Lenovo’s Mirage Solo is an innovative VR headset, but most people shouldn’t buy it

In recent years, Google has been trying to push virtual reality on two fronts. He built an adorable virtual reality platform called Daydream on his Android operating system, drawing the mobile virtual reality in focus. And it introduced a tracking system called WorldSense, which allows people to move in virtual reality using built-in cameras in their headphones. Today, he is sending the first combination of the two: an independent $ 399 headset called Lenovo Mirage Solo. The Mirage Solo is a relatively affordable and competently made VR headset, but it is more theoretically useful than fun to use.

The Lenovo Mirage Solo is a collaboration between Lenovo and Google, and is the only WorldSense engine headset on the market since HTC canceled plans for a Daydream device last year. Uses the same interface as Google's Daydream View mobile headset; supports the catalog of 350 Daydream applications; and uses the same small plastic remote control that, unlike headphones, has a basic internal motion sensor instead of full tracking. Daydream uses the standard Google Play store, so you can buy and install Mirage Solo apps from your desktop, or log in to a Wi-Fi network and download them directly, the same way you would on any Android device.

5.5 [19659004] Verge Score

Good Stuff

  • Innovative crawling from the inside out
  • Relatively affordable
  • Solid construction

Bad Stuff

  • Limited movement controls
  • Tiny space Tracking
  • Weak ecosystem of applications [19659013] Unlike Daydream View, the Mirage Solo does not require a smartphone. It has a built-in 5.5-inch screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 (1280 x 1440 per eye) and a Snapdragon 835 processor, with 64 GB of built-in storage that can be expanded through microSD. That means it has the same screen resolution as the new Oculus Go headphones, but a more powerful processor. Lenovo announces two and a half hours of continuous use; In fact, I squeezed more than three hours of use on a single charge, playing a combination of games and YouTube videos.

    Where Oculus Go only tracks head rotation, Mirage Solo has two front cameras that allow WorldSense tracking visibly through the front panel of the headset like large round eyes. WorldSense is the great attraction of Mirage Solo, and it works well, within very strict limits. Google and Lenovo do not say how big space WorldSense can track, but with the Mirage Solo, you're artificially limited to one square meter. If you leave it, everything stops until you return to the place or reorient the headphones.




    So it's hard to judge the total WorldSense power of the Mirage Solo. I never experienced drift or other tracking problems during normal use, unless it completely obscures the room or covers the cameras. However, WorldSense could work differently in a large, bare "deposit scale" environment when the camera does not have many furniture edges to follow. It could also work differently if you are not moving through a central point, which is all that the current system allows you to do.

    Monitoring the Mirage Solo is an incidental advantage because virtual worlds feel more natural when you can lean and duck. The applications must be specifically optimized for the WorldSense movement, but more than 70 of them already admit it, including outstanding titles like the rhythm shooter Rez Infinite and the satirical narrative game Virtual virtual reality . [19659017] Good tracking of the head, but still no hands

However, the WorldSense elements of these applications are too limited to be very exciting. Some games use motion-based mechanics, like a snowboard game that makes you duck under the branches. But as otherwise you are just pointing, turning and moving the simple remote control of Daydream, it never seems that you are really using your body. Compared to experiences with a larger movement space or fully tracked hand controllers, such as Vive and Rift sports games or Google's own Tilt Brush VR paint application, Daydream motion mechanics feel superfluous or even annoying, especially because it's easy to move too far and stop everything.

Virtual reality video, including YouTube's VR application, is a great attraction for Daydream. But few virtual reality videos support positional tracking, so there's no WorldSense benefit there. Nor do you need the Mirage Solo to use the new Mirage camera from Lenovo, an interesting point-and-shoot device for two lenses that synchronizes 180-degree images and video with your phone.

The Google Daydream ecosystem is much smaller than the Oculus application catalog, which is already quite small. Both platforms have an infinity of repetitive mini-games, and Daydream does not have many ambitious and well-executed projects to balance them. A new Daydream adventure game based on the franchise Blade Runner for example, has a fun premise but a script and a slapdash game.




If the Mirage Solo were more economical and ergonomic, it could serve the same niche as the Oculus Go: people who want a mobile RV that is not based on a phone. But unlike the $ 199 independent Oculus and the VR Gear based on $ 129 phones, there is a huge price difference between $ 399 Mirage Solo and $ 99 Daydream View. And the Daydream View still looks and feels better than the Mirage Solo. Even with the inconvenience of locking your phone, it is the easiest-to-use handset. The Mirage Solo does not even have built-in speakers or headphones, which are becoming quite standard for the new VR headphones.

Meanwhile, WorldSense tracking comes with literally heavy tradeoffs. The Mirage Solo weighs 645 grams, as does the voluminous Samsung Odyssey headset, which has an inside-out tracking but is subject to a computer. (In comparison, it is more than 170 grams more than the Oculus Go). The weight is tolerable when properly adjusted, but the accessory is not immediately intuitive: you have to hook the Mirage Solo on your head with a plastic ring, while also using a small button to adjust its angle according to the size of your head.

The Mirage Solo feels more built for developers or professionals than casual users, a theory backed by statements from Clay Bavor, Google's immersive head of computing. "What we have seen is the real interest of the first users and developers of virtual reality, creators, who obtain the power of a hearing aid with independent positioned tracking without ties," says Bavor The Verge ] "We're seeing that, getting closer to that." Google will wait to see how the Mirage Solo works, and then decide if it works with more partners for similar independent headsets.

The shortcomings of the headphones are not so important outside of consumer entertainment. Many designers and engineers use VR headsets or "CAVE" environments to examine 3D models, but do not need complete virtual bodies, so the Mirage Solo offers a highly autonomous alternative. The developers may apparently be able to disable the boundary system, allowing them to test the true limits of WorldSense. If you're interested in building independent VR with full tracking, the Mirage Solo is an easy way to test the waters before more consumer friendly headphones are opened.

And WorldSense is part of Google's much larger "immersive computing" initiative, which encompasses augmented and virtual reality. "The way we see the Mirage Solo and our larger autonomous efforts is one of the steps of this arc, to this ramp of better and better versions of the technology," says Bavor. Ultimately, WorldSense is not just a replacement for traditional tracking as it is in the Mirage Solo. It is a system that could be combined with another artificial vision and location tracking technology to really help to combine physical and virtual environments.

So, with the Mirage Solo, Google and Lenovo really seem to be playing the long game. They have put Google's Daydream platform, which was designed so that everyone participates in virtual reality, in a device that, for the most part, makes sense for the first industrial users. They are launching one of the first autonomous headphones with potentially innovative motion tracking technology, but one that severely hampers their capabilities. This is an experiment that could give results in the next few years, if developers create more ambitious WorldSense applications and Google gets a better driver. But when it comes to buying headphones, most people should wait for payment.

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