Precision engineered simplicity
The Misfit Shine launched in spring 2013 having been crowd funded to the tune of $700,000, boosting the independent tech start up into the market. Right away it has been a hit with the critics coming 2nd at CES Last Gadget Standing in 2013.
Enter the dome
The Shine comes in impressive dome shape packaging which dwarfs the size of Shine itself. Whilst it is excessively large it is very well considered and neatly contains the Shine as well as a tool to open the shine, a battery, a rubber wrist strap and magnetic clasp.
Solid design for true wearable fitness tech
At the Gadget Show Live 2014 HealthGauge.com spoke to Ben Hoffman of Misfit Wearables who explained that when designing the Shine, the aim was to create a device that was as simple as possible, enabling you to wear it for every activity you do. The result is a device that is diamond-cut from of a block of aircraft-grade aluminium then carved using micro lazer drills. This makes the Shine exceptionally durable and unlike many other fitness trackers on the market fully water proof to 50m/150ft. The Shine is Powered by a watch battery that lasts 4 months and can be replaced using the flathead tool that is included.
Tapping your way to fitness
To use the shine as a standalone device you tap it. Two taps and it lights up as a clock face. With 12 o’clock at the top the hour is a solid light whilst minutes blink. It then displays how far you’ve progressed towards your daily activity goal, and once hit a ring of lights flash in a loop. You can also log a preselected activity by tapping 3 times.
The use of tapping to operate the solid device is an innovative concept and in principle very intuitive for a wrist worn device. However it’s not always that responsive leaving you tapping for a while before something happens. It is also not always that easy to gauge how many taps have registered or to remember how many are required for the different functions.
Wearable fitness for the fashion conscious?
The Misfit Shine is often spoken of as the fitness tracker for the more fashion conscious with the company marketing the product using fashion imagery and offering accessories such as a decorative necklace and leather wrist strap. Hoffman also makes the point that traditionally it is more accepted to wear metallic jewellery then plastic which can be seen as cheap and inferior. But can the Misfit Shine truly be seen as a fashion accessory? We’re not sure. Aesthetically the finish and feel is very reminiscent of an Apple MacBook Pro which is also built from solid aluminium, and in fact we have heard rumours of an Apple connection during early development. But the question might be; does wearing a micro macbook look cool? There is no denying the connection between fashion and fitness has strengthened over the years with many products and brands acting as status symbols. Fashionistas may debate whether or not wearing a coin in a Star Trek/Buck Rogers style passes as cool, but we can certainly see where Misfit are going with this.
The shine be carried in a pocket as a coin, using the rubber wrist band or the magnetic clasp supplied. The wrist band is very simple but secure. The magnet on the clasp is very strong and when worn on something like a sleeve it stays on even with vigorous shaking. However when worn in a location prone to contact such as a pocket it is highly prone to getting lost as you pull out change or keys, even when clasped, which sadly was the fate of our Shine.
Using bluetooth 4.0 the Shine wireless syncs to the app which is currently only available on Apple devices and in the UK at least only the iPhone, although we have seen an iPad app used elsewhere. The main home screen displays your points total which can be broken down to steps taken, (gross) calories burned and miles walked. Beneath, this is displayed as a line chart with a trophy indicating the point at which your target was hit. Sliding this up then provides a breakdown of your day telling you when you were pretty active or very active. The app also tracks sleep with the darker shade indicating deeper sleep and the user can set a smart alarm which will go off within a set time frame in a light sleep pattern. Your weight can be recorded and you can also add friends. The settings menu as well as allowing you to sync also enables you to set goals and update your settings. Also using Misfit Labs you can preselect activities like running, cycling, sleep and swimming which can then be tracked with 3 taps of the device.
Price: The shine retails for between $99 in the US and £80-£100 in the UK placing it at the upper medium range of activity trackers currently on the market.
Pros: Its durability and ability to be fully submerged and track swimming is a major plus. Nothing worse that not hitting a goal because you had to take the tracker off to swim or get dirty. It also looks great and has the best and most durable build quality of any fitness tracker.
Cons: The lights can be very hard to read in sunlight. This isn’t necessary a fault with the Shine itself but rather the nature of LEDs. Although with white lights in a silver body it doesn’t offer much in the way of contrast so doesn’t work that well as a watch. Its small size means that it can be very easy to lose and the tapping mechanic can be hit and miss.
But all round a very solid, impressive and innovative piece of tech, and not just in fitness. Shine makes strides in design that could be applied in many other areas.
Misfit products can be purchased from the Misfit online store.