Lenovo Explorer is a smart and affordable jack-of-all-trades VR headset

Following the revelation of the Dell Visor and Asus HMD earlier this week at IFA 2017, Lenovo has unveiled its own take on a Windows 10 mixed reality headset (which is one of many such efforts).

The Lenovo Explorer is similar to Dell’s headset in that it’s designed with comfort in mind, and aims to deliver a wide-ranging spectrum of VR experiences – not just gaming. 

For an outlay of $349 (around £270, AU$440) for the base headset without controllers, you get an HMD with a pair of LCD displays that have a resolution of 1,440 x 1,440 just like the Dell Visor.

That's a far more accessible price point compared to the cost of the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, and the big idea here is to push these head-mounted displays (HMDs) towards mainstream audiences.

With that in mind, you can use the Lenovo Explorer to watch movies, videos or take virtual tours 3D or fully 360-degree explorable environments, or to play VR or mixed reality games.

Lenovo’s headset utilizes inside-out tracking via a pair of cameras which let you move with ‘six degrees of freedom’ in mixed reality, essentially meaning you’re free to move about naturally in a 3.5 x 3.5m space without the need for any external tracking sensors.

Optional motion controllers will let you take actions within the virtual environment, or alternatively when it comes to some VR games you’ll be able to use an Xbox controller.

Cliff hanging

Lenovo is also pushing the Explorer headset when it comes to productivity, as donning it will allow you to block out all the chatter and distractions of a busy office and hang out at Microsoft’s mixed reality ‘cliff house’.

This virtual dwelling next to the sea will let you use the likes of Microsoft Office apps and, for example, work on a spreadsheet or presentation, allocating different apps and games to different rooms in the house.

As mentioned previously, the HMD is designed to be very comfortable, and it’s suitably light and cushioned, with Lenovo having expended some effort to make the headset feel nicely balanced on your head. It also benefits from a flip-up visor.

The Lenovo Explorer will sell in standalone form at $349 (around £270, AU$440), and when bundled with motion controllers the price will creep up to $449 (around £350, AU$560). The headset goes on sale in October.

  • Not ready for VR? We've highlighted the best monitors you can buy
  • IFA 2017 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced.