Gaming Hardware Reviews

Misfit Shine Review – Passive, Minimalistic and Affordable

The Misfit Shine is a minimalistic, passive activity tracker with iOS and Android support and a sleek, futuristic aesthetic.

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Shine

Manufacturer: Misfit Wearables
1st Party Platforms: iOS & Android
3rd Party Support: coming soon
Price: $99.99
A product sample was provided to us for evaluation

 

The first thing that drew me into the Misfit Shine is the sleek design. The smooth metallic circle with white lights around the edges looks very futuristic, or like a small alien spaceship. It comes with a black rubber wristband for wearing it like a watch, and also a magnetic clasp for wearing inside your pocket for comfort, or on your shoe when biking. The versatility of where you can wear the Shine makes it different from a lot of other fitness trackers. I spent most of my time with the Shine wearing it on my wrist. The band is very comfortable. Thin and lightweight making it easy to forget that I was even wearing it. The Shine snaps into the band and clasp with the O-ring design fitting snug in a groove around the device. While it is a tight fit, and feels secure for every day, normal use I did have the Shine pop loose and sink to the bottom of the pool while rough housing with a swimming dog. The clip works with a magnet in the band and on the device the connection is strong and used to clasp to your shoe, shirt or waistband. I made the mistake of wearing it inside my pocket where the magnet attached to my car keys, causing me think the Shine had fallen off and been lost. Another drawback is having to remove the Shine from the clip and inserting it into the wristband at night for the best sleep tracking data. Misfit Wearables sells a variety of accessories, like formal leather bands and stylish necklace clasps. Even the Shine itself comes in a variety of different colors.

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The Shine takes a standard watch battery, and is designed to stay on your body until it dies. This is great. One of the things that kills the potential for a lot of passive activity and fitness trackers is the requirement to constantly be removing the device to charge and sync. Misfit claims that the Shine gets 4-6 months of “normal use” from a single CR2032 battery. After using the device for a month, every day the battery is still going strong. This is a huge advantage over other fitness trackers, some of which require weekly or even nightly charging often times with proprietary charging cables.

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Like a lot of the activity trackers, the Shine is designed to monitor your sleeping habits. If you are wearing it on your wrist during the day, nothing different needs to be done. Go to sleep whenever and wake up and sync for a breakdown of your previous night’s sleep. The Shine monitors your motion during sleep and from this data estimates your sleep. Sleep is broken into “light” and “deep” with no indication of  the determining factors. It is great to see some insight into what is happening while I sleep, but it would be great if the Shine could offer more accurate information with data based on more than just tossing and turning.

Instead of just being a fancy pedometer, the Shine gives your activities points based on duration and intensity of the activity through calories burned measured by height and weight information requested at the time of profile creation. Your number of steps, distance traveled and calories burned for each day is tracked and stored. I like the idea of a points system because it appeals to my desire to earn a high score. The points also make the friend leaderboard feel like they are on a level field.

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Tapping to display information is a clever way to make use of the white LEDs on the face of the Shine. Tap twice to see your daily progress, identified by how many of the lights are lit. You can also configure Shine to display the time before or after your daily progress is displayed. The tapping works most of the time, but it did take some getting used to. Instead of using a touch sensitive component similar to mobile phones, the Shine uses its motion sensors to detect a quick succession of movements as user input. Once I figured out I needed to tap with a little conviction, I could reliably activate the informational output of the Shine. Two quick taps gives daily progress and the time, and three taps tells the shine you are doing something other than walking or running and can be set up in the app to indicate swimming, biking or a sport like basketball, tennis or soccer. Unfortunately if you want to go from swimming to basketball you have to open the app, reconfigure the triple tap, sync your device and then triple tap. The Shine only offers iPhone users the option to mark past activity as something other than it was first interpreted. Went for an intense swim and forgot to triple tap? If you only have an Android device you are stuck with the points that the Shine assigned for either walking or running.

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Right now the app support from the Shine is inline with most other wearables, favoring iOS as its platform of choice over Android and completely ignoring the Windows Phones.  With iOS, users can select what activity they were doing (biking, swimming, running or walking) after the exercise has taken place which allows for more accurate information processing, yielding the correct points towards your goal.  The iOS app also shows a highlights page, showcasing your recent accomplishments and activities. All of the iOS features are “coming soon” to Android. In the meantime the Android app is still very functional. You can view your goal, change what triple tapping the device does, compare yourself to your friends and check the public feed. The public feed just shows people reaching their daily goals and when they hit a personal best. As a Android heavy user, I am disappointed by the lack of feature parity. Misfit does earn some credit for acknowledging that the features are missing from the Android app by listing them as in progress, but only time will tell if they are able to follow through.

When I first started using the Misfit application on my Moto X, I ran into a lot of issues with the application crashing after it was idle for too long. It didn’t impact my usage and the latest version of the app has fixed most of the crashing but I still run into errors occasionally. If you are planning on using an Android device with the Shine, there is a likelihood that you might run into similar issues. Misfit recommends you submit any crash data (the app prompts you after restarting from a crash) and seems committed to quick iteration and patches.

 

The Final Word:


The Misfit Shine is a great, minimalist passive activity tracker. Perhaps it’s biggest strength is the advertised battery life being in the months, thanks to the use of it’s watch battery. While it might be a bigger hassle when the battery does die, it’s extended life paired with it’s completely waterproof design allows for the Shine to be worn in perpetuity, without having to remember to charge it or to remove it during your daily routine. If you are using an Android device you will have access to fewer features and options, but the promise of updates is worth noting. If you are looking to attach something something to your body and just gleam some basic activity and sleep statistics than the Misfit Shine is perfect. If you want something with more in depth motivational features, then you’d do better grabbing something else.

Strengths:

  • Waterproof
  • Lightweight
  • Futuristic Design
  • Triple Tap to change to preset exercise type
  • LONG, multi-month battery life
  • Low price of $99

Weaknesses:

  • Limited on device information
  • Unable to switch exercise type without app
  • Minimal options for goals and personal challenges
  • Few goal settings
  • Limited motivational functionality

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