Misfit Wearables Review 2020
Misfit is an American company that started making wearables for fitness in 2011. Its founders Sonny Vu, Sridhar Iyengar, and John Sculley sold their company to the Fossil Group in 2015 after experiencing rapid growth.
The first product Misfit produced was the Shine fitness watch. Its design was innovative. The Shine was one of the first fitness watches to use an LED system rather than conventional numerical readouts on the face. Misfit funded the production of the Shine through Indiegogo.
After the success of the Shine, Misfit introduced the Flash water-resistant fitness tracker watch. It had the distinctive form-fitting design introduced by the Shine.
Since 2015, Misfit has gone on to make more conventional fitness trackers and smartwatches. Many of their smartwatches look like traditional wristwatches. In this buying guide, we break down the five wearables that Misfit offers on its website.
This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:
Most of the same features as the Vapor 2
Silicone strap or stainless steel band
8 different color schemes
Easy to use and learn
Still fully supported by Misfit, and the price is lower than the 2
Best 5 Misfit Wearables
1. Misfit Vapor 2
Google Pay, music player, GPS, and more, all from the watch
Leather-look, feel for waterproof polymer strap
Two different face sizes
The case is thin and unobtrusive, but tough
Has its own accelerometer, microphone (for Google Assistant), gyroscope, and altimeter
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth ready
The watch will pair with an iPhone- may be difficult to learn for those new to Android devices
This is a smartwatch, one that offers almost endless extras. Currently, Misfits only offers one fitness tracker, the Ray, on their site. We'll review the Ray later in this buying guide.Read more
Meanwhile, the Vapor 2 offers serious upgrades to its predecessor, the Vapor. The improvements reflect in the price, but Misfit offers discounts periodically. The biggest improvement over the Vapor is the more accurate heart rate monitoring.
The Vapor 2 also has its own GPS, so you don't need to pair it with the GPS on your phone. The onboard GPS will track your walk or run, as well as displaying your route maps, distance, calories, and other data. This watch offers a convenient way to track your aggregate miles over time, as well as making sure you are on target for your personal goals. If you stop for a cold drink or protein-rich bean burrito (our favorite post-workout refill), you can pay with Google Pay, right through the watch, after connecting your bank account or debit card.
The watch comes in two face sizes, a 41mm, and a 46mm. The larger option is easier to read and has a more solid feel without being bulky or heavy. Since this is a watch, not a tracker, you do get a typical round watch face. There are two sizes of the case, going along with the face sizes, but all cases have a Thinline design so that the watch is out of your way when you are not wearing it.
The optional sport strap is another innovative extra perk. It looks like leather, and texturing even gives it a leather feel. But the sport strap is actually of plastic fiber polymers, meaning it does not sweat and is impervious to weather. If you prefer a more traditional look, Misfit still offers the base stainless steel model.
Other great features include phone notifications, a music player (no phone or tablet needed), shallow water resistance for swimmers, and a battery that goes a full day on one charge. Although it uses Wear, a Google operating system, the Vapor 2 is compatible with your iPhone as well as the Android. The heart rate sensor pairs with Google Fit for accurate real-time data. The phone charges quickly through a USB port, and even the face can be customized when you purchase the watch new.
2. Misfit Vapor
Most of the same features as the Vapor 2
Silicone strap or stainless steel band
8 different color schemes
Easy to use and learn
Still fully supported by Misfit, and the price is lower than the 2
Needs third party apps for sleep tracking modes
This older, but less advanced, sibling of the Vapor 2 still packs enough features to blow many more expensive smartwatches out of the water.Read more
The watch comes in 8 different color schemes. They all feature a silicone strap band with a stainless buckle, except for the rose and stainless silver colors. Those both have stainless steel bands that match the color of the trim around the watch face. The watch may look like a typical higher-end digital watch, but it features a responsive touch screen with a menu that is chock full but simple to navigate. There is a heart rate sensor, but it does not interface with Google Fit, so the data is not as thorough. To get the sensor to work, too, the band has to be ultra snug. This potential discomfort may have been an impetus behind the redesigned Vapor 2, as many users prefer a looser fit.
You still get the independent GPS, an onboard music player with wireless headphone capability, and water resistance up to 50 meters, making the Vapor a great choice for swimmers. The Vapor offers the standard phone, email, and app alerts so you can delete or save for later without having to open your phone.
The Vapor, like the Vapor 2, uses the Google Wear OS, and has the same Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor from Qualcomm, with 4 GB of data before storage maxes out. The charger is magnetic, a cradle shaped unit for the phone to rest in while quick charging. The Vapor has a gyroscope, altimeter, and accelerometer, as well as a mic for Google Assistant compatibility. Right now, Misfit shows no signs of discontinuing the Vapor, instead, keeping it on as a lower-priced alternative to the Vapor 2, with a slightly deprecated heart monitor.
3. Misfit Ray
Simple and intuitive interface
Works automatically while blending in with clothes
Looks like jewelry-easy to hide with clothing/accessories
Battery lasts four months, and replacements are available on Misfit site
No numerical readout; limited band options
This is the only fitness tracker that Misfit currently offers on its website. While it lacks many of the smartwatch features, the Ray is more compact, has simpler controls, and is designed to look as much like a bracelet as it does an activity tracker.Read more
The Misfit site, at the time of this writing, is a bit confusing about this. The main menu has the Ray and then a "show all" option under fitness trackers. Clicking show all takes you to a page with all four strap options, but for the same tracker. Those options are:
Rose readout, with a black sporty band
Rose readout, grey leather band (the pricier option)
Carbon black with a black sporty band (a solid black bracelet)
Carbon black, black leather band (also solid black).
When we looked, both carbon block options were sold out on the Misfit website.
The Ray does not need charging. Instead, like an older digital watch, the battery has to be replaced about every four months. Misfit offers batteries for all its non-chargeable wearables, as accessories on the website. This is a pretty neat feature since shopping for the right battery at a retail store can be a bit of a chore.
Though there is no advanced data analytics, the Ray will give you your burned calories, daily steps, walk/run distance (aggregate), and your sleep patterns. The sleep information includes your times of restful and less restful repose. You get vibrations, not readouts, for connected smartphone alerts. The watch can also remind you to get up and get moving, according to daily target settings that you dial in.
The simplicity and lack of advanced tech also mean the Ray is swim-proof. You'll never have to worry about going in the pool or taking a shower with this tracker on. Progress shows via an LED display that updates as you advance toward your goals. The band is made of reflective material, meaning you will be visible and safe even during after-dark walks or runs.
4. Misfit Command
Uses less energy than standard Bluetooth devices
Battery can last as long as half a year
Stainless steel construction, with a brushed aluminum face protected by shatterproof glass
Includes stainless steel case is tough, also matches look and feel of watch
Bulkier than many customers will want
No heart rate monitoring
This no-nonsense, lower-priced alternative to both the Vapor and Vapor 2 has all the trappings of an elegant analog watch while packing enough technology to keep you motivated and working towards your goals.Read more
You can also customize the Command, as you can with most other Misfit offerings. It is just one more way the company distinguishes itself with its fun, quirky, individualistic attitude. Even without visiting the customization page, you can get several iterations of color schemes and band styles, including ordering the watch with two or more different extra bands to make switching up easy.
The watch face is stainless steel, protected by not-quite-clear high impact glass that will always let you read the numbers but does not catch glare from the sun. While you wear, the watch crunches and displays steps and time spent moving. You also get a basic sleep monitor. The aesthetic here is minimal, with an installed battery that can last up to six months. Vibrations tell you when you have a call or text, and smart alarms make it less stressful to get up in the mornings.
There is a mode that will let you set individual goals, and the watch will follow up by gently holding you accountable, sending reminders when you are spending less time moving than you said you would. It is unobtrusive, but also helpful for those of us whose motivation wanes.
The watch interacts with both iPhones and Android devices. It is Bluetooth ready and does use what's called Bluetooth 4.1 low energy. This is a technology, developed by Bluetooth itself, which uses less energy than a typical Bluetooth system while also providing an appropriate range for mobile and/or smart devices.
5. Misfit Path
Remotely operate your music, camera
Includes goal-setting aids
Compatible with most Android devices, and iPhone 5 and up
Watch face is almost too minimalist
The Path is very similar to the Command but has a polyurethane band and compatibility with Android 4.4+ and iPhone 5+, a greater range than the Command which is compatible with more recent iPhone releases only.Read more
Other highlights include phone alerts, a six-month battery, and buttons you can assign custom functions to. You can't play music on the watch, but you can use it as a remote control for your music player or camera. You are able to set and follow up with your own goals. The band and case are slimline, and the watch is water-resistant up to 5 ATM (can be submerged up to 40 feet without letting water in).
The face of the watch is the simplest one we saw. It is two hands, big and little, with uniformly sized dots for the hours of the day. The look will be a favorite for some users, but others may wish for a more convenient time reading experience. The construction is stainless steel, but with a sport style band and stainless steel buckle to match the face and trim color.
Although the size of a traditional wristwatch, the Path weighs just 7.2 ounces. The watch does not have GPS or heart rate monitoring. This is an ideal purchase for someone who wants the official look and feel of a classic wristwatch, with some smart features and dependable activity tracking.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The difference between a feature and an advanced feature is an important one.
A feature is a quality that all fitness watched have, or should have. An adjustable band is one example, though there are decent watches with bands that work by stretching. The stretchy band is a feature. An advanced feature, in that case, would be a stretch style band that also comes in two different sizes. The rubber and polymers that give the band its stretch could be too small for thicker wrists, or too big for someone who weighs less than the average weight for their frame.
It wasn't always standard for a fitness watch to feature music. We think it's safe to say, by now, that using a high-end watch as a remote for your music streaming device is a feature. It isn't one that all these watches have, but it is common enough that we would not call it an advanced feature. A watch with advanced features, then, would be one that can stream music on its own, without needing to connect to a secondary streaming device.
The band of a watch is not just a matter of personal preference.
Personal preference and personal style are important factors. People want to look and feel their best, and they want a watch that will mesh with their wardrobe and lifestyle. Even the climate someone lives in can make a difference; if you are in an arid, rainy area, a stainless steel band may not be the best choice.
Putting personal preference aside, though, the functionality of a band also matters. Some closure systems lend themselves to heavy activity more so than others. A silicone band may cause discomfort to one person while being perfect for someone else. A solid leather band will sweat, and so very few fitness watches include this kind of band. We have provided enough information about each band, including our ratings, for you to make an educated decision after following up with your own independent research
If the battery is weak or takes too long to charge, your progress can be affected.
A unit that constantly needs charging, or that goes through disposable batteries too quickly, can prevent you from getting the consistent metrics that are the whole point of wearing a fitness watch. It's not unacceptable to have to charge, but too much downtime is a demotivator. You may find yourself canceling scheduled workouts because you had planned on using the watch for GPS mapping or goal monitoring. We have confidence in Misfit watch batteries to do what the company says they will. We are also impressed with how Misfit includes replacement batteries as accessories on the website. It makes replacement quick and easy, and you can also be proactive by ordering a reserve battery for immediate replacement once the original battery wears out.
How big a watch you want will depend largely on your sport.
For example, if you lift weights, you will not want something that can restrict your range of motion or possible get caught on a weight cable. Wearing a large smartwatch would be no better than wearing a dress watch, and we can't recall the last time we saw a powerlifter doing squats with a Bulova or something similar on their wrist.
A thin tracker, then, is a better choice for a weightlifter. Also, if you do a sport where you have to jump up and down a lot, you will not want a watch with a large squarish face. You want something accurate enough to give you data, but small enough not to cause discomfort or bang your wrist over and over again.
Since the desired size of a watch varies from user to user, we think Misfit is a great company for providing a variety of size options in a stripped-down product line offering. You won't get overwhelmed by too many choices when you shop for a Misfit device.
The face style and construction you want will depend on how you plan to use the wearable.
It also depends on your lifestyle, including your employment setting. If you work in an office, with a business casual dress code, you may want a traditional-looking watch that matches your typical workwear. If you work outside, a thin line activity tracker may be better. The slim watch will not cause excess sweat, and the screen is small enough to avoid being damaged in the elements.
In addition to the size of the face, we also looked at construction and protection. A glare-free glass covering will protect the watch from damage. In many models, the covering can protect from moisture. We are also aware that some readers prefer an analog display, even though the digital display is easier to read for athletes doing fast-paced workouts. To each their own, we say, but we did make sure that the watch faces we looked at are durable and never difficult to read.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When we think of fitness watches, the idea of a serious athlete often comes to mind. This is someone who constantly analyzes data, including sleep data, to make sure their body is in peak efficiency for their sport. This includes non-athletes who treat their time in the gym as sacred. A decade or more ago, these are the same gymgoers who could be seen writing down each set and each heart rate measurement in a notebook.
But athletes who need to perform on that level are a rare group. Much more commonly, people who buy fitness watches want to get some motivation for improving their overall fitness level. Today, hypertension or high blood pressure affects over 100 million Americans. It is the result of heredity, bad eating habits, and a sedentary job or lifestyle. Fitness trackers, ideally, can help people with hypertension overcome that last risk factor.
That's because it can track steps, easily and quietly. Getting enough steps in has a clear association with better heart health, including blood pressure regulation along with a healthy diet and, sometimes, medication. So while a fitness tracker can't make all the positive changes easier to make, it can give you a little reward every day when you see that you met your step goals again.
Before you invest in a fitness tracker or smartwatch--smartwatches tend to be more expensive--it is wise to spend time thinking about why you want a fitness tracker and what you want to get out of the experience. Are you looking to intensify your already high level of fitness? Do you want to walk more and burn more calories? Do you just want slow, long term weight loss, or to have more energy after your workday ends?
Knowing these answers will go a long way towards making a purchase decision, and can also help you stay away from products and features you definitely don't need. This shouldn't be a chore, either. Planning your comparison shopping can be fun. Read multiple reviews, talk to experts and friends, and consider making a goals board or vision board. This is a place where you can gather facts about products, or just give yourself some visual motivation you can look back on. Sites like Pinterest make this kind of project easy. Many people plan large purchases or events using photo-sharing sites. There is no reason why you cannot do the same with your potential fitness tracker or smartwatch purchase.
Other Factors to Consider
Connectivity, like the ability to control music streaming devices, is by now a standard feature for smartwatches. It includes pairing the watch with a phone (for calls and alerts), a mobile app, or assorted wireless devices. Bluetooth is the standard wireless platform for all of these tasks. We were taken with Misfit's use of Bluetooth 4.1 low energy, which speeds up performance and uses less energy while still providing the range of standard Bluetooth.
Ease of Use
Perhaps more than many other fitness items, a difficult fitness watch will not get much use. It can be hard, for any of us, to maintain workout motivation in the first place. After you have been exercising regularly for a while, you will have occasional days where you know you need to work out, but you just cannot make yourself do it. On a day like that, having a watch you can't operate efficiently can suck away the last of your determination. We think it is better to avoid that point in the first place by having a tool you feel confident using.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What is the Google Wear OS?
Wear OS is a lightweight version of Google's own Android operating system. Wear OS is specifically designed for use in wearables. Wearables have less memory and processing capability than mobile phones, so Wear bridges the gap by allowing watches and trackers to run Google Assistant. Without Wear OS, your smartwatch would not be able to receive notifications from your phone.
q: How is a fitness tracker different from a smart watch?
A fitness tracker will have a much smaller screen, and usually a thinner band, giving it a more bracelet like appearance. The tracker will have all or most of the basic features of a fitness wearable--calorie and step counting, distance monitoring, and sometimes sleep monitoring. A tracker may pair with a phone for GPS information, but it doesn't always. The fitness tracker benefits users by providing the metrics they need, for increased levels of fitness, at a lower price point than a smartwatch.
Smartwatches will be bigger than fitness trackers and will have applications as communication devices as well as specialized instruments like an accelerometer, gyroscope, or altimeter. Smartwatches are also more expensive. they serve as a middle ground between fitness trackers and mobile phones.
q: How does a smart alarm work?
A smart alarm uses sleep data provided by your smartwatch to wake you up at the optimal time. Instead of setting an alarm for 7 AM, for example, a smart alarm will wake you sometime between 6:45 and 7:15. The watch uses an algorithm to determine when you will be in your lightest dream cycle of sleep. It will wake you during that time to make getting out of bed easier and so that the alarm will feel less intrusive.
q: Will the sleep monitor feature help me sleep
No, the monitor is passive and collects data. It does not change any of the conditions that lead to enhanced sleep. What the monitor can do, if you stick with using it, is teach you when your optimal times are for going to bed. With the data, you can predict how long it will take you to go into a restful sleep, and make sure you allow yourself enough time for that to happen before you have to get up in the morning.
q: Are those ATM measurements reliable?
For those who don't know, ATM is a measure of how deep a watch can go and still resist intrusion from water. ATM means atmosphere, so it is a measure of water pressure, not depth. A 5 ATM watch will be water-resistant up to the water pressure encountered at 50 meters or 165 feet. Most smartwatches are swim-proof, meaning they will have a 5 to 10 ATM rating. Smartwatches are not designed for scuba diving, which would be an ATM of greater than 20.
As far as reliability, it is important to remember that there are many factors affecting water pressure. Having a wave splash over your watch, for example, could subject it to a greater pressure than the manufacturer meant for it. While a smartwatch that calls itself swimproof can reliably keep out water in the pool, you should still exercise caution and even take the watch off if you are not sure it can stay moisture-free.
- More than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, AHA says, American Heart Association ,
- Wear OS By Google, Google Informational Site ,
- Water Resistance, Professional Jeweler Site ,
- Misfit CEO Sonny Vu on Vietnam's modern-day success story, CNet ,