Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are getting more affordable, more comfortable and higher quality in 2019. Lenovo has upped the game for Windows tethered systems with the Explorer and stand-alone wire-free with Mirage Solo. Prices are around $155 and $395, respectively. Here’s our review the Explorer and the Mirage Solo.
The Lenovo Explorer, about $155, is their entry level headset for Windows Virtual Reality / Mixed Reality. This headset is wired, and you’ll need a newer / higher performance laptop or PC to get the optimum experience.
You can interact with the VR / MR universe in four ways:
- Lenovo motion controllers
- keyboard and mouse
- Xbox controllers
- voice controls with Cortana digital assistant
We like that it’s comfortable to wear, and nicely balanced. At just 13.4 ounces, hours of play aren’t a problem. The cable gives enough length to move in and around a 11.5 ft x 11.5 ft space.
Microsoft lists around 20,000+ programs and apps that can be used with the Lenova headsets. It’ll supposedly even allow users to work in the MS Office (Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint) tool suite, although we didn’t try that out.
Imaging and depth are also good with the Explorer – each eye gets it’s own 1440 x 1440 display (for total 2880 x 1440 resolution), and the 60-90MHz refresh rate minimizes glitch effects.
Inside the headset are Nvidia GTX 960/1050 and AMD Radeon RX 460 graphics controllers. These GPU make DX 12 viewing possible.
Connections include the standard Bluetooth 4, USB 3.0, HDMI 4.1, HDMI 2.0 and Headphone Jack that you’ll find on nearly all tethered headsets.
At $155, the Lenovo Explorer is an excellent MR / VR headset choice to get started with for Windows users.
Lenovo Mirage Solo
The Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream, about $395, is a “stand-alone” (meaning no wires tethering you to a computer) VR Headset. To get everything into the headset means it’s nearly 2x heavier than the Explorer, at about 23 ounces.
We like how much content is available for this headset – basically all the VR apps from Google’s Daydream as well as using it as your personal virtual theater for streaming content, YouTube, Netflix movies and live sports. Probably the best VR game you can play on this is Blade Runner:Revelations .
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 , with 4GB RAM, cranks out a 75Hz refresh rate for the dual 1440×1440 Ultra-Crisp QHD displays, and enables a fantastic 6DOF (Six Degrees of Freedom) interaction. It has 4K visuals with excellent surround sound 3D audio.
With the integrated Worldsense Body Tracking, you movements where-ever you go are accurately translated into the VR space. Unlike the tethered headsets, you can truly go anywhere you have the room to roam in. No external / additional sensors are required.
We like that for a reasonable price, we can get un-tethered freedom of movement. No wires, no extra sensors, no extra cost or complexity.
At under $400, the standalone Lenovo Mirage Solo VR headset is an easy recommendation.
Still looking for more VR options? Check out our recent review of the Best VR Gear from the holidays.