It’s not easy to create a legitimately novel accessory these days, and it’s even harder to sail smoothly through a crowdfunding campaign to bring one to market. Sanho – best known for its Hyper line of battery products – spent much of 2014 preparing to release a female-friendly combination compact mirror and USB battery pack, using both Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns to raise funds for its production. After making a public splash at the 2015 CES alongside Hyper’s new (and world’s smallest) laser pointer iPin, the mirror-battery Pearl ($39) is now shipping to customers through Indiegogo’s InDemand service.
The result — a 3.6″-diameter circular double mirror with a 3000mAh battery underneath — has been finished with silver, gold, or red glossy metallic exterior paint, and a white LED light ring inside. In short, it’s an elegant and welcome option for female iPhone users, delivering a combination of solid build quality and good value for the price.
Circular compact mirror 3.6″ in diameter with LED lighting.
3000mAh battery is good for a full iPhone 6 recharge.
Three nice metallic color options.
Very solid build quality is at least as nice as a typical mirror.
Packaged in an atypically nice box with a velvet lining, Pearl feels as if it was designed to be safe to buy as a gift. Inside the box, you’ll find Pearl sitting in a contoured recess, right above a compartment with a multi-head USB charging cable — micro-USB, Dock Connector, and Lightning connector — plus a microfiber drawstring carrying case. Hyper is offering the multi-head cable for free if you share a link to its Pearl page via social media; otherwise, a micro-USB cable is included just to charge the battery.
Pearl feels at least as well made as the standard compact mirrors it’s designed to replace. The hinge is sturdy, and Hyper has built in a 3X-magnified mirror above a non-magnified bottom mirror; there are mirrors with up to 10X (skin pore-level) magnification, but Pearl’s is right for most makeup application purposes. At just under a half-inch in thickness, Pearl is more substantial than the typical compact mirror, but not by enough to be a problem; it can easily fit in any purse, or stow away in the back pocket of a pair of pants.
Used solely as a USB battery, Pearl is capable of fully recharging the latest iPhone 6, hitting 102% from a completely discharged device in our testing; older iPhones will get more than a full refueling from the rechargeable cell. But there’s a good chance that it will also be used as a mirror, which if illuminated for extended periods of time using the 10 built-in white LEDs could fall somewhat below that number. A double-tap on the left-side power button activates or deactivates the lights, while a single tap shows the remaining charge with four blue dot LEDs. Recharging begins automatically when a USB cable is connected, and stops automatically when the cable is disconnected.
There are no huge surprises to report with Pearl’s performance. It took the expected two hours to fully recharge a drained iPhone 6, and its USB output is rated at a maximum 2.1A — fast enough for iPads, though the 3000mAh capacity means that it will obviously fall short of full recharges for anything larger than the iPhone 6.
Overall, Pearl is a pretty good value for the dollar. Standalone illuminated compact mirrors sell for $10 to $15 on their own, and Pearl combines that functionality with a battery and cable — a handy package for the $39 asking price. The only thing that would be obviously better for some users would be fully integrated cabling, and given how close this first-generation Pearl comes to that ideal, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a version like that in the future.