A workout mirror companion that can help you with your form.
CHERLYNN LOW: There is a new contender in the smart mirror for fitness space. If you were thinking of Lululemon’s mirror or Tonal, there’s a third one to consider. Launching today, it is called Fiture. And it’s basically a more simple, clean, elegant approach to the concept.
Now, similar to Lululemon’s mirror, this is basically a looking glass with a 43-inch screen embedded into it. You can mount it on your wall or lean it against a flat surface in your house. There’s also a camera in the device that will monitor you as you move about. So that it can do things like rep counting or form checking and assist you as you go along your workouts.
Fiture also includes a shutter for the camera that magnetically snaps onto the mirror. And so you don’t have to worry about someone spying on you when you have this on. Fiture reps at a demo event here in New York told us that the device is capable of doing some of this processing on-device, which means it won’t require a Wi-Fi connection to do some of that form checking. But we’ll obviously have to do more testing to figure out how accurate this is.
But like many, many similar products, this basically is a canvas for Fiture’s own set of workout content. So there’s currently– at launch, there’ll be about 200 to 400 workout videos varying in duration from five to 60 minutes. And they cover the range of things like yoga, hit, strength, and more.
I also actually really like that you can use the companion app to create your custom workouts just by choosing some actions that are already predetermined. Fiture reps actually told us that they’ve studied over 130,000 different types of actions just to make sure the accuracy of the move is captured in their system.
Anyway, once you are ready to start a workout, you use your phone to select it or navigate to it. And it will correspondingly show up on the screen of the mirror. When you’re ready to go, hit Start Workout on the phone. And then the mirror takes over.
Your phone turns into a remote control, offers options like pausing, increasing the volume, skipping ahead to the next section, or just skipping ahead or backwards by 15 seconds each time. The cool thing about Fiture too is that you can connect this to a heart rate monitor that’s included in the box, just like the other competition. But you can also connect your own Bluetooth heart rate tracker, such as the Apple Watch or Garmin heart rate band. And your pulse will then show up on the screen.
Right now, there’s no activities that are tailored to cardio activity or zones. But Fiture does say that this is in the works.
As I stood in front of one of five or so mirrors here at the well-lit events area, it was surprisingly easy to see the content of the screen. When the screen is off, it’s a lovely mirror. I saw myself and liked it. Great.
But when the screen came on, I mean, colors were bright and vivid. The details are crisp. It’s easy to read words and text. And then as the workout moves on, the one thing I struggled with was figuring out, when I’m doing floor work, what direction I should be facing. It’s already hard when you’re on the floor trying to keep an eye on the workout on the screen. But because I didn’t have the volume turned on, it didn’t seem very easy to kind of know which way to face.
However, most of the standing workouts that I did were pretty easy to follow. There are a lot of on-screen indicators as to how to improve and get the most out of your activity while you’re doing it. There is a pace indicator, which tells you if you’re maybe moving your arms a little too fast. And this is an indicator that maybe you should be switching to a heavier weight.
Then there’s also, of course, a rep counter. When I flubbed on a movement, for example, that didn’t count towards the reps that were being tracked. But when I did squat deeply enough or raise my arms high enough or the Arnold Presses, then they did count. So far, based on my limited experience, the Fiture does seem very accurate at recognizing when I’ve performed a full rep.
At the end of the workout, you will, as usual, get sort of a summary of how you did– whether it’s the number of calories you burned or the amount of time you spent in the activity and how it all counts towards your daily and weekly goals. But what’s nice is that Fiture also suggests a follow-up activity, whether it’s a full-body stretch to cool down or something that might make sense following a strength or cardio training.
And you can actually just raise your hand to trigger the start of the next workout. This is very handy, because you don’t really want to use your phone or walk up to the screen– which, by the way, this is not a touch screen– to trigger a new activity. So it’s nice to just be able to stand in place and raise your hand to start a new class. Fiture said that in addition to the gestures, there will also be voice commands coming soon that will enable you to say things– like, hey, Fiture, pause– or, hey, Fiture, skip– during a workout to enable a more convenient interaction method.
When you’re not using the Fiture actively for working out, the screen times out after about five minutes. There’s also a power button along with volume buttons on the sides. Of course, it is a very expensive-looking class at $1,499. That’s about $1,500 for the hardware alone. That’s basically exactly the same cost as the Lululemon mirror.
And then, of course, you have to tack on a subscription fee if you want the content with it. So the workout content and that form and rep counting stuff. So that’s an additional $40 a month, which is very similar in price to Peloton’s cost.
And as much as I hate the subscription model these days, I understand. Because Fiture says it’s going to keep adding new content every week. So that’s what you’re paying for.
Based on what was, once again, a brief limited experience here at the demo event, I will say I did feel like I got a more intense workout with the Fiture mirror in front of me. The system was really watching my reps, watching my forms, and really encouraging me to go on. This is different, obviously, from things like Apple’s Fitness Class where it’s a very passive experience. You can choose to slow down if you want or take a break whenever you choose.
But it is very similar to Lululemon’s mirror and the Tonal system. Now, there are other differences that set the Fiture apart for better or worse. For example, the Tonal comes with its own built-in weights and cables system. And that makes it more of a home gym sort of device. Whereas, the Fiture requires you to have your own sets of dumbbells to really make full use of it.
So to really truly judge how the new Fiture mirror compares to things like the Tonal system, the Tempo, the Lululemon, or whatever Peloton has up its sleeve, we will really have to get a unit in for better comparisons. In the meantime, make sure you stay tuned to “Engadget” for more coverage of things like smartphones, wearables, laptops, and also fitness tech. So please subscribe. And thank you for watching.