Lenovo’s Mirage Solo VR headset is an important piece of hardware for the virtual reality market. Along with the Oculus Go, it represents one of the first standalone VR devices. It doesn’t rely on a pricey smartphone or a beast of a PC to power it; everything you need in order to experience immersive virtual reality is contained within the headset. Google’s influence on the headset is evident; the tech giants paired with Lenovo to create the Mirage Solo. The two companies have produced a very serviceable headset that has a lot of innovative technology. However, much of it feels more like a dev kit rather than a polished device.
We’ll take an in-depth look at the Lenovo Mirage Solo and its many features. This review will cover the key specs, hardware, features, design, and content on offer. Hopefully, it will give you a greater understanding of where the headset sits in the marketplace.
Lenovo Mirage Solo Pros and Cons
Innovative WorldSense 6DoF technology.
Good performance across the board.
Standalone VR that you can take with you.
Limited content that makes use of the hardware.
Heavy and awkward to transport.
Pricey compared to similar headsets.
Lenovo Mirage Solo Key Specs
One of the barriers to portable VR was packing enough processing power and high-quality components into a small headset. However, Lenovo seems to have overcome this obstacle, as we’ll see below:
A QHD, 2560 x 1440 5.5” LCD. It delivers a 110-degree field of view, comparable to the very best headsets on the market. It has a refresh rate of 75Hz.
The Lenovo uses the Daydream 2.0 OS, a custom Android-based operating system that is used specifically for VR.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 VR. This modified version of the Snapdragon 835 VR is designed for virtual reality. The 835 was a 2017 mobile processor, and the VR version boosts improved visual fidelity and audio performance, as well as combating latency.
Two Fresnel-Aspheric lenses create a 110-degree field of view.
4 GB, more than is found in the Oculus Go.
microSD cards can be used, with sizes up to 256 GB.
Wi-Fi 802.11 ac/n 2×2 MIMO Dual Band, Bluetooth 5.0 and BLE.
Dual 6-Degrees-of-Freedom Tracking Cameras
204 mm x 269.5 mm x 179.86 mm / 8.03” x 10.61” x 7.08”
645 g (1.42 lbs)
Li-ion Polymer 4000 mAh, up to 2.5 hours general use.
As you can see, there’s a lot that has been squeezed into the headset, but it is fairly bulky and heavy because of it. It’s interesting to see a processor and OS designed specifically for VR. However, with specs similar to the Oculus Go, the headset seems expensive. The front-facing cameras do add 6DoF, but make it £150/$100 more expensive than the Go.
Lenovo Mirage Solo Hardware
There’s a lot to be excited about with the Lenovo Mirage Solo VR headset. As we’ve mentioned already, it’s one of the first standalone devices currently available. It’s also the only headset of its kind that has 6DoF tracking. Using the front-facing cameras, the Mirage Solo will track users’ head motions in all directions. This tracking feature is known as WorldSense. Although it’s an impressive use of the hardware, it seems that the software that’s available at launch doesn’t make the most of it. Whether or not this is a limitation of the cameras remains to be seen, but currently, you can only take a few steps forward before the app you’re using reminds you to step back into the game area.
With the hardware that’s contained within the head-mounted unit, Lenovo’s headset is comparable to both the Oculus Go and the Daydream View. The Go has a similar processor, which makes both it and the Mirage essentially as powerful as the current generation of Smartphones. However, as previously noted, the processor is specifically designed for use with VR devices, and it does give the Mirage Solo an edge over the other similar headsets. It’s not as powerful as the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, but that’s not really what it’s aiming for. The excellent 5.5” LCD is capable of outputting 2560 x 1440 at 75Hz, and the Daydream 2.0 platform and associated apps run well on it. There’s very little ghosting, and the 110-degree field of vision is definitely welcome.
The controller is nothing special when compared to the main unit. It only offers 3DoF, which means you can’t use it to reach out and interact with your virtual environment. The Daydream View has what is essentially the same controller, so it’s nothing to write home about.
Overall the hardware is impressive, interesting, but potentially underutilised as things stand.
Lenovo Mirage Solo Key Features
We’ve already touched upon some of the most innovative features of the Lenovo VR device. However, it’s worth looking at some of them in greater detail:
Dual 6-Degrees-of-Freedom Tracking Cameras
These cameras are perhaps the defining features of the Lenovo Mirage Solo. We really hope that other developers take note of their potential and drive this technology forward. The cameras are what power the WorldSense features; 6DoF tracking in a virtual space. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have distinguished themselves as frontrunners in the VR tech race because of this feature, but the Solo allows users to take 6DoF with them wherever they go. It may not be as capable as some of the more expensive headsets, but it’s a welcome addition.
The cameras are one thing, but the software that delivers the WorldSense experience is equally impressive. The tracking is excellent, although sadly the play space is quite limited. Motion tracking is smooth, and the Daydream OS performs well throughout.
Lenovo provides everything you need to get started with your VR adventures right out of the box. The headset comes with Daydream installed and ready to use, as well as the wireless motion controller, travel adapter, USB-C cable, and a pair of 3.5mm headphones which are ‘optimized for VR’ according to Lenovo’s website.
There are enough features to make the Lenovo Mirage Solo stand out from the crowd. The main selling point is the movement tracking; there just isn’t another headset quite like this on the market right now. The only drawback is that the system feels under-supported apps and games that really make use of the 6DoF and WorldSense.
Key Features: 7.9/10
Lenovo Mirage Solo Design
None of the best VR headsets look particularly flattering, and the Lenovo offering is no exception. Overall, we found that the headset is aesthetically not particularly striking. It blends elements from both the PSVR and the Google Daydream View without being too remarkable. It’s perhaps a little bulkier than both, and it weighs a whopping 645g, more than any other headset on the market right now. Despite its weight though, we never felt the Mirage Solo to be uncomfortable. The plastic head straps are adjustable and fit to the contours of the wearers head well, similar to the design of the PSVR. This distributes the weight evenly and means it fits on the wearer’s face well, without leaking any light in. A twisting knob for tightness and a cushioned backpiece means the whole system fits comfortably.
The build quality is good all around, although it does lack some of the quality that the Vive and the Rift have. Overall, it follows the trend we’ve come to expect from VR headsets. The weight may be an issue for some, and as a portable device, the bulk may be too. However, for the amount of technology packed in there you can’t fault it too much.
Lenovo Mirage Solo Software and Content
The Daydream 2.0 software that runs on the Lenovo Mirage Solo is very similar to that found on Google’s smartphone VR experience. It’s intuitive, easy to use, and convenient, with features such as recently played, the ability to record what you see and to cast content to your TV. Once the headset is set up, it’s remarkably easy to put it on and jump straight in. Where the Lenovo Mirage Solo is lacking is in content, however. At the time of launch, there were only around 250 apps and games available to download. Compare this to the Oculus Go’s 1000 or so titles, and you can see a clear difference. That’s not to say there aren’t some good apps available because there are. However, for a medium that’s all about new and interesting experiences, it feels a little weak at the moment.
Hopefully developers will start expanding their reach to the Daydream platform, and the content will start flowing, but for now, it is somewhat limiting for the Lenovo. Titles such as Blade Runner: Revelations and Rez: Infinite stand out and show what the headset is capable of, but there are few others that really push it to its limits.
Lenovo Mirage Solo Review: Final Thoughts
It’s clear that Google is trying to progress virtual reality technology. The Lenovo Mirage Solo is definitely an innovative piece of hardware, largely thanks to the front-facing cameras and WorldSense technology. Walking around and exploring a virtual world in detail is what the VR dream is, and this headset brings that dream a little closer. However, it feels like the Mirage Solo is in a strange no man’s land in the market. It’s not cheap enough to compete with the Oculus Go or Samsung Gear VR, but it’s not quite good enough to satisfy the serious VR aficionado. It makes us wonder exactly who this device is aimed at. As we mentioned in the introduction, it seems a little bit like a dev kit than a finished device.
Nonetheless, it’s an impressive device in many ways. The WorldSense works well on the few apps that truly make use of it, and it’s amazing what Lenovo and Google have been able to squeeze into the device. It’s heavy and not particularly attractive, but it has the foundations to progress VR technology for those who come after it.
It’s clear that Google is trying to progress virtual reality technology. The Lenovo Mirage Solo is definitely an innovative piece of hardware, largely thanks to the front-facing cameras and WorldSense technology.