Staring lovingly at your reflection in the mirror gets old, especially if it's not a magical one that tells you you're the fairest of them all. But what if all that time you already spend in front of a mirror could actually make you the most beautiful person in the land? Many smart mirrors already make this promise, but HiMirror is the first one you can actually buy, and it costs $189. The secret sauce comes in the form of a camera that captures your au naturel visage to analyze your complexion, before offering you tips on how to get better skin. I tried it out recently and was impressed by how many things it could do.
The 5.5-pound mirror is more cutesy than the futuristic thanks to its pink accents. It houses a 14-inch LCD screen and has a camera sitting in the middle of a ring flash, which helps light your face for better images. HiMirror snaps a picture of your face every day to analyze your wrinkles, dark spots, dark circles, red spots and pores. The idea is to track how your skin changes over time, and flag your so-called problems so you can take "early measures to improve upon your skin and achieve your beauty goals."
During a recent demo, I stood in front of the mirror, carefully moving around to align my face with the onscreen outline, until the camera recognized me. HiMirror then took a photo and displayed how I had fewer fine lines and red spots than I did the day before (the system was comparing me to another person's profile), but that my dark circles were worse. It then told me that I had to drink more water and sleep more, which, duh. It also told be not to be discouraged by my (self-proclaimed) terrible complexion. HiMirror pairs with an iOS or Android app so you can track your complexion on the go.
In addition, HiMirror will play tutorial videos on proper skin-care techniques (because there's a right way to wash your face!), stream music from Spotify and show you the weather forecast and UV index for the day. You can also tell it the types of beauty products you use, so it can determine whether they've been effective in treating your target areas. Adding a product to what the company calls your "Beauty Box" simply requires holding up its barcode to the camera and scanning it. It's not clear yet how many brands and products this feature supports, but most big brands are recognized.
In fact, most of your interactions with HiMirror will involve the camera or the motion detector below the screen. Wave your hand to the right to slide to the next screen, and move your hand up or down to navigate options. You can press the physical buttons on the mirror's right edge to toggle brightness, speaker volume or mode (which turns the screen off, leaving behind a basic mirror). The gestures mean you don't need to touch the display, so you won't smear the glass and obstruct your view. You can also use voice commands to control the device, although the functions here are somewhat limited. You'll always have to say the trigger phrase ("Hi Mirror, listen") before speaking a command, and the system doesn't yet understand contextual follow-up questions.
The camera also allows for some security features. HiMirror won't start its operating system unless it recognizes your face. This proved accurate during my demo, when I failed to log in by scanning my face and had to wait for the company's rep to stick his head in front of the camera. You can also say a passphrase to log in -- HiMirror will recognize your voice and sign you in. That's mostly helpful only if you're sensitive about your complexion and don't want guests or family members snooping around and finding your facial data, because there isn't any really confidential info stored on the mirror. Those who are worried that HiMirror's camera can be hacked to spy on their bathroom activities can cover it up with the provided shutter.
The company also makes a smart scale that can be paired with the mirror which will measure your body weight and fat percentage, and send that information to the mirror (and your phone). The mirror's display will then play videos and dispense information on how to get to your goal weight, too. It feels a little superficial to be focusing on such arbitrary characteristics of physical appearance, but really, what else do you use a mirror for if not to make sure you look good?
Setting up the mirror requires some assembly, but it should install on most walls. It might sound like a hassle, but I'd do it just to enjoy that ring light that sits at the top of HiMirror. It's exactly like the flash that plenty of photographers and bloggers use to make their portraits look flawless, and to add a sparkle to the subject's eye. That's not one of HiMirror's selling points, but certainly something that draws a selfie-lover like me.
For a first-gen product, HiMirror offers a surprising number of features, and appears to understand its target audience well. The beauty-obsessed may spend even more time in front of the mirror than they already do, poring over their data and watching instructional videos. Future iterations of the device may better integrate with your phone to make it a more helpful assistant. As it stands, though, HiMirror looks to be a smart home gadget that beauty-lovers will adore.