- Mirror, a New York-based startup, launched its $US1,500 ($AU2,000) interactive mirror in September. The machine streams live and on-demand workout classes into your home. Classes cost $US39 per month.
- Customers connect to the Mirror using a Bluetooth heart rate monitor or via an Apple Watch.
- We put it to the test – here’s what it’s like to use.
Home fitness has become one of the hottest trends of the year, with new startups offering more innovative and convenient ways to workout.
Peloton, one of the biggest names in the space, has gained a cult following with its workout bike. Earlier this year, it launched its second home fitness machine, the treadmill. Indoor cycling studio Flywheel has also jumped on the bandwagon, rolling out its own version of the bike.
Now New York-based startup Mirror wants a slice of the pie.
Its LCD mirror, which launched in September, allows customers to stream live and on-demand fitness classes from their home. It looks just like a standard mirror and is operated using an app.
The company has raised $US38 million in venture funding and plans to open a pop-up store on Fifth Avenue in December.
We tested out the machine. Here’s what it is like to use:
At first glance, Mirror looks like any other mirror you might have at home.
But don’t be fooled — while this machine also functions as a mirror, it has an LCD screen from which to screen live and on-demand fitness classes.
The workout process begins on the app, where new customers are asked to enter their key health details — weight, height — along with their fitness goals and details of any injuries.
The user connects to the machine using a Bluetooth heart rate monitor. Worn around the waist, this tracks your heart rate throughout the workout, as well as how many calories you have burned.
The mirror can also be connected to an Apple Watch.
Kitted out in the heart rate monitor, we decided to test out one of its shorter cardio workouts.
There are over 50 on-demand classes added to the app each weak including cardio, boxing, strength training, yoga, barre, Pilates, boxing, HIIT and more. The levels range from beginner to expert.
This 15-minute class combines a mix of 26 different exercises beginning with a short warmup.
Our first impressions are good. The instructor is clear, and the quality of the built-in sound system is solid, making it easy to follow.
Everything is controlled through the app, so there’s no need to touch the mirror and risk grubbing it up.
You can increase or decrease the instructor volume and background music on the app. You can also link the app to your Spotify playlist to listen to your own music while you work out.
As it’s also reflective, you are able to see exactly what you are doing.
A couple of minutes into the workout, a smaller image of the instructor doing an alternative exercise pops up on the screen. Kailee Combs, vice president of fitness content at Mirror, told us that these are personalised to each user.
If you have noted that you have a leg injury, for example, the machine will suggest a less intense version when it comes to exercising this part of the body.
This level of personalisation is what distinguishes the machine from other home workouts, Brynn Putnam, founder and CEO of the company, told Business Insider.
Putnam, once a professional dancer for the New York City Ballet, came up with the idea for the machine after she had a child and found herself too busy to get to the gym.
“Studio classes are great for high-quality, hands-on training but are often draining on time and budget,” she said in a news release when the product launched in September.
She continued: “We’re creating a personalised experience with the best trainers and classes around the world, so anyone can enjoy the benefits of a workout, whenever and wherever they want.”
“But we didn’t want to sacrifice quality for convenience,” she told Business Insider. Instructors hail from top New York gyms and fitness centres including Equinox, Nike, and Physique 57.
There are seven to 12 live classes each day, which run between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. and between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Customers have to buy a 12-month subscription to these classes, which cost $US39 per month.
Customers who want the truly personalised experience will shortly be able to opt for personal-training sessions using the mirror’s built-in camera and microphone. A spokesperson for Mirror said that plans for that service are currently in the works.
One of the best features is the heart rate monitor. This allows you to see exactly how close you are to achieving the target heart rate for the exercise.
To keep the user engaged throughout the workout, messages pop up on the screen to encourage you to work harder.
If you’re live-streaming a class, the instructor might also give you a shout-out.
At the end of the workout, we were asked to take a selfie and rate both the class and instructor.
The biggest bonus of the screen is that it takes up no room space. While you’ll need to carve out an area to actually do the exercises in, when you’re not using it, it won’t encroach at all.
For those who don’t have the time or can’t make it to a group class, this is about as good as it gets. It’s easy to use, and the wide breadth of classes means you can have it all from your very own living room.
Cost is a big factor here, however. While the price comes in below some of its competitors such as Peloton and Flywheel, whose home fitness bikes cost $US2,245 and $US1,699, respectively, it is still a pricey purchase.
You can also choose to pay for the mirror in $US164 monthly installments over a 12-month period with no interest, though this works out to $US2,436 in total with the workout class subscription.
But it could end up offering more benefits to its users beyond fitness.
Putnam has big plans for Mirror that extend beyond fitness to other types of content including therapy and meditation. Eventually, she sees the tech as a way for users to shop and chat with friends.
“We believe it will become the third screen in your life,” she said.
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