Simplehuman Wide-View Sensor Mirror review: This smart mirror helps you see yourself in a whole new light
Mirrors don't typically fall under CNET's review purview, but the $400 US-only Simplehuman Wide-View Sensor Mirror is special. It comes with Wi-Fi connectivity, a companion Android and iOS app, as well as built-in LEDs that you can customize to suit specific lighting conditions and improve your selfie makeup game (yes, we're serious). In short, this smart mirror is a big step above a cheap Conair.
The goods news is that the Simplehuman mirror worked pretty well. The lighting from the mirror was pretty accurate in mimicking settings such as daylight and fluorescent light. The app was also simple to use with the mirror. And it doesn't hurt that this pricey hunk of glass and stainless steel is lovely to look at and clearly well made thanks to its substantial heft.
Unfortunately, beauty comes at a cost. The Simplehuman is rather fragile despite is large size. The three mirrors that make up the trifold design only magnify one time, which makes crafting the perfect cat-eye and other types of up-close makeup applications a challenge. And the mirror's face-sensing tech that's supposed to keep the LEDs on while you put on makeup occasionally shut off while we were still using it. And we haven't even talked about the Simplehuman's high price: $400.
We can't recommend the Simplehuman Wide-View Sensor Mirror to the average makeup wearer; it's just too expensive and doesn't have nearly enough magnification. But the mirror is still a neat and (mostly) functional product, so it would make a novel addition to your morning routine if you have the cash and a strong understanding of makeup and lighting.
Cozying up to Simplehuman's smart mirror
Why would anyone ever want a smart mirror? You can grab something significantly cheaper than the Simplehuman at pretty much any store that sells personal care products. And the Simplehuman's basic concept -- a lighted, trifold mirror that imitates common lighting environments -- is something we've seen in lower-tech versions in the bedrooms of our mothers and grandmothers. But this $400 vanity centerpiece offers a lot more than your standard tabletop mirror.
First, it has three mirror panels so you can see yourself at different angles. It's also pretty big at 20.3 inches wide by 16.1 inches tall. And its flexible base is made of stainless steel. We'd almost go as far to say that this mirror is beautiful, but then we remember its price and the fact that it only magnifies by one time (making detail work, like applying eyeliner kind of tough).
The Sensor Mirror is battery-powered and comes with an adapter so you can recharge it with ease. It has an expected battery life of roughly 3 weeks, too. We tested it a lot over the course of a week and the battery is already drained by more than half, but most people won't be using it nearly as much.
Sadly, we can't imagine the cordless nature of this mirror coming in handy much, because the mirror definitely isn't designed for travel. Beyond its weight -- 7.86 pounds -- it's all glass and stainless steel, which is nice to look at, but not durable enough for regular transport.
Simplehuman's smart mirror has built-in sensors that are supposed to know when a person is using it and switch and keep on the LEDs automatically. Unfortunately, that feature had mixed results: the lights would sometimes go out while fair-skinned users were applying makeup in the mirror. You can also set an alarm on the app that will flash the mirror's lights to remind you that you'll be late for work if you spend any more time on your makeup.
Speaking of the Simplehuman app, it's available for Android and iOS under "Simplehuman order liners, manage mirror app" (you can also use the app for the companies other products: soap pumps and trash cans). Download the app, follow the instructions to connect to your local Wi-Fi network and pair the mirror, and you're ready to start taking selfies.
Here's why selfies matter with the Simplehuman mirror: In the app, there are some preloaded settings that will make the lights on the mirror imitate common lighting scenarios such as daylight, office, overcast and candlelight. But if you want to get really specific, you can take a selfie in a place where you spend a lot of time, and the LEDs in your Sensor Mirror will automatically adjust to approximate the specific color temperature from that selfie. So, if you want to put on your makeup using custom light settings from your office, you can. The question is -- how many people want to do that? And even if they do, does it really help that much?
We took some readings with a spectrometer to measure the accuracy of the mirror's ability to recreate those common light situations. We couldn't get exact measurements, but the Simplehuman seemed to do a generally good job imitating natural light and fluorescent light. And to our own eyes, there were distinct changes in the lighting when you selected new scenarios. In general, we preferred applying makeup in the daylight setting rather than the selfie-specific ones simply because it was the brightest. But the various settings let us know exactly how we would look once we arrived at, say, our office, a useful tool for the makeup conscious.
The Simplehuman Wide-View Sensor Mirror is a $400 novelty that will make the hearts of makeup lovers and selfie-takers flutter. You can get an accurate picture of what you'll look like in any light thanks to the pairing of the app and Wi-Fi lighted mirror. But for folks who have a more casual attitude toward makeup, give the Simplehuman a hard pass. The magnification is too low and the price is too high for us to recommend the mirror to the average makeup wearer.