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[Health Tech] REVIEW – Misfit Shine

Following our recent review of the very affordable Misfit Flash, very affordable, activity and sleep tracker, we have been testing the more expensive, premium, Misfit Shine.

If you are not previously aware of who Misfit are check our Misfit Flash review for more information.

The Review

Build & Appearance

The first thing you notice about the Misfit Shine is the build quality of the tracker unit and the distinct lack of plastic. One of the main selling points is that the Misfit Shine casing is machined out of aircraft grade aluminium and then anodised in a number of colour options (grey, black, topaz, champagne, storm, coral, wine, seaglass & Coca-Cola red), with a mirror polished its edge. The unit clicks together solidly, with the rear cover being separable from the main body (front) using an included flat headed plying tool/disc.

Once opened you will note that it is powered by a coin cell battery, explaining the lack of an external charging connector and meaning that the Misfit Shine lasts up to 6 months between having to worry about its power supply, although we have not had the time to verify this yet. As the battery is housed in a recess in the rear cover of the Misfit Shine, but we then noted an ingenious use for the magnetic clip-on wearability option included with the Misfit Shine, in that it can be used to remove the battery from it’s housing.

Another thing to note whilst the Misfit Shine is opened, is the o-ring seal keeping the unit water tight when clicked together, enabling its 50m water resistance making it one of the minority of fitness and sleep trackers that you can shower and swim in. Whilst writing this review Misifit have introduce a new variant of the Misfit Shine, called the Misfit Speed Shine which you can read more about in our recent article.

The next thing you notice is its compact size (27.5mm diameter and only 3.3mm thick) and light weight (only 9.4g), meaning that you hardly know you are wearing it and making it one of the lightest trackers on the market.

Like the Misfit Flash, the Misfit Shine has no physical screen, but instead relies 12 small equi-spaced LEDs under its skin used to display the time and progress towards your chosen goal. Although the LEDs are bright enough for everyday use, we found the too dim to be clearly visible in direct sunlight.

Unlike the Fitbit and iFit alternatives there is no vibration motor included in the Misfit product range meaning there is no haptic feedback or silent alarm which we are a little disappointed about as this provides a nice prompt through the day.

A major positive for the Misfit Shine is the mass of wearability options available. In the box, you get a sports band and a magnetic clasp, but aftermarket you can also get leather watch straps, metal watchstraps, the new EKOCYCLE wristband (made from recycled materials), necklace chains for both sports and fashion. They even sell sports socks  and a selection of shirts, al with pockets for the Misfit Shine to be stored. The list seems quite extensive and with most competing products limited to the in-the-box wearability option of clip-on and/or wrist band.

Of the aftermarket accessories, we have only had the chance to test the EKOCYCLE band which we found to be well made, holding the Misfit Shine in a vey secure watch like housing and providing a watch buckle closure instead of the standard stud closure on the sports band. Also if you would prefer to use your own wrist strap instead the strap from the EKOCYCLE band can be switched out with standard c.15mm wide watchstraps.​

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On the topic of the standard sports band, provided with all Misfit Shine products we were initially worried about the method of holding the Misfit Shine as it was secured by a stretched rubber ring built into the band. Although this shows off the elegance of the Misfit Shine to the maximum we did find that the tracker could start to come free from the sports band if it rotated around the wrist. Happily, in recent months Misfit have added an ‘Action Clip’ the in-the-box accessories, which makes the sports band more rigid around the Misfit Shine stopping it flexing and releasing the tracker unit.

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Functionality

As with the competition from Fitbit, iFit, Polar, Tomtom and alike, the Misfit Shine uses built-in accelerometers to sense changes in the speed and direction of movement of the tracker unit which it then records as steps. Complex algorithms are used in an attempt to reduce false recording of movements that are not resultant from walking, running etc.

Unlike the options available from Fitbit and iFit, Misfit advise within their mobile app, that there is no impact on recording accuracy resulting from where the Misfit Shine is worn. We are intrigued by this as we have noticed substantially different readings between dominant wrist, non-dominant wrist and waist worn tracking.

Like it’s competition, the Misfit service uses the number of, time between and force of steps to calculate distance travelled based on the standard age, height, weight and steps formula with a little bit of proprietary magic included.

Like the Fitbit and iFit alternatives the Misfit Shine also tracks movement during sleeping hours to analyse the length and quality of your night’s sleep and like the Fitbit alternatives this can be set to automatically start and stop based on assumptions around the time of day, the amount of movement and a little more formulaic magic.

As well as a double tap on the tracker unit prompting the display of your current progress towards your goal (activity, sleep, weight) by how many of the 12 lights illuminate and the displaying the time if user enabled, three taps starts and stops ‘Alternate Tracking’ mode. This, ‘Alternate Tracking’ mode, is set within the mobile app to assume it is recording walking, running, basketball, cycling, football, swimming or tennis. Sadly, only one activity mode can be allocated to the ‘Alternate Tracking’ mode at any one time, requiring the mobile app to sync with the Misfit Shine to change it. It would be nice if the user could cycle through the different modes with the LED lights on the Misfit Shine used to indicate which mode is selected. We realise this would move away from Misfit simplistic, easy-to-use ethos as the user would need to know what each light meant.

Mobile App

The official Windows Phone app works, although it lacks automatic background synchronisation and the more polished appearance, along with some of the functionality, from the official Android and iOS apps. The reason for the difference in appearance in the apps may well be a result of Misfit tying to make the Windows Phone app take on the simpler Metro look and feel of the Windows Phone OS, although in our opinion this could be achieved whist maintaining a more polished look and feel.

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The biggest issue with the Windows Phone app is the need to open the menu to access the synchronisation button which in our opinion should be on the app main screen especially as the app does not automatically sync on opening which would be our preferred implementation. This is not the case with the Android app as. although automatic synchronisation is still not available, manual synchronisation can be started by dragging the screen down when looking at the app home screen. We would still like to see automatic synchronisation as this is provided by most of the competition making life a lot easier for the end user.

Conclusion

We are very impressed with the build and appearance of the Misfit Shine, but wish there was a way of maintaining its premium feel and simplistic form, whilst providing visible feedback at the level of detail provided by the digital displays of the Fitbit and iFit product ranges. The anodised aluminium finish and wearability options for the Misfit Shine make it more of the person who wants to track their activity and sleep more casualty whilst appearing more elegant.

Positives:

  • Manufactured from aircraft grade aluminium
  • 50m water resistant so you can swim in it
  • Simple, but elegant, interface
  • Many aftermarket wearability options
  • No need to charge. Replaceable standard coin cell battery lasts up to 6 months

Negatives:

  • No auto sync on Android or Windows Phone (iOS only) like provided by completing products.
  • LEDs are not clearly visible in direct sunlight.
  • No digital display
  • No vibration feedback

Verdict

Build: *****

The Misfit Shine materials of construction and many wearing options, including after-sales cause it to score highly here.

Functionality:    ***

The ability to wear the Misfit Shine whilst swimming increases it’s score although the lack of a more informative digital display and reduced functionality Windows Phone app brings it back to a high 3-star rating. This would be a 4-star rating for users of the Android and iOS apps.

Affordability:    ****

Although the Misfit Shine is twice the price of the Misfit Flash with a limited increase in functionality its price is aligned to its build quality, elegance and sits in a solid position between the likes of the Fitbit Flex and Fitbit Charge, but with a more elegant appearance and extensive after-market wearability options, swim tracking and a much longer lasting, replaceable battery.

Overall:    ****

The Misfit Shine receives 4 stars overall, due to the high quality look and feel of the tracker unit and the fact that you can swim in it.

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