Last year Google announced that it was working with Lenovo and HTC on two standalone Daydream VR headsets. These were systems that would require neither a PC or a smartphone to work; you'd simply slip it over your face and depart for virtual worlds unexplored. Then HTC had a change of heart and decided it wanted to focus on conquering China, announcing it would no longer launch the Vive Focus globally. Good news for Lenovo then, which has the first, and currently only confirmed, Daydream standalone headset.
The Lenovo Mirage Solo may cause a little confusion in name as Lenovo already has something called the Mirage, which is its AR Jedi Challenges headset.
The Mirage Solo runs Google's Daydream platform, which until now has only worked with a small smattering of smartphones that need to be slotted into a headset. The beauty of the Mirage Solo is its simplicity: you put it on, pick up the controller, and voila, you're doing VR, baby.
Lenovo Mirage Solo: Comfort and tracking
If you think the Solo looks a lot like the PS VR, you're not going mad. The headstrap is almost identical. I asked Lenovo if the PlayStation VR design was a strong inspiration, but it didn't have much to say about it. It's nice and comfortable though.
The Solo has a combined resolution of 2560 x 1440, which will be the same as the Oculus Go when that launches later this year. For reference that's higher than the HTC Vive but not quite the level of the HTC Vive Pro; less "screen-door" effect, and pretty sharp. It also has a 110-degree field of view, the same as the Vive headsets. Oh, and it works with the existing Daydream 3DoF controller.
But there are limitations. For one thing it doesn't support full room-scale. There's about a 1.5m play space around you, which isn't big. The Solo has 6DoF tracking and uses Google's Movesense technology, so you can dodge, duck, dip and dive and, but you can't really move too far from your starting point, and if you do a grid will appear to demarcate your play space. It's a restriction that left me a bit disappointed. Isn't moving around one of the big selling points of a standalone system like this?