Mirror Workout Review: The smart home gym that comes at a hefty price

    Since the beginning of the pandemic, workouts at home have been the norm. If you already work from home, why go out into the world to get a workout? Decorating your home gym means you’ll skip gym membership fees And You will never have to worry about smelling other people’s sweat while exercising.

    For people who don’t have the cash or space to build a complete home gym, fitness mirrors are the next best thing. Wall-mounted or free-standing exercise machines provide studio-style exercises in your living room with minimal space required. Launched in 2018, the Mirror was a first for fitness tech and has withstood a full-blown onslaught of competitors ever since.

    What is a mirror? How does the mirror work?

    The mirror is just a mirror that also serves as a screen to broadcast live and on-demand workout classes from home. It acts as a physical mirror when the monitor is turned on or off, allowing you to check how you look during exercise while blending into your home décor when not in use. While some fitness mirrors are touch screens, the mirror does not have touch capabilities. Instead, it’s controlled through a partner smartphone app where you can select categories, music, and more.

    Up front, Mirror costs $1,495 without additional accessories, and requires a $39 per month membership to access all categories through the app. There are also other, more expensive packages from Mirror that include exercise bands, a heart rate monitor, or new Smart Weights from Mirror if you want to ramp up your pre-workouts from the start.

    When the mirror is on, it’s a smart home gym screen. When closed, it blends perfectly with your home décor.

    Mirror screen showing a coach leading an exercise

    Credit: Jay Thomas / Mashable

    Mirror next to a shelf full of plants

    Credit: Jay Thomas / Mashable

    When turned on, the mirror shows an on-screen trainer leading the selected exercise class. At the same time, the paired smartphone app gives you all the controls needed to customize your experience, from music selection to volume to elapsed time. Mirror also offers in-person training sessions that use the on-device camera, but this is an additional cost in addition to the membership fee.

    During class, you can adjust the volume, skip ahead, and view your progress on your phone.

    Screenshot of in-class controls for the mirror app

    credit: screenshot: mirror

    Screenshot of in-class controls for the mirror app

    credit: screenshot: mirror

    What types of exercises are there in the mirror?

    Mirror offers the following types of exercise: barre, boxing, cardio, chair, competitive, dance, family fun, kickboxing, meditation, pilates, pre/postpartum, strength, stretching, tai chi, toning, yoga, and personal training. Within each of these types, all classes can be filtered by difficulty, length (from five minutes to 60 minutes), teacher, equipment required, effect, and date (whether or not you took the class/bookmarked it).

    Mirror category filter in smartphone app

    Choose from 17 different types of Mirror Library on demand.
    credit: screenshot: mirror

    Live layer filter mirror in app

    Live lessons occur approximately every hour from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.
    credit: screenshot: mirror

    In addition to the hundreds of on-demand classes, there is a well-prepared schedule for live and back classes if you really want to get into the studio atmosphere. Regarding the new live classes, there are about 10-20 per day depending on the day of the week.

    Compared to other workout apps, Mirror is very beginner friendly. There are a large number of beginner classes that do not require equipment, so it is an incentive for people who do not have cumulative strength yet. The classes offer a positive feel without being too cultural, so any type of user will feel comfortable. During testing, the beginner and intermediate pilates and toning classes were my favorite, as they only require light weights and a cross resistance band. For people who want to do more serious lifting with a mirror, you will have to own your own weights or invest in a set of new smart mirror weights.

    Mirror classes vs peloton classes

    When compared to the classes on the Peloton app, the mirror classes tend to be quieter and more relaxing. Since the Mirror is owned by Lululemon, there are plenty of great Pilates and Yoga instructors who run direct, relaxing classes. While Peloton classes work on the big personalities of their trainers and can seem a bit exclusive at times, Mirror classes are better suited to the average user who doesn’t need to yell at them to squeeze more during a workout, or who doesn’t. They necessarily want to form a strange social relationship with their virtual coach. With that being said, the workouts are still engaging to follow, and the coaches aren’t completely devoid of personality – they probably won’t drop their instagram handle at the end of class or give you a 10-minute motivational letter.

    Selfie mirror of a person kneeling on an exercise mat in front of the mirror

    Mirror trainers have just enough personality to keep things interesting.
    Credit: Jay Thomas / Mashable

    I have both a peloton bike and mirror in my apartment, and I honestly switch to my peloton bike more frequently than in the mirror—but I prefer cardio to strength training or toning. If you’re a fan of bodyweight classes, yoga, guided stretching, or Pilates, a mirror is a good (if expensive) option.

    Is the mirror worth it?

    The mirror will be worth it for a few groups of people:

    • People who attend (or have previously gone) to personal studio classes and are looking to save money

    • People who want a home gym but don’t have space for multiple devices

    • People who prefer bodyweight and free weight exercises to cardio

    If you’ve prepaid for a personal studio membership (which can cost hundreds of dollars a month depending on the location), the mirror will save you some money after the initial initial cost and a few months of membership fees. The mirror is a great piece of art that allows you to see yourself in action and gives you a true studio experience during live classes, but it doesn’t give you the shape corrections that some other fitness mirrors provide and doesn’t include any strength training equipment.

    If you are hungry to own a fitness mirror and plan to take live classes, Mirror is a solid choice. We get that buying a high-tech and expensive fitness equipment can be a huge motivating factor for some people, and if so, feel free to do so. Getting your money on the mirror will definitely require that you use it regularly, which could mean you’ll end up working out more than if you just had a fitness app membership.

    On the flip side, if you don’t care about live lessons, owning the technology, or being able to see yourself in action, having a Peloton or other fitness app membership and playing it on your TV will give you a similar experience. Cheaper experience.