Embrace Smart Mirror
NOT QUITE THE FAIREST — OR SMARTEST — OF THEM ALL .
WITH AMAZON, APPLE and Google all giving considerable attention to smart assistants, there’s been a lot of firsts in the smart home space of late, but as with anything that breaks new ground, there are going to be successful devices and things that need to take a long, hard look in the mirror. At a glance, the classic rounded-corner Smart Mirror from local start-up Embrace has a generous 80 x 60cm reflective surface and comes with an ample 23-inch touchscreen display. Marrying the voice controlled Google Assistant with the familiar Android OS (and all its compatible apps), the Embrace Smart Mirror offers a hybrid control interface that seems perfectly suited for the modern smarthome.
Unfortunately, many of these features end up better in theory than they are in practice. The Smart Mirror’s touchscreen opts for a floating toolbar for your ‘back’, ‘home’ and ‘settings’ buttons which manage to get in the way of almost every interaction by covering text, video or keyboard keys. While Google Assistant is present, it’s running on an older Android 6.0 OS, so it won’t integrate in the latest ways with your Google Home speakers and can’t control smart devices unless the apps are installed directly on the device. This dated OS and the underpowered 1.8GHz CPU and paltry 2GB RAM also means the voice recognition is generations behind the latest Google Assistant devices, so be prepared to repeat yourself when talking to it. To round out this pretty severe list of limitations, the Embrace Smart Mirror is running an Android security patch from December 2015, opening it up to numerous vulnerabilities that will leave the microphone and camera far more exposed than anyone should be comfortable with.
If the security is updated, then the device does everything it says on the box, but for a $1,699 piece of tech, it’s a long way from futuristic.