These VR headsets are untethered and budget friendly, but which is best?

Purchasing a VR headset can be a tricky process. At Android Central, we use every device we can get our hands on so we know which features are important and which devices deliver the best experience for their price.

Oculus Go

Budget-friendly VR

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$199 at Amazon

Pros

  • Doesn’t require phone or PC
  • Light and portable
  • Cheap compared to Lenovo Mirage Solo
  • Large library of games
  • Built-in speakers

Cons

  • Only supports three degrees of freedom
  • Older Snapdragon 821 processor
  • Uses Micro-USB
  • Doesn’t have microSD slot

The Oculus Go is a standalone VR headset that doesn’t require a phone or PC. Its relatively low price compared to the Lenovo Mirage Solo makes it a good choice for people looking to enjoy media and light gaming on their VR headset.

Lenovo Mirage Solo

Premium pick

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$370 at Amazon

Pros

  • Doesn’t require phone or PC
  • Supports Google’s WorldSense
  • 75Hz refresh rate
  • Uses newer Snapdragon 835
  • Has microSD slot

Cons

  • Almost twice as expensive as Oculus Go
  • Limits movement despite six degrees of freedom
  • Lacks built-in speakers

The Lenovo Mirage Solo doesn’t require a phone or PC, making it a convenient and easy to use a VR headset. It also supports six degrees of freedom, which lets you lean, rotate, and dodge in games. Unfortunately, software limitations hold it back from meeting its potential.

The Lenovo Mirage Solo and Oculus Go are both standalone headsets that let you enjoy media and light gaming in virtual reality. The Lenovo Mirage Solo has nice hardware, including a faster processor, better display, and support for six degrees of freedom. The Oculus Go is more technically limited but comes at a much friendlier price. Deciding which headset is right for you depends on what you want to get out of your VR headset.

Hardware compared

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The Oculus Go is the cheaper of the two standalone headsets and for good reason. It runs on a Snapdragon 821 processor and has 4GB of memory. It also has a 90-degree field of view. These are lower specs when it comes to virtual reality, but the Oculus Go can handle media viewing and some light gaming. The Oculus Go only supports one Oculus Controller so you wouldn’t be playing more immersive VR titles, even if the processor could handle it. It also supports gamepads so you can play games that rely on joysticks and buttons.

The Oculus Go feels extremely similar to the Gear VR in terms of use, with the notable exception that it doesn’t require your phone. As a result, you don’t have to pop a device in and out of your headset, and you can easily jump into VR. The Oculus Go is light, at just 1.03 pounds and also has built-in speakers, so you don’t have to pack much to bring the headset to a friend’s house or with you on the cough go.

Even with the limitations the Lenovo Mirage Solo comes out on top in terms of hardware.

The Lenovo Mirage Solo has more impressive hardware, though it feels a bit dated since it came out in 2018. The Snapdragon 835 helps apps and games launch faster, and the 110-degree field of view makes gaming and watching videos more immersive. The headset also has a larger 4,000 mAh battery. The Lenovo Mirage Solo is heavier than the Oculus Go, coming in at 1.42 pounds. The headset’s halo ring design helps distribute this weight across your head.

The Lenovo Mirage Solo also has some nice touches like support for microSD cards and a USB-C port, which limits the number of cables you have to use if you have a phone or laptop that uses USB- C.

Here’s a quick look at how the specs break down:

Field of View 90 degrees 110 degrees
Weight 1.03lbs (468g) 1.42lbs (645g)
Processor Snapdragon 821 Snapdragon 835
Memory 4GB RAM 4GB RAM
Audio Internal speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack 3.5mm headphone jack
Storage 32GB/64GB 64GB onboard storage, microSD slot
Battery 2600mAh 4000mAh
Display LCD display (2560×1440) LCD display (2560×1440)
Sensors 3DoF Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Magnetometer 6DoF WorldSense cameras, P-Sensor, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Magnetometer
Controller 3Dof Oculus Controller 3DoF Daydream Controller
Wireless WiFi Wi-Fi 802.11 ac/n Wi-Fi 802.11 ac/n, 2×2 MIMO Dual Band
Bluetooth 3.0 5.0 + BLE
Price $199/$249 $399

The most notable hardware difference between these headsets is that the Lenovo Mirage Solo supports six degrees of freedom. This means that you can duck, dodge, rotate, and look around in games. This helps games feel more immersive as some require you to get up and be ready to act. Unfortunately, there are some limits on the Lenovo Mirage Solo. The boundaries of the headset can’t be customized, meaning the device can’t interact with the real world or make sure that you don’t bump into anything.

Even with the limitations, the Lenovo Mirage Solo tracks more movement, has a better screen and bigger battery, and has a wider field of view than the Oculus Go. From a hardware perspective, the Lenovo Mirage Solo comes out on top.

Software compared

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While it’s true both of these headsets offer some of the first wireless VR setups, the software is very different, not just because Oculus and Google maintain their own digital stores, but because of the approach to how both of these headsets function.

Oculus Go is set to be its own platform with its own games, but Oculus is also making it possible for developers who wrote Samsung Gear VR apps to port those apps to this new headset. Since Oculus Go is Android-based, the experience isn’t appreciably different from building VR apps for the Gear VR. That means lots of Gear VR apps have made their way to Oculus Go. Additionally, developers can also make new apps made specifically for Oculus Go. When you go to actually play these games, it quickly becomes clear there is very little difference between the Gear VR experience and the Oculus Go experience inside the headset. In effect, Oculus is making a Gear VR that can be used anywhere without your phone. it also means there’s a large library of games to choose from.

While it is correct to call Oculus Go a standalone headset, your phone actually plays a fairly significant part in using it. Whether you have an Android phone or an iPhone, the Oculus Go app is used as the primary way to set up the headset and do things like connecting additional controllers. You can also use the app as the primary way you purchase things from the Oculus Store and have the apps installed on the headset at the next sync.

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Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream is functionally more capable than the standard Daydream experience. The addition of Google’s WorldSense capabilities means that games directly encourage you to jump around and duck like you would a PC-based VR system. There are over 450 Daydream apps and games, many of which work with the Lenovo Mirage Solo. Developers can also build apps and games specifically to utilize the device’s ability to work with physical space. As a result, you have the option to use the large ecosystem of apps and games available on all Daydream devices and experiences built to take advantage of the Lenovo Mirage Solo’s capabilities.

Daydream Standalone does require a Google account to function but does not require an Android phone or any external apps. The headset is entirely self-contained, making it possible to use the headset without any other hardware involved.

Which is best?

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For a lot of people, choosing between Oculus Go and Lenovo Mirage Solo is going to depend wildly on how much it costs and what you are able to do with it. The Oculus Go starts at $199 with an upgrade option to 64GB of internal storage for $249, while Lenovo’s Mirage Solo comes in at $370 standard. If you’re only comparing the Lenovo Mirage Solo to the Oculus Go, Lenovo’s device might be worth $120-$170 more, but that price means that you’re spending close to the price of some other VR headsets that are significantly more capable, such as the Oculus Quest.

The Lenovo Mirage Solo has better hardware, support for six degrees of freedom, and will provide a more immersive virtual reality experience than the Oculus Go. However, the price of the Lenovo Mirage Solo puts it more squarely against the Oculus Quest, and that newer Oculus headset beats the Lenovo Solo Mirage in many ways.

If you want to purchase a budget-friendly VR headset, the Oculus Go is a better bargain than the Lenovo Mirage Solo. If you have more money to spend, the Lenovo MIrage Solo has some impressive features and abilities but is a hard sell compared to more capable headsets like the Oculus Quest that are available for a similar price.

The Oculus Go is much cheaper, lighter, and still performs well enough for watching media and playing light games. If you’re looking for one of the least expensive ways to get into virtual reality, your best bet is the Oculus Go.

Oculus Go

Budget-friendly

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A light and affordable VR headset

$199 at Amazon

The Oculus Go doesn’t have the most impressive hardware, but it is a good device for enjoying media and doing some light gaming that doesn’t break the bank.

Lenovo Mirage Solo

Newer hardware

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$370 at Amazon

A standalone device with Six Degrees of Freedom

The Lenovo Mirage Solo has a wide field of view, a nice display, and supports Six Degrees of Freedom. It is one of the cheapest ways to get a device that can be this immersive, though it’s held back by some software limitations.