Lenovo's Mirage Solo is here and with it finally comes the advent of standalone Daydream headsets, which have been on the minds of VR enthusiasts and Daydream fans alike for nearly a year, since Google first announced that it would be working with partners to release headsets for the Daydream platform that wouldn't need a smartphone to power them. At the time it was announced that this would include HTC and Lenovo for partners, and while HTC made the decision to fall back on releasing a standalone Daydream headset, Lenovo carried on and officially unveiled the Mirage Solo back in the beginning of the month during CES 2018.
While Google's own Daydream headset is still very much available and pretty new as Google only just announced the second generation of it last Fall, you still need one of the now many compatible smartphones to help run it. With Lenovo's Mirage Solo, you can power the headset on and dive into a growing library of content and not have to worry about one, draining the battery on your smartphone and two, your smartphone getting warmer than usual due to the fact that it's powering a slew of virtual reality experiences. Is Lenovo's Mirage Solo the future of Daydream? It's hard to say at this point as it's still only one Daydream headset among the few that are out there, the other two being Google's first and second generation Daydream View options. There's also the cost factor to consider, as the Mirage Solo is said to be coming to retail at under $400, but will still likely be close to that mark.
Considering this, it might be a while before standalone Daydream headsets actually become the norm, and there's always the very real possibility that standalone headsets for the platform may never be the standard way people access the content, but the Mirage Solo could certainly be paving the way for something like that to happen as it is the first of its kind and offers something that you won't (currently) get on other Daydream headsets, such as Six Degrees of Freedom. This in particular is a big feature, allowing you to have inside-out positional tracking and the ability to do things like dodge enemy fire similar to the way that you would with the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. If you're someone who enjoys games that would benefit from being able to move in such a way and have the content respond to your movements, then this is likely to be a nice feature to have on hand, and indeed it is, and it's all possible within a self contained piece of hardware.
Another good thing about this being a headset that powers itself is that you won't get notifications from messages or other apps, which means you won't be interrupted and that's great for anyone who really likes to get into their content without being bothered. For the most part the Mirage Solo is a great start to the future of Daydream headsets, but if it and others like it are to ever be the true future of the platform, the price entry is something that is probably going to have to come down at some point, even if only a little bit, as right around its current rumored cost is around the same amount for something more powerful like the PlayStation VR. When and if the Mirage Solo and other potential future standalone headsets are offered at a lower cost, then it's possible that the Daydream platform could shift more towards a standalone model, as it would make more sense give you wouldn't be draining your phone battery.