Review: Misfit Shine, Functional Fashion Meets Fitness Wearables - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

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Wearable Review: Misfit Shine, Functional Fashion Meets Fitness Wearables

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 The Misfit Shine changed my mind about some things. It had me rethinking my take on wearables. For the first time, I had a device on my wrist that I could literally wear 24/7 and forgot it was there. Whether I was hiking, swimming, showering, chillin' on the couch, writing or sleeping, I didn't mind it being there and it was pretty darn glorious! THAT, is truly “wearable.”

The Misfit Hardware Shines


The Misfit Shine doesn't fit into any of the larger device paradigms. Even when compared to the Fitbit line. This wearable is truly a minimalist design, more akin to a quarter than a dongle-size object or watch face and that's what had me rethinking my take on wearables- more on that later. When you first receive the Shine and remove it from the box, you'll see a few components, nicely packaged: the disk-shaped Shine, a silicon band, a silicon clasp, a small metal tool and the battery. The Shine itself is just a round disk with a series of LED lights around it's edges at hourly analog clock positions because they double as a means for telling time. It's spine is recessed so you can snap it securely into a watch band, necklace or included strap or clasp. The bottom of the disk is removable using the included metal tool to pry it open, which gives you access to the insides so you can insert the battery. The Misfit Shine uses a standard CR2032 coin cell battery which they say should last you up to four months.


Opening up the bottom of the Misfit Shine was easy enough and within moments, I had it turned on, fitted into the included strap, on my wrist and ready to rock! Be sure to pay attention to the bottom of the device as you slip it into any of its accessory housings. Located on the underside is the number “12” to indicate “12 O'Clock” positioning so that when using the Shine to tell time, everything is lined up properly. Next up: download the Misfit Shine app and connect the wearable to my phone, a Galaxy Note 3. It did take me a couple tries to get the app to connect, which was par for the course in my experience with the Misfit app. Though I like the app's design, the user interface, the information/stats it provides, it was a bit wonky when it came to connecting to the Misfit Shine from time to time.


That connection to the app takes place over the Bluetooth 4.0 LE standard so that you get up-to-date information from the wearable without being too heavy a drain on your smartphone or tablet. Pairing the Misfit Shine with the phone was a straightforward, problem free experience.


I was unaware of the watch functionality when receiving the device and at first thought it kind of clunky and a feature I wouldn't really use; until I used it. Simply activate the watch functionality by double-tapping the Misfit at which point the LEDs light up once to indicate how much of your goal you've already met (your walking/cycling/running goals) then they light up again, in two places. The brightest light being the hour, the bright, flashing light representing the minute. Again, minimal. And I loved it! I loved the implementation because it was simple and it meant that if there were any places I'd be going that I didn't want to take my watch or phone, like, say a waterpark, I still had a timepiece on me. And much like wearing a decent conventional watch, wearing the Shine at a waterpark (I'm looking at you Wet & Wild, Nevada) was a wonderfully worry-free experience thanks to it's being water resistant up to 50m.


While the Shine may not have the heart rate monitor of other devices I've tested, it's a very simple device that works very well. Once I put it on, I didn't take it off for two weeks. I ran, walked, showered, vacationed and slept with it on. All the while, tracking my activities via the app and keeping track of my progress.



The Misfit App


Available for Android and iOS, the app has 8 tabs which help you navigate your journey:
  

  • Your Name/Profile- Shows your “join date,” Best Streak, Personal Best and total goals hit and friends list.
  • Home- This screen shows you how much of your goal you've met so far that day.
  • Leaderboard- The friendly competition/social interactions are displayed here.
  • Feed- A feed of how other users are doing meeting their goals.
  • History- A list of tracked days that you can view by day, week or month that will show you your cumulative numbers for that selected time period.
  • Goals- Hit this menu to set your goals for steps taken and sleep tracking.
  • Settings and “Help & About”

I've included some screengrabs of the various charts you'll get in the Misfit app, but getting back to what I alluded to at the beginning of this review, the magic in this device is its minimal design and how that changed the way I tend to think about wearables. Let me start out by saying that I have a bias in this area, I'm a watch enthusiast. The only thing that keeps me from owning more of them is a sense of responsibility to feeding and clothing my children. So as I watched the smartwatch market move from talk, to vaporware, to kickstarters to retail I have to admit that I was quite excited. My mind reeling with the possibilities. I was looking for that magical unicorn device that could do everything in one device! Right now though, where we're at in this space, and having tested several wearables, I've come to a different realization about what might be most effective in my life.


Not one device that does everything, for now, but a couple different wearables that do fewer things very well. For instance, I can see myself having a daily driver smartwatch which has no heart rate monitor, then a fitness device which does have an HRM and the Shine. In this scenario, the Shine becomes more like jewelry, a bracelet that I wear that just happens be able to provide me with various data about various activities through my 24 hour cycle; from sleeping to waking, inactive to active. Then, the fitness wearable fills in the gaps with the data it provides from my workouts. One app ties things together and provides context and analysis. As it is, the Misfit app does a great job of tying everything together with the only slight exception being the sleep tracking charts. The two “moons” on the chart weren't immediately clear to me and I still haven't figured out what exactly they indicate beyond an educated guess. The thicker moon icon represents deep, or restful sleep while the thinner of the two represents light sleep. I've been unable to find that explanation anywhere in the included documentation or online documentation, but that appears to be what they convey. And while we're talking about sleep, one compelling function of the Misfit Shine is the ability to automatically start tracking your sleep. I had this feature on for the first couple nights but I noticed it was off a bit. If I woke up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, or turn down the AC, it stopped tracking my sleep but didn't resume when I got back in the bed. So I activated the other option, Activity Tracking. This feature allows you to choose a default activity to track manually by triple-tapping the top of the device. Similar to how you tell time by double-tapping the device. And what modern fitness app would be complete without a social component. You can challenge friends and foes alike to keep up with your activity rate, with a Leaderboard built-in for at-a-glance progress comparison.



Final Thoughts


Overall, the Misfit Shine is a very capable activity tracker that, with its many optional accessories, should fit nicely into most people's wardrobes. Wearing it is also an easy task as you can wear it on your wrist, around your neck or clipped to an article of clothing. Misfit Wearables has done a great job of keeping things simple and making the Shine a very user-friendly product with some great functionality built into the simple LED interface on the face of the device. The app and charts it provides give the data you'd expect, presented in a way that is easy to read and the setup is pretty straight forward. You can pick one up for $99. If you hurry up, they're having a sale right now for students which will get you 20% off with a special promo code on their site. $80, that's not a bad deal!


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Post by Fox 11 Los Angeles.

Full disclosure: Misfit Wearables provided me with a review unit and accessories for the purpose of this review.


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