Wednesday, May 15, 2013

IKEA LILLHOLMEN Vanity Mirror Review

Everyone needs a mirror -- even a guy who doesn't like to admire the prettiness of his face. I'm a lazy person, so I shave at my desk or away from the bathroom in general. If you've seen me over the past few years, you may have seen the stray, long, missed hairs on my neck and upper lip that appear on my face occasionally. Long story short, I was at Ikea and walked by the mirrors section, didn't find anything I liked, saw a mirror I did like, but didn't want to pay $20 for. That is until I saw the double sided mirror with x2 magnification!

Ikea stocks a few vanity mirrors with two sides: one with a regular 1:1 reflection and one with a magnification that makes everything look twice (x2.5) as big. I tried to get a few photos without setting up a tripod, but none of them showed the effect well -- I'll try again in the future. You'll just have to believe me or now, or go down to your local Ikea and test it out.

LILLHOLMEN x2.5 Magnification Side
The LILLHOLMEN is obviously one of these two-sided mirrors, and the other is the TRENSUM that is $10 cheaper. Honestly, if I had seen the TRENSUM, I would have saved the $10 and gotten it instead. Oh well, they look essentially the same except for the base. Also, the LILLHOLMEN is painted with clear acrylic lacquer for some reason at the base and "main parts" according to the website. I did not notice this at first and gave the entire thing a hosing down in the shower after assembly to wash off bits of cardboard and chips. This paint is noticeable at the bowl in the base and a bit surprising -- I would not have thought it would be necessary to paint polished stainless steel.
LILLHOLMEN Bottom Plate Painted with Lacquer
Ikea LILLHOLMEN Table Mirror - $19.99

The entire unit came in a flat, square cardboard package disassembled into four parts. To put it together, I just unscrewed two screws at the ends of the main support tube and reinserted the screw after putting them through the appropriate parts. It took me less than five minutes -- okay, it should have taken me less than five minutes, but the top screw was more difficult to mount. The mirror rotates about the center of the circle it's mounted in and does not come off easily as far as I know. A screwdriver was too long to be easily used for the upper screw without mashing and possibly scratching the mirror. So, I would either be super careful using a screwdriver or tighten the top screw with the screw bit alone, which should be about a centimeter long.
It's a pretty slender mirror with a relatively narrow base. I wouldn't put it anywhere someone can easily knock it over, but the base is heavy enough to securely hold the mirror in place. Rotating the mirror is also pretty easily done without needing to worry about tipping the entire unit over.

Expandability / Customizability

You can put stuff in the bowl?

Everyday Use

As a person who doesn't like staring at himself often and with a really "busy" desk, I stuffed the mirror into a corner. To use it, I have to pull it out of "storage" and will admit that it's not a light mirror (1 kg, according to website). Then again, it's not heavy. Its weight is probably a good thing to avoid having it crash down.

The mirror works: both the regular and magnification sides. However, the magnification side is a bit trippy. I feel a bit weird when looking at it and the image is distorted being a convex (?) mirror. The effect only works a short distance away from the surface. Objects further away get stretched out. I probably won't use it much, but it has its uses and is a fun thing to have.

I don't have much use for the bowl though. Seriously, I wish I ran across the TRENSUM when I was at the store. Oh well, the $19.99 LILLHOLMEN is a good product. Do see if the $9.99 TRENSUM will satisfy your needs first -- this one weights slightly less at 0.7 kg too.