Compact magic mirrors, commonly referred to as "compacts", are a recent development. The basic idea is the same as the traditional magic mirror: you can see and hear through another magic mirror as though it were merely a window. But full-size magic mirrors are expensive and cumbersome. With a compact mirror, you can hold a conversation with anyone (who also owns a compact) anywhere on the continent (barring high concentrations of magical ore, magical or electrical dampening, acts of deities, and other extenuating circumstances).
Communication between compacts
Communicating with another compact is called "dialing", a reference to the original compacts, which had literal dials for this purpose. Different models have different ways of dialing: some understand spoken names; some have a list you can pick from by touching the glass; some particularly cheap models can only link with one other compact at a time. Newer models even allow you to decline a dial from someone when you don't wish to talk, eliminating the need for a soundproofed carrying case.
Linking two compacts remains the same, however. Simply tap two compacts together, and each will be able to dial the other. Linking is always mutual — if one compact unlinks from another, the second will no longer be able to dial the first, either.
With the rise in popularity and obvious utility, the market has become flooded with dozens upon dozens of different kinds of compacts. Each model promises its own selection of extra features, or "tabs" — short for "tablets", after the rune-inscribed tablets that power them. Any model can still dial any other, but tabs tend only to work between two of the same model. Between the constant deluge of these new models, the difficulty of adding new tabs to an existing compact, and the still highish price tag, it's no surprise compacts are still generally viewed as a luxury item.
Some tabs of note in recent years:
- Incredible lifelike virtual "games", like Tic Tac Toe, which you can play right on the glass!
- Miniature portable clocks, complete with an alarm
- Transmission of scent, along with sight and sound
- Projecting an image beyond the glass itself, to create the illusion you're in the same place as the person you've dialed
- Writing out words and messages, either by tracing letters on the glass or mimicking writing with a pen (a standard tab on any Moahu compact)
- Viewing of pre-recorded scenes, such as news or theater
That last tab is actually the precursor to the "movie theaters" that are growing in popularity. Movies work on the same principle, just with a larger mirror.
Larger magic mirrors are still in use, especially in large households or in businesses or establishments.
Shells and other sea-related items are often used as a vessel to hold the small magic mirror, especially along the coasts and on the Citrico Archipelago. It's common to see heavily-decorated shell compacts, as otherwise it can be kind of hard to tell them apart.
Super reflective ice is used a lot in Aurorian designs. Only ice treated so as to not melt is used for compacts.
Mew York is actually a huge hub for the latest and greatest in new compact technology, despite the undercurrent of distaste for the magical and odd that the city is so famous for. It seems the allure of instant face-to-face communication overrides the mistrust of magic… at least, it does in this instance.
In Dewclaw, where shady transactions take place more often than reputable ones, it's nice to actually wear your compact. Afterall, you don't really want to make it easy for some ruffian to run off with your contact list.
The compacts in Kadath can appear very silly to outsiders, but Kadath takes them seriously, very seriously. Some citizens in Kadath own dozens of compacts, each of which can do some new, trendy thing with anyone in its contact list… but only if that individual is using the same model of compact.
Gnawth denizens often carry around a special compact bowl — it gets too rainy for them to like using glass or mirrors as much as they like using the water's reflection.
Althar skips on the mirror and uses the sun and light magic to cause a projection in the middle of the compact.
Those are based on smartphones, but it's a bit obvious.