The Misfit Shine is a small and easy to live with activity tracker that has been designed with minimalism and style in mind. Minimal is definitely the operative word as the main housing is machined from military grade aluminium to form a waterproof, jewellery-like centre piece capable of a wide variety of mounting options.
When using the device, particularly the app, it’s clear to see that there has been some loose synergy with Apple both from a design and functionality perspective. This becomes unsurprising when delving into the make up of the company to find the board boasts a former Apple CEO as part of its management.
For initial release, the Misfit Shine only supported iOS as it’s App platform, however, it now has a full Android version too. I’ve been testing both the Misfit Shine and its baby brother, the Misfit Flash (which is possibly one of the most cost-effective activity trackers available) over a number of weeks. Despite the minimalist looks, this is a full function activity tracker that will also track running, cycling and swimming.
Misfit Shine Review – Opening the Box
If looks are the primary concern it is clear from first sight that the Misfit Shine bucks the trend and is one of the best looking activity trackers currently available.
The box arrives in a size and shape not much larger than a standard DVD or Blue Ray box. The version on test here is ‘Topaz’ with various other colours available to suit both genders or whichever colour you may wish to match.
The accessories include the standard wrist band plus a further magnetic loop to help affix the Shine to a belt or even the laces of a running shoe. Further accessories are available including a leather strap and necklace pendant. In fact, whilst I’ve been writing this review Misfit have announced that from March 2015 they will be expanding the range in a new partnership with Swarovski to increase the potential in jewellery based activity tracking.
The premise of the Misfit Shine is to have no visible buttons which lends huge assistance in achieving the unique (even futuristic design). This design feature opens many possibilities for use with standard bands or even just placement in a pocket. It’s definitely striking.
The top side of the Shine contains an outside ring of 12 embedded LEDs that illuminate when the metal casing is activated. Activation comes by way of tapping the top of the casing when in the worn position.
I’ve demonstrated the LEDs here on the Misfit Flash as (whilst the Shine’s LEDs are perfectly clear) the Flash’s display proved easier to photograph with red LEDs set on black plastic background. Both devices illuminate in the same way with the only difference in operation being a push click on the Flash as opposed to the ‘tap’ on the Shine.
There is no charger included as the device is entirely battery-operated. The coin style battery will last 4 to 6 months with a very useful battery level indicator within the smartphone app.
With no desktop application to worry about the setup is as simple as downloading the Misfit App to your smartphone and getting started. No really… that’s it!
You will be asked a few details about yourself and walked through the screens necessary to identify which device you’re using. On the Apple version the screens will look like this:
You will then set your level of activity and receive a points target based on whether you deem yourself to be ‘kinda active’, ‘pretty active’ or ‘very active’.
Following that you’ll see a few screens giving you a tutorial of how to synchronise the device with the app and the basic daily functions of the Misfit Shine.
A double tap will illuminate the LEDs to display your progress followed by a clock. A triple tap can be used to tag an activity such as swimming, cycling or sleep.
If you wish to go further with your setup you can link the Misfit app with various other health/fitness apps that Misfit have partnered with. You can see here that Misfit will also work with the leading food and calorie tracking app, MyFitnessPal.
The beauty of the Misfit Shine is how inconspicuous it is from both a physical and functional perspective. There really is not much you can do with the device itself other than where it and give it a couple of taps.
From using various activity trackers I found that when all the functions are boiled down all I really need to know is my combined activity level for the day and the time. The Misfit Shine does exactly that albeit in a rather unique way (without numerical digits).
By double tapping the display you will be provided with the information by way of the 12 LEDs illuminating in sequence, clockwise. If only one or two lights come on that means you are nowhere near your target whereas with all 12 lights you will have completed it. Simple, yet effective.
Here I’ve used a shot of the Misfit Flash in order to illustrate the progress function. With only 3 lights you can see that I have a fair distance left to reach the goal (all 12 need to be illuminated).
The watch function is slightly more complicated where you will first see the hour showed by the corresponding LED and then the minutes displayed by a flashing light. The image above shows how 04:40pm would be displayed (although not seen in the image the 8th LED is flashing). To be fair, this particular format can take a little getting used to.
The one drawback to the simplicity of the Misfit display is that you cannot get a reading to show the amount of steps traveled (or calories expended) from the device itself. For that information you will need to head back into the smartphone app.
How you view this aspect will probably depend on how often you use your smartphone during the day and whether you prefer to see information on your wrist or on the screen.
Smartphone App & Data Transfer
As already mentioned, the majority of the data captured with the Misfit Shine is found back in the smartphone app. Transfer is via Bluetooth with the option of automatic synchronisation (as you open the app) or a manual tap of the Misfit Shine on the display of your smartphone.
It’s an intuitive layout where you should have no difficulty in working out the progress towards you goal.
The dial fills clockwise with further numerical information displayed in the middle. A points total is shown by default but a quick tap in the middle of the circle will reveal the number of steps for the day together with the calories expended and distance travelled.
Information can also shown weekly to act as a week on week comparison and also to demonstrate an activity streak toward reaching your goal.
What I also really like about the Misfit Shine is the ability to track activities such as running, cycling and swimming. I found that simply leaving it on the wrist will prompt the Shine to detect when a run has been completed. This will show up as a cup symbol as a spike in the day’s activity.
To track other activities you will first need to triple tap where you should see the all twelve LEDs light up in sequence to begin the activity. See the cycling activity above and left.
You can then drill down into the day by swiping upwards on the graph where the various elements will be broken down into very handy square icons. On the first image (above) you can see the detail captured, including a run. As I also had the Misfit paired with MyFitnessPal it’s also showing the calorific value of each meal consumed that day (including snacks!).
For such a tiny and inconspicuous device the level of detail available in the app is mighty impressive.
Sleep is another area where the Misfit Shine is capable of surpassing some of its rivals. Without having to inform either the device of the app when you begin sleeping the Misfit Shine is able to provide you with a breakdown of restful and restless sleep time.
It can also be used to analyse your complete week’s sleep to compare with other periods of the month.
It’s a very interesting breakdown and can be used over time to analyse patterns of sleep. I’ve used it to discover that I achieve significantly longer periods of restful sleep when I manage to get to bed before midnight. Something I probably should have known already but it’s been very interesting to see it confirmed.
For even greater sleep analysis the Misfit Shine can also be paired with the ‘Beddit’. I’ve not tested this element, but with the additional unit (attached to your mattress) analysis can be achieved on respiration, heart rate, movement and snoring. Further info on the Beddit can be found on the Misfit Website
Accuracy & Comparisons
Given the nature of my training and the products tested for TriedOnline I’ve regularly had another device on my wrist whilst testing the Misfit Shine. Both the Polar V800 and the Garmin FR920XT incorporate advanced activity trackers and have counted my steps concurrently with the Misfit Shine. In both cases the Shine has come within 10% of the steps total for both watches on a daily basis, which is pretty impressive.
Above is comparison with typical day using the Polar V800. The total steps are only a few hundred part and the same with calories expended. This was on a day where I cycled and where the Polar would have are captured accurate calorie information (from monitoring my heart rate) during the workout. Even so, the Misfit Shine still measures calories to near the same level. N.B These comparisons are not entirely scientific as I have no real method of analysing the complex algorithms utilised by each device to calculate steps etc.
The Misfit Flash works in exactly the same way to the Shine save for the ability to click operate the front (as a button) rather than a tap. Other than the button, the functions are identical on both the device and with in the app.
Within the box you still receive a band and a clasp as standard.
The biggest difference lies in the materials used during manufacture. You get a real feeling of premium quality with the Shine whereas, being the budget option, the Flash is far more plasticky. Whilst I don’t think this is an issue in terms of durability, I have noticed that the comfort of the Shine is superior given the aluminium surface and the better quality strap. Having said that, at under £50, the Flash provides extreme value for money being possibly the most advanced and comprehensive activity tracker available at its price point.
The Misfit Shine (and his little brother for that matter) does pack immensely impressive punch for such a tiny and cost-effective device. It has the ability to track steps, calories and sleep all from within a tiny and comfortable package with many mounting options. Add the ability to track sport activities such as swimming, cycling and running the Shine really does become a competitive activity Tracker. I would imagine that for some the lack of a full display may be a turnoff, however, the simplicity of the device still allows basic information to be displayed with the real detail back in the touchscreen app. It’s the simplicity of the design that also allows for many mounting options including the potential (with the Shine) for jewellery and fashion options. Take a look at the following link for how Misfit will be partnering with Swarovski in the near future to exploit that potential even further.
Pros & Cons
- Sleek design
- Comprehensive app
- Mounting options
- Partnership with MyFitnessPal
- Full sleep tracking
- No need to charge
- No steps total on device display
- Cannot pair with heart rate monitor
Misfit Shine Review – Conclusion
I tested the Misfit Shine over a period of six weeks keeping it on the wrist practically 24/7. Of all of the (many) devices that I’ve worn I can honestly say that this is the one of least noticeable from both the comfort and visual perspective. It’s also the one where others have been most likely to ask me what it is. Most people have been intrigued by the design and also by the unique LED display.
As an activity tracker it does what it supposed to, and… it does it well. Whether it’s right for you or will depend of how you wish to view your data and what your particular goals may be. If you are after activity tracking from steps, calories, sleep perspective then it’s hard to beat the Shine for the price (currently £75.00) . From the perspective of an athlete, and if this to be your only device, then there are activity trackers available that will give more comprehensive data during sports and also pair with a heart rate monitor. On that basis, I believe the Shine should hold particular appeal to the general activity tracking market and especially those with style in mind. The link up with Swarovski looks particularly exciting for the future.
I want my reviews to be as independent as possible. On that basis, I thought a link to Amazon would provide the most impartial method of you looking at other user comments should you be considering a purchase.