Thursday, June 24, 2021

Vaha X

Two-minute review

The Vaha X is a workout app packed into a mirror that lets you follow personalized training programs and access on-demand and live classes, covering everything from HIIT to yoga.

Workouts are displayed on a touchscreen display built into the mirror, and you can pair up additional accessories like headphones and heart rate monitors with Spotify integration onboard to power workout playlists too.

This smart workout mirror doesn't come cheap. After paying for the mirror itself you’ll need to pay a monthly membership fee to access the 300+ live and on demand workouts and the personal training programs that are available.

Like other home workout apps, you’ll find a mix of trainer styles and classes for a range of abilities making it appealing for beginners, but there are tough workouts with advanced classes too. Some of the classes require additional equipment like dumbbells and resistance bands, but there’s plenty in the way of bodyweight workouts that will help you work up a sweat.

Vaha smart mirror

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)

If you want to take the personal training route, you’ll need to take part in a live call with a trainer who is selected based on your goals and what is the end goal for your program and will keep track of progress.

You can keep track of workout history and future classes on the mirror, and there’s a companion phone app to access additional information to help introduce other good healthy habits to build around your time when you’re not staring into that mirror getting all sweaty.

Beyond fitness, Vaha has added a range of apps including Instagram, Zoom, Mozilla Firefox and TikTok, and is promising to add features like movement tracking and guided feedback to make it stand out from the crowd of home fitness apps.

Price and availability

The Vaha X smart mirror costs £1,950 (about $2,700 / AU$3,600) and offers a 30-day trial of the service before you’ll need to join a one-year membership. That’s priced at £39 (about $55 / AU$70) a month. There’s a smaller Vaha S mirror that’s priced at £1,150 (about $1,600 / AU$2,100) and offers the same trial before requiring to sign up to the same membership.

To put that into context, a membership to home workout app Fiit costs $20 / £29 / AU$30 a month, while access to Peloton’s all-access subscription (necessary to access interactive classes for its bikes and treadmills) is priced at $39 / £39 / AU$39 a month.

Vaha smart mirror

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)


The Vaha X mirror is big. It’s got glass up front with a black aluminum body and measures in at 170cm high and at 4.2cm thick, so it’s by no means a sleek and slender as your typical non-smart mirror. There’s also quite a sizable stand that’s fitted to the back of the mirror to keep it upright, which adds to its quite hulking stature. It’s not one you can wall-mount either, though it would clearly be hard to do.

At 45kg, it’s pretty heavy too, and while we’d have liked to position the mirror up in a bedroom, it’s really not an easy thing to manoeuvre by one person. So you need to settle where it’s going to live long term. We had it in our living room, which wasn’t the ideal location, but we were able to free up space in front of it to perform the classes. We should also mention there is a smaller Vaha S mirror, which is shorter, lighter and hosts a smaller screen touchscreen, and can be wall-mounted unlike the larger X.

Vaha smart mirror

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)

The X hosts a 43-inch, full HD resolution display that stretches about three quarters across the mirror with room above left for the on button and camera with not much else going on below that touchscreen. Right up top lies a 120 degree IMX Sony front-facing camera, which is present not so trainers can pry on you during classes, but to let you catch up one-to-one with them, unlock future software features like form tracking, and enable apps like Zoom and Skype. You can cover that camera up with one of the accessories provided with the mirror.

Flanking the mirror are a set of 65 watt speakers and connectivity-wise, you’ve got Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Ethernet support. Aside from the camera cover, Vaha also offers its own heart rate monitor chest strap, resistance bands and a very useful microfiber cloth, which is particularly handy when your sweaty fingerprints are left on that glass.

So while it’s clearly a feature-packed piece of kit, it’s also a very big piece of connected furnishing, you'll need a good amount of room to house it.

Vaha smart mirror

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)

Setup and performance

Once you’ve set up your account on the companion phone app (Android or iOS) and connected the mirror to your home Wi-Fi, you can start the process of getting to know what this mirror is capable of. Its big push is offering personal training programs where you’ll need to choose your trainer, take a call to talk through your plan and you’ll be given a plan to follow.

Alternatively, you have the option to simply just jump in and start making use of the 300+ on-demand and live workouts, which is what we favoured here. There’s a handful of live workouts throughout the day too and you can see ones that are coming up over the next few days. Once you’re through to the main home screen, you can see live and upcoming classes including favourite classes you can jump back in and repeat, which is a really nice touch.

Vaha smart mirror

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)

In the Journey tab you can see your current week or previous week of training and including rest days. Again, this is a way to find workouts that you like if you want to tackle a favourite HIIT or upper body class. Lastly, is the screens for on demand classes and live classes. Those classes cover cardio, strength, stretching, yoga, bootcamp classes, pilates, barre, meditation, and even sessions included for kids. You can set up to four profiles on the mirror, which means an entire household can make use of the pre-recorded and live classes.

When it’s time to do a class, you can swipe through categories and additional pages with swipes and taps, which is a largely responsive experience on the whole. When there’s multiple pages of classes, it does have the odd tendency to mistake taps for swipes, but on the whole the screen responsiveness does work well.

Each workout explains the level of user it’s designed for, the equipment you need, which can include dumbbells or dumbbell-like equipment or even grabbing a chair. You can see which part of the body you’re going to focus on and be given a sense of the training intensity. You’ll also be shown a recommended playlist, which brings in one of the nicest integrations on the Vaha X.

You can link up a Spotify account to take control of that music, but it also means outside of workouts, you can use it as a big Spotify speaker. The sound performance is pretty well rounded here too with good maximum volume and does make for a surprisingly good speaker setup.

Vaha smart mirror

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)

If you want better sound, you can also pair up wireless speakers, or keep things more private by pairing it up with headphones too. We tried with the Jaybird Vista 2, the AirPods Pro and a couple of Bluetooth speakers, and had no problems on the connection front.

There’s also scope here to pair up Vaha’s own heart rate monitor chest strap to capture heart rate data during more high intensity workouts. This also means you can pair up third party heart rate monitors here too.

Vaha smart mirror

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)

When it’s time to do a workout, you’ll have a trainer standing in front of you and depending on the class, will usually take you through a warm-up before you jump into action. The first thing we noticed is that the trainer displayed onto that touchscreen, while large, doesn’t entirely fill the entire front of the mirror. So when it comes to performing lower body workouts it’s a little harder to see the instructor for some floor-based moves. Another issue we had is that the screen can be hard to see in bright daylight. We often had to pull the blinds down as the screen struggled to battle the sun.

One thing you have to immediately be comfortable with too is the idea that while you’re working out, you’re looking at the trainer and yourself in the mirror, which isn’t something we ever really got used to. The sessions though are well designed. They’re not particularly all that original in places, but they will work you hard and make you sweat and there is a nice variety across the class categories.

We mainly tested out strength, HIIT, stretching and meditation classes and like a lot of home workout apps, there’s definitely a Peloton-style approach from some instructors. Some crank up that enthusiasm to quite irritating levels, but it's an approach we know many will actually respond well. If you want trainers that stick to just taking you through the exercises, there’s that here too.

Vaha smart mirror

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)

While everything is packaged up nicely with the music, easy to follow workouts and ability to follow progress, it’s initially hard to see what truly separates it from a home fitness app you could use on a TV. Yes, you do have those personal training programs to save you going to the gym to have the same thing. What could be great for the Vaha is the promise of the smart tracking and offer of feedback on correct movement, which is being promised as an update. That would really give the Vaha much added appeal when it rolls out. Vaha has been steadily improving the mirror with updates during our time with it, so it’s clear they’re committed to improving its ability as a device as quickly as it can.

Right now, it’s a large mirror with a touchscreen we just wish was a bit more full sized, but does offer some strong connected features and a nice collection of workouts and the option of personal training programs, if you want more guidance on what you should do and when you should train or take a rest day. It’s clearly something that’s also going to improve in terms of what it can do to make it more than just a place to work out in front of to help justify that quite sizable financial outlay.

Vaha smart mirror

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)

Buy it if

You want easy access to a personal trainer
Instead of blindly doing workouts or having to head to an actual gym to see one, Vaha will give you access from your home and let you stay in touch to help stay on top of your fitness goals.

You’ve got a dedicated room for it
Like a Peloton bike, the Vaha is best suited if you’ve got a nice, big space for it to live and have the additional room to perform the workouts in front of it.

You want a mirror with other connected uses
It already doubles up nicely as a big Spotify speaker and Vaha has already added a bunch of useful apps to make it more useful outside of workout time.

Don't buy it if

You’re on a tight budget
While the monthly subscription doesn’t feel widely expensive in comparison to other platforms, the hardware is certainly not cheap. Even if you do have the option pay for it in monthly instalments

You live in a small place
Be warned that the Vaha X mirror is big, heavy and thick. So make sure you’ve got good room for it and you’re planning for it to stay put long term.


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