I have been working out with the Lululemon Mirror (a.k.a. Lululemon Studio after their rebrand) for the last few weeks after getting it for free (
you still have to pay the $39/month subscription, but you can use the code PERKSATWORKZERO to get the hardware completely free, including free delivery and no taxes.) As of January 1, 2023, this promo code no longer works and you can’t get The Mirror for free.
The Mirror itself is a quality piece of hardware (with the exception of the on and off button, which sometimes doesn’t work.) They deliver it with a delivery service (it’s not a UPS-like delivery, it’s more like furniture delivery) and you schedule a delivery window with the company. They bring it to to your door but they don’t do any installation unless you pay an extra $250, which I didn’t do. Installation for the Mirror leaning against the wall option was easy (just use a screwdriver to attach the bottom rectangular metal stand and lean it against the wall after drilling a hole into the wall to anchor the Mirror in case it slips.) However, I think it was 70 pounds or something and it’s very long so moving it around by myself was a workout itself; I kind of just shimmied it around to the right spot.
The user experience is nice but not game changing
It’s nice to be able to see yourself in the reflection but I found myself not paying attention to it that much, unless I was queued by the instructor to “make sure my hips were even” or something like that. I mostly used it as a giant television screen. You control the content through the Mirror app on your phone. You can see videos of what the Mirror classes experience is like on my Instagram post.
Compared to Peloton, I would say the Lululemon Studio / Mirror subscription has fewer classes. I quickly burned through the small handful of 5-minute core classes, and most of the shorter core classes as well. It’s hard to say whether the instructors are better or worse on Peloton versus Mirror because it all comes down to personal taste but the video production quality and the streaming is higher quality on Peloton (multiple camera angles, etc.) Peloton also has several times more classes.
Some people like that you can control the music independently of the instruction, which you can do on the Mirror (they recommend a station, but you can change it.) However, I like that on the Peloton, the music is just as important as the moves themselves and the music is chosen specifically for the story the instructor wants to tell that day.
The calories you burned count seems to be wildly inflated on The Mirror, with a 30-minute non-sweaty yoga session logging some 100 calories, whereas on Peloton, that requires at least a 20-minute cycling class where your heart rate is above baseline and you sweat at least a little bit. I don’t pay attention to this number much on either platform.
Unlike several other sites that do a “Mirror vs. Peloton” comparison, I’m completely independent. I am not compensated by either Lululemon or Peloton and I maintain this blog to help out my friends and because it’s fun for me to do. So my recommendations aren’t swayed by compensation by any company. A lot of the things I see online are clearly paid for by Lululemon, like this set of reviews from Top Dust that compares the Mirror to Peloton and Tonal.
I’ll compare the Mirror to the Peloton in the table below but I’ve also tried Future Fit ($149 per month) and Apple Fitness+ ($9.99/month or $79.99 annually) and I would say that both Mirror and Peloton are better than Future and Apple Fitness+ so I’m not even going to bother making a table to compare them. I haven’t tried Tonal beyond a few brief minutes when I’ve seen it at the gym.
Lululemon Mirror vs. Peloton
|Feature||Lululemon Studio a.k.a. Mirror||Peloton|
|Subscription cost||$39/month for subscription (but you get 10% off everything at Lululemon)||$12.99/month + tax for streaming only|
$44.99/month + tax if you are using it with the bike, tread, or other hardware
|Hardware cost||$795 for the basic Mirror (but I always see promotions on various credit cards or referral sites so I think you should be able to get it for less); you can use my referral code lingyPnU (it can be stacked with existing promotions, discount amount varies)||$1,245 (for the basic bike, and I don’t think you need the bike+. The Bike Starter also comes with the accessories you’ll need, such as cycling shoes)|
|Platforms||iOS / Android and Mirror hardware (no browser-based streaming)||iOS / Android / Peloton hardware / web browser|
|Number of Classes||Hundreds||Thousands|
|Quality of Instructors||Excellent (they are really good at mirroring you so you can follow along from what you see in the Mirror)||Excellent, a bit more entertaining, and have a large “cult following”|
|Front-facing camera||“Community Camera” front-facing camera can be turned on so the instructor can see you and give real-time feedback in live classes; you can also do 1:1 virtual classes (like Zoom) with an instructor||Can be used to be in a class together with a Peloton friend (doesn’t have to be a live class); instructors can’t see you, even in live classes|
|Sensors||Can connect to Apple Watch; apparently there are sensors to measure your body movements in the hardware but they don’t actually do anything right now||Can connect to Apple Watch and they recently launched “Peloton Guide” which uses AI to track your body movements, compare your form, and log your activity (I don’t have the Guide myself, so this is based on what I read online)|
In case you are curious, the summary on Future and Apple Fitness+ are that:
- Future is too expensive and the workouts are so boring; it’s not that useful to me to have someone make a workout schedule for me that’s just some random configurations of what they typically create for anyone, when you can’t bear to do it because you are bored out of your mind.
- Apple Fitness+’s content is mediocre but if you have all of the hardware (Apple Watch, Apple TV) and can project it onto a big screen, it may be a good economical option, although the content is worse than Peloton’s content in my opinion, and the streaming app version of Peloton (without Peloton hardware) is only a few dollars more at $12.99/month.
Live Classes on the Mirror are pretty cool
They give new users who haven’t tried the live class a free pass ($40 off) so I signed up for a barre class with Mila Toribio (her Instagram). I wanted to make sure I am doing the barre moves correctly so I can get more out of each movement and it was a cool experience to have someone appear out of the “metaverse” into your home, but I don’t think I would pay for it regularly unless I really liked barre. It’s a little bit more expensive than a barre drop-in class, and you don’t get the hands on adjustments, although the instructor can see you and correct your form, but sometimes you just need someone to poke you into the right position. Similar to many new technologies, the streaming quality was lower than that of a normal Zoom call (I have gigabit internet at home that usually on Wi-Fi, gets parallel upload and download speeds of 100 Mbps+; I wasn’t plugged in to the ethernet so that may have been why the picture was a bit fuzzy and felt like the video lagged a bit compared to the non-live classes.)
The final verdict: Peloton wins
At the end of the day, I have tried enough digital fitness classes to know that it’s not about the hardware or the exact price of the subscription: It’s about the content and the instructors. The reason Peloton has been so successful compared to knockoffs like Echelon or even SoulCycle, is that their content is really unique and a lot of people relate to the instructors. People use the Peloton as therapy, not just for exercise. The instructors have wide artistic liberty for how they want to run their classes, and when you are playing in the digital fitness space, that’s the true differentiator. I hope that doesn’t change with the change in senior leadership at the company.
The one niche area where I think the Mirror is superior are the abs classes with XTina (and I am an expert at abs–not really an expert at anything else, so perhaps I don’t understand the nuances of other exercises as well.) XTina’s classes are the most targeted towards building visible abs and follow the basic rule of time under tension (which Jermaine Johnson from Peloton is also quite good at) but most of the other Peloton instructors tend to do numerous fast transitions, so it’s a bit scattered and all over the place and you don’t have time under tension.
SoulCycle is really successful in person because of the ambience and energy you get from that physical space, which is awesome–I have been several times myself. But if the instructor is just a good cyclist who is energetic and motivates you by saying standard gym teacher motivation things, it’s not enough for succeeding in the digital fitness space. You have to basically be Netflix on a bike to succeed, and that’s why Cody Rigsby has 1.3M Instagram followers and millions of fans globally.
If you want a 60-day free trial to Peloton’s app subscription, you can use my referral link here (I’m not sure if I get something, I might get a discount on accessories.)