Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Lenovo debuts the Mirage Solo, its standalone Daydream VR headset

Lenovo debuts the Mirage Solo, its standalone Daydream VR headset

It starts at $299 and is supposed to launch in the second quarter of 2018, alongside Lenovo and Google's Mirage Solo VR headset.

Smartphone VR is awkward. There's also no need for a smartphone, which means no annoying notifications. It's really only for aficionados. Rather, it uses the available Daydream OS software with a 110-degree field of view, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, tracking cameras, and motion sensors to power VR experiences.

If that isn't enough, however, Lenovo has another Daydream device ready. It's certainly less bulky than the Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset, a VR display created to work with Windows 10 PCs.

The headset itself is comfortable to wear and easy to adjust.

In addition to the Mirage Solo, is the Mirage Camera. They can't provide you with a passthrough image of nearby walls, but can warn you when you're about to run into something.

There are dual tracking cameras built into the headset, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0. At the time, an HTC spokesperson told Fast Company that "We still have a great relationship with Google...but [we] will not be bringing a stand-alone device to Western markets on Daydream". There are going to be even fewer 6DOF games and apps. Oculus is working on a positionally-tracked headset, currently code-named Santa Cruz, which also will have tracked controllers that will help deliver experiences more comparable to what's possible on high-end headsets now. The Mirage Camera is a compact VR capture device that records 180 degrees of video via two 13MP fisheye lenses.

The camera is a little white rectangle with no viewfinder. You can move anywhere easily and watch 180 degree images in 3D. If you're recording locally, you've got 16GB of space, or more with an optional microSD card. Buttons on the back let you toggle between still, movie, and livestreaming mode; it's very simple to use.

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Measuring 55 x 105 x 22mm and only weighing 145g, the Mirage Camera is not too much larger than a smartphone and comfortably fits in the pocket. It's also portable, so can be easily taken on a train or plane without needing cumbersome cables.

Lenovo's Mirage Camera, a VR camera that captures a 180-degree view of your surroundings. And although the camera supposedly shoots at 30 frames per second, one of the sample videos I watched had skips and jerks, which Lenovo chalked up to early firmware. You can also change its functionality from app to app. But I think that once you have a headset on, you might as well be able to look around. A first for the Daydream platform, the Mirage Solo can function standalone, meaning it doesn't need a smartphone tether by cord or Bluetooth.

It was a just over two weeks ago that Lenovo's Mirage Solo headset stopped by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and on Tuesday, Lenovo made it official.

In keeping with the Lenovo and Qualcomm partnership, a standalone headset is coming, called the Mirage Solo. So Lenovo has to be smart about pricing here.

The 10-inch "Smart Display" is priced at $249.99 and the 8-inch device at $199.99. But Google hasn't yet said anything about that. That's where things in our demo got a little mysterious.

All we know is that it will be "affordable", apparently.

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