Hilo XL & Hilo lighted smart mirrors review
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There’s something about a smart mirror that just feels high-tech. Whether you’re watching a makeup tutorial as your apply your eyeshadow or you’re finishing an on-screen yoga session, having a screen in your mirror creates a special, elevated atmosphere. The experience is luxurious and unique, and products like the Hilo Smart Mirror help you to achieve it.
Hilo currently offers two different smart mirror models. The Hilo Lighted Smart Mirror with Touch Screen for Smart Home Hub Control Capabilities & Downloadable Apps is a smaller model with a circular finish, while the Hilo XL Smart Connect Fitness Mirror with Touch Screen & Built-in Subscription-free Workout Trainer App is large enough to serve as a feature mirror over your bathroom vanity. Both models feature touch screens and stereo speakers, with motion detecting screens that are designed to turn on and off when needed. Each one runs on an Android system.
What’s in the box of the Hilo light and Hilo XL?
In the boxes of each of these smart mirrors, you’ll find the mirror itself (smart screen already installed), along with a few branded Hilo stickers. Each mirror comes with three different ways to hang it.
The round Hilo Light can be hung on a wall mount panel, from a leather band on a single wall anchor, or hung using a sticky strip on a smooth surface. I tried the last option when putting together this review. While the sticky strip was very easy to apply and install, I was advised by the brand that the strip would “set” after 24 hours—so you can remove or re-hang it for the perfect fit within the first day. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case on surfaces like walls, so you’ll see a little bit of damage behind my mirror in some frames of this video review. .
After my run-in with the sticky strip, I decided to try a different hanging option instead. The single wall anchor with the (included) leather band worked like a charm. It took less than five minutes to get the Hilo Light set up after that, and the single wall anchor felt sturdy in the wall. It looked sleek and professional, and made it easy to move and remove the mirror.
The Hilo XL also comes with multiple options for hanging: it can be mounted to the wall like a picture (which is easiest), built into a custom frame, or cut into the wall and installed for a flush finish. There’s also a fourth option, according to the brand’s instructions; if placed on top of an anti-slip mat, you should be able to set up the XL leaning back on any surface.
The Hilo lighted smart mirror
The Hilo Light and XL have similar designs with just a few differences. The Light is designed with your makeup vanity in mind, and looks great over a dressing table or bedroom vanity. (It features a water-resistant design, so you can safely hang it over a bathroom sink, too.) Notably, however, the walnut frame on the mirror is actually brown plastic—something to consider if you’re hanging it over wood furniture or cabinetry.
The built-in light strip was my favourite part about this mirror. It can be turned to cool daylight, warm indoor light, or extra-warm candlelight in seconds. Paired with its ring shape, the Hilo Lighted Smart Mirror gives you flattering lighting to do your makeup in every day.
In terms of smart home connectivity, the 13.5″ touch screen on the Hilo Light Smart Mirror gives you voice and screen control of your home’s most-used apps. It has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity, as well as stereo speakers and a built-in microphone. However, my experience with the Hilo Light was laggy, and very fingerprinted. The Hilo Light is said to reduce fingerprints by 80%, which I didn’t find to be true compared to the fingerprint-reducing coating on devices like my smartphone. As a result, I found the Hilo Light best when used primarily to stream video tutorials, which it does well. The screen-in-mirror design made tutorials easy to follow while I did my makeup, and it kept me from touching the screen too often and needing to clean it again, as I would in more tactile apps.
The Hilo XL smart mirror’s training app
While I loved the look and design of the Hilo Light, I had more trouble with the Hilo XL. It’s designed to be used one of two ways. When hung high over a cabinet, it serves as a makeup mirror or morning smart vanity. When hung low to the ground, it’s meant to be used as a personal trainer. With the Hilo Light hanging in my closet, I was excited to try the Hilo XL for my workouts, as it’s sold as a device with a “Built-in Subscription-free Workout Trainer App.”
Out of everything, I was most disappointed in the Hilo XL’s functionality as a personal trainer. I struggle a lot with positioning when doing yoga and physiotherapy at home, so I thought: great! This is exactly what I’m looking for! Being able to see your own reflection and compare it to an instructor seems like a great way to quickly perfect your form—almost like having an in-house trainer that you can access whenever you’d like.
However, I opened the Hilo app to find that it only controls the mirror’s timer functions. I continued to search, and couldn’t find a single pre-loaded fitness app on the device. In fact, I discovered that the mirror does not come with a workout trainer app.
The Hilo XL is proudly subscription-free. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that you’ll get a personal training app for free, as the device’s name suggests. Instead, you’ll need to supply your own fitness classes through streaming services (YouTube comes pre-loaded to the device) or paid subscriptions. If you read the description of the Hilo XL and Light carefully, you’ll find that under “number of preset programs,” Hilo notes only that you can use “free online streaming […] or you can use your personal subscription platform.” There is no fitness app included, and the mirror itself doesn’t have any built-in personal training functionality.
Performance issues in the Hilo XL
As I set up a tried-and-true yoga video on the screen, I began to experience technical difficulties with the Hilo XL. The mirror turned off as soon as I got far enough away to start my workout. When I went to tap the screen to turn it back on, it would only stay lit up when my hand was 1-3″ from the screen.
I kept working with the device, adjusting its auto-off timer and restarting the mirror, but the problem persisted. When I stood two feet away from the screen, ready to start my workout, it would turn off. As I approached, it would turn back on… But then as soon as my hand was close enough to touch the screen, it turned back off! I could still hear the screen playing my video and selecting links and options, but I couldn’t see anything on the screen.
Upon my third full restart, the motion sensor in my smart mirror began working normally again. I finished my workout and turned on some music with the device, which was easy to play through my Sonos speakers from the Hilo Smart Mirror. One last thing to note about the Hilo XL is that, while it’s very sizeable for a smart product, it’s on the smaller size for a workout mirror. If you want to be able to see your entire body in it, you’ll want to make sure you have space to install it in a large room where you can work out at a distance.
Who are the Hilo smart mirrors right for?
For a smart home device as unique as a smart mirror, I think there are still some details that your average consumer can expect to be perfected out later on. However, basic issues like slow speeds and glitchy motion detection should have been worked out before production begins.
Of these two mirrors, I greatly preferred the Hilo Light. It’s a lovely visual addition to a makeup room, and was quicker to respond than the Hilo XL. But both of these models lag noticeably when you use them, and feel almost as if they were built using Android tablets or touchscreen technology that’s already a few years out of date.
As products with screens in their mirrors, these devices are certainly unique. If you’re set on adding a smart mirror to your home, I would recommend the Hilo Light for streaming tutorials and getting ready for the day. But as workout training products, these have room for improvement. They’re better for use as a vanity mirror, and are great if you just want a smart screen to keep you company in the morning. While slow, they do a great job of giving you stock reports, playing news clips, and waking you up with the day’s weather report.
Shop the Hilo Light and Hilo XL online at Best Buy, or shop other cool smart home automation products now.
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