated 6dof, 6DoF, or 6DOF; we’ve chosen the latter). In VR, tracking accuracy is critical to maintain the illusion. In most phone-based VR, as well as ’s new Oculus Go, you get 3 degrees of freedom, which means you experience VR as though your head were locked in a brace. You can look left and right, up and down, and tilt your head. But if you duck under a tree branch in a game or video, nothing happens, because your body’s movement isn’t tracked.
To achieve 6DOF, the Mirage Solo uses two front-mounted cameras and data from multiple on-board motion and acceleration sensors. Duck out of the way of the a snowball or tree branch, and the image you see in the headset reacts to your movement.
Google engineers (who helped develop the system in the Mirage Solo) told us the system is accurate down to the millimeter. Although we were skeptical, we have to say it appears to be true. We tried our hardest to make the Mirage Solo lose tracking, and it didn’t.
Cover the lenses up for a few seconds, use it in a pitch-black room or outdoors in the bright sunshine, and the Mirage Solo wouldn’t get lost. And unlike Microsoft’s HoloLens system, which takes a few seconds to scan a room before being used, the Mirage Solo system seemed to track almost instantly. We could put the system to sleep and then wake it up in a completely different setting, and it wouldn’t miss a beat.
Call it Closet Scale
With the ability to track your movement, you get about an arms’ length of space around you to maneuver for your VR adventures. While HTC and Steam have “room scale” (15 x 15-foot space) thanks to pair of emitter towers that aid tracking, the Mirage Solo is far more limited to about 5 feet in diameter. Rather than room scale, it’s more like closet scale. Move beyond the 5-feet zone and the VR image begins to vanish, so you know to return inside your safety zone.
As a stand-alone system (no phone needed), the Mirage Solo is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC with integrated Adreno 540 graphics. There’s also 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 64GB of UFS storage. For those who must have more storage, there’s also a Micro-SD slot rated for up to 256GB. Lenovo claims about 2.5 hours of run time for the 4,000mAh battery on a full charge (it charges with USB-C). Our experience largely mirrored that.
Almost as important to some is the strap system. Think of the Mirage Solo’s design as a hybrid of a Microsoft HoloLens and Sony PSVR. Lenovo uses a hard plastic Band with a ratchet system for the rear pad that clamps onto your head. Some VR systems try to offset the front-weight by adding a top strap. Lenovo instead uses a large forehead pad to keep the system in place. The other available adjustment lets you move the display forward or back by about an inch. For our large adult head it worked just fine, but it swam on a small child’s head.
One caveat about the stiff Band: It’s cumbersome if you really want to travel with it. With an Oculus Go, you just bunch bunch up the fabric strap and drop it in your backpack. The Mirage Go’s stiff Band makes for one big bundle to carry around.
The Mirage Solo headset features a 5.5-inch IPS 2560×1440 panel. Per eye, that works out to 1280×1440—a higher pixel density than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. To create the displayed image, Lenovo uses a pair of fresnel aspheric lenses to give you a decent 110-degree field of view. That’s on a par with both HTC Vives and the Oculus Rift, and on paper, better than the 100 degrees of the Oculus Go. It all pays off: We found graphics and text fairly crisp—especially compared to a first generation HTC Vive.
You have to set up the Mirage Pro for Wi-Fi just like any other standalone unit. That means using the laser-pointer-like Google Daydream controller to hunt and peck your Wi-Fi code into the unit.
The controller features trackpad button, plus two push buttons and a volume rocker. It works reasonably well but sadly, it’s only a 3DOF controller. That means it works perfectly fine as a glorified laser pointer in games and for input, but it’s akin to playing a game with your arm handcuffed to your body.
You won’t, for example, use it to fire guns akimbo, like Denzel Washington’s character from Training Day, any time soon. Google officials said other Bluetooth game controllers will work, but let’s be honest here: They aren’t as good as the Oculus Touch or Vive Controllers. On the other hand, those systems also need external tracking equipment. Systems using the controllers from Microsoft’s Mixed Reality can perform controller tracking without external hardware, but their spotty tracking accuracy and reliability has been one of the big turn-offs for Mixed Reality. For now, it seems it is what it is.
Audio is lacking, but you can ‘cast
Another big minus of the Mirage Solo is the lack of on-board speakers. Instead, Google includes an analog 3.5mm jack for audio. That’s kind of a bummer because sometimes you don’t want to jam anything in your ear. Phone-based VR systems, of course, include speakers in the phones.
Google makes up for this mostly by including the ability to stream what’s on the screen (including the audio) to any television with a Chromecast. It’s really a nifty feature for those not wearing the headset. We had no major issues on our 802.11n network. Even when there were occasional dropouts, it was only the stream. The video in the headset never dropped out.
Daydream OS is built on Android 8.0 and is a clean, VR-friendly interface. You’ve seen it before on the phone-based Daydream View. In the Mirage Solo, it worked fairly well, but we did have issues finding and installing apps that weren’t surfaced in the VR Google PlayStore. Installing a third-party VR app required doing so from the app store on a computer. Even though it installed, no app icon was created, forcing us to launch media files from a file explorer in the system view. To be fair, speed bumps like these litter the VR roadway on all platforms.
Does the Lenovo Mirage Solo game?
To see how well the Lenovo Mirage Solo plays games, we tried a few pre-installed products that support the positional tracking. The first was a snowball fight game, where you whip snowballs at neighbors and holiday-themed objects. The Mirage Solo effortlessly tracked our moving and ducking. We also played a snowboarding game where you lean and duck for control. As expected, we had no issues with loss of tracking.
The last game we played was Blade Runner Revelations, a narrative role-player. While it recognizes your body position, it’s not critical to the game (at least not the sections we played through). That makes sense, as it was developed for the 6DOF Mirage Solo and the 3DOF Daydream View headset, too.
Blade Runner as a game is set in the original movie’s imagination of 2019. It’s fairly immersive, and it was hard not to imagine ourselves as Harrison Ford as we flew threw a dystopic future Los Angeles in an LAPD Spinner police car.
But Blade Runner also served as a reminder of the main weakness of the Mirage Solo and other similar systems—graphics horse power. As well as it tracks, it’s still “just” phone graphics, which can’t hold a candle to PC-based graphics. Blade Runner was clearly running at a lower resolution to improve its frame rates.
Speaking of frame rates, Lenovo and Google say the Mirage Solo should be able to maintain framerate to hit its maximum refresh rate of 75Hz. We never felt wanting for more higher frame rates—but we did find ourselves wanting for higher resolution textures and more polygons at times.
It feels, like, well, it feels like you’re playing games on a phone. Overall though, the experience holds up well and almost, just almost justifies paying more for tracking over traditional 3DOF systems.
As a media viewer, the Mirage Solo is excellent. There’s a huge library of free 360 and sterescopic content on YouTube that springs to life in the Mirage Solo. With its high-pixel density and good field of view, you can almost justify having a dedicated VR viewer today.
We’ll be the first to admit that the Mirage Solo impressed us way more than we expected. We typically look down at our noses at less-than-PC-level VR, but the Mirage Solo’s 6DOF tracking performance surprised us.
Its ease of setup, wireless experience, and Chromecast capability make the standalone VR system to beat today.
Oculus Go vs. Mirage Solo
With the newly released Oculus Go at 199 on Amazon (or 249 with 64GB, double the storage) many will see them as competitors. Although we have not reviewed an Oculus Go, we do know it’s a 3DOF system built on an older graphics chip and CPU. That means it probably comes down to what you’ll use it for. Our guess is that the Mirage Solo will outperform it for gaming, but both will be fairly even for media viewing.
So if you’re looking at a gaming standalone VR system, the Mirage Solo has the edge with its 6DOF. For watching YouTube videos or looking at photos, it’s going to be pretty hard to beat 199 for the Oculus Go.
Mirage Solo vs. Oculus Rift
The other comparison many will want to make is with the 400 Oculus Rift. What’s unfair about that is the Oculus Rift (like the HTC Vive) also requires a decent VR-ready gaming machine. The Rift and Vive are certainly superior in tracking and graphics capabilities, but then you’re talking about 400 vs. 1,000, so there is a difference.
Lenovo Mirage Solo Standalone Daydream VR HMD: Fitment Is Its Downfall
The Lenovo Mirage Solo is a decent option standalone VR, but your experience with it will depend heavily on the shape of your head. If its fits well, you’ll enjoy it. If it doesn’t fit well, you may feel like you wasted your money.
- Snapdragon 835 SoC
- Acceptable battery life
- Ample storage
- Room for expansion
- Spatial tracking
Why you can trust Tom’s Hardware
Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
One of the first mainstream standalone VR headsets, Lenovo’s Mirage Solo promises a compelling experience, with no need for a phone or computer. With a speedy Snapdragon 835 processor, a high-res display and inside-out spatial tracking, at first glance, Lenovo’s headset appears to have an edge over the other leading standalone headset, the Oculus Go.
The Mirage Solo’s superior specifications come at a significant price, though. This 399 headset is twice the price of Oculus’s offering, but as part of Google’s Daydream ecosystem, it has a limited set of apps. A loose fit and the lack of included headphones also detract from the value.
Design and Fit
The Mirage Solo headset is white with light gray and black elements that add some contrast to the design. Wrapped in moisture-proof fabric, the forehead cushion is firm and supports the weight of the device without compressing fully. The rear of the head strap includes a mechanical dial that controls the tension and size of the head Band. There’s also a rear cushion that’s softer than the front one.
The Mirage Solo visor hangs from a single mounting point that resembles a hinge. However, like with PSVR headset, the visor mounting point is a slider, which allows you to pull the visor forward to fit different shaped faces or to make space for eyeglasses.
Unfortunately, we had trouble getting the sweet spot of the lenses to line up with our pupils because the tilt of the headset is completely dependant on the fitment of the head strap. We had to choose between a balanced fit or clear visuals. Neither option is ideal for long term use.
The headset is great at closing off the real world, though. Even when the lenses weren’t lined up correctly, we still weren’t getting any light bleed from the outside world. The face cushion is comfortable but it’s bare foam, which will absorb sweat like a sponge.
The Mirage Solo’s superior specifications come at a significant price, though. Lenovo’s headset twice the price of Oculus’s offering, but we’re not convinced that it produces twice the value. The Mirage Solo is a Google Daydream device, which currently has limited software support despite the platform existing for two years already. 399 is a lot to ask for a device that doesn’t have a lot of content. The hardware would need to be pretty special for most people to justify the cost.
The Mirage Solo headset is white with light grey and black elements that add some contrast to the design. It features a balanced crown head Band, which suspends the visor in front of your face like the Playstation VR headset. Most of the weight of the headset rests on your forehead. The forehead cushion is firm and supports the weight of the device without compressing fully. It’s wrapped in a fabric material that shouldn’t absorb sweat too much, but it is not moisture proof.
The rear of the head strap includes a mechanical dial that controls the tension and size of the head Band. The dial has a ratcheting mechanism that holds the tension when you let go of the dial. It’s best to remove the headset before attempting to loosen the dial to take the load off the ratchet. The rear cushion is softer than the forehead cushion, which is comfortable on the back of your neck. It features that same fabric cover as the forehead cushion.
The Mirage Solo visor hangs from a single mounting point that resembles a hinge. However, like with PSVR headset, the visor mounting point is a slider, which allows you to pull the visor forward to fit different shaped faces or to make space for eyeglasses. The release button to adjust the slider is on the bottom left of the visor.
We would prefer a hinge to adjust the fitment over a slide. We had trouble getting the sweet spot of the lenses to line up with our pupils because the tilt of the headset is completely dependant on the fitment of the head strap. We had to choose between a balanced fitment or clear visuals. Neither option is ideal for long term use.
The headset is great at closing off the real world, though. Even when the lenses weren’t lined up correctly, we still weren’t getting any light bleed from the outside world. The headset includes a soft rubber facial interface that contours to the shape of your face. And the foam cushion is soft on your skin. However, the face cushion is bare foam, which will absorb sweat like a sponge, and there’s no way to replace it with a better option (or a dry one). None of the cushions on the Mirage Solo are removable.
The Mirage Solo features a USB Type-C port on the left side of the visor, which is used for charging the device. The port also supports data transfer, so you could potentially use it for peripherals or to access files on a thumb drive. The headset also includes a microSD slot so that you can expand the 64GB of internal storage.
No Speakers, Poor Headphone Compatibility
The audio controls and power button are located on the right side of the visor. The headset includes volume up and volume down buttons and a 3.5mm jack for headphones. Unfortunately, you may have trouble getting your headset to plug into the port because Lenovo recessed it into the visor. Most of out headsets didn’t fit because their plug ends are too wide for the recess hole. And the Mirage Solo doesn’t include internal speakers, so if your headset doesn’t fit, it’s earbuds for you. At least Lenovo includes a set in the box.
In the center of the headset’s faceplate, you’ll find two cameras which enable Google’s WorldSense inside-out tracking technology. Unlike the cameras on Windows MR headsets that point outward to provide spatial tracking for the headset and the motion controllers, the WorldSense cameras face directly forward, and they can’t track the included controller.
Google’s WorldSense tracking enables 6-degrees of freedom (DoF) movement for the headset, which allows you to duck and bob and move your head fore and aft. However, despite the name “WorldSense,” Google’s tracking system isn’t meant for walking around in VR spaces. The platform doesn’t include a boundary system like HTC’s Chaperone technology, but it will warn you to back up when it detects an object in proximity. The Mirage Solo headset is best used in a standing position, not a room-scale configuration.
The included wand controller isn’t meant for 6-DoF movement anyway. The Mirage Solo includes a controller just like the one that comes with the Daydream View headset. It features a clickable trackpad, two face buttons, and 3-degrees of tracking fidelity. You can’t flail your hand around in 3D space with this controller, but you can point a cursor for basic interactions with games and applications.
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC|
|Single 5.5″ Panel|
|538 Pixel Per Inch|
|2,560 x 1,400 WQHD|
|~110° (H), Unpublicised (V)|
|No IPD Adjustment (~XXmm)|
|Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Proximity Sensor|
|WordSense inside-out 6-DoF spacial tracking|
|Integrated speakers with 3D spatial audio, Microphone|
|USB type-c port (data and charge), 3.5mm Stereo headphone jack, Micro-SD slot|
|Built-in Lithium Ion, 4000mAh, ~2.5hrs continuous use|
|visor only: 184mm x 100mm x 132mm, w/ head Band: 204mm x 179mm x 269mm|
The Lenovo Mirage Solo is a true standalone device. It does not require a companion app to configure it like the Oculus Go does. The entire configuration process happens with the headset on your face.
When you first fire up the Mirage, you will need to configure your Wi-Fi network so that the device can access the internet to download content and updates.Once the headset is connected to your router, you’ll need to setup a profile on the device with a Google account and you’re good to go.
The Lenovo Mirage Solo features a 5.5-inch, QHD 2560 x 1440 75Hz LCD panel, which translates to 1280 x 1440 pixels per eye. Lenovo installed dual Fresnel-Aspheric lenses, which provide good clarity at the sweet spot. However, the lens spacing isn’t adjustable, and we noticed distortion around the perimeter of our field of view. Our view inside the Mirage Solo also seemed narrower than on the Oculus Go.
When we managed to line the headset up just right, the image was crisp and clear. But because of the poor adjustability of the head strap, we rarely witnessed the proper sweet spot. And if you’re scared of a little bit of screen door effect (SDE), this won’t be the headset for you. The display in the Mirage Solo is a nice resolution bump from the Rift, but it’s not good enough to circumvent SDE.
Not Great For Movies
The Mirage Solo has the same resolution display as the Oculus Go, but the image clarity delta between the two is significant and became especially apparent when we tried to watch Netflix. You would think that the more powerful Mirage Solo would decode streaming better than the Oculus Go, but that wasn’t our experience. Lenovo’s headset struggled to decode the video at 720p, and the image was often blocky and devoid of fine detail.
We also ran into a problem where the headset would shut off after a few minutes of Netflix while we were laying in bed. Lenovo explained that when the headset is in a dark room, and the controller doesn’t move for a few minutes, the Mirage Solo goes into “Backpack Mode,” which is meant to prevent unwanted battery drain while you’re carrying it around.
Google is working on a solution for this problem, which will be part of the first software update for the device. We’re not sure we’d want to wear the Mirage Solo to watch a movie in bed, though. The head Band doesn’t make a good pillow.
Short Entertainment Is Better
The Mirage Solo is much better suited to viewing YouTube content, though. We could watch high resolution YouTube videos with no hitches in the quality of the stream. Lenovo’s headset also works well for watching immersive YouTube content, such as 360-degree videos and content created for Google’s new VR180 video platform are especially compelling. The stereo view that VR180 cameras produce matches well with the fixed IPD of the Mirage Solo headset, which results in clear VR video with undistorted depth profiles.
Better Mobile Gaming Experience
The Mirage Solo headset handles rendering 3D graphics to a much better degree than decoding video content. The Qualcomm 835 SoC ran every game we threw at it with ease, including new titles with spatial tracking enabled.
Titles that support Google’s WorldSense tracking technology offer a new level of immersive fidelity not previously seen in mobile VR systems. And the games that developers can produce for this system could be far more engrossing the content available for 3-DoF VR systems. How developers will react to WorldSense remains to be seen, but with 40 titles available upon launch, we’d say that developers are keen to adapt Google’s new tracking system.
The Mirage Solo should provide a nice performance boost in the 250 standard Daydream titles too because it doesn’t need to worry about the background processes that a smartphone would have that eat up CPU and GPU cycles. The headset can dedicate all of its resources to the game experience. We don’t have an effective way to test the performance of the Mirage Solo, but in our experience, it performs just as well, if not better, then our Pixel 2 with Daydream VR.
The Mirage Solo includes a 4,000 mAh Lithium-Ion battery, which is supposed to provide up to 2.5hrs of continuous use. However, in our experience, the runtime is actually longer than that. We were surprised to get roughly 3-hours out of the headset’s first charge, which was a combination of video content, 3-DoF games, and WorldSense-compatible games. We’re inclined to believe that you would get 2.5hrs of gaming out one charge, but we wouldn’t be surprised if you could stretch it closer to 4-hours of just video content.
On paper, the Mirage Solo has all the qualities to make it a winner: A high-end SoC, 6-DoF spatial tracking, decent battery life and plenty of storage for content.
Sadly, we had issues with the fit, it doesn’t come with headphones and the Daydream ecosystem has a limited number of titles. For half of the Solo’s 399 price, you can get the Oculus Go, which has a wider library of content, built-in speakers and a better video streaming experience, though it doesn’t have as many degrees of freedom. However, if you want to be part of Google’s ecosystem and appreciate the inside-out tracking, the Mirage Solo is worth considering.
Mirage Solo Daydream headset: VR finally without a smartphone!
We were lucky enough to receive the Mirago Solo from Lenovo. The standalone virtual reality headset doesn’t require a smartphone and can still display all the contents of the Daydream platform. We immediately hurried to share our first impressions of the VR device.
VR headsets are a spectacular technology, but most current equipment comes with some disadvantages: either they have to be connected to a powerful PC or you have to try to squeeze your smartphone into the headset and hope everything works.
Standalone VR headsets can solve these problems. And the Lenovo Mirage Solo has a special feature. It’s the tracking technology, which covers six degrees of movement. Not only can you look around, but you can also move to the side, front, and back and also to the left and right.
Mirage Solo: Daydream without a smartphone
Of course, I had to set up the Mirage Solo right away and load it up with some games, starting with Blade Runner: Revelations. The game recalls a short episode in the Blade Runner universe. As an old film nerd, it was a special experience for me to immerse myself in this world. And the graphics also made a big difference. Yes, of course there is still the screen-door effect, but it’s far less pronounced than with the Vive and Rift PC glasses.
Even the in-game graphics are pretty great. The Mirage Solo conjures life-size figures, detailed skylines and nice weather effects through the lens. So while I’m exploring the world of Revelations, I feel like I’m right in the middle of it. The freedom of movement in the Mirage Solo has a positive impact on my thirst for new experiences.
Even the first steps exhibit the clear differences between the Mirage Solo and classic VR with a smartphone. You won’t be beating your device around inside the headset, and even the setup is fast and uncomplicated. All you have to do is put it on and go: that’s what the Daydream platform can now also provide this experience.
The virtual snowball fight
After Blade Runner, I threw myself into a snowball fight with Merry Snowball. This game is also very successful graphically speaking. But I should also note that Daydream apps are still far from being able to exploit all the options of Worldsense tracking. I would have liked to avoid the snowballs being flailed by my opponents, because the game is more difficult than that.
Just a few minutes with the Mirage Solo made it clear to me: there are hardly any benefits to smartphone-based VR anymore. The Mirage Solo can do everything a Daydream-smartphone combination can. Only better. I do miss the better and more complex graphics that come with PC use, but I’m also glad that I don’t have to worry about any cables with the Mirage Solo.
Conclusion: A much needed step for VR
Lenovo is selling the Mirago Solo for 399. That’s not bad, considering it operates entirely on its own and without any cables.
I’ll be putting the Lenovo Mirage Solo to all kinds of tests in the next couple of weeks. Check back in to hear about all my early experiences with the device. Are you particularly interested in this VR headset? Let us know!