Oculus Go vs. Lenovo Mirage Solo: Which Is The Better Buy?

by Ian Hamilton • May 7th, 2018

This weekend I placed four VR headsets out on a table: Daydream View, Gear VR, Mirage Solo and Oculus Go.

The Pixel 2 started dropping frames, so I retired Daydream View without anyone really playing with it. A family member visited Pennywise’ house in Gear VR, but there was a pop up sitting between the player and his world the whole time that I couldn’t figure out how to dismiss quickly. Gear VR was next to be eliminated in this VR battle royale.

Mirage Solo’s two major upgrades over Oculus Go performed well. Chromecast integration made it easy to see what the person in VR sees. When a family member needed help figuring out what to do it was as simple as looking over at the TV to see what’s going on and offer help. The addition of positional tracking in some apps also made me more confident Mirage Solo wouldn’t make anyone sick. I found it almost magical to turn the headset on and immediately have the freedom to move my head around. For two years now I’ve been setting up external tracking equipment for the consumer Oculus Rift and HTC Vive and, finally in 2018, the Mirage Solo does this on its own. But, alas, the Mirage Solo was retired eventually too as I ran out of things I wanted to show people.

The VR battle royale ended with a clear winner: Oculus Go.

Overall, there’s such a dearth of content on the Mirage Solo that there isn’t a search button. You can find a combination of YouTube videos and available apps from a series of panels hanging in mid-air, and that’s it. There’s also no Google Chrome browser available on the Lenovo Mirage Solo. This, in my view, is a show-stopping omission. Sure you can get to YouTube videos but what about the rest of the Web? Update May 11: Clay Bavor, the head of VR at Google, said “stay tuned” regarding Chrome being formally added to the Mirage Solo, and it’s actually possible to get the app installed via instructions here.

And on that point, watching Netflix or surfing the web hands-free with Oculus Go in bed is very relaxing. It’s as if you’ve installed a big screen TV right on your ceiling and it even comes with a nice Internet browser. The $250 64GB Oculus Go includes the same amount of storage as the $400 Mirage Solo, and the Solo can be expanded with extra storage via micro SD card. It’s a nice inclusion alongside the added head tracking and Chromecast integration, but doesn’t do enough to justify a $150 expense over Oculus Go.

For most buyers, a $400 gadget you don’t use very much is a lot harder to justify than $200. Update (May 11): The discovery that Android apps can be installed on Mirage Solo, along with Google Chrome, is an important enough hidden feature that, alongside the Chromecast integration and better tracking, could convince some buyers to pick up the more expensive headset. Read this post for an updated look at these additional featuresIn fact, I don’t think I’d recommend Mirage Solo even if it was offered at the same price as Oculus Go. Overall, Mirage Solo lacking an included Internet browser is going to make the device less useful than Oculus Go for many people. It’s just too convenient to check a few sites between visits to worlds, and that’s not even accounting for easy access to Web-based worlds through the Oculus browser.

The absence of Chrome is an astonishing omission for a device powered by Google. I take it as a sign the tech giant decided to hold its inclusion until Google produces more capable standalone hardware that can run software like Job Simulator and Tilt Brush. For now, though, I think most people will find Oculus Go offering enough content and features to make its occasional use worth the investment. Mirage Solo just doesn’t offer the same value.

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  • Justos

    I’ve been saying this since Google announced Daydream.

    CONTENT IS KING

    On paper the lenovo would be a good buy, its heavily weighed down by the lackluckster daydream platform and it feels like google really isnt trying.

    OculusGo is effortless. It has so much content. Its just an all around better product. If these devices were the same price I would still buy Go, because content matters.

    • dk

      and on the other hand if u want the next gen oculus go now …..get the Lenovo

      • Justos

        Having head tracking without motion controllers only solves part of the problem. Its good for comort, but not really for games.

        Its an awkward half step that shouldn’t have happened IMO; At least not without a clear plan for 6dof controllers.

        • dk

          3dof is also a half step
          the thing is the santa cruz will be expensive and I think they will have a cheap entry level at that time and it will look like the Solo
          ….and 3dof all in one would have been a good move 2 years ago when the rift came out (the cpu is 2 years old)or a year ago …..but now when other companies r offering 6dof …..3dof is literally like the last gen thing

          • Justos

            As someone who uses 6dof every day, i can tell you assuredly that its not as big of a deal as you make it out to be.

            Without motion controllers, a 3dof headset is an immersive video player. Thats just fine by me, its cheap and it does its job better than 6dof headsets that came before it.

            I agree one day we will get 6dof headsets for 200$ , but thats not any time soon.

          • dk

            yes it’s good at what it does ….I just thought that 3dof will die with dk1 and cardboard/plastic headsets for 3dof phones and people will finally have convenient way of experiencing real vr with full head tracking and walking ………and now it will die with the next gen go after 2 years or more when it will be updated with a cheap sd835 equivalent and 2 cheap cameras

          • Justos

            It won’t be long until we have both. The market will decide what they want. You don’t buy a 200$ computer and complain it wont run crysis. You get what you pay for, and its no different for VR. I expect down the line people will continue to chose 3dof as a cheaper alternative headset, and down the line they will grow to want more from VR.

            These headsets are a great thing for today, IMO.

          • dk

            like I was saying …..in a year or slightly more when the sd835(or equivalent) is as cheap as the sd821 and they add 2 cheap wvga cameras …….the difference with a 3dof headset without the cameras will be 30-50 bucks and the 3dof sales will keep falling and there will be more and more 6dof competition
            3dof was meant to be just a cheap way of demoing something similar to vr and fortunately 6dof will get cheap pretty soon

          • mirak

            Not really because positional tracking allow you to use the cinema app in the train without having to always reposition the screen when the train is turning.

            Oculus Go will be as bad as the gear vr to watch movies in the train or a plane.

          • FloridaOJ

            What??? Lol. Have you not used the technologies before?

            If you force rotation in the way you just described on a train or other vehicle, you’re asking for nausea.

            You don’t get to discuss these devices anymore, until you actually own one.

          • mirak

            I use the gear vr in the train. So you are the idiot here who know nothing about what he is talking.

          • Smanny

            “Without motion controllers, a 3dof headset is an immersive video player. Thats just fine by me, its cheap and it does its job better than 6dof headsets that came before it.”

            You contradict yourself. If all you want is imersive video player. Then there is already a number of great Cardboard VR headsets that are much cheaper than the Oculus Go.

            If you want something more, then that really depends on what experience you are looking for. If you want comfort, and less motion sickness. Then out of these two headsets the Lenovo Mirage Solo hands down wins it. Especially for head comfort, and for motion sickness. Also the Daydream headset is going to support the new WebXR through the new Chrome update which is soon to be released. So it will be able to not only support WebVR, but the new WebXR as well. Something that Oculus does not support, yet. Also the Daydream headset is going to support Steam VR as well. Plus there is 450 daydream apps.

            That’s not to say the Oculus Go is not good. At $199 it’s a great price for a standalone VR platform device. But it’s really a Cardboard type experience. I like Cardboard, and there is a lot of great Cardboard experiences. But if you want next level, then the Mirage Solo is just that.

  • Doctor Bambi

    Wow that is odd, I had no idea Chrome wasn’t available on Mirage. How can Chrome be available on Daydream View headsets, but not Mirage? I don’t imagine it will stay that way for long. Perhaps Google is working on a 6DOF specific version with some additional features?

  • Courtney A Jeff

    Go is a great buy.Not having a high priced flagship phone this is the best way to jump into vr with everything included.Praise Jesus my Lord and Savior.

  • Trekkie

    Biased article, looks like an Oculus paid plant. The author “retires” the Mirage Silo with one sentence: there was nothing to show. Lame excuse. Most daydream content will run and people will start making apps targetting the positional tracking and high end mobile you. With neither of these the Go falls flat.

    • Not to start an argument but do you own a Mirage Solo?

      • Trekkie

        No but as a developer I have used it along with most other devices on this planet for the past 20 years.

    • paul

      Only problem is there isn’t much daydream content either…

    • DeeHawk

      I didn’t find the article meaningful either. I simply couldn’t follow the writer.

  • dk

    great now do an article where the go is compared only to other 3dof headsets
    and the Solo is compared only to other 6dof headsets
    comparing an optimized cardboard headset to a headset that can actually give full head tracking and a real vr experience is just pointless

    • johngrimoldy

      I was thinking: Aren’t these just glorified Google Cardboards that you simply don’t need to drop a smartphone into?

      On the one hand: whoppdie-friggin’-doo
      On the other hand: Having an affordable entry-point for folks to get introduced to VR is beneficial for the forward evolution.

      • dk

        3dof should have died with the dk1 and cardboard/plastic headsets for 3dof phones …..and now it will die with the next gen Go when they will have a cheap sd835 equivalent and 2 cheap cameras….and it will be able give u a real vr experience ………….and if someone wants the next gen Go now and not in 2 years they can get the lenovo

        • NooYawker

          They’re intros into VR for people who don’t have powerful computers to
          run actual VR headsets. These are good enough for most people.

          • dk

            yes they r super neat and people will enjoy them ….it’s just sad that when other companies r introducing real full tracking in self contained headsets Oculus is popularizing 3dof when it was supposed to be just a demo similar to real vr
            but at least inevitably something like the lenovo will be pretty cheap

          • Peter Marcus

            I have Titan graphics PC but it is on the other side of my room, 30 feet from my bed. I see the appeal in an untethered headset that works anywhere.

          • NooYawker

            Oh I see the appeal as well. Watching a movie, a 3D movie, some casual seated games. All without going to the game room and strapping on.
            I’m definitely going to pick one of these up and leave it in the living room.

        • FloridaOJ

          Or they can pick up the Go… because it’s awesome “on the Go”. Lol. I have the Rift and the Go… two totally separate use cases and the Go is still amazing. Go spend a day’s pay and get one, so you can have a real opinion, based in reality.

          • dk

            the comment was about ….people pretending that a 3dof headset is the same thing as a headset that is actually capable of 6dof
            …..if u want a cheap convenient 3dof headset yes the go is good at being close to vr experience …on the go

      • James P.

        There’s no comparison to Google cardboard. The lenses and resolution are actually better than the Rift right now, and 3 dof is enough for casual experiences like Netflix and Hulu.

        • NooYawker

          It’s pretty misleading when people say things like better lenses and resolution than the rift or Vive. While technically correct, you get shitty simplistic graphics because there’s not enough power to generate the kind of graphics you can on an actual VR headset.

          • James P.

            Gaming isn’t a strength for Oculus Go or any other 3 dof headset.

          • FloridaOJ

            As an owner of all of them… I’m going to ask you to stop. Lol.

    • xxHanoverxx

      Having a $400 6DOF headset without 6DOF software to use it, is also pointless. It doesn’t even have a tracked controller. At least the Go controller can be seen by the headset…and it has built in positional audio.

      • dk

        lol what ….they have basically the same 3dof controller it works in exactly the same way
        and the lenovo comes with headphones so u won’t be annoying people around u
        it has all the daydream apps and devs need to add a small line of code for 6dof to take affect and it can run all android apps
        https://youtuDOTbe/-WEP29MH8bw?t=40s without 6dof u don’t have a real vr experience u have something that should have died with the dk1 and cardboard /plastic headsets for 3dof phones
        ….yes it’s more expensive than a 2 year old hardware all in one gearvr like the go and it is the cheapest 6dof self contained headset……and if u want to get the next gen go with better hardware and 2 cheap cameras for 6dof ….google is selling it now

        • xxHanoverxx

          So you’re okay with paying $200 more for one less audio option.

          Daydream doesn’t have Oculus studios.

          I’ll pick up the Lenovo after it drops down to $200.

          • dk

            6dof is a real vr experience that’s why u r paying $150 more than the go with the same 64gb storage

            also u r paying for 2 cameras/newer more powerful chip/it’s always running at 75hz/bigger battery/more ram/sd card slot/bigger heat sink/more expensive head mount/headphones in the box

            2 speakers with channels not even ending next to your ears is a childish solution like putting your phone in a bowl to increase the audio ……and u have to have headphones or buy dedicated headphones if u want to have clear sound and not annoy people around u

            and yes over time this sort of system will be 200

  • You make it sound like 6DOF head tracking is an insignificant difference.

    To me it’s the difference between VR and “not really VR”

    I don’t want a headset for watching 360 videos. I want a VR headset.

    • FloridaOJ

      Then don’t buy the Go. “tah-dah”

      Also, since release, I’ve used the Go for nearly 90 minutes a day at work… due to the Rift being… the Rift. 6dof would be wasted on this use case, as well as many others. Not everyone needs 6dof. It’s called Oculus Go. As in, on the go. As in… if you need full 6dof, buy a Rift for home use… or WAIT until there is enough software to warrant the purchase of the currently available 6dof devices.

      Wait….. you already knew everything I just said. Lol. So why comment?

      • mirak

        You surely don’t know that 6dof even when standing still, brings even more depth information to the brain.
        You are just making a foul of yourself with you ignorant comments.

  • Christian Ortiz

    You can unofficially use google chrome on the Lenovo mirage by going through settings somewhere… you’ll end up on a browser and tada…

    The only thing the go wins in is the content and price… mirage solo beats it in every other category

    • Justos

      “only content and price”

      as if those two arent significant factors to consider? You can buy yourself a go and one for your loved one, for the price of one lenovo hmd. You can experience much more in the Go as it stands.

      That said, those new 180deg cameras are sweet and im contemplating getting one for myself. I have an s8+ so using daydream isnt an issue.

  • Ted Joseph

    Sticking with the Go and not playing the Rift much now. I will be happy when Santa Cruz comes out. Santa Cruz for room scale, and the GO for bedtime fun before I crash. Life is good! —->

    • I bought a Go and own a PSVR… Life IS good… but I’m starting to feel like we are living in the “Fifteen Million Merits” ep of Black Mirror. Soon we can just live in a 12ft by 12ft box and be in a virtual room all day.

      • James Friedman

        That show literally gives me the creeps as far as tech….and I love it

  • Tommy

    Basically, it’s a Gear VR with a screen that is better than the Vive and the Rift.
    So, if you’re looking for an upgraded Gear, the Go is a great replacement 🙂

    • dk

      the screen is the same as a gearvr the lenses r a bit clearer than the rift/vive but the gearvr lenses r also super clear https://youtuDOTbe/2ckPBhIlkX0

  • Tom Blazey

    Just bought a Go and I love it. Lots of apps and easy to use. Great introduction to VR and way more immersive than any phone based VR product.

  • MarquisDeSang

    I only play VR games and flight sims on the Oculus Go, no videos. My PC Rift and MR are now collecting dust, because I prefer the simplicity of the Go. And the Go wins over PCVR because there are no motorcycle games on PC while the Go has 1 and may have 2 very soon.

  • Konchu

    I personally have several issues with the Lenovo headset here that I feel hurts it so I agree with this article mostly. I like 6DOF but without meaningful cost appropriate content it is wasted. It does add comfort but if all the content is made for sitting it not night and day. I would have liked a 6DOF controller to come with it or at least some hand tracking. Basically with a price at the same as a Oculus I wanted something in between mobile and desktop VR with more desktop like interaction and we are no were near that. Maybe this will come and I will change my mind.

    A PSVR style headset is awesome for traditional VR but is not Portable it adds bulk so not likely to take on a flight to kill some time. Nor comfortable to lay in I cannot see the Lenova being friendly to lay in and watching movies in bed is nice. Oculus Go is a highly portal fun time waster with tons of super cheap content.

    I would have like to see either headset with a media streaming mode though as there are still tons of video apps not support so if I could use my head set as a TV with Chromecast like DLNA UPnP features that would rock.AKA a virtual big screen to watch anything on. Or even a AV in to use it for drones, game consoles, etc.

  • mirak

    It’s like we are going back 3 years ago when Oculus was justifying that VR is better seated than roomscale.

    150$ is the difference between roomscale of the solo ( unlimited scale in fact) and seated/standing of the Go.

    The 150$ justifies it hands down.

    • S.J. Sexton

      Its not unlimited or even room scale. It’s less than 1 square meter.

      • Smanny

        Google said that developers will have access to make it whatever you want in a later update. Remember it’s two cameras in front. So when Google releases this information. Then some might be able to track objects as well, including your hands. Now that really is next level. That makes the extra $150 a steal.

  • mirak

    Lack of positional tracking is annoying when using VR headset in the train, a plane or a car, because you have to perpetually reposition the movie screen, because it turns when the train turns.

    I have that issue with the Gear VR.
    Just be aware that it’s annoying.

  • Go greatest advantage over all the other headsets is the content.