Mirror Brings Personal Training Into Your Home (And Onto Your Wall)
Yes, this is Mirror. It’s a mirror. For your home. For fitness. Confused yet? Not to worry, we were too. With the boom of interactive training—a byproduct of the world of Peloton, and NordicTrack’s expansive iFit training offered on things like the Commercial 1750 treadmill and S22i indoor cycle—there have been a number of new additions to the fitness space, but nothing quite like this. In buying Mirror, you’re not just buying a mirror (obviously). You’re buying a giant HD display monitor that is cloaked by a mirror while off, and by paying for a monthly subscription ($39/month), you’re gaining access to a host of training sessions in a broad range of categories including cardio, strength training, yoga, pilates, and others. The brand is setting over 50 classes live per week, as well as offering access to a massive archive of classes already recorded. This is very much aligned with the Peloton training model, though mirror has a few extra tricks up their sleeve that make Mirror especially interesting.
Starting from its outer structure, the Mirror has a rigid carbon steel frame surrounding its 40″ full HD 1080p display in portrait layout rather than the landscape of a traditional television or monitor. Driving the wall-mounted device is a quad core processor, and it has a pair of built-in 10-watt speakers with respectable sound quality for both its instruction and background music. At a functional level, there’s much more to digest. Its workout categories include cardio, yoga, strength training, pilates, boxing, and barre. While some of these workouts will be very intense, that doesn’t mean that fitness newbies or those with mobility/injury-related issues will be left out in the cold. As you set up your user profile on Mirror, one of the things that is asked is whether or not you have any injuries, and if you do, your workouts will actually show alternative movements, should there be an exercise that could be troublesome. This is just one layer of customization you’ll notice when using mirror. Other adjustments to routines will be customized based on your initial profile answers, where you’ll be asked about everything from your height and weight, to your fitness goals and what equipment you have handy in the house.
As you work through your training sessions, your coach with both guide and encourage you to work towards specific targets of pacing and exertion, in part based on data pulled from your heart rate monitor. A Bluetooth chest strap is included with the purchase of Mirror, or you can opt to sync your Apple Watch as means of tracking. Either way, you’re in good hands. Fundamentally speaking, this training is quite close to the wide array of training programs available on many iFit enabled exercise bikes and treadmills. While you won’t get as much in the way of yoga and pilates, if your focus is cardio there will be ample options available in that respect. Initially focused on running and spin classes, the iFit catalog has expanded to get you off your bike or treadmill in intervals to complete other exercises, helping users improve on muscle definition all while getting a healthy dose of cardio.
Mirror also includes an interesting level of interactivity, not only in its live class coaching, but also in its ability to connect with friends and colleagues to share fitness goals and challenge one another. Granted, given the cost and unique target audience of the Mirror it’s not the kind of thing that everyone you know is going to have in their house, but all the same, it’s an interesting option if you have the ability to put it to use. The Mirror is also set up to handle multiple users within your home, should there be more family members looking to partake in the training. A total of 5 users can be stored on the device at one time. The only real challenge with this then becomes the mounting height of the unit onto the wall. If you’re 5’7″ and someone else is 6’2″, one of you is likely to be cut of at one extremity or the other when watching yourself working out. Though it’s close to a full-length mirror, users often lose sight of themselves when doing floor exercises as well.
Surprisingly, the Mirror isn’t touchscreen capable, and unlike so many other fitness apps/devices it is only compatible with Apple iOS. This immediately rules out any Android households from benefiting from the Mirror, at least for the time being. We can’t help but wonder if the company had issues with the wide range of devices and customizations that appear in the Android market, and have simply held off to ensure that their software setup runs effectively. Also on the tech side of things, users have two different options when it comes to workout music. Mirror offers curated selections of music by category to go along with its workouts, however Spotify Premium members are also able to sync up their accounts to broadcast their favorite playlists alongside their workout routines.
We recently found out that Mirror is about to expand on their programming. A timeline has yet to be announced, however they will be launching true 1-on-1 interactive training soon. To be offered for an undisclosed additional cost (no surprise there), this kind of training is precisely what the Mirror was built for. Getting the benefit of personal training sessions in your home has a huge amount of appeal, and Mirror is clearly targeting those already footing the bill for personal training with this option.
We’re pretty much in the same boat when any new fitness company comes on the market—this thing needs a longer warranty. Granted it has no moving parts so wear and tear isn’t a concern, but as it stands a 1-year warranty on the mirror, 1-year on the chest strap monitor, and 1-year on labor and installation seems a bit light for an item with no tangible history to speak of. Less from a “we expect it to break” standpoint, but rather “it would help instil confidence if” one, we’d be happier to see at least a couple of years of warranty considering your operating cost on the machine after the first year (once you add in delivery and monthly subscription) is going to total roughly $2,213 before taxes.
All told, this is a very niche piece of fitness kit, and depending on your workout interests, budget, and residential space constraints, it could be a good fit. Its startup costs are high, but the payout in convenience is substantial. For example, if you’re paying for unlimited studio yoga classes, that can easily run you $50 a month. Add a gym membership to that and that can be anywhere from $20 to a couple hundred bucks monthly depending on where you train. The Mirror won’t pay for itself in its first year when doing this basic math, but the trade off of not having to leave the house for this kind of professional training is a big win, especially for those who have to commute to their local gym, or deal with colder climates when heading to work out in the winter. If you’re outside of this particular niche, or looking to stay on more of a budget, you’re likely better suited looking at iFit enabled treadmills and exercise bikes, as those will also have full-body workouts as part of their programming.