- Three game modes
- Lighsaber controller
- Android and iOS compatible
Hands-on with Lenovo’s Mirage augmented-reality headset
Augmented reality is cool. Star Wars is cool. Combine the two and what do you get? The Lenovo Mirage, that’s what.
The Mirage is an AR headset built by Lenovo and Disney that features a series of exclusive ‘Jedi Challenge’ games. Highlights include a series of lightsaber battles with iconic Star Wars heroes and villains, the Holo Chess game Chewie and C-3PO played in A New Hope, and RTS/tower defense modes.
In the pack you’ll get the headset itself, which is a pretty basic slab of plastic with two fish-eye lenses on the front, a tracking beacon and a “replica standard” lightsaber controller.
Though I only got a brief demo duel with Kylo Ren, I can confirm the headset is as awesome as it sounds and will be the stocking filler every budding Jedi and skulking Sith needs this holiday Season if my opening impressions are anything to go by.
Picking up the lightsaber and donning the headset, I cannot do justice to the painstaking detail Lenovo and Disney have done creating an authentic Star Wars experience.
The Lightsaber controller looks and feels exactly like the one I saw Luke Skywalker use when battling Darth Vader many moons ago. Even the controls are identical, with the long front button slowly launching the glowing blue blade from the hilt with the iconic “schhhhhzzzz” noise we all know and love.
The combat immediately took on an energetic pace, tasking me to block Ren’s incoming attacks, which were highlighted with yellow lines on the augmented reality display, while slashing and stabbing back whenever an opportunity arose.
Ren’s attack patterns were frantic and matched the over-the-top acrobatic manoeuvres Star Wars duals are famous for. Within moments I’d forgotten the room full of fellow journalists watching and judging me, and was flailing my arms around like a caffeinated Ewok. I regret nothing.
The fun levels were aided by how well the tech worked during my demo, which is impressive considering the system’s hardware.
The Mirage is powered by an Android or iOS smartphone which slots into the top of the headset. Motion tracking is done using the headset’s two front-facing fish-eye lenses and sensors in the tracking orb and lightsaber.
Lenovo hasn’t revealed what the Mirage’s minimum system requirements are, though a spokeswoman said the headset will work best with high-end handsets. Despite that, it worked fine on the Moto Z2 Play used during my demo session, which features a mid-level Qualcomm CPU.
Ren, though clearly pixelated, moved smoothly and I never once saw a disconnect between the augmented-reality objects and my real-world movements. The end result was a fluid, fun gaming experience that felt noticeably more developed than competing AR experiences I’ve tried. Seriously, I had more fun on the Mirage than with Microsoft’s HoloLens.
Though some people may argue that one exclusive app isn’t enough to justify the Mirage’s $200 asking price, after my demo I can’t help but be excited about it. The Mirage is one of the first products I’ve seen in quite some time where every journo has universally come out of their demo smirking like a 12-year-old. Words can’t do justice to how much fun I had with it.
To sum up: shut up and take my money, Lenovo.
The Mirage is available for pre-order now and will launch in November.