A once unlikely pairing, technology and fitness seem to go hand-in-hand lately. From connected pedometers and sleep trackers to heart-rate monitoring apps and running route trackers getting in shape has never been more integrated into our device than it is today.
Unfortunately, most activity trackers are clunky, bulky, and unattractive, making us less likely to wear them with any consistency. Thankfully, the fine folks over at Misfit Wearables have decided that fashion should be considered when creating the Shine wearable activity tracker.
The Misfit Shine ($99.99 from Misfit, $72.99 and up on Amazon) is a bluetooth connected activity tracker that borrows design elements from the iPhone 5/5s, as well as traditional watch makers, to create a truly gorgeous device. Crafted of high quality aluminum (Jony Ive would be so proud), the Shine is small, elegant, and accurate. The Shine tracks your daily “points” (based on activity intensity and time spent doing the activity), and helps you gauge your progress, based on your daily activity goals.
Unlike many other activity trackers, the Shine is a simple circular device that can be “docked” into a bracelet (sports band), a watch band, a necklace, or a magnetized belt clip. For the last month, I’ve been wearing it mostly as a bracelet/watch, and occasionally have put it on my belt or in my pocket to track my daily activity. Also unlike so many other activity trackers, the Shine is made of a brushed, anodized aluminum instead of plastic or rubber.
Looking at the shine, it’s immediately apparent that it is not like the others in the market. The subtle clock hour markers are unobtrusive, and only display the time when the device is activated. The edges of the device have a shiny, chamfered look. There are no USB ports or plugs for the Shine. Using a single watch battery and a water-tight seal, the Shine operates without the need to be recharged all the time. In the past 45 days, I have not had to replace the battery, and Misfit says it’ll last 4 months or more.
Thanks to the Shine’s water-tight seal, the device is waterproof, and even offers activity tracking for swimming (as shown in Apple’s Strength commercial). Using hundreds of micro-holes in the aluminum watch face, your progress is able to show using tiny LED lights instead of a full character display. The display of the lights is very polished and elegant, and can be invoked with by simply tapping on the face of the shine twice (Rule #2 – Double Tap).
While this is a huge win over much of the competition, the lack of real display means to get precise stats require syncing to your device. Another flaw with this design is the way the light is passed through the Shine’s face. Because the light is shining through several small holes, you are only seeing small fractions of the light, and when outside on a sunny day, it is nearly impossible to discern any progress light or time from the device.
To be completely fair, syncing is quite an enjoyable experience. While all-metal devices tend to have poor range, the Shine can be paired when in close proximity with your iPhone, or you can use the Misfit recommended “drop zone” to sync your Shine. Opening the app and placing your Shine on the screen of your device will trigger the sync to begin, displaying a brief flash of lights and the transfer of your daily progress.
Additionally, the Shine also serves as a sleep tracker, recording your total hours of sleep, as well as the number of hours you achieved restful sleep. The sleep function of the Shine app allows you to set goals for total hours slept, as well as set an alarm that will wake you during a time of lighter sleep to help you feel the most refreshed.
Having used a Nike Fuelband for several months, in my opinion, using the Shine is a much more enjoyable experience. The no-frills progress bar, as well as the beautiful industrial design of the device make wearing the Shine more like wearing a piece of jewelry instead of a piece of technology.
Using the Shine app has helped me better understand my daily activity, as well as get an idea of the number of calories my body is using during the day. The sleep monitoring of the Shine is a great added feature, although not something I find incredibly insightful in my usage (I know when I don’t get enough sleep – I don’t need an app to reinforce that).
- Fantastic industrial design
- Enjoyable progress display
- Simple, elegant watch face
- Wide range of colors and wearing options
- No fiddling with charging every few days
- Aluminum can scratch easily
- Cost of replacement batteries
- Hard to see display in sun light