In which Brianna reveals the best activity tracker you've never heard of. The Misfit Shine 2 is just the best activity tracker, especially if your hands are frequently tied up pushing strollers or carrying children, or you enjoy other cardio besides running. Read on to learn why we've rejected the Fitbit.
Activity trackers have been around for a little while now. They started as glorified pedometers but now offer other features, as well. The most popular, or at least the one everyone says they have, is the Fitbit. But is the Fitbit really the best choice for parents on the go?
When I first started looking into activity trackers, it was because I realized that I was sitting way too much at work. I needed to get up and go! I started comparing trackers, because a simple pedometer was just not an option. I wore business casual every day, and that usually meant pretty Lady Clothes with no pockets (don’t get yourself started, Brianna) or other place to keep a pedometer where it wouldn't fall off the first time I bumped into something.
Ariel told me she was thinking about getting a Fitbit. I was intrigued, but not quite sold. Really, I have a lot of demands of my activity trackers! Let’s take a look at my list.
1. It tracks my activity goal
Moreover, it isn’t just a pedometer. The Shine 2 tracks the intensity of your activity. So if you take 1000 steps while running, you’ll get more points than if you’d taken 1000 steps while walking.
2. It comes with a sturdy wristband
And you can buy so many more accessories, too! The wristband it comes with is great for working up a sweat, but you can buy other, prettier wristbands to make it look more like a natural part of your wardrobe. And we have! I have the green NATO-style band, which is gorgeously unisex and utilitarian looking. Ariel has the halo bracelet with leather strap. We're a bit hooked on accessorizing these things!
3. It does tell time- in analog!
4. It plays very nicely with MyFitnessPal and other apps
5. The Shine 2 can track any cardio activity quite well
Part of the way you can do this is by using the clip that comes with it. The clip can be used anywhere on your body. I use mine on my torso when I’m pushing a stroller or shopping cart. I move it to my ankle or shoelaces when I’m biking. You can also buy a necklace to wear it up on your chest without using the clip.
6. The Shine 2 uses the common CR 2032 battery
This means that while other smartwatch and activity tracker users are forced to remember to plug in every night, you can wear the Misfit Shine 2 for months before you have to worry about changing the battery. It comes with a tool to help you open it, so changing the battery is really easy. Bonus: being good to go for months on end means the Shine 2 is also tracking your sleep. This thing is good. It was registering my sudden drop in sleep when I was pregnant, before I knew I was pregnant.
7. It’s water resistant to 50 meters
So, you know, safe to keep on while showering, washing dishes, and oh yeah, swimming. In fact, Misfit has teamed up with Speedo to make sure this is THE activity tracker for swimmers. Indeed, Misfit has done other savvy deals with large brands, including Coca-Cola, Victoria’s Secret, Swarovski, and Disney (it’s the official activity tracker of the Disney properties and races). Misfit was doing such a great job of making awesome activity trackers that actually look like something normal humans would choose to wear, that they were acquired by Fossil only four years after launching their first wearable. That’s right, those beautiful Fossil smartwatches you’ve been ogling at the outlet mall all have Misfit tech in them. So if you want to dabble in the world of smartwatches without spending hundreds of dollars just yet, get a Shine 2 and see how it works out for you. If you want to go up a level, take a look at Misfit’s other smartwatches. If money is no object and you need to look stunning at all times, then you have my blessing to pick up a Fossil, knowing that it’s a smart and beautiful product.
8. Great customer service
I absolutely have to mention Misfit's exceptional customer service. We've always received prompt responses from their team, and they do whatever it takes to ensure you remain a satisfied customer. Defective Shine? Here's a brand new one in the same, pretty color. Lose it on a run? Here's an upgrade with the wrist strap of your choice. Plus, they have great sales and coupons going on almost every month. They haven't met a holiday they don't like. Example: this year's Mother's Day sale is so good they hardly have anything left in stock!
1. No built in challenge feature
While you can add friends in the app, there is no challenge feature like there is in the Fitbit app. So Ariel and I can compete against each other for any given day, but we can’t compare notes over a month to see who “won” our challenge. I’d really like to see that feature added. Right now you can get around this by using third party apps that integrate with multiple trackers, but you still need to get all the friends you want to compete with to agree on which app to use!
2. No push notifications for trends
Also, as I said before, the app registered my sudden sleeplessness when I was in the early stages of pregnancy, but I didn’t receive any notification. Obviously, it shouldn’t say “Hey, you went from 9 hours of sleep a night to 3.5. Do you need to take a pregnancy test?” But maybe after three days or a week, there could be some alert to a new trend. The only trend the app tracks now is how many days in a row you’ve achieved your goal; your “streak.” The information is all there, but they aren’t doing much with it. And setting up If This Then That (IFTTT) recipes for such things would be a pain for individual users (although it IS possible).
3. Occasional syncing issues
Syncing the Shine 2 to your phone can be a little pesky. Some days it works like a dream, but some days it takes several tries to update your progress in the app. If it hasn’t synced to the phone recently, it can sometimes temporarily reset itself. When this happens, it puts your progress for the day back at 0, and the time at midnight, and your alarm will randomly go off at the wrong time of day. Very inconvenient! But for me, syncing to the phone has gotten all my progress back, plus any more I may have accrued after the reset, and the time and alarm problem are fixed. All of the Shine 2’s issues are fixed by syncing it. And if it absolutely stops syncing or otherwise malfunctions, Misfit will come through with a replacement. They are SO GOOD about sending you a new product if your first stops working. Even if it’s been over a year since you purchased it.
The Misfit Shine 2 is our favorite!
Ariel's Two Cents:
Having tried three different activity trackers - the Fitbit Zip, the Garmin Vivosmart and the Misfit Shine (both 1 & 2) - the Shine is my personal favorite. It is both stunning AND functional. I have found the Shine to be the most accurate by far. The Vivosmart would count brushing my teeth as steps… The app is also the most intuitive for those of us more technologically challenged individuals. If you are into tracking metrics, I like that I can export my sleep data to Evernote. In one place you can see how you have been sleeping the past few days, weeks or months and note what changes might be affecting the quality and duration of your rest. Pregnancy perhaps? I dislike the connectivity issues I run into at least once every few weeks. And it's a big bummer that since the Shine is less popular (for some silly reason?!) you won't be able to connect with as many friends. But I did find Stridekick - an app that syncs with most fitness trackers including Misfits and Fitbits which allows me to play with my Fitbit-loving friends. But the determining factor for me is the look on people's faces when they realize the my ‘bracelet’ is really a sleek piece of functional tech.
Ariel and Brianna are friends who met while working in a library. Now they collaborate to develop life-enhancing book club experiences.
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