There are some big names in the fitness/activity tracker market, but you really need to know about Misfit. The company’s approach to design is spot-on for both apps and hardware, and unlike other players, they’re more focused on helping you achieve your health goals than on locking you into their platform. Misfit sent me one of their recently-launched Shine Ekocycle activity tracker kits for review, and after spending a few weeks with it, I have to say I’m solidly impressed.
I got into the fitness tracking thing pretty late, as I wasn’t happy with some of the terms of service out there. It’s my fitness data to use as I want, and any company that locks me into using their platform only seems sketchy. Misfit’s focus is device-agnostic, and their sensors (Shine and Flash) are pretty specialized in activity & sleep tracking. They’d like you to use a Misfit tracker, obviously, but their app is free to use on both iPhone and Apple Watch and lets you export your data to Apple’s health repository. However, after using the app and the Misfit Shine together, I have to say it’s an extremely compelling experience.
First of all, what’s in the box? The Ekocycle variant of the Shine is a special matte black and comes with a dedicated Ekocyle-branded band (other versions require you to buy a band separately). The Ekocycle’s made of a black polyester that contains post-consumer recycled material. You’re wearing used soda bottles, basically, and keeping them out of a landfill, which does both your body and the planet some good. The Shine takes a watch battery that’s rated for six months of use, and it’s got an extremely rugged design so you likely won’t need to replace it anytime soon. The Shine’s waterproof up to 50 meters and syncs to your iPhone via Bluetooth. However, it’s not tethered to the phone, so you can go for a run with just the Shine and it syncs automatically when you get back.
If you don’t want to wear the Shine on your wrist, use the included magnetized rubber clasp or just throw your Shine into a pocket/bag. I didn’t find a major difference in the accuracy between wearing my Shine on my wrist vs. in a pocket vs. clipped to my shirt collar. I also compared the Shine’s step count against my calibrated Apple Watch and iPhone and never noted more than 100 steps worth of variation, which is acceptable accuracy for a casual fitness tracker. One note of caution—the magnetic clasp is…well…kinda promiscuous. I had to retrieve my Shine from car doors, gym equipment, and other metal surfaces that I’d brushed against when I clasped the Shine to my shirt hem or a pants pocket.
What’s Your Story?
Misfit’s apps have become one of my favorite fitness accessories. The iPhone app displays your daily goal progress and writes a daily story of your activity, fitness accomplishments, and sleep. You can snap photos of food, add your weight, and add activities manually (the dance graphic makes me smile every time) to your daily story as a way to journal your fitness.
This all goes towards a daily Points goal that combines your activity, calories burned, and distance. You can also view your progress towards your daily goal by double-tapping the face of your Shine. A set of 12 LEDs around the face light up to show you progress towards your goal, after which the four cardinal LEDs light up and the Shine displays the current time.
Fitness trackers are quickly becoming a de rigueur fashion accessory, but Misfit’s focus on great design goes deeper than just how good the gear looks (the matte black metal of the Ekocycle Shine tracker is gorgeous). The app’s journal style of tracking and the sensor’s ecologically conscious origin make this a great choice whether you need inspiration to get fit or just want to know more about how effective your workout regimen is. I’ll be continuing to use the Misfit even now that my review period is over…which I guess makes me a misfit!
Buy the Misfit Shine Ekocycle
Provides: Activity tracking
Minimum Requirements: iPhone or Android phone