When I watch workout videos at home, I spend most of my time staring at my TV trying to figure out what the instructor is doing. That absolutely gets the job done — YouTube has tons of excellent free fitness content that I make regular use of. Yoga with Adriene and Carly Rowena’s HIIT workouts are two of my favorites.
But startup Mirror would say I’m missing out on something crucial by going that route — the opportunity to easily check my form during a guided routine, as I would in a typical mirrored gym.
Mirror’s $1,495 Mirror is a full-length hybrid device that’s part mirror, part LCD screen. It’s a self-contained fitness system where you can watch an instructor and yourself at the same time — on the same piece of hardware. (It’s currently only available in the continental US.)
Pay $39 per month for access to a variety of live and on-demand classes. Use the included Bluetooth heart-rate monitor and fitness bands to enhance your sessions; find classes and customize your settings in the Mirror app.
From its straightforward app to its clever dual-purpose design and wide offering of classes, the Mirror is an intriguing concept with legitimate appeal. It makes sense for folks in search of a home workout plan that’s more immersive than pulling up YouTube and more versatile than Peloton’s largely spin-and-treadmill-specific routines.
At the same time, the price is pushing $1,500 and that doesn’t even include the ongoing monthly service fees. One-on-one personal training sessions are coming, too, for an additional fee. The Mirror only works with iOS devices as of now, and there’s no support for fitness apps like Fitbit and MyFitnessPal — or any smart home voice assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant.
Consider the Mirror if you’re sold on home workouts and want that extra boost of motivation from instructors in a minimal, multipurpose device, but I’d personally miss my in-person gym classes too much to switch over to the Mirror completely.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
At first glance, the Mirror is, well, a mirror — a full-length mirror you can mount to your wall or set against the wall with the included stand and wall anchors. You can install it yourself or pay an additional $250 to have one of Mirror’s “white glove logistics partners” install it for you. I opted for the latter, largely because a 70-pound $1,495 breakable mirror isn’t a one-person job in my opinion, although Mirror’s FAQ page claims the installation is “a simple process that is similar to a TV installation.”
It took the installer roughly 30 minutes to complete from start to finish and I noticed two main things as he went through the process.
First, he asked my height beforehand, which determined how high he mounted it to the wall. Given that the installation is customized to one user’s height, a single Mirror won’t be optimized for multiple participants. For instance, I’m 5 feet, 7 inches tall and my husband is 6 feet, 2 inches tall — I’m guessing he wouldn’t be able to see part of his face while working out with the Mirror I tested, unless he stood farther away or otherwise adjusted his stance. That said, one Mirror account and one $39 monthly payment covers up to five users who can each customize their accounts based on their level of fitness, height, weight and more. (I’ll talk more about the app setup later on.)
Second, you need to be near a wall outlet, since this thing needs to plug in and the adapter cord is just 6 feet long. This may be obvious, but the otherwise sleek-looking Mirror looks much less sleek when you go to plug in the power cord and have to stretch it six feet to reach the outlet. The closer to an outlet you can install the Mirror, the less it will look like an electrical appliance and the more it will look like a stylish wall mirror. There’s a reason you don’t see the power cord in the images of the Mirror on its website.
Overall, though, the Mirror looks nice. I specifically went with the wall-mounted installation rather than the stand, but I wouldn’t mind either style in my home.
The wall-mounted Mirror saves space and offers a variety of exercise classes.
When it’s turned off, you can use the Mirror as you would any wall mirror. Turn it on by flipping the toggle switch on the bottom; download the iOS app to get started. You can also leave the Mirror on 24-7 and the screen will go into “sleep” mode so you don’t have to toggle it on and off every time you want to start a class. The Mirror doesn’t have a touchscreen, voice-assistant capabilities or a web interface for customers to configure their accounts — every interaction you have with the Mirror starts with the app.
In the app, you’ll be asked to create a username and a password and walk through the steps to connect Mirror to your Wi-Fi network. It also asks for info from you to help customize your workout recommendations and determine things like your max heart rate and estimate how many calories you burn per class: your age, gender, height, weight, fitness level (from beginner to expert); primary fitness goal (such as build muscle, destress or lose weight); what exercises you like (barre, boxing, yoga and more); and whether or not you already own any workout equipment (kettlebells, jump rope and so on).
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Follow the simple steps to configure your Mirror in the iOS app.
Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET
Keep in mind that the Mirror only comes with a heart-rate monitor and six fitness bands for stretching. So unless you have additional things at your disposal, all of the classes you do will be exclusively “body weight” exercises — exercises you can do at home without needing extra equipment or tools.
Fortunately, the Mirror draws from a lot of different disciplines so you won’t get bored. It also wants to know how many times you’d like to exercise with the Mirror each week and the length of each workout so you can personalize your goals.
It even asks if you have any injuries that might limit your range of motion on certain exercises. A heart-rate monitor comes with the Mirror, too, but you can use any Bluetooth-enabled model you want. The app shows you how to connect it and then you’re ready to start a class.
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Mirror gives you recommendations, but you can also browse through all of the live and on-demand classes.
Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET
Using the Mirror
When I open up the Mirror app, it takes me straight to a list of recommended classes. Click on one and the Mirror screen wakes up and displays details about the class. You’ll see the instructor demonstrating some of the routine, the name of the class, the instructor’s name, the class’s difficulty level from 1 to 4, the length of the class and a brief description of it.
For example, I’m about to try an on-demand Yoga Flow class. Alex is the instructor, it’s marked as a Level 2 difficulty, and it’s a 30-minute class. The description for it reads: “This athletic yoga flow features a series of flowing poses and sequences. You will feel strong and rejuvenated by the end!”