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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 — better-known as Hyper thanks to a popular 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 the new (and world’s smallest) laser pointer iPin, the mirror-battery Pearl ($40) is now shipping to customers.

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.

Key Details:

  • 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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 $40 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.

Manufacturer: Hyper MSRP: $40 Compatibility: All iPads, iPhones, USB iPods

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