Need Help to Get Started
I know many of you start with choosing a suitable monitor first. It’s a task with so many criteria that might make one insane. Some prefer TN panels due to their superior contrast and black color. Some says the poorer viewing angles on TNs might expose a problem, especially when they are flipped and used vertically. That’s why some people recommend IPS panels because of their wider viewing angle; not to mention that they tend to be brighter.
Controls and ports on the back, not at the sides. Easy to work with for taking off the enclosure. HDMI is not a must but nice to have. Built-in speakers might become handy if we ever play music or if we integrate Alexa or Google Assistant. Tough, I am not so sure about built-in speakers performance. Depending on where the speakers are facing, the sound might be to garbled to be useful.
Now, finding this monitor in desired size and within a certain budget is a very hard task.
I recently purchased a refurbished 22" Viewsonic VX2276-SMHD for a friend of mine, for normal desktop use. The cost was $99.
It is very slim, lightweight. HDMI and built-in speakers available. It says frameless design but actually it has very thin gray frames. I am thinking that I might use this monitor. Since it is very slim and lightweight, maybe I even don’t need to take the enclosure off. I might use it as is. Maybe I paint the gray frame to black and it might be good enough to get started.
As for the mirror; I decided not to use acrylic. I read too many times that it scratches easily, requires to be handled with extra care and not easy to work with.
I decided to spare budget for a real glass two way mirror. I spent some time on the twowaymirrors website. While their Smart Mirror is the best option, I was focusing on the Glass Two Way Mirror since it is more affordable. Till I realized that I can get the Smart Mirror option with the Glass Two Way Mirror price.
Here is the trick. They are offering some certain size (most common) Smart Mirrors at a discounted price. I guess they are pre-cut or something.
For example the 16"x20" Smart Mirror is for $100 and the 18"x24" is for $140. Smart Mirror for the Glass Two Way price; I really want to take advantage of this offer. But which size would be better for me?
The Viewsonic monitor has dimensions like 19.6 x 15.5 so a 16"x20" mirror should work. Maybe it will be a close call but then again, it should -barely- work. Then I remember most of the guides I have read (not all but most) they go with a larger size mirror so they have extra space underneath the monitor or at the side of the monitor to deal with the other components and cables.
If I go with the 16"x20" mirror then the only space I can use would be the back of the monitor itself. I might be forced to built a very deep frame just to have enough space for other components.
Alternatively, I can just go ahead with the 18"x"24" size mirror then I will have extra space to work other components in.
I guess I have already mentioned about my budget concerns. I don’t wanna spend more then $250 for the (monitor+mirror) pair. Depending on your recommendations, I might go slightly above (less than $300).
So, this is very I am right now and I appreciate any feedback.
Another way to approach the choosing monitor issue is to get something that has been successfully and happily used by one or more active members of this community. That way I can take full advantage of your experiences
Any and all input is welcome,
@duraturk - You seem to be well on your way. I honestly don’t think the monitor quality matters all that much for a normal Magic Mirror installation. And by “normal” I mean “using the standard white-on-black interface to display text” installation. Compliments, calendar, weather, newsfeed, plus some sort of transit schedule.
You might notice a difference in monitor quality if you plan on watching full screen video or high resolution photos of the Earth or some such. But I doubt it.
As for the size of the glass vs the size of your monitor, I think you have it right. The barely-bigger-than size will do just fine. Push comes to shove, you can remove the bezel from the monitor to reduce its size a little bit. Additionally, with a close fit you won’t have to worry about suspending or supporting your monitor behind the glass outside of the regular box that is the normal design. The “other components and cables” usually fit behind the monitor in the various gaps left by a flat wall up against a decidedly non-flat monitor case. In my experience, the depth necessary just to accommodate the monitor electronics is more than enough to fit the Pi and the power source.
I have shopped with TwoWayMirrors before and they provided excellent service.