Lenovo Mirage Solo Preview – First standalone Daydream headset

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Google took its first steps in virtual reality with the simple cardboard and came up with the Daydream platform in 2016. Daydream works with compatible smartphones in Google’s Daydream View mount, but not many phones support it yet. Last year, Google announced that there would also be standalone headsets for the Daydream platform. Now at CES the time has come, the first Daydream headset is a fact. The device comes from Lenovo and has been named Mirage Solo.


The Lenovo Mirage Solo is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 VR Development Kit. So it has the SD835-soc on board. There are also 4GB of ram, 64GB of storage space and a 4000mAh battery. According to Lenovo, the headset can last up to seven hours. The image is provided by an LCD with a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels. Lenovo does not mention the refresh rate, but we have not seen the image blink and we therefore suspect that it is a 90Hz panel.

Its appearance is quite similar to that of the PlayStation VR headset. The Mirage Solo has a sturdy headband with a rotary knob at the back, with which you can put it tightly on your head. At the bottom of the visor is another button that allows you to move the part with the screen closer or further away from your head.

Bigger and more freedom of movement

If you look at the specs, you may think that the Mirage Solo is nothing more than a headset with a built-in smartphone. Yet there are differences. First, the headset is a lot bigger than the Daydream View cradle. As a result, it sits a lot more firmly on your head and the lenses are also larger.

Another important difference is that the headset has two cameras on the front. They record the environment and with that the position of the wearer can be determined. Google calls it WorldSense. In fact, the glasses use inside-out tracking, just like the Windows Mixed Reality glasses . The technique does not make it possible to walk around in a room, but it does give you the six degrees of freedom . That means that you can not only look around in the virtual world, but also move your body up and down, and forward and back, and side to side. All this is not possible with the Daydream View and a smartphone.

To use the 6DoF capabilities of the glasses, the software must offer the possibility to do so. On the Mirage Solo, you can only run apps and games made for the Daydream platform. For the time being, these are mainly apps that are made for smartphones and therefore do not offer 6DoF.

Google has had a game made to demonstrate WorldSense tracking: Blade Runner: Revelations. In that adventure game, which will be released on the Daydream platform together with the Lenovo headset in the spring, 6DoF support is present. In the game you walk around through an environment by teleporting, but you can move freely from the fixed position in which you are standing. Graphically, the game looks quite decent, if not impressive compared to PC and console games.

Lenovo also let us try a ski game that also supports 6DoF to a limited extent. That worked properly. For example, in the game we could duck to avoid obstacles. However, it is a simple game with simple graphics and animations. The bending did not happen with a smooth movement, there were simply two positions: standing and bending. The headset should be capable of more, says Lenovo, so it may have to wait for better software. However, the question is whether developers will provide their apps with extensive freedom of movement. After all, most users will use a smartphone for Daydream apps.

Simple controller

The Mirage Solo works with a simple controller, a small remote control with a round touchpad and a few buttons. The controller has no tracking and only offers 3DoF. So you don’t see the controller change its place in the virtual world; you can only use it to point at things. Daydream apps are, of course, made with this controller in mind, but it severely limits the design choices and controls of games and apps when compared to other headsets’ motion controllers.

Image quality and wearing comfort

In terms of dimensions, the Mirage Solo is not inferior to glasses like the Oculus Rift. The design feels sturdy and the part where the wearer has to look into is covered with a comfortable layer of soft fabric. We haven’t worn it for long, but it seems to be comfortable. It is not really a lightweight, by the way, that may become noticeable with long use.

Our first impression of the image quality is good. The resolution of 2560×1440 pixels is higher than that of the Rift and Vive and the image therefore looks sharp. Nevertheless, the screen door effect remains visible, so you see the individual pixels. The quality of the lenses used seems to be fine. We do not see an extreme decrease in image quality in corners of the image or noticeable distortions. The viewing angle of 110 degrees is also the same as that of the Rift and the Vive. That is nice, because with the Mixed Reality headsets we have already noticed that a slightly smaller angle of view of, for example, 100 degrees can negatively affect the VR experience.

The quality of a VR experience is not only determined by the hardware, but also to a large extent by the software. With the Lenovo Mirage Solo you have to rely on Daydream apps and they are not comparable with the graphics available for the Rift, Vive and PSVR.


An advantage of the Lenovo Mirage Solo compared to Rift, Vive or Mixed Reality glasses, for example, is that the headset works completely wirelessly. There are no cables in the way and you don’t need any external hardware. So you could also use the glasses on the road, for example on the plane, to watch a movie or play a game. However, the headset is not really handy, it will take up a lot of space in your hand luggage.

A suggested retail price has not yet been announced, but Lenovo has indicated that the glasses will cost less than $400. This means that it does not differ much in price from, for example, an Oculus Rift or a Windows Mixed Reality headset. The advantage of the Mirage Solo is that it can be used independently, but when it comes to the possibilities and range of software and games, the other VR glasses have a big lead.

The question is mainly for whom a Daydream headset is interesting. Enthusiastic consumers will probably prefer a high-end headset that can be connected to a PC or console. For a simple VR experience or first introduction, a smartphone can still be used, for example with the Daydream View holder.

Perhaps the Mirage Solo is interesting for shops or showrooms that want to show customers something in a virtual world. The hardware is probably powerful enough to show a nice environment and the convenience of the wireless operation is a definite plus in such situations. However, the question is whether this gives the Daydream headsets enough right to exist to really become a success.

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