Over the past 12 months, the chatter about wearables (glasses, watches, bands, clothing, material) has become too loud to ignore. It almost seems like manufacturers will force consumers to like wearables, like it or not.
There are good uses for wearables, and one of the most common is the fitness tracker.
Although I haven’t worn one myself until recently, I’ve been around lots of people who have, e.g. my wife had an early FitBit, Noel (@noelportugal) was an early adopter of the Nike+ Fuelband and has a Jawbone UP, Ultan (@ultan) has at least a dozen different fitness trackers, etc.
I finally made the jump and bought the Misfit Wearables Shine, and after wearing it for a week, I’m impressed. I do wonder how long it will keep my attention though.
Of all the fitness bands and smartwatches (and smartphone apps) that track activity, I chose the Shine because I love the small form factor and the flexible ways to wear it. The Shine is about the diameter of a quarter, and guessing here, about the thickness of two or three quarters stacked.
So, yeah, it’s small. It comes with a wristband and a magnetic clasp, and you can buy other, erm, Shine holders including necklaces, leather wristbands and even socks and t-shirts, specifically designed to hold the little guy.
Another plus for the Shine is that it takes a standard watch battery, no need to charge it or tether it for syncing, a common complaint about other fitness trackers.
The Shine uses Bluetooth 4.0 (a.k.a. Bluetooth Low Energy) to communicate with the phone. BLE uses less power than the older spec, but keeping the Bluetooth receiver on all the time runs down the battery noticeably.
Even though its design is minimalist, the Shine can tell you the time, if you learn its indicators and ensure you know which side is 12 o’clock. Easier than a binary clock, but requires some learning.
My experience so far has been pretty positive. I like the little guy, but I’m not sure how long I’ll stay engaged. This isn’t a Misfit problem though.
There are some noteworthy negatives.
Misfit only provides a mobile app for the Shine, no accompanying web app, which I actually don’t mind, yet. This does limit the metrics and analytics a bit, which I know other people like, especially as they accumulate data over time. So, this will eventually bug me
I’m a fan of the quantified self, to a fault; I used to carry a workout journal with eight years of handwritten data in it.
I’m *that* guy.
Misfit has no publicly-available developer options, no APIs, no SDK. They have been promising an API for a while now, so I assume it’s coming soon. An SDK would be nice, e.g. to allow developers to access the Shine for glanceable notifications. Not sure if that’s in the cards or not.
Finally, one of the positives can be a negative. I like the different options for wearing the Shine, and I’ve tested out both the sports band and the magnetic clasp. The latter leads me to a con; it’s easy to lose the Shine.
Case in point, I was wearing the Shine attached to my shorts. I went about my day and suddenly realized it was missing. Looking at the last time I had synced, I retraced my steps to no avail, using the Bluetooth scanning feature as a BLE dowsing rod of sorts.
As a last resort, I pinged Noel, BLE master. He pointed me to an Android app called simply Bluetooth 4.0 Scanner and within minutes, I had found it.
Huzzah for Noel! Huzzah for Bluetooth 4.0 Scanner! Reading the comments on that app shows that my use case is not unique. Perhaps the developer should rename it, Fitness Band Finder, or some such.
Anyway, that’s my week or so with the Misfit Shine.
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