Mirror workout review: Smart home gym that comes with a hefty price

Since the start of the pandemic, at-home workouts have been king. If you’re already working from home, why go out into the world to get a workout in? Decking out a home gym means you’ll skip out on gym membership fees and you’ll never have to worry about smelling other people’s sweat while you exercise.

For folks who don’t have the cash or the space to build out a full home gym, fitness mirrors are the next best thing. These wall mounted or freestanding workout machines bring studio-style workouts to your living room with minimal space required. Launched back in 2018, the Mirror was the first of its kind in the fitness tech space, and it’s held up to a whole onslaught of competitors since then.

What is the Mirror? How does the Mirror work?

Mirror is a just that — a mirror that also doubles as a screen to stream live and on-demand workout classes from home. It acts as an actual mirror when the screen is turned on or off, allowing you to check your form during workouts while blending into your home decor when not in use. While some fitness mirrors are touchscreens, the Mirror doesn’t have touch capabilities. Instead, it’s controlled through a partner smartphone app where you can select classes, music, and more.

Upfront, the Mirror costs $1,495 with no added accessories, and requires a $39 per month membership to access all of the classes through the app. There are also other more expensive Mirror packages that include workout bands, a heart rate monitor, or Mirror’s new smart weights if you want to up the ante of your workouts from the get-go.

When Mirror is on, it’s a smart home gym screen. When it’s off, it blends right into your home decor.

Credit: Jae Thomas/Mashable

Mirror next to a shelf full of plants

Credit: Jae Thomas/Mashable

When turned on, the Mirror shows a trainer on the screen leading the selected workout class. Simultaneously, the paired smartphone app will give you all the necessary controls to customize your experience, from music selection to volume to time elapsed. Mirror also offers personal training sessions that use the device’s installed camera, but these cost extra on top of the membership fee.

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

Screenshot of Mirror app in-class controls

Credit: Screenshot: Mirror

Screenshot of Mirror app in-class controls

Credit: Screenshot: Mirror

What types of workouts does the Mirror have?

Mirror offers the following workout types: barre, boxing, cardio, chair, competitive, dance, family fun, kickboxing, meditation, pilates, pre/postnatal, strength, stretch, tai chi, toning, yoga, and personal training. Within each of these genres, all classes can be filtered by difficulty, length (from five minutes to 60 minutes), instructor, equipment needed, impact, and history (whether you’ve taken the class or not/bookmarked it).

Mirror class filtering in the smartphone app

Select from 17 different genres from Mirror’s on-demand library.
Credit: Screenshot: Mirror

Mirror live class filtering in app

Live classes happen nearly every hour from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.
Credit: Screenshot: Mirror

In addition to hundreds of on-demand classes, there’s a pretty decked-out schedule of live and encore classes if you want to really get into the studio feel. In terms of new live classes, there are about 10 to 20 per day depending on the day of the week.

In comparison to other workout apps, the Mirror is very beginner friendly. There are a whole slew of beginner-level classes that require zero equipment, so it’s motivating for folks who don’t have built-up strength just yet. The classes offer a positive vibe without being too cult-y, so any type of user will feel comfortable. During testing, the beginner and intermediate pilates and toning classes were my favorite, as they required only light weights and the occasional resistance band. For folks who want to do more serious lifting with the Mirror, you’ll have to have your own weights or invest in a set of Mirror’s new smart weights.

Mirror classes versus Peloton classes

When compared to classes on the Peloton App, Mirror classes tend to be a little more chill and laid back. Since Mirror is owned by Lululemon, there are a lot of great pilates and yoga instructors who run straightforward, calm classes. While Peloton classes run on the big personalities of their instructors and can seem a little exclusive at times, Mirror classes are a better fit for a casual user who doesn’t need to be screamed at to push harder during a workout, or who doesn’t necessarily want to form a weird parasocial relationship with their virtual trainer. With that being said, the workouts are still engaging to follow along, and the instructors aren’t totally devoid of personality — they just probably won’t drop their instagram handle at the end of class or give you a 10-minute long motivational speech.

Mirror selfie of person kneeling on a workout mat in front of the Mirror

Mirror instructors have just enough personality to keep things interesting.
Credit: Jae Thomas/Mashable

I have both a Peloton bike and the Mirror in my apartment, and I honestly turn to my Peloton bike much more frequently than the Mirror — but I prefer cardio workouts to strength training or toning. If you’re into bodyweight classes, yoga, guided stretching, or pilates, the Mirror is a good (if expensive) option.

Is the Mirror worth it?

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

  • Folks who go to (or previously went to) in-person studio classes and are looking to save money

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

  • People who prefer body weight and free weight exercises to cardio

If you previously paid for an in-person studio membership (which can cost hundreds of dollars per month depending on location), the Mirror will save you some money after the initial upfront cost and a few months of the membership fee. Mirror is a cool piece of tech that allows you to watch yourself while working out and gives you a real studio experience during live classes, but it doesn’t give you the form corrections some other fitness mirrors do and doesn’t include any strength training equipment.

If you’re dead-set on having a fitness mirror and plan to take live classes, Mirror is a solid option. We get that buying a high-tech, pricey piece of fitness equipment can be a big motivating factor for some folks, and if that’s you, feel free to take the plunge. Getting your money’s worth on the Mirror will definitely require you to use it regularly, which may mean you 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 classes, having the tech, or being able to see yourself while you work out, getting a Peloton membership or other fitness app membership and playing it on your TV will give you a similar, cheaper experience.


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