When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.
Mirror is a versatile, interactive workout machine that lets you stream on-demand and live workout classes at home.
The machine aims to mimic the advantages of a brick-and-mortar boutique fitness space in the comfort and immediacy of your home.
After testing Mirror, it's clear it's intended for those who enjoy resistance training and who have the budget for a $1,500 workout machine.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
If you're even tangentially interested in fitness - or you've watched live TV or ridden in a subway - you've likely heard the name Mirror. A brand now owned by the fitness apparel company, lululemon, Mirror sells a $1,500 smart workout machine that aims to bring the advantages of a brick-and-mortar fitness studio into the comfort of your home. With the use of a companion app, it streams live and on-demand fitness classes directly onto its reflective surface.
Even before at-home fitness became most people's new normal, Mirror was an intriguing workout solution. Though it certainly wasn't the first to combine the motivation and satisfaction of an in-person class with the convenience of an at-home workout, Mirror's focus on bodyweight exercises seemed perfect for those uninterested in stationary bikes or treadmills. With a chic aesthetic, it does well to capture that spirit of boutique fitness, too.
To get a sense of what it's like to actually use, I reached out to Mirror about receiving a test unit to consider for a review.
To be honest, I didn't expect to like it. At first blush, it seemed like the consummate example of the expensive, unnecessary wellness products that proliferate in a D2C environment flush with VC money, glossy marketing campaigns, and celebrity endorsements. In other words, it seemed a bit too trendy.
But, while it does have its share of drawbacks, the Mirror makes a fair case for a particular consumer. Namely, someone who reliably works out at home and puts a premium on versatility, convenience, and space. It's also a good option for anyone who has a bit more discretionary income than time.
And now, while millions prepare to spend the foreseeable future primarily conducting their lives at home, it's a particularly good value despite its steep price tag.
How much does it cost?
The Mirror costs $1,495, though eligible buyers can opt to finance it through fixed monthly payments via Affirm, a consumer loan company that partnered with Mirror.
A Mirror purchase typically comes with the Mirror, tools for two different setup options (i.e. a wall-mount and a carbon steel leaner stand), and a Care Kit that includes a camera lens cap for privacy and a cleaning agent and cloth. It also comes with white glove delivery (so you don't have to worry about installing a heavy, expensive device yourself).
In addition to the cost of the machine, the workouts that you do via Mirror are not free and have a recurring monthly cost of $39. With it, six users are able to take unlimited classes whenever they want, and the charges begin upon delivery. There's also a Mirror-branded Heart Rate Monitor that runs for $50, as well as a collection of fitness bands for $50, available through the website.
The purchase also includes a 30-day risk-free trial and a year-long limited warranty.
How Mirror works
Once Mirror is set up - either mounted on the wall or in its leaner stand - you're able to stream live and on-demand classes using a companion app on either an iOS or Android-compatible device. New customers need to add required health details like weight and height, as well as any fitness goals and injury details they may have into the app. You can also choose your music from a variety of pre-made playlists or via a synced Spotify Premium account.
Your phone is where you'll browse for classes and read details like what equipment you'll need and a rundown of the exercises included (plus how long you'll do them and in what order).
What classes you can take
The Mirror membership offers a wide variety of exercise classes - kind of like ClassPass if ClassPass did house calls. You'll be able to find classes ranging from 15 to 60 minutes in more than 20 genres that include sculpt, cardio, boxing, kickboxing, pilates, yoga, barre, and full-body Bootcamp.
You can also pick workouts based on any equipment you might have like dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands, as well as your specific fitness level - with 1 being beginner and 4 being advanced. There's even a selection of multi-day programs like the 7-workout Yoga Basics and the 21-workout Train for a Marathon.
There are dozens of live classes per week where you can join other Mirror users and get real-time feedback from trainers as well as a back catalog of thousands of classes you can access 24-hours per day. You can also sign up for a $40 1:1 session with a personal trainer - and other people can even join this with you for no extra cost.
What it's like to use
As mentioned, I was surprised by how much I liked the Mirror. It's a little weird at first to see the instructor floating in nothing, and your reflection layered on top while you work out, but I got used to it quickly.
The image of the instructor and the built-in sound system are each clear and easy to understand. Depending on your preferences, you can adjust the volume of the instructor and your music so you can hear more of one over the other.
While you work out, you'll see a countdown clock, calories burned, your BPM (if you're wearing a Bluetooth heart rate monitor), and a few other useful details. The heart rate monitor also helps you see exactly how close you are to achieving the target heart rate for the exercise.
If you've noted that you have an injury, you'll see a minimized image of the instructor in the lower left-hand corner of the screen suggesting a less intense version of whatever exercise the rest of the class is doing. This is a great feature for anyone rehabbing or minding an injury as it still provides the same upbeat motivation of the class you're taking without running the risk of aggravating anything.
A surprisingly solid workout
My main concern was that it wouldn't be a difficult workout without weights or the social pressure to keep up with other people in a class. Turns out, I shouldn't have worried about this at all.
I quickly broke a sweat in the first bodyweight class that I took, and was sore for several days after. I actually found myself tempted to turn it off and walk away during particularly stressing classes, which is a possible con if you aren't a stickler at home. And, over the course of a few months of use, I found the classes to consistently challenge me -though, you can select them in varying levels of difficulty.
One unexpected aspect of using the Mirror at home was being aware of my neighbors and roommates. You can technically work out day or night but I found myself restricting my exercise to the day; jumping and running will likely be noticeable if you're living on anything other than the first floor. Ultimately, that's not much of a dealbreaker.
I did also find in the months that the Mirror leaned against my bedroom wall that it was harder to work up the energy to work out than it was to pack a bag and walk to a studio class. If you can get into the habit of working out at a regular time, however - or attending live classes - this may not be as much of a hurdle.
What I liked
Aesthetics: Mirror markets itself as "the nearly invisible home gym," and it's right - it's sleek and forgettable. You can put this thing pretty much anywhere and let it function as decor when it's not being used as a home gym.
Convenience: Mirror makes exercise as simple as Netflix made watching TV. It's instantaneous and you can workout at any time, day or night.
Customization: It's a perk and a distinguishing feature that the Mirror learns your injuries and seamlessly integrates alternate exercises into your workout classes. It's one of the features that make the device feel novel.
1:1 Training: It's relatively expensive at $40 per session but the 1:1 training is excellent. It's admittedly not as great as having a trainer watch you in person and being able to use their gym's equipment, but it does the job for far cheaper. In my 1:1 session, the trainer was able to see and verbally correct my form - though it may take a bit more communication than in-person.
Versatility: For a flat $39/month, you can work out as often as you like in more than 20 different types of workouts. The back catalog of on-demand classes spans thousands of options, and this only continues to grow.
Community: You can intentionally follow classes taught by instructors you enjoy, similar to a boutique fitness studio where the personalities are as much of a draw as the masochistic workout. Trainers have access to data like your name and heart rate, and they may give you a shoutout in a live class. You can also see the names of other people taking a class at the bottom of your screen, even if it isn't live. To keep users engaged, messages may pop up on the screen encouraging you along the way. At the end, you can take a selfie and rate both the class and the instructor.
Value over time: The Mirror is a one-time purchase (though the $39/month membership is not). If you use it for years or plan to continue living in a small living space in the future, the cost spreads out quite nicely in comparison to in-person boutique fitness classes. Split over the course of a year, the machine is $124 per month. Spread over two years, it comes down to $62 per month. Compare that to your local gym and your current fitness budget to determine how realistic it is for your lifestyle.
Future integrations: The brand (now owned by lululemon) has big plans for Mirror, and it may mean added value to your device in the future. 1:1 training features are relatively new, and I wouldn't be surprised if content like therapy and meditation also joined the Mirror interface in the future.
Some drawbacks to consider
Expense: Firstly, the Mirror is expensive (even if it does present a good value) and there are plenty of ways to get a great virtual workout in at home for free. Though the experience is better and more convenient with Mirror, it may not be worth the investment for most people.
Its expense also comes with relatively few tools for the genre; You can purchase a Peloton bike ($1,895) or a NordicTrack Treadmill ($1,299) that push your workout further for similar prices. Similar devices to the Mirror such as the wall-mounted Tonal ($2,995) or Tempo Studio ($2,000) also come with built-in exercise equipment.
Monthly membership: Like most home gym devices, Mirror requires an ongoing monthly membership to use, charging $39/month for unlimited classes for up to six people. This is a great deal for individuals, and especially for households, but an additional $40 for a 1:1 trainer session adds up quickly if you plan to use that feature routinely. And while Peloton's Bike or NordicTrack's treadmill work without a monthly membership, the Mirror transitions from acting as a smart mirror into a non-magical pumpkin without one.
Consistency: As anyone who buys home gym equipment can attest, the convenience of having workout gear within easy reach doesn't necessarily beget more consistent usage. For some people, the act of packing a gym bag and commuting to a class is a necessary part of actually getting oneself to work out. For them, the Mirror might turn into a very expensive lower-case mirror quite quickly. Luckily, you should be able to figure out if you're this sort of person during the 30-day trial.
Comforts and technology of in-person gyms: While there's plenty of variety in the kind of resistance classes you can take or at-home tools you can incorporate, I did find myself missing the heavy, expensive machines I get to use when I pay admission to an in-person class - i.e. the Pilates Cadillac, the heavy boxing bags, and plush floors.
Community: So, this is both a pro and a con. The draw of the D2C home gym genre is the promise of mimicking studio fitness' in-person community online through your device. In my opinion, it never feels as good as in-person interactions - but it's also better than nothing. And, right now, Mirror's lack of in-person community is another one of its topical advantages.
Mirror's $1,500 price tag certainly isn't the definition of wallet-friendly, but it is competitive with similar interactive workout machines. Here's how it and its monthly subscription cost compares to others on the market, as well as how it stacks up to the costs of popular gyms and fitness studios:
Unit cost and monthly memberships - Interactive equipment
Mirror: $1,495, $39 per month
Tempo: $1,995, $39 per month
Peloton: $1,895, $39 per month
NordicTrack S22i (iFit): $1,999, $39 per month
Ergatta Rower: $2,199, $29 per month
Hydrow Row Machine: $2,200, $38 per month
Monthly memberships - Gyms
Equinox: $185 (Basic), $260 (All-Access), $300 (Destination club), $500 (E-Club)
$500 initiation fee for Basic, All-Access, and Destination members
$750 initiation fee for E-Club members
Blink Fitness: $15 (one club access), $20 (select club access), $25 (all club access)
LA Fitness: $30 to $50 (varies depending on city/state)
Should you buy it?
If you're motivated by an at-home workout machine with a deep library of classes, then yes. You'll need to not only spend the $1,500 entry fee to use it but also a recurring $39 per month for the classes. At-home workout machines are wildly popular right now and Mirror is certainly one of the most talked-about. If spending that much on an interactive mirror doesn't excite you, you can spend your money on home gym equipment in much better ways.
What are your alternatives?
The most direct alternatives to Mirror are Tonal and Tempo, each of which come with their own version of included equipment, be it included resistance via a built-in weight system (Tonal) or a legit gym setup with dumbbell handles and a barbell (Tempo). Both of these are more comprehensive workout machines, though while Tonal runs nearly $3,000, the Tempo Studio is just $2,000.
The bottom line
Now is a particularly good time to make the case for the Mirror but there certainly are trade-offs that make it great for some users and wholly impractical for others.
The Mirror is still an expensive version of what's already available to anyone online. If $1,500 for a workout mirror sounds like too large an investment, it's probably not worth the financial discomfort. The workouts are challenging and diverse, but you can get a great workout with at-home equipment like resistance bands and dumbbells and by using something like Youtube or any of the other free virtual workouts currently available.
And, if you're looking for a device that never loses its efficacy (even sans monthly membership) I'd recommend putting your money into options like Peloton's Bike or NordicTrack's Studio Cycle - you could even consider investing in a reliable treadmill.
But if you mostly like to do resistance or bodyweight workouts, and are willing to pay a premium for variety and convenience, Mirror is still a great option to consider. It's particularly good for small living spaces, and you can add 1:1 training sessions for $40 (and have multiple people in your house participate). Plus, if Mirror adds telemedicine options or other services into the interface, you may find it provides even more value over time.
All told, it's a great tool for some, but not for everyone.
Pros: Deep library of on-demand classes in a variety of workout genres, takes up a small footprint, workouts are engaging and exhausting, acts as a normal mirror when not in use
Cons: Expensive (like any smart at-home machine), recurring $39 per month charge to stream classes (and for it to function at all), questionable motivation over long-term use
Read the original article on Insider