The Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror has a huge advantage over its competitors, such as Tonal and the NordicTrack Vault, at least in the UK: unlike those two, Vaha's workout mirror can actually be bought here (available from 12 April 2021). The Vaha workout mirror is not only an impressive piece of technology but it can help people get in shape and tone up at home in a fun way.
In case you're unfamiliar with the concept, interactive fitness mirrors like Vaha house a large touchscreen display under the reflective surface with which you can stream on-demand and live workouts while checking your own for in the reflective surface of the mirror. Your image is essentially superimposed over the instructors (depending on your position in front of the mirror).
Vaha goes a step further and also offers 1-2-1 PT sessions once a month as part of the standard package (more on the different packages a little later). Vaha is also working on a 'smart tracking and guided training' feature that will capture your movements as you work out and provide instant feedback using AI technology. These features are in 'advanced stages' but have not yet gone live for consumers just yet, or so we've been told by Vaha.
But even without these smart workout features, the Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror is still worth a look at. Let's explore further.
Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror: price and availability
There are two version of the Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror: the VAHA X and the slightly smaller VAHA S, a more compact version with the same features, classes and trainers.
The VAHA S, which will launch in the UK only, can be purchased for either a one-time fee of £1,150, or in monthly installments of £29 over 39 months.
The larger VAHA X can be purchased for either a one-time fee of £1,950 or in monthly installments of £50 over 39 months.
Users then pay a monthly basic membership of £39 to access the platform of 200 workout programmes. Membership includes access to a wide range of training programmes and courses, as well as a free personal training session in their first month.
In total, you can own a Vaha for either £89 or £68 per month. It can be used by up to five individual in one household (under a basic monthly membership).
Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror review: design
[Please note: we tested the Vaha X mirror, which is the larger version of the two.]
The premium experience starts with the delivery of the Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror: a two-people team delivers and even unboxes the unit if needed once the rather large box has been dropped off in the room of your choice. We definitely recommend the delivery people to help you unpack the mirror as it is pretty heavy: the Vaha X is a whopping 100 lbs (45 kg) but even the smaller Vaha S is still 60 lbs (27 kg).
The Vaha X has an integrated 43" full HD touchscreen, four 64 W speakers with "custom sound board and amplifier" and a built-in 120 degree IMX Sony camera. The Vaha app states the camera and the microphone are off for sessions so the instructors and other can't see you, in case you were worried.
The mirror itself is made of glass at the front and has a brushed aluminum bezel. The back seems to be made of polycarbonate from what we could tell. Sadly, the mirror can't pivot – it can only face forward – so keep this in mind when setting it up. Given the weight and the bulkiness of the Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror, it's unlikely you will rotate it for your workouts. The little suction cups at the bottom of support leg and mirror also makes it less efficient to move the mirror around. At the same time, the suction cups help the Vaha mirror stand firmly on the ground when placed on hard floors.
Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror review: interface
Our first thought after powering up the Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror was that it looked cool. Even those who aren't interested in cutting edge technology will be amazed by the Vaha X mirror: it has a commanding presence in the room, even when it's powered off, let alone when the screen is on.
The 43" touchscreen display is easy to operate and the interactions work smoothly enough too. We tested running watches before with laggier screens wo it was refreshing to experience such a large screen behaving so well. If you ever used a smartphone, you will know how to operate the Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror straight away. The icons are clear and the hotspots are clearly defined, excellent work from the design team.
The Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror connects to the internet using either WiFi or you can plug in the Ethernet cable to access the internet directly. The latter option is probably better for a more stable streaming experience, although we had no issues accessing the workout videos using WiFi only. You can even run a speedtest on the mirror to check internet speeds.
Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror review: connectivity
There is an option to connect the Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror to Spotify and the mirror also recommends this for the best possible workout experience. Each workout has its own playlist on Spotify so for a proper studio experience, make sure you hook the music streaming app with the mirror first. Even if you haven't got Spotify, you won't be left without music: there is VAHA Music option that can provide tunes for those who haven't got Spotify.
You can also connect Bluetooth enabled heart rate monitors to the Vaha mirror and better still, the mirror does come with a heart rate monitor included in the package. We used the Polar Verity Sense for the workouts and it worked perfectly fine too.
Although the Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror does come with pretty powerful speakers, you can also connect Bluetooth speakers the your Vaha if you want bass. You can also connect bluetooth workout earbuds to the mirror if you don't want to disturb others around you with your workout.
Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror review: the PT session
One of the most unique thing about the Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror is that the basic package includes a monthly 1-2-1 personal trainer session. Personal trainers are picked at the beginning when you set up the Vaha App and you can select from a good few, most of them specialised in different principles. The Vaha App also recommend trainers based on your fitness requirements.
The PT sessions are conducted through the Vaha mirror and the experience is as close to a real life PT session as it can get: you can see and follow the PT's movements much easier than if you were to stream a workout on a laptop. Daniel Gildner, our PT of choice, was very enthusiastic and helpful all throughout the first session and even set up workouts for us based on the initial assessment we had to do during the 30-minute call, which included planks and squat holds.
After the session, Daniel even sent us a message on WhatsApp and reassured us to hit him up with any question we might have going forward.
In case you are unhappy with your trainer or want to focus on different principles, you can change PT in the Vaha app. As expected, most trainers are more experienced in weight loss and mobility than muscle building but even if the latter is your fitness goal, you will find a PT to help you reach that goal (such as Daniel).
Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror review: workout library
Vaha claims there are over 300 classes available on the mirror already and more classes are added to the library daily. On an average day, there will be a few classes in the morning and another lot in the afternoon/early evening. These classes are by German instructors but in English.
Watching workout videos on the Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror is an interesting experience as you can't see anything else but the instructor, sort-of hovering in the middle of the mirror. This is great for checking your own form in the mirror during workouts as there are less distractions to look at but in all honesty, we can't recall seeing ourselves too much as you tend to focus on the instructor when working out/stretching.
Overall, the English Vaha library is fine but it will certainly needs expanding before the big players arrive in the UK. Workout streaming quality also need to be improved in the future – it's a bit pixelated at the moment – but Vaha told us they are working on this already.
Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror review: early verdict
Vaha has a huge opportunity to establish itself as the go-to smart workout mirror in the UK and so far the company has been making the right steps to achieve this goal. The current iteration of the Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror is certainly a good first step in the right direction and a concept that's even more appealing now than it was before the pandemic.
Compared to its rivals, Tonal and the NordicTrack Vault, the Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror offers less functionality and accessories but it is priced way friendlier than those. The Vaha mirror is not cheap, though, but considering what it has to offer, it's not super expensive either.
The 1-2-1 PT sessions are a big plus in our eyes and something that might make the Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror more appealing to those who are afraid to go to the gym, even though they are now open for business. Many people are afraid of being judged by others in the gym but at the same time, like the concept of group workouts, and the Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror can offer them something that closely resembles these group workout sessions without the pressure of having to look presentable throughout and especially after the workout. Not to mention, Vaha is on-demand so people can workout whenever they want to.
Plus, even if there is another pandemic and subsequent lockdown coming at any point in the future, Vaha Interactive Fitness Mirror owners can rest assured they will be able to carry on working out and have access to PTs, regardless of gyms staying open or not.