The Lenovo Mirage Solo is the first Daydream Standalone Headset. The HMD does not need to be tethered to a gaming computer or a console and you also do not need to put a mobile phone into it. Users just need to put it on and can directly delve into Virtual Reality.
When compared to the Oculus Go, which is also a Standalone headset and therefore the biggest competitor of the Lenovo Mirage Solo on the market right now, the differentiating factor is that the headset is tracked with 6 Degrees Of Freedom (6DOF). The Oculus Go only supports 3 DOF tracking for the headset. That additional freedom of movement, Google calls it “WorldSense” comes at a price. With $399 the Lenovo Mirage Solo is a cool $200 more expensive than the Oculus Go. Is that worth it? Well, without a doubt it is much more immersive. You are not only a spectator of the Virtual Worlds, you are truly part of it and you real world movements will be accounted for in VR. You can duck, dodge, lean in, it is great. Just take the Netflix living room for example. On the Oculus Go you can only sit on the red couch. On the Mirage Solo, you can actually stand up and walk around in the room. That is a big difference.
The Mirage Solo directly comes with 64 gigabytes of memory and you can even expand the storage with microSD cards. Another feature that you won’t find in the Oculus Go. Unfortunately there are no built-in speakers though, quite an oversight for a $399 device, especially when you take into consideration how great the built-in speakers of the Oculus Go are. You will need to use your own headphones or the ones that come with the headset. As what the comfort is concerned, I do not have any complaints. The headset is built in the PSVR style, with all the weight resting on your forehead. I do like that in general, but with a mobile device like the Mirage Solo, the rigid headstrap makes it less portable as compared to the Oculus Go. The Mirage Solo is quite a bit bulky and I don’t think many people will bring it along on trips, which is sad since the great battery life of 3 to 4 hours would lend itself to it.
Let’s talk about display and lenses. The Mirage Solo’s display is just as good as the one of the Oculus Go. The resolution is 1280 x 1440 per eye which is better than those of the Rift and Vive and the same like in the Oculus Go. Virtual worlds look crisp and it is a joy to be immersed in them. Also the Fresnel lenses do a good job even though they are not quite as good as the Oculus Go ones when it comes to keeping god rays at a minimum. But still the visual quality is nice, as is the FOV of 110°.
Unfortunately the Mirage Solo only comes with one controller that is only tracked with 3 Degrees Of Freedom. And yes, it is still the 2 year old Daydream standard controller that does not have a trigger button. I simply cannot understand why Google would not give us a trigger button that would make lots of VR games and experiences more enjoyable. Like this, in lots of games you where you have to pull the trigger of a gun, you will need to use your thumb to click on the touchpad, which is a strange experience. Moreover, since the controller is only tracked with 3 Degrees Of Freedom, you can only point like with a laser pointer but you cannot reach into the world. That’s the same with the Oculus Go but at least you have a nice trigger button there.
As what content is concerned you have full access to all of the Daydream library. And even though it cannot compare to the Oculus Go in terms of quantity it can compare in terms of quality. All the Google apps are here that you won’t find on the competing headset. There is Youtube VR, Streetview, Google Movies, Google Photos, Google Arts & Culture. It is great and especially for those who are already invested in the Android eco-system the Mirage Solo is fantastic because it will even allow you to use all of your Android apps in Virtual Reality on a big virtual screen. That makes the device extremely versatile. You could for example use the Steam Link app in order to stream your Steam PC games onto a virtual screen and that actually does work impressively well.
On the flipside there aren’t really any games or apps that have been developed with 6 Degrees Of Freedom in mind. It is quite surprising that Google didn’t manage to come up with at least one game that would show off the 6DOF capabilities of the device. You can’t really feel the commitment of Google here and it is quite sad to see how Google neglects their own VR platform. But who knows, perhaps that might change in the future.