Em­brace Smart Mir­ror

NOT QUITE THE FAIREST — OR SMARTEST — OF THEM ALL .

TechLife Australia - - CONTENTS - [ JOEL BURGESS ]

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.

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