2017 is the year I got into wearable technology for the sake of fitness (LOL, I know), but since I’m not exactly ~qualified~ to review anything dealing with technology OR physical activity, I thought I’d just share my very unprofessional thoughts on the Misfit Shine 2 instead.
Basically everybody and their dog knows that I don’t enjoy working out; as a rule of thumb, I try to move as little as possible to get from Point A to Point B, BUT 2017 knocked on my door and told me I should maybe reconsider that. Naturally, I slammed said door in its face and got on with my merry little life.
All jokes aside (even though I was being 99% serious), I’m not what you would call a “fitness junkie” – I’m pretty sure the last time I went to a gym was a little over two years ago, although I did a Pure Barre class over the summer (which you can read about here), which I’m still not entirely convinced that I didn’t actually die in because the second half of 2016 honestly seemed like some kind of weird fever dream or my own quest through the nine circles of Hell without a Virgil to guide me. On second thought… could Kylie Jenner have been Virgil? Is she actually a ghost? Does she represent human reason? Does she guide and protect us through a world of sin? I don’t think I want to dwell on this, so we’re just going to move on.
Anyway, I figured what better way to confirm my laziness than to get something that tracks exactly how much I don’t move?
Wearables seem to be the Hot New Thing™ even though they’re not all that new. Wearable technology has actually been around since the 17th century, where the Chinese used abacus rings to perform calculations in their own chic versions of the calculator – talk about fashion meets function!
If you want to get a little more high tech, calculator watches were invented in the ’70s under the Pulsar brand. In the 21st century, we finally figured out that wearable technology could probably do something cooler than add numbers together, even though that’s pretty chill, I guess. Fitbit, one of the biggest names in wearable tech today, was founded in 2007, launching its first product in 2009 after a series of manufacturing hiccups that almost caused the company to go belly-up nearly seven times.
Forbes actually coined 2014 “The Year Of the Wearable,” and although I might be three years late, it’s the effort that counts. I wasn’t really looking for anything fancy – Google Glass scares me and is also way too extra for even my dramatic ass, and although everybody seems to have the aforementioned Fitbit, something about wearing something with the word “Fit” in its name seemed a tad bit insincere for someone who literally gags at the thought of stepping on a treadmill. Ok, #honestyhour – I didn’t care at all about the insincerity. I just wanted something with a little more ~pizazz~ than the Fitbit. 💁🏻
Luckily, one of the bigger trends in wearable tech today has been merging function and fashion. A company called Ringly has a chargeable smart ring, as well as a smart bracelet that both come in a multitude of different colors and can track activity – they can even tell you if you have a phone notification via customized vibrations.
Aside from tech brands, fashion brands themselves have even hopped on the bandwagon – Kate Spade sells bracelets that “track your steps, sleep and other habits, set personal goals, count down to lifes merriest moments (big and small!) and get inspired every single day. your tracker alerts you with light notifications, controls music, takes selfies and never needs charging.” Granted, these two are a little bit on the pricier side, with Ringly’s rings and bracelets coming in at around $195 and $245 respectively and the Kate Spade bracelet costing $128. Das expensive. Also, I actually have Ringly ring, but it didn’t turn out too well.
But that’s another story.
I was actually ~inspired~ about wearable technology by my mom who has apparently gotten very trendy since I’ve been away gallivanting around Europe. She has an Amazfit Equator, which has a really cool, minimalist design. It comes in both black and white (she has the black) and tracks activity, as well as has silent vibrating alerts for incoming calls. Although this option is pretty and more cost efficient (the black version is currently being sold for $52.74 on Amazon), the vibrating alerts are only for incoming calls, not other kinds of notifications, and I want to feel like a spy.
Enter the Misfit Shine 2. Listed at $99.99 on the Misfit website (although I got mine on Amazon for $79.90), this option is around the same pricepoint as the still-very-cool Amazfit plus it’s still pretty and it has a few more bells and whistles that definitely make me feel very spy-like. Honestly, I would have preferred the design of the Amazfit, but it’s the notifications thing that really gets to me.
I got the rose-gold version like the basic (half)-white girl I am around a week ago, and I’ve been wearing it 24/7. It tracks my sleep (spoiler alert: I’m not that great at sleeping apparently…) as well as tells me how many steps I take, which… isn’t that many. Let’s just say that if you walked a day in my shoes you’d feel very relaxed.
Design-wise, it looks like a watch that might be too minimalist just because it, you know, doesn’t have any numbers or hands. The disk itself is slightly larger than a quarter and a 2 euro coin (sorry had to throw that one in there).
The box comes with a black rubbery band called the “sport band,” a clasp, and a “battery door tool” to change the battery because the Misfit Shine 2 is battery-operated – NOT rechargeable. It also comes with a little instruction booklet, but LBR, I 100% did not read it. I’m a millennial.
The little coin thing can be worn multiple ways – it can actually be popped out and clipped to your clothing via the clasp, or you can choose to buy a necklace from the company to put it in as well, or if you’re really into the idea of wearing it on your wrist, there’s a variety of different bands on Amazon you can purchase if you get bored of the sports band. I like the idea of being able to change it up with this little gizmo, even though I honestly probably never will.
Ok, remember how I said it’s like a too-minimalist watch? Well… it actually does function as a watch. It has 12 tiny multi-colored LED lights that flash when you double tap on the device – the “solid” green light represents the hour hand, and the flashing blue light represents the minute hand (i.e. in the .gif above the time reads 2:45). It syncs with your phone via Bluetooth and reports whatever time it says on your phone, so you never have to adjust it, and while you can’t get the time down to the minute and second, it gives you a nice general idea of what time it is. Besides, isn’t time just relative anyway?
After it shows the time, it also shows you your progress via little red LED lights. Your progress is based on a goal that you can set on the Misfit App itself, which is free (huzzah), and is pretty basic.
Obviously I haven’t been making much progress because only the first dot out of 12 in the .gif lights up red… #yikes.
…luckily, the Misfit website gives an example of what
better progress looks like.
Setting up is also pretty easy (if you’re really tech-adverse Misfit provides a nice set-up instructional video). Basically, you download the app first, make sure Bluetooth switched on on your phone, and sign up for a Misfit account. It asks you some basic info – your gender, height, and *gasp* weight, and it lets you set your daily points goal (more on that in a bit). I just left it on the goal it had by default, which I’m a bit ashamed to say may have been a little too optimistic for me, but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take… right?
Here’s a rundown of the tabs and sections in the App itself…
The “Home” tab shows your your activity and sleep – it shows you how many miles you’ve gone, how many calories you’ve burned, and how many steps you’ve taken. The main “Activity” dial awards you “points” based on the amount of activity you’ve done – one cool thing about this is that it tells you how to hit your goal i.e. for my 1000 point goal I can either walk for 1.5 hours, run for 30 minutes, or swim for 45 minutes, and throughout the day continuously updates these times to reflect how much activity you have to do left in order to achieve the goal. I don’t particularly want to do any of those things, but it’s cool to have it anyway. The second “Sleep” dial tells you how many minutes you were awake, the minutes of light sleep, and the minutes of restful sleep.
There’s also a little chart icon you can click on in the upper right-hand corner that shows you a pretty nifty graph of your sleep. As a person who likes graphs, I am amused by this. In the upper left-hand corner, there’s a little calendar icon, which flips the data from Today to This Week to This Month, also complete with more charts. I feel about charts the same way Oprah feels about bread.
The second tab is the “Social” tab, which I don’t use because I have the judgement of myself and God already, which is two more people than I would normally like judging me.
The third tab is an orange “+” that lets you track a bunch of things that I don’t do. For example, you can track different kinds of activities like tennis and cycling that I assume gives you a more accurate point-measure, add sleep in case you forgot to wear the device that night, add a weight, take your picture, and track your heart rate via pulse detection.
The fourth tab is the “Devices” tab, which shows you how many devices are synced with the app and how long ago the last sync was. This also shows you how much battery you have left (unlike many wearables today, the Misfit Shine 2 isn’t rechargeable, but instead has a replaceable battery that lasts around 6 months), as well as all the different wearing positions you can put your little disk thing at. There’s an “Alerts & Notifications” section where you can program your device to alert you via vibration when it’s time to move again (mine is set at 2 hours because that’s the longest option) during a certain time period (mine starts at 12:00PM and ends at 6:00PM) so it doesn’t alert you during times when you’re not supposed to be moving, like during sleep.
In this tab, you can also set an alarm, which is cool for people who are chronic snooze-hitters, which surprisingly, isn’t me! Because I don’t tend to hit the snooze button, I don’t have this option switched on, but essentially the device vibrates at the time of the set alarm to try and get you out of bed.
My favorite part of this section is the part where you can manage your notifications – the two given by default are Call (green) and Texts (blue), but you can add other ones and customize their colors. I added WhatsApp and made it pink and Facebook Messenger and made it purple, just for the hell of it. There are also four vibration sequences to choose from.
Further down the page on this tab you can choose to enable activity tagging (not sure what this means TBH) and choose your favorite activity. Since I don’t have a favorite activity, I left mine on running, because although I don’t necessarily run in the literal physical sense, I do tend to run from my responsibilities. I guess I’m not technically lying here. #loopholes
The “Misfit | Link” section is where you can apparently link your device with another free Misfit app called the Link App that allows you to do things such as control your music and take a selfie by tapping the device. Unfortunately, for me this didn’t seem to work…
For some reason, the Link App wouldn’t recognize my device and kept popping up telling me that only Flash (another device sold by Misfit) can correct directly from the Link app and to go back to the Misfit app to use the Link app, but going to the Misfit app just re-opens the Link app, so it’s some vicious circle that I can’t seem to figure out yet.
Right under that, the “General Settings” section lets you customize your, well… general settings. You can enable your clock and choose whether you want your progress or the clock displayed first. I personally chose to have the clock displayed first because I tend to look away when it tells me my progress.
Finally, the “Me” tab just sets up your social profile. As already mentioned… I didn’t set mine up. Oops.
OK, that was very long-winded, but here are my pros, cons, and ???, which is a third category with things I’m not sure I like or dislike since I’ve only been wearing this for a week (disclaimer: I am not a tech/fitness professional, sooo take these with a grain of salt)
- I feel like a spy → enough said.
- Stylish/versatile → I like the minimalist design of the Misfit 2 and the fact that you can switch up the way you wear it, as well as purchase other bands/necklaces to change up the way it looks if you get bored.
- Slim → I like that this isn’t bulky because again… fashion.
- Waterproof → I haven’t testing this out or anything, but one of the “Key Features” on the Mistfit website is that the Shine 2 is swimproof, which is handy for me (a person who doesn’t swim) in cases where I might forget to remove it before I shower because it’s nice to know that it won’t short out and like fry me or something.
- Customizable notifications need more customization → it’s cool that you can add notifications, but the amount of apps to choose from is limited (i.e. you can’t add FaceTime or Snapchat), you can’t change the colors of the Call and Texts notifications, and you can’t customize the colors for a certain person (but maybe I’m just asking for too much).
- Awkward fit → this is probably just my own personal problem, but there’s kind of an awkward fit on the band for me. The second tightest hole (that’s what she said) makes the bracelet a little too tight on my wrist, while the third one feels a little too loose.
- Coin too large → again, this is another personal problem, but I almost wish the disk itself were a little bit smaller diameter-wise. I guess I just prefer things that are more dainty-looking.
- Despite the claims, it doesn’t pair with the Link app → so in all honestly I might just be an idiot and am doing it all wrong, but I can’t find any videos or FAQ online that helps me with this. This isn’t really a deal-breaker for me, but it would be cool if I could control my music like I was promised and freak people out by pretending there’s a ghost in the room or something 😦 *sad violin music*
- Battery → not sure if this is a pro or con yet; although it’s nice to not have to worry about it dying on you because you forgot to charge it at night (also because it tracks your sleep so when would you even have time to charge it in the first place?), I’m not sure if the replacing the battery aspect will be annoying. Granted, it says the battery should last for six months, and the replacement is only around $5.99, so it shouldn’t be too bad.
Overall… will this change my life? God, no. Since I’m a highly competitive person and live for self-gratification, this will probably motivate me to move just a tad bit more, but I’m not about to buy a subscription to the closest gym. Basically, I feel very badass and can leave my phone in my purse or face-down on a table without the constant need to check it because now I can feel whether or not people are ignoring me.
*Disclaimer: I purchased all above product(s) with my own money and am not affiliated with or compensated by any of the brands mentioned (I wish!). As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own (unless stated otherwise)!