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Hands-On with Lenovo’s Mirage Camera with Daydream

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Lenovo unveiled its Mirage Solo standalone Daydream headset back at CES 2018, and to go alongside it, the company announced the Mirage Camera. Essentially, the camera allows users to capture moments in the real world and later view them in 180-degrees using a Daydream headset or Google Cardboard. We were offered a review sample of the camera and decided to give it a go.

Here are some of my own first impressions after using the camera for a couple of days.

Insanely Compact

To be honest, I thought this thing would be a lot bigger than it actually is. As you can see above, it’s noticeably smaller than even the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 which should tell you just how portable it is. Picking it up, the Mirage Camera doesn’t feel hollow or cheap. Rather, it feels like a $299 camera (which it is), just without a bigger size.

While you could just shove it in your pocket and go, Lenovo provides a little pouch in the box which I recommend using. It’s made of high-quality fabric and is lined with a soft material that will keep the camera from getting scratches or any other physical imperfections. Also, the camera is small and has the potential of falling out of your pocket, so putting it in its little baggy is surely the right move.

Easy to Use

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I installed the Google VR180 app on my iPhone and connected the Mirage Camera to my Wi-Fi to sync it. After doing so, I was able to start taking pictures. There are literally three buttons: shutter, power, and function. The camera couldn’t be any simpler to use. I snapped a few pics of the bay I live at which you can view below.

I will say, however, you do need to download photos you take with the Mirage Camera to your connected smartphone in order to upload them to Google Photos and view them with a headset. I don’t really mind doing this, but it can be a bit inconvenient if you’re impatient. (You also have the option of storing photos and videos you take to a microSD card which you can slot into the Mirage Solo, if you’re into that.)

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Pretty Powerful

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As I was writing this hands-on, I was going over some of the specs Lenovo provided for the Mirage Camera and noticed it’s actually pretty powerful. It’s got a Snapdragon 626 processor in it with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and dual 13MP 180-degree cameras with 4K video recording. It also ships with two 2200mAh batteries in the box which are interchangeable if you run out of juice while on the go.

Why do you need all this power in a camera? For one, it’s got to sync with your smartphone and provide a live look at what it’s looking at on your screen since there is no viewfinder. Second, it’s capable of live streaming content it captures to YouTube for viewing in VR. Third, it takes a lot to process 180-degree photos and videos.

While I have yet to test many of the features I just mentioned, I’m still really impressed with the Mirage Camera as a whole. It’s super simple to capture photos and videos, connect to your smartphone, and carry around thanks to its small size and light weight. Of course, these are just my first impressions, but things seem pretty positive for the time being.

Stay tuned for my full review of both the Mirage Camera and Mirage Solo headset.

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