Lenovo Explorer aims for low-cost Windows Mixed Reality performance

Lenovo Explorer
Lenovo
Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) platform has been in the news lately, with the company providing additional details about its features and system requirements and Microsoft’s original equipment manufacturers releasing more information on the headsets they are bringing to market this holiday season. Lenovo has joined the party by announcing at IFA 2017 its own WMR headset, the Lenovo Explorer.

Like all of the WMR headsets, the Explorer is intended to provide an immersive virtual reality experience at a relatively low cost and without the need for a high-powered, expensive PC. Accordingly, the Explorer will be priced at a $349 and the Explorer with its optional Motion Controllers will cost $449.

Here are the Lenovo Explorer’s specifications:

Dimensions: 185 x 94.8 x 102 mm
Weight: 380 grams
Camera 2x 6DOF Tracking Camera
I/O HDMI 2.0, USB 2.0
Control Motion controller, 6DOF controller, keyboard & mouse
PC Min. Spec. Intel Core i5, Intel HD 620 graphics

In addition, the Explorer supports the two levels of WMR PCs that Microsoft recently announced. That means that a base WMR PC equipped with integrated graphics will be able to drive the Explorer in running immersive content at 60 frames per second (FPS) while a WMR Ultra PC will be able to enable 90 FPS performance. Here are the minimum required specs for each level of performance:

Performance:  90Hz
CPU: Intel Core i5 (NB), Intel Core i3 (DT)
GPU: Discrete Nvidia GTX 965M, AMD RX 460M
Connectivity: HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2
RAM: 8GB
Storage: More than 10GB additional free space
USB: USB 3.0 Type-A or USB 3.1 Type-C Port with DisplayPort
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0 for accessories
Performance: 60Hz
CPU: Intel Core i5 (NB), Intel Core i3 (DT)
GPU: Integrated Intel HD 620
Connectivity: HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2
RAM: 8GB
Storage: More than 10GB additional free space
USB: USB 3.0 Type-A or USB 3.1 Type-C Port with DisplayPort
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0 for accessories

Like other WMR headsets, the Explorer needs no external sensors for its basic functionality. Thus, it’s simply plugged into a PC’s USB and HDMI ports via the built-in Y-cable. The optional Motion Controllers provide for more natural and fine-grained actions when in mixed reality environments, while an Xbox controller can also be used for navigating through some VR games.

Lenovo also touts enhanced productivity by using the Explorer with a keyboard, mouse, and Cortana voice commands, while accessing the WMR “cliff house” VR environment provides access to more than 20,000 Windows apps available in the Microsoft Store. Users can, therefore, get work done in VR, and then switch over to the virtual Escape and Play theatre to take a break from working by accessing 3D, 360-degree, and 4K content. In addition, Lenovo is providing access to more than 100 upscaled VR games through the Lenovo Entertainment Hub.

Lenovo plans to make the Explorer available in October, at $349 for the headset alone and $449 with the Motion Controllers.

Computing

I tried an LTE laptop for a month, and I wasn’t really convinced

LTE laptops offer up plenty of benefits and are becoming more common. After spending one month with one in my daily life in New York City, I really wondered if it is something that consumers really need in their lives.
Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?
Computing

Intel's 9th-gen chips could power your next rig. Here's what you need to know

The Intel Core i9-9900K processor was the star of the show for consumers, but a powerful 28-core Xeon processor also led announcements. Here's everything you need to know about the latest Intel chipsets.
Deals

Here are the best laptop deals for December 2018

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some holiday shopping for a special someone, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Computing

3DMark’s Port Royal lets you benchmark ray tracing on Nvidia’s RTX cards

UL is adding another benchmarking utility to its popular 3DMark suite to help gamers measure their graphics card's ray tracing performance. You'll soon be able to measure how Nvidia's RTX 2070, 2080, and 2080 Ti stack up.
Computing

Snatch Apple’s 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro for up to $1,200 off at B&H

The latest deal at B&H is offering up 2017 15-inch Apple MacBook Pros, in space gray and silver, with Intel Core i7 quad-core CPUs, 16GB of RAM, and AMD Radeon Pro 560 GPUs with up to 2TB of SSD storage.
Computing

Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser may be adding your Chrome extensions

Fans sticking to Google Chrome because due to its vast extension library might be able to switch over to Microsoft's latest iteration of Edge, as a project manager confirms that the company has its eyes on Chrome extensions.
Gaming

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Computing

Qualcomm’s dual-screen PC concept looks like two connected Surface Go tablets

In Qualcomm's video teaser, we got a glimpse of the company's vision for how a dual-screen ARM PC should work. The internet reacted to Qualcomm's video, calling the device in question merely a mashup of two Surface Go tablets.
Deals

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.
Computing

Hololens 2 could give the Always Connected PC a new, ‘aggressive’ form

Microsoft is said to be leaning on Qualcomm to power its Hololens 2 headset. Instead of Intel CPUs, the next Hololens could use a Snapdragon 850 processor, allowing it to benefit from the always-connected features.
Computing

Chrome’s dark mode may cast its shadow over Macs by early 2019

By early 2019 Google may release a version of Chrome for Mac users that offers a Dark Mode feature to match MacOS Mojave's recent darkening.
Computing

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.