By Daniel Rubino
December 15, 2014
For the 12 Days of Hidden Gems, we are starting with the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) category, focusing first on fitness. One of our first Hidden Gems is Misfit's Shine activity tracker. Misfit makes one of the more fashionable trackers around these days, and it is worth a look for those who do not care for the traditional black bands found at Best Buy or Amazon.
Misfit is competing against much bigger companies like Jawbone, Fitbit, and even Microsoft. However, this company is also supporting Windows Phone and Windows 8.1, with the latter receiving an official app just last week.
So, how does Misfit Shine stack up? We are going to take a quick look at what you get and why the Shine is an attractive option.
The Misfit Shine is arguably one of the most accessible fitness trackers around. For around $74, you can pick one up on http://Amazon.com. Best Buy still has it at the regular $99 price, although you can at least walk in and check it out in person, as the retail chain as an excellent display set up for the device. The Misfit Shine and other fitness trackers are also available at the Microsoft Store.
Price here is important because many people may want a fitness/sleep tracker, but are not sure about how much usage they will get out of it. As a result, dropping a few hundred dollars for more advanced units is not a viable option.
The Misfit Shine, especially when purchased in one of the nine color choices, including black, storm, sea glass, and Coca-Cola Red, stands out as some kind of a futuristic wristwatch. Fact is, not everyone wants to look like a pro-athlete, especially when wearing business wear.
Moreover, since the Shine is modular, the pendant part can be worn as a necklace. In fact, there is a beautiful assortment of third party holders for the Shine ( see this one, letting you count steps without looking out of place.
My only qualm? Much like the Fitbit One, you have to make sure you do not misplace or drop the Shine.
Waterproof and long-lasting battery
As mentioned in my earlier hands-on with the Misfit Shine, the tracker has excellent battery life, and it is waterproof up to 50 meters. The Shine can achieve this because it uses a watch battery, which lasts up to six months, and it is sealed like a watch too. This lack of charging requirement is a much better option for those who loathe re-powering accessories every few days. A battery for the Shine runs for a $1.50, and considering you only need to get one every six months or so, it is efficient on your wallet too.
Windows and Windows Phone support
We like companies that embrace Microsoft's one OS vision and Misfit is there with two apps to allow you to synchronize anywhere, anytime.
Having said that, Microsoft is also responsible for the current Bluetooth APIs that developers use for Windows Phone and Windows, and at this time, both APIs are a bit more limited than on iOS and Android. These limitations for developers will improve with Windows 10, but for now, any background syncing issues speaks more to those APIs than the apps themselves. The reason I bring this up is because Misfit's apps, much like Fitibit's, synchronize with very little problems on Windows and Windows Phone, but things do not do so well in the background.
Misfit's apps have great looking design, often embracing the clean, minimalist look that many users find endearing about Microsoft's platform.
In using the Misfit Shine, I felt more like I was wearing a low-profile, stylish watch, rather than a tracker. Sure, checking the time on it (double tap) and deciphering the LED dots took a bit of time to get used to, but it was a fun challenge too. Accuracy of the step counter was more conservative than a Fitbit, but well within the range of expectations. The ability to mix the Shine with other accessories was a nice bonus as well.
The apps are decent enough to get the job done, but some more work on Microsoft's end to help developers with the Bluetooth 4.0 APIs for more consistent syncing wouldn't hurt. The Windows 8.1 app is fairing a little better in terms of reviews, and indeed the design of that version of the app is excellent.
Activity trackers and connected devices are the future, but we are still in the initial phases of this new technology. Watching it evolve over the next few years is going to be very exciting to observe, and Misfit's Shine is a viable option.
Win a Misfit Shine fitness tracker in the 1st Day of Hidden Gems!
The 12 Days of Hidden Gems have officially begun, and we're starting things off in the emerging world of wearable fitness trackers, spending the first few days looking at fitness accessories that work great with Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone.
The first Hidden Gem to be discovered is the Misfit Shine fitness tracker and in Hidden Gems fashion, we're giving all of you the chance to win a FREE Misfit Shine in our 12 Days of Hidden Gems Sweepstakes!! In fact, we're giving away ten!
Enter to Win one of ten Misfit Shines
There are two ways to enter the sweepstakes, and both need to be completed using the widget to the right/above. Full terms and conditions can be found here.
First chance to win: If you're not already logged in, do so and leave a quality comment on this very article, and then hit the widget to verify your entry. We'd like to know how you would put the Misfit Shine to work in your daily life, so let us know in the comments there.
Second chance to win: Use the widget to tweet out the phrase of the day. Today's tweet should look like this:
Remember to use the widget to send the tweet, otherwise you haven't entered.
Once you've entered by leaving a comment or tweeting (or both!), you can refer your friends and earn up to ten additional entries when they enter. That's a total of 12 entries into the sweepstakes! The sweepstakes runs through the end of the year, and the winners will be announced in January. Good luck everyone!
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