Virtual Reality has never really impressed me all that much, but that’s mainly because my experiences have primarily been restricted to smartphone powered headsets. I think Google’s Daydream VR platform is solid, but rarely end up using it because of what’s required. Now, Daydream is finally coming to standalone hardware, and I’m finally excited…

This week at CES 2018, Lenovo debuted its latest hardware built in collaboration with Google — the Mirage Solo. This new Daydream-powered headset stands completely on its own, and that’s exactly the experience I needed to enjoy the platform.

The Mirage Solo is a pretty standard VR headset at first glance, but when you get a bit further into the experience, you’ll see the amount of thought that’s gone into it. First off, the comfort on this headset beats out anything else I’ve tried. It’s simple to get this headset on and adjust it for the perfect fit.

What really sets this headset apart, however, is the simplicity. Rather than plugging into a PC, hooking up a wireless adapter, or inserting your smartphone, the Mirage Solo has everything it needs to power the Daydream experience, and it’s pretty polished device.

Simply turn on the headset and put it on, pick up the remote, and you’re good to go. From there, you’ll be presented with the familiar Daydream homescreen, giving you full access to all the games and apps that are installed, as well as the Google Play Store and a shortcut to mirror the experience to a Chromecast (which is a big deal if you ask me).

Lastly, there’s the WorldSense tracking. There were only two games that could take advantage of this on display at CES, and the Blade Runner focused one is what I was able to spend the most time with.

In the demo, I was left to find objects hidden in a city, moving around with the remote and my own feet. As I walked forward, I could see more, and leaning left or right let me see objects behind others. It’s a very cool experience, and WorldSense seems to work really well, but we’ll have to wait for a full review to better test it out.

Lenovo wants to target this headset at everyone, and so far I’m pretty impressed. The hardware is great, the software looks good so far, and WorldSense tracking is a huge deal for standalone VR. Hopefully, the price is low enough (under $400) to make it affordable to the masses…

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Ben Schoon

Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

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