How the Misfit Shine Fitness Tracker Compares to Fitbit

CIO.com blogger James A. Martin, a loyal Fitbit user, tested the Misfit Shine activity tracker for several weeks and found some unique features — and some notable faults.

I’m a loyal Fitbit user, and despite the recent Force recall, I still wear the activity tracking wristband all the time. Fitbit’s not perfect, though, and I’m always looking for a newer/better option.

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In that spirit, I’ve been testing the Misfit Shine for several weeks. The wearable activity tracker, which works with free Android and iOS apps, isn’t quite like any of its competitors. Here are some things that set it apart:

  • Unlike Fitbit and some other activity trackers, Misfit Shine tracks cycling and swimming in addition to sleep and walking/running.
  • Misfit Shine uses a nickel-sized battery that you replace occasionally instead of recharging. (Some Fitbit models, such as the Zip, also have replaceable batteries.) The battery reportedly lasts for about four months, though I’ve not used the device long enough to vouch for that.
  • The Shine is round and can be inserted into the included sport band, an optional leather band ($50 for the Pebbled Leather Band), a Misfit shirt sleeve or even Misfit socks, all of which can be purchased from the online Misfit store. You can also attach the device (using the included magnetic clip) to a shirt collar or pocket, or you can wear it around your neck. Misfit offers lots of ways to wear your activity tracker.

In my tests, Misfit Shine tracked my activities and calories about as accurately as can be expected. (Fitbit and its ilk aren’t known for their precision). The app is easy to use, but the Shine way of doing things may take a little getting used to. Unlike Fitbit, with Misfit Shine you strive to earn points every day, which are accumulated based on activities. For example, 1,000 points equals about 1.5 hours of walking or 45 minutes of swimming.

So what’s not to love? For starters, I dislike the lack of a display. The Misfit Shine's face lights up to convey information. For example: To see your progress toward your daily goal, you double-tap the device’s face with one or two fingers. The number of small lights that illuminate on the Shine’s face represent progress toward your goal. If one-quarter of the face lights up, you’re about 25 percent toward meeting your goal. You’ll probably get used to it, but I still wish Shine had a display. Also, the lack of a screen may cause you to whip out your mobile device more frequently to check your stats — which can slow down your exercise.

Battery installation was a challenge. You have to pry open the device by wedging a small, supplied tool into a notch, and you must insert the battery just right. It’s a good thing you only have to do this every four months or so.

My biggest concern is the Shine’s propensity to pop out of the supplied sport band. On more than one occasion, the device’s magnetic pull caused it to attach itself to my keys. In other scenarios, the Shine simply slipped out of the sport band. Luckily, it never fell out of my pocket, but I could see that happening. (Then again, lots of people I know have lost their Fitbit Ones.)

For people who want a lot of flexibility in how they wear their fitness devices and want to track swimming and cycling, Shine is the way to go. Overall, its attractions aren’t enough to lure me away from my Fitbit. 

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