Beauty

This smart mirror is for the 1%

By Alex Wood 27 January 2017
Summary

You’re so vain, you probably think this smart mirror is about you.

You don’t need a £300 ($400) smart mirror. But you’ll want one.

Simplehuman, the chic brand best known for shiny recycling bins loved by upwardly mobile city-dwellers, has a new trick up its sleeve – internet-connected vanity mirrors.

Everyone (we hope) checks themselves in the mirror – so why not make a “smart” one? I decided to try one out first hand.

My experience with “smart home” devices over the past 12 months has been desperately disappointing.

Electronics companies are on a relentless mission to violate our home appliances with internet connectivity that no consumer ever asked for.

With this in mind – I had low expectations of simplehuman’s new smart mirror.

But I loved it.

Retailing at £300 in the UK, this is the mirror for the 1%. And first and foremost, this a great mirror.

The mirror for the 1%

Famous for its elegant, minimalist design, simplehuman’s Wide View Sensor mirror, looks more like a high-end chrome iMac than something you’d find on your dressing table.

The mirror has two foldable wings, which also add to its futuristic-looking design.

The central part is surrounded by two strips of LED lights, attached to a sensor, that lights the mirror up as you approach it. This is smart enough to know when you’re sitting in front of it and won’t turn off until you’re done.

It sounds gimmicky, but once you get used to the LED lights – you’ll feel lost without them.

More than a mirror

But this is more than just a well-lit mirror: the app’s light modes are by far its most interesting feature.

These can change the colour tones of the LED lights to match different real-life environments.

This may sound extreme, but in reality I found surprisingly useful: you do your make-up to suit the lighting levels of the office, or you can see how your hair will look in the dim hues of a club.

Light has a big effect on how we look – it’s exactly why photographers invest so much time in getting lighting correct before capturing the perfect shot.

Personally, as someone who regularly appears on TV, this is a brilliant feature. The lighting inside a TV studio is completely different – get your makeup wrong and you end up looking like Trump – and who wants that?

The bad – connectivity

With anything smart, there are always pitfalls. And sadly, this mirror is no different when it comes to connectivity.

In our tests, we struggled for over an hour to get the mirror online. Looking at the app reviews, we weren’t alone in finding the process frustrating.

If you do decide to drop £300 for this mirror – be prepared to invest a bit of time getting it onto your home wifi connection. Luckily the wifi won’t stop you from being able to use this product for its primary function – being a mirror.

Is this magic mirror for you?

I asked TV makeup artists about the mirror and they were enthusiastic.

Professional makeup artists wouldn’t dream of putting makeup on without the right lighting, so it’s only natural that this is starting to filter down to luxury households.

Yes, £300 is a lot of money to spend on a mirror. But if you like to spend your hard-earned cash on high-end kitchen gadgets and designer bathroom fittings, why not splurge on a top of the range mirror?

The simplehuman WideView Sensor Mirror isn’t for everyone, and that’s the point:

If you’re so ‘vain’, and love great design, this is mirror to match your aspirations.