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Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream offers a truly immersive experience at a reasonable price.
AdvantageThe six degrees of freedom are fantastic High resolution display Good battery life Good WorldSense applications
DisadvantagesNeed more content A little big and heavy
When you wear virtual reality lenses with your smart phone, or even an Oculus Go, you are transported to another world. You can look left, right, up, down and even behind you, but unfortunately, that's all. You cannot lean or take a few steps towards an object to see it more closely. These limitations can make it a bit more difficult to feel a really immersive function, especially in a space where immersion is key to the overall experience.
The function of Six Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) or six degrees of freedom, which is the ability to move up, down, side to side and even walk, has been available in high-end virtual reality headsets such as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, which require powerful gaming computers
But now that changed thanks to Lenovo's Mirage Solo glasses, which are powered by Google's Daydream VR platform, do not need a phone or any other device, and offer you surround RV for a price of $ 399 dollars.
While it is true that the price is still somewhat high for most, compared to other VR headsets it is quite affordable considering what it is capable of doing. It's not perfect, but the Mirage Solo is one of the first mid-range VR headphones that we didn't want to take off after our test. We tell you our impressions.
Before diving into the headphones, let's talk briefly about the Daydream VR platform. Daydream is a virtual reality platform from Google, and is based on Android. First debut with their own Google Daydream View glasses, which rely heavily on the Google Pixel phone to work. Then I better compared the headphones in 2017, adding a better system and features, and announced that I will work with third-party manufacturers to build independent VR headsets.
The disadvantage of VR glasses based on a phone is – obviously – that you need to use your phone, thus consuming the useful life of the device's battery. It is also necessary to install specific virtual reality applications and games, which fill the memory, and it is also limited to a short period of playback time, because smartphones quickly overheat.
Therefore, the Daydream VR glasses are aimed at solving these problems. They have a processor, screen, storage, wireless connectivity and more, all integrated. It is not necessary to use or connect to a telephone, which means that you can wear the glasses for longer without worrying about battery depletion or overheating.
The Mirage Solo is also the first VR headset with Google's WorldSense position tracking technology, which means that it knows where your head is in relation to your physical space, thanks to two cameras that look outward, and that's what It allows six degrees of freedom.
The Mirage Solo is solidly built, and its material presents a stark contrast to Google's Daydream View glasses. Lenovo opted for hard plastic instead of padded fabric, with a stiff mesh padding where the headset rests on the face. It's simple and visually appealing, but at the same time, its size and weight make it look bulky next to Google's Daydream View headphones, and it's definitely not as portable.
The Mirage Solo is one of the cheapest VR devices that we never tire of using.
Like all VR glasses, the Mirage Solo looks a bit ridiculous when used. The combination of white and gray makes it look futuristic, and the outer cameras will make you look like a cyborg. Not only do the headphones protrude in the front, but the adjustable strap is thick and padded, even in the forehead. In essence, it takes over more than three quarters of your face. If you are in a warm room, be prepared to get a little wet with your sweat, and there is no way to remove the filling to clean it.
It is easy to put on the glasses and keep them in place, and we like the rotating mechanism on the back to adjust the strap. The Mirage Solo fits comfortably, but with its weight of almost 1.5 pounds, it can feel a bit heavy after using it for a while.
On the right edge is a power button with an LED light, which alerts when the device is on, charging, or when it needs to be charged. Below are two volume buttons, with a 3.5mm headphone jack on the right. It has no built-in speakers, which is a bit silly, but it comes with a pair of headphones that you can connect.
At the bottom, you can press a button to zoom in or out of the screen. On the left edge is where you can connect a USB Type-C charger to charge the (non-removable) 4000 mAh battery, and there is also a MicroSD card slot in case you need more than 64 GB of internal storage.
The Mirage only does a good job of blocking the exterior light, but you must ensure that the fit is perfect for your head. Some light can seep through the vents at the bottom, but we haven't found it to be a distraction or a problem. We like the quality of construction and design, even if you look a little silly when using them. But that happens with any other VR helmet.
The Mirage Solo has a 5.5-inch LCD screen, and Google and Lenovo said it was specially developed to keep it from blurring when you swing side by side in virtual reality. We had no problems using it, although occasionally we saw some reflections when there was white text on a black background.The screen has a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, which is on par with many other VR headsets, and a pleasant 110 degree field of view . It is sharp and colorful, but you still notice the pixels. We would have liked a higher resolution screen like the HTC Vive Pro.
The Mirage Solo is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor last year, although it can run at faster speeds, with 4 GB of RAM, and we have not had major performance issues. In some intensive games occasional tremors occur, but to a large extent we have had a fluid experience.
Unless you plan to escape from reality for six hours straight, which is not recommended, you will be happy with the battery life. We use the headset for sessions of 3 to 5 minutes, about four or five times during the day, and the battery life decreased to about 26 percent. The battery can fall quickly when you play an intensive game, but in general it should last several sessions.
It took us about an hour and 20 minutes to charge the glasses up to 100 percent, with the charger included.
If there is an element that plays against Mirage Solo, it is its controller. It is the same as you will find with the Daydream View, and although it works very well, and has a fairly long battery, it only provides three degrees of freedom and not six. That means you can't reach out to grab things with the controller, which could seriously limit the experience. 6DoF controllers are available for high-end VR headsets, so we hope Google or Lenovo will offer an alternative controller soon; We may see one in Google I / O.
Nor does it have voice control, which would have been useful for searching purposes. Using the controller to manually drill search queries, passwords, etc. It was a slow and annoying process.
But it is Google's WorldSense technology that steals the spotlight, and it is what offers an immersive virtual reality experience that the phone-based glasses were not able to provide.
The two cameras on the front side help identify where your head is in relation to the space around you, which allows you to bend over, dodge and lean in all directions. You can walk a little, but hit a virtual wall when you try to get away a lot, and the software will push you back to the main area of the virtual experience you were in.
We could see the details in the paintings available in the Google Arts and Culture app
The tracking is very precise, but the movement is limited. However, this only makes the Mirage Solo much more immersive than previous Daydream devices, as well as Samsung Gear VR.
For example, we enter the application Arts and Culture of Google and approach several famous paintings to see all the details. In addition, we dodge snowball attacks in the Merry Snowballs game, and have fun with the Toy Clash board game. There are about 40 applications compatible with WorldSense at this time, and there is a section where you can find them in the Google Play Store. We have played and used some of these games and services before in other VR glasses for mobile devices, and the experience is much better with Mirage Solo.
Mirage Solo runs Daydream 2.0, and the interface is very simple. It's almost the same software as the Daydream smart phone experience, with version 2.0 that adds faster access to recent content, the ability to record what's on the screen and the option to stream what you see to a Google compatible TV Cast.
One of the best things about Mirage Solo is how easy it is to start using it. You just have to put on the headphones and touch the power button. That brings you instantly to the home screen, where you can choose an application or game, and immediately start the fun. It is very simple and without problems.
Games and applications
The biggest drawback, however, is the content. There are many good applications and games available for the platform, but currently that number has about 250 applications and games, in total. In comparison, the Oculus Go was recently released with more than 1,000 titles. It takes a long time for more developers to create applications for Daydream, but it is an important point to consider before making your purchase. Virtual reality is as good as the experiences available to her.
That said, there are some excellent games and several quality applications on the platform. Google told Digital Trends that it continues to work with its partners to ensure they deliver consistent content updates to their Daydream applications, and we have seen steady growth since the platform began in 2016.
Price, availability and warranty
The Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream will cost you $ 400 dollars. It is already available on Lenovo and through online stores, such as Amazon. It was also announced that arriving at physical stores such as Best Buy, at a later date that was not yet released.
Lenovo offers a standard limited warranty for one year, which protects the device from manufacturer defects.
The Lenovo Mirage Solo features impressive 6DoF VR tracking capabilities, at a price that many consider relatively affordable for the features it offers. It is an easy way to experience immersive virtual reality, and while Daydream still needs more content, the platform has grown considerably since its launch. We do not believe that Mirage Solo becomes a mass market item, however, they mark an important step in the world of immersive virtual reality.
Is there a better alternative?
Maybe. The Oculus Go only costs $ 200 dollars, but it doesn't have six degrees of freedom, but only three. That means that, as in virtual reality with mobile phones, you are restricted to simply looking around with your head. That said, it comes with more than 1,000 applications and games, so there is much more content to examine, so it might be a better option for some.
If you are completely new in the world of virtual reality, we recommend you start with Google Daydream View if you have a compatible phone (it does not work with iPhones), since it only costs $ 100 dollars. There is also the Samsung Gear VR of similar price, although it only works with Samsung phones. Both offer 3DoF, but the Gear VR works with Oculus software, so you have access to many more titles. They are a good way to try VR without spending too much.
If you have a Playstation 4, you can buy the PSVR headset, which has 6DoF and costs $ 200 dollars. Another more expensive option in the Oculus Rift, which costs about $ 500 dollars, but requires a gaming PC.
How long will it last?
The hardware is well made, and while you must use it carefully, it is solidly built. Because Google handles the software, you can expect frequent and consistent updates as they become available, for at least two years, or maybe more. There will always be more applications and games added to the Google Play Store, and we are likely to see new software features soon that can enable new features. Virtual reality is still a new platform and is constantly changing.
Should you buy it?
If you can't wait to be completely immersed in virtual reality, but you don't have a PS4 or a gaming PC, the Lenovo Mirage Solo is your best option.