First Look: Lenovo’s Wireless Daydream Headset

Posted on January 10, 2018 by Brad Sams in Hardware with 8 Comments

There have been a lot of announcements at CES, everything from refrigerators that are now computers to humidifiers that can be controlled with a digital assistant. One type of technology, which has been around for a few years, is the VR headset and this year, Lenovo announced the Mirage Solo which is a wireless Daydream headset.

The AR/VR field is quickly becoming saturated with many different competitors from those that use Microsoft’s Mixed Reality to the Vive and Oculus as well. But Google’s product has slowly been growing and with the announcement of the Mirage Solo, the next generation of VR headsets may finally be able to start to crack the nut that is the casual user.

I got a chance to try out the Mirage Solo and it’s honestly pretty good. The fact that it is wireless and is fully self-contained (you don’t need a smartphone to use it) means that you can pick it up and use the device without much hassle. Lenovo claims that you can get up to 7 hours of usage out of the device which is more than most will ever use in a single instance.

Unfortunately, it’s quite hard to show the optics of the device unless you are wearing it but I can tell you that the six-degree physical space tracking mechanism works exceptionally well (Google calls this Inside-Out tracking) and that the display is bright with a quick response time. As for the actual image quality, I would put this on-par with the first gen HTC Vive; I was quite impressed with how good a wireless headset can perform.

The headset was comfortable and while I was only able to use the device for about 10 minutes, it did not feel heavy on my head nor did it get hot. The materials are plastic but the device feels well-made and the controller worked seamlessly with the headset; I didn’t experience any input lag.

I was able to watch a video in VR and explore 360 photographs but the best experience was the skiing game that worked by physically moving around to control the character. The downhill race was excellent and for the first time with a headset like this, I did get a bit nauseated; neither with Hololens or my Vive have I ever experienced this. I think it was because the game was fast-paced and involved a lot of virtual-elevation change but at the same time, the game was a lot of fun.

With a price somewhere around the $400 mark, it’s not going to be cheap and I still expect this hardware to be for the enthusiast crowd at this point. But the fact that VR headsets are now fully-self contained and wireless is the next stepping stone towards mass adoption of this technology.

I am optimistic that as these devices progress and the price is lowered, they will become more widespread as this is a unique way to explore content. I know that it’s not for everyone but I have grown to enjoy VR and while it’s not perfect yet, the long-term outlook is positive.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “First Look: Lenovo’s Wireless Daydream Headset”

  1. Nicholas Kathrein

    It's not a failure. It takes time. Time for hardware to get small enough. Time for software to get good enough. Time for developers to re-imagine how games and movies and other experiences need to be created to take advantage of this new platform. I'd say in the next 3 to 5 years we're be at a point where the whole experience from light headset and great screen to a decent amount of apps and games that really make it shine. For now we have to struggle with this so we can grow the technology.

  2. lwetzel

    Assume the wire hanging down in the picture was to control Brad and not the device.

  3. Bats

    The key to the success of VR is going to be the user and not the software/game developer. 

    The more picture and video that are in 360 (or 180), the more adopted VR technology is going to be. Therefore the key focus should be on the camera and not so much the glasses. Right now, the 360 still pictures are good, IMO. However 360 video isn't. When 360 video cameras improve enough to almost match the resolution of at least a smartphone, then I think the technology will take off.

    As for AR (Augmented Reality), BOY....I am having so much fun with it.

    At work, I have taken a number of AR pictures and videos around my office and the building, using Android's AR stickers. It's so funny to see the reaction in other people's faces, when they see an actual Star Wars Storm Trooper in my office. It's sooooooooooo FUNNY! I don't really use snapchat, but now I know why users are addicted using the AR with that app.

    • JudaZuk

      reply to Bats: - no offence but is your office actually a kindergarten ?

       What person today is surprised by a doctored photo or video? It stopped being new when the musical fantasy featuring Dick Van Dyke was released back in the 1960's. We have had numerous examples since then. Even Nokia had this on their phones many years ago if we focus on phones. 

       What possible reaction could you get.. except I guess you are not working today? Where is that report I'm waiting for?.. if its an office. 

  4. Chris_Kez

    Perhaps Microsoft made a mistake in skipping Hololens v2 in order bring v3 to market sometime in 2019. As with Cortana, they can't just think it is okay to work quietly in the background then expect to make a big splash in the future.

  5. Eric Rasmussen

    Microsoft, as usual, demo'd a device that could have been transformative but was announced before the hardware was capable of supporting the experience they imagined. Then they exited the space and won't be back until next year at the earliest.

    What they should have done, in hindsight, is accepted the fact that processors simply were not up to the task a few years ago and released a headset that tethered to a PC. Even compared to the very latest Snapdragons, a PC has many orders of magnitude more processing power at its disposal. Had they released the SDK and a tethered headset, people could build experiences for the device while waiting for the next generation wireless device. It's all about capturing the ecosystem early and catering to the studios who will build the experiences that wow people over.

    It's just frustrating to see Microsoft continually mess up market opportunities and allow others to capture a market completely. By the time Microsoft finally shows up to the party, everyone has already gone home and it's just them and the red solo cups scattered all over.

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