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About the product
- STANDALONE VR HEADSET: Stow away the phones, expensive PCs and cumbersome cables and just experience awesome VR--without the extra hassle. With Worldsense technology, you can move naturally and truly explore your virtual world, free from external sensors.
- COMFORTABLE DESIGN: Lenovo Mirage Solo's engineered to be so comfortable, you’ll forget you were wearing it. Artfully weight-balanced and coated with breathable, thick padding, it's adjustable to your precise measurements. Mirage Solo sports a stand-out look that begs to be worn, while gesturing to the future. VR has never been so appealing.
- POWERFUL VR HARDWARE: Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile VR Platform, the Lenovo Mirage Solo delivers untethered high-quality, immersive VR experiences with the ability to feature 6 degrees of freedom movement, 3D audio and 4K visuals with natural interactions.
- HIGH QUALITY, CURATED VR EXPERIENCES: Lenovo Mirage Solo puts Daydream VR’s hundreds of incredible experiences at your fingertips–including YouTube, Netflix and much more. Access a whole new library of WorldSense-powered experiences, such as Blade Runner: Revelations, which lets you move about and interact with your environment as you search for clues to unravel a Replicant conspiracy.
- RECEIVE A FREE COPY OF BLADE RUNNER: REVELATIONS: When you purchase the Lenovo Mirage Solo standalone VR headset.* Valid for 1 copy of the Blade Runner game from Google Play. Open to participants who have purchased and activated a Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream VR headset on or before December 31, 2018. Offer ends December 31, 2018 or until supplies last. Limit 1 per customer. Valid in the United States only. Offer not valid on previous purchases. Age restrictions apply. See Google Content Promotion Terms and Google Play Terms for more information. Promoter: Google LLC, 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA.
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From the manufacturer
What's in the box:
- Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream
- Lenovo Mirage Solo Controller
- Travel Adapter
- USB Type-C Cable
- 3.5 mm Earphones
Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream
No Phone. No PC. No Cable. Just Awesome VR.
Meet Mirage Solo: The world's first standalone VR Headset with Google Daydream.
Stow away the phones, the expensive PCs and the cumbersome cables and just enjoy awesome, high-quality VR without any extra hassle.
Deploy Google’s powerful WorldSense technology to lean, dodge, duck, move, avoid obstacles, and move naturally through an ever-growing library of virtual worlds.
You can even get the full picture in your virtual world without turning your head, thanks to a 110° Field of View.
The future of VR has arrived.
Standalone. No Strings Attached.
The first to offer true, unfettered freedom through standalone virtual reality, Mirage Solo delivers the same immersive capabilities as PC-powered virtual reality experiences, with none of the baggage. Slide the headset on, and get ready to experience the virtual world. No wires, no extra sensors, no extra cost or complexity.
Move Naturally with WorldSense
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. WorldSense allows 6 degrees of freedom, a new technology by Google that understands your movement in space without the need to set-up any external sensors.
A Powerful Engine, Built for Seamless, Free-roam Virtual Reality.
The Mirage Solo equips you to get the most out of Daydream’s virtual reality experiences. The headset is powered by the advanced Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 VR platform and 4GB of RAM. This powerful engine pushes your experience to its full potential, whether you’re dodging enemy attacks in effortless real time or wandering through an ancient forest temple steeped in lore and mystery.
Designed to Disappear
A device shouldn’t get in the way of experiencing virtual reality. The Mirage Solo was ergonomically designed so you can comfortably stay immersed in that virtual world for long periods of time (thanks in part to its 3 hour battery life). The Mirage Solo is light, adjustable and fine-tuned for comfort and balanced load distribution — eliminating friction and strain against the bridge of your nose. The headset is precisely adjustable, so you can find the perfect fit.
Imagine virtual reality without expensive PCs, overheating smartphones, complex cameras set-ups or tripping over wires. Mirage Solo is true standalone VR, offering all of the immersion with none of the baggage. Using VR should be as easy as turning on the light. With Mirage Solo, it finally is.
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In summary, I really like this toy and for my purpose and expectation, I believe it’s money well spent. My original experience with VR is with phone-based VR(Google Cardboard system) and a few minutes of demo with the Oculus Rift. Phone-based VR quality varied to manageable to horrible. Resolution on phones has that distracting “screen-door” effect due to seeing the pixels up close, and depending on the app/game, performance would be just okay to dropped frame rates (which was nauseating) and then, on some that would refuse to even run at all. I was getting ready to buy a room-sized VR system (with a portable backpack style computer by HP) with the Oculus Rift. After trying on the Oculus, I wasn’t impressed by the resolution, pixels were still pretty large and distracting, and after a few minutes on it, I had nausea even with limited-motion apps. I am not much into VR gaming but more into “VR Experiences” and 360 videos. I never expected Call of Duty graphics on a stand-alone VR system at this price point. Thus, the VR Solo is perfect for me, and saved me from buying a Rift and expensive PC.
Now, let’s get into the details!
Size and weight: This product is pretty large, don’t expect it to be lugging it around the office or bar showing it off to your friends. It’s about the same size and footprint as a bike helmet. It’s front heavy, but after proper fitment, most of the weight will comfortably rest on the top of your forehead. I was able to move around comfortably and rigorously with it with no problem. If you let the weight rest on your cheekbones instead on top of your forehead, you will feel uncomfortable with it in just a few minutes. I use my Solo for 1-2 hours straight, no complaints. If you have seen a Playstation VR headset, they are the same size and design. Incidentally, I bought a carrying hard case for the Solo, sight unseen that was designed and marketed for the Playstation VR - the Solo fit into the case perfectly. So, I would think you can purchase any case designed for the Playstation VR and you wouldn’t have any fitment problems. You will need a case/cover for the Solo when travelling, because it has a pair of Fresnel lenses. A small amount of sunlight into the lens can burn into the screen pretty fast, and Lenovo states in their warranty that they will not cover this kind of damage.
Resolution: I think this has better resolution than the Oculus Rift in my opinion. Yes, you can see the pixels with slight screen door effect, but the pixels are smaller that you won’t notice it that much, especially when there is motion or your are in VR. This is the reason I don’t watch Netflix on it because the screen door effect is much more noticeable when watching video straight on. If I watch videos, I would use the Cine Vive app because you can enlarge the screen as big as you want , up to a point that you can curve the screen and envelope your whole field of vision. Again, the subjective performance of your VR headset largely depends on the software and video quality you feed it. A lot of 360 videos on youtube have very low resolution on actual VR that they look like videos from the internet during the early 2000s. I suggest you look for 4K VR or 4K 360 videos on youtube. Better yet, download an app like Google Spotlight, or BBC Life in VR, etc which lets you download the videos into your headset directly to play offline. You will see that the resolution is much, much better. If you are at home, I would suggest using Wireless N for faster speed for streaming 360 videos to avoid pixelation and buffering because VR videos made in the last 2 years are pretty large files and has much higher resolution, best ones are in 4K.
Nausea: I had bad experience with previous VR that 10-15 minutes of VR before would give me nausea for up to the whole day. Dropped frame rates usually is the culprit for VR nausea. With the Solo, no nausea! I would watch 360 videos, VR for hours and even play Merry Snowballs for an hour, ducking, moving side to side, etc, absolutely no nausea. Only nausea I experienced with the Solo was after 3 runs with a virtual roller coaster, but fortunately it was just slight and cleared up in less than 10 minutes.
Battery Life: With mixed use, I would get 2.5-3 hours. You would be able to know because when you go to settings, it tells you how long the unit was running since it was last charged. Per the manufacturer, the controller last 12 hours of use. I had only charged my controller once in 3 days. Also, it takes about 2 hours to charge the headset and less than that for the controller. Lenovo only gives you one charging cable and charger, though. Another caveat, the battery of the Solo is non-user replaceable. Like modern laptop batteries, it might have 300-500 charge cycles. So if you charge it once a day, then the lithium batteries of both controller and headset have an estimated lifespan of just over a year. Yes, you can charge the Solo while you are using it and it’s strapped to your head. The problem is that if you are using CPU intensive apps, you could get an on-screen warning that the unit has detected a critical temperature on the battery and it will automatically cut-off power from the charger. Lenovo may refuse battery replacement service on the Solo after a year or so.
Worldsense (6DoF) - 6DOF means 6 degrees of freedom. This is the feature that differentiates the Solo from the Oculus Go. Aside from rotational motion of the head, it can also detect the position of your head in 3D space, so you can kneel down and look at a virtual floor, you can peek over a window or corner before taking a step, you can move toward a VR character and look at the figure on all angles and position. You can literally walk-around a VR environment (through developer mode - more on that later). The unit has 2 fisheye cameras in front. It detects corners and edges of objects that are in front of it. When you move, the cameras computes the detected change of dimension and position of the objects, thus interpreting your position in VR space. Also, it doesn’t work with blank white walls, because there are no details (post-it notes on the walls might work). The sensors can not also work in a dark room. Google says that if there is enough light to comfortably read a book, the cameras will work. One caveat, the cameras can’t detect obstacles for some reason. The cameras can tell your position but it can’t warn you if you are centimeters from a bookcase already or about to smash your face into a wall. That’s why you have a virtual fence of about 1.5 meters around you for safety. You can sway, move your head, jump, step, etc. as long as it’s within 1.5meters. If you go over that limit, you get a virtual black fog, and the unit will pause your game and you get a warning to move back into your original floor position. Not too many apps and games support 6DoF or Worldsense. But through developer mode, you can force all apps to use 6DoF, you will need to experiment which app works with forced 6DoF, some great, some even if it works - you wouldn’t want to use 6DoF for that app, anyway. Take for example Ocean Rift on the Great White Shark setting. You are inside a steel cage while a giant shark terrorizes you. The app was designed for 3 degrees of head motion only - so you can only rotate your head and see up or down. That’s well and good, but when you force 6DoF, you can suddenly duck when a shark comes into the attack, you can move back when you get startled, you can peek thru the metal bars of the cage. So, essentially, instead of being just a stationary spectator, your are now moving around the cage with your whole body! It’s like being in an actual shark cage. Other apps that work but you wouldn’t want to would be the app “Art Plunge”. This app sucks you into famous paintings and render the paintings into a virtual environment. Imagine getting teleported into the Mona Lisa, and looking at Mona Lisa blinking, sitting inside her house, etc. In the original settings, you as the viewer is limited to just standing in front of her, nothing more. You can turn your head and look around, but that’s pretty much it. If you force 6DoF on this app, you will be able to walk around her home, look at Mona Lisa’s toes if you desire. The problem is, this program is designed for the viewer that is standing in front only. So when you start walking behind Mona Lisa, you will soon realize that she only has a front shell, and that she doesn’t have any actual rear portion. And when you peer over the windows, you will see that the scenery has been cut-off, because the developers did not need to extend the scene to where intended viewers can’t see, anyway. It’s like seeing backstage of a movie set - everything is just a facade with no real detail in the back. So, essentially, you can walk around in VR environments that don’t even support Worldsense but it might not be as appealing as you might expect. So when you get your Solo, play with the apps in their native settings first before experimenting with forced 6DoF. In addition, the cameras work as sensors only at this time. There is no news from Google of using the cameras for augmented reality in the future.
6. Controller: The controller is simple and effective and lasts a long-time (12 hours per manufacturer). I never experienced having the controller getting disconnected while in VR. You might need to re-center it every now and then. It will automatically shut-off after 5 minutes when you turn off the Solo. The controller can only sense 3 degrees unlike the headset which is 6 degrees. That’s why the system is called a 6.3. You use it as pointer, but because it can only do 3 degrees, the headset can not really tell if the pointer is close to your face or your arm is completely extended out.
Apps: At this time, Google Play has limited apps for Daydream (the system the Solo is based on), and much less apps using Worldsense (6DoF). Before committing to buy the Solo, I would suggest you browse Google Play and click on the apps and games under Daydream. Look at the previews, costs, etc. Some of the good games and apps cost money. Some games like the Rollercoaster costs additional money to ride each new stage/rollercoaster inside the app. Don’t expect PS4 graphics here. Expect high-end mobile phone game graphics, not gaming console/PC graphics. Again, the perceived performance and screen resolution is as good as the app/games/videos that you will feed it. Google Cardboard apps/games are not supported and won’t even show up on Play store inside the headset. Here are some apps that I can suggest to get that holy sh!t initial reaction from your Solo.
Ocean Rift: The manatees, dolphins, sharks, etc. the movements are so fluid and organic, almost scary. The graphics and shading on the animals are so realistic on this one that your heart races when the animals come close.
BBC: Life in VR : This app natively uses 6DoF, so you can move close to the sea otters and back, etc.
Blade Runner: Don’t buy this one, it’s free with the Solo. Register your unit with Lenovo first per the manufacturer and they will give you a link or code to obtain this game. With this one, you can move your body around (within 1.5 meters). If you remove the virtual safety fence using developer mode, you can basically just walk around.
Google Spotlight: This is a showcase of Google’s 360 VR videos that you can download for offline viewing. These videos were made in varying times of the modern VR renaissance so some of them have much better resolution than others. You will also experience a music video of the Gorillaz in VR!
GrooVR: If you like electronic dance music, you will love this one. This is the VR equivalent of getting high on drugs. Resolution and music is top notch. You are floating through space, tunnels, colors, etc. with pulsating music. Forced 6DoF works great on this one
Invasion and Asteroids: These are two funny high resolution VR short films.
Art Plunge: You get sucked into famous paintings. Imagine you are inside Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting. Need I say more?
The Turning Forest: A VR fairytale that is completely magical and properly showcases the capability and performance of your Solo using 6DoF.
Hello Mars: Experience landing on Mars on a spaceship, forced 6DoF is also good on this one.
Merry Snowballs: Snowball fight, but with this game, you can duck, dodge, etc. This game is native 6DoF, so you will have to move like a real snowball fight.
Virtual Virtual Reality: A very well-made wholesome VR game.
Proton Pulse: This is an old VR game, but works so well with the Solo and completely addictive.
Vive Video: It can stream 360 videos from Vimeo but this is the best place to play your own videos. You can set the screen size, you can curve the screen to envelope your field of view, etc. This is where you can play 180 or 360 videos you made or downloaded, also. So if you have 180 stereoscopic or 360 adult videos for example, this is where you play it.
Storage: The Solo has ample built-in memory but I suggest not going out buying the biggest and greatest micro sd card you can get at this time because none of the apps can be saved into external storage, anyway. I have tried forcing the apps to be transferred to the external drive through developer mode, but despite that, there is no option to transfer them to the external storage. So just use the micro sd that you have lying around for now, because the Solo can use that card for photos and videos only, presently. So unless you are planning to put in your movie collection into this, don't we wasting your money on a card, just yet. There are tons of VR videos from free apps like The New York Times, Guardian, Discovery Channel, RT, etc. that you will prefer watching multiple 5 minute 360 videos to a 2-hour movies. Besides, it's not possible at this time to save downloaded videos from those above apps into the external drive.
Browser: As of time of writing, the Solo has no obvious browser. When you look over all the apps in your library, you will not see any browser for this product or even from the app store. There is a work-around, though. Go to settings and click on “Daydream” and click support/licenses and the like and it will pull out the default hidden browser. Just change the web address on the address bar. And yes, you can directly download 180 or 360 degree videos this way into the Solo. So if you go to Xhamster for example, and click 360 or VR videos, you can download them directly for offline enjoyment through Vive Video. The browser is pretty limited, and online content appears in compressed, vertical setting. Google stated they are working on a browser for stand-alone VR headsets, though.
Developer Mode: When you receive your Solo, I suggest that you experience all the games and apps in their native settings before activating developer mode so that you will know later on what custom settings you make will work for it or not. Developer Mode is pretty well-hidden, and fair warning, if you don’t know what you are doing, you can potentially mess up your unit and the only solution could be a factory reset. To access developer mode, go to settings, find “Build Number” then click on it 7 times. You will have screen prompts acknowledging the clicks, saying you are about to unlock development mode. After you unlock developer mode, you can go to VR settings and you can turn-off the virtual fence and also you can opt to force all apps to obey 6DoF. Like I said, the sensors won’t warn you of obstacles, so try not to smash your face into your walls.
Chromecast: This is a bonus! You can cast whatever the sights and sounds that you are experiencing on your Solo into a Chromecast capable TV in real-time. This is pretty handy during parties or when showing off your toy to friends. It has no bluetooth capability for external speakers. So you can’t watch music-based apps with your home stereo without wires.
Here’s my summary:
Long battery life
Best possible screen resolution and pixel size with present technology
The future is actually here
Able to cast your experience to your TV via Chromecast
No more nausea
Real fun and fear
Cons: Controller is 3DoF only
Non-user replaceable batteries
Large size and weight
Limited high-quality apps at this time
Sensors can’t warn you of obstacles when in virtual fence is off
Limited use for the micro sd
Recommendations: If you haven’t experienced VR before, with the proper apps, you will be blown away! If you have a Daydream phone-based VR, I suggest wait for the next generation. 6DoF is awesome, but at least wait for more apps to show up in the Play Store. With the current screen resolution, directional sound technology and advancement in 3D graphics and processing, I can honestly say you can actually believe you are “actually there”, already. Just try the Shark Cage in Ocean Rift!
If this review was able to help you in anyway, please click LiKe! See you on the other side! :)
Additional Note: It appears there’s no way you can replace the facial foam pads on the Solo. If you are showing it around to friends, you can purchase disposeable sanitary VR face masks online to prevent “sharing” facial oils and make-up. Also, the masks are great for extended VR use. I also suggest getting a wrist larnyard for the controller - you will drop the controller sooner or later.
This is my second VR headset, I also have the Samsung Gear VR, so it is my baseline/comparison point.
The packaging of the Mirage Solo is very good, as you would expect for high end electronics, and can be reused to store your headset when it not in use.
Compared to the Gear VR, the Lenovo has many advantages.
Comfort of the unit is good and the built in dial to adjust the fit is well made and easy to use. This is a big step up compared to basic Velcro straps on the Gear VR. The unit is front heavy but I never felt a need to stop the fun due to discomfort. Also, it is a fairly bulky device so it's more for home use than for portable entertainment, though I wouldn't feel safe being fully immersed in VR in public anyway.
6 degrees of freedom is a game changer and makes the Mirage so much more realistic than my old 4 dof Gear VR. Movements are much more natural and help you really get lost in the virtual world, which is the whole point, right?
Being a standalone unit is also a huge plus compared to mobile phone powered headsets. Simply put it on and start playing versus multiple steps needed to hook up your phone. My old Gear VR would drain my phone's battery quickly and shut itself down at times because the phone got too hot and I would worry about damaging it. The Mirage Solo's battery life is very good, at around 3 hours you won't need to cut your session short.
The handheld controller is well designed and intuitive to use. I like that you can swipe in addition to point and clicking. My old Gear VR only had buttons on the headset itself, no separate controller, so this is another huge improvement for me. One minor criticism is that the controller feels sort of cheap because it is very lightweight and basic plastic. Higher quality materials and some heft would help give it a higher end feel.
The interface and menu system are well thought out and easy to navigate. If you can navigate a mobile phone then this will be a breeze. The built in Google Play store has many titles to select from and I like that the 6 dof worldsense enabled titles have thier own section instead of being mixed in with all others.
The price is a little steep but the ease of use and quality of the product and overall experience means I will likely continue to use it regularly, so I feel like the cost per time being entertained is well worth it.
Has access to the Google Play Store and you can download just about any app you would put on your phone, but they do not show up on the devices graphic menu to select them. You have to open them thru the narrow internet browser version of Google Play Store.. a PITA. C'mon lenovo... great hardware... now finish the job! Amazon was great with backorder fullfilment & shipping.