Cortana on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?


— 11:30 AM on February 1, 2017

The "magic mirror," arguably the hottest Raspberry Pi project of 2015, is now coming to Windows users without a wood shop at their disposal thanks to a German company called Dirror. The simpler Raspberry-Pi-based mirrors tend to be passive affairs, simply giving the time, weather report, and other notifications. Dirror's devices, on the other hand, are full Windows 10 PCs with microphones, speakers, and touch-screen displays.

Dirror offers three different hardware configurations, all sporting Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity. The entry-level Dirror S has an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 quad-core SoC with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of flash storage. The base model's 10.1" display has a resolution of 1280x800. Stepping up to the Dirror M nets a more powerful Atom X7-8700 SoC, a boost to 4GB of memory, and a full 128GB of on-board storage. In this model, the screen gets upgraded to a much larger 23" 1920x1080 unit. The range-topping Dirror L shares the same guts as the M model, but comes with a 27" display available in 1920x1080 and 2560x1440 flavors. The Dirror M and S are available with frames in a "Java Brown Beech" finish, or more costly "White Silk" or "Nordic Hazel" options.

The DIY "magic mirrors" are usually built with a sheet of two-way glass, as seen in interrogation rooms on police procedural shows. The builder slaps a partially disassembled monitor behind the glass, constructs a frame, and uses some improvised method to pull and display content on the monitor through the mirrored glass. The project has become so popular that the most recent issue of MagPi, the official Raspberry Pi magazine, has a cover story with step-by-step instructions on how to build and program one of these.

Dirror's products are a tad more expensive than the DIY versions. The entry-level Dirror S costs 815€ (about $877), the Dirror M starts at 1,870€ (around $2,010), and the alpha-dog Dirror L costs at least 2,370€ (or $2,546) with the high-resolution screen option. If rumors about Microsoft's ambitions to enter consumers' hallways and living rooms are true, the software ecosystem for products like magic mirrors might expand quite a bit very soon.

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