Fitness trackers are a bit of a fad right now. I’ve been wanting one for a while simply because I am a curious creature, and I was interested in seeing the insights offered by some of the fitness trackers available today. My mom gave me some cash for my birthday/Christmas, and I chose to spend the bulk of it on a fitness tracker.
I ended up choosing the Misfit Shine 2. After wearing it for about a month and a half, here are my thoughts on it.
Style: It’s styled like a typical wrist watch and while a bit big for my preferences (I have smallish wrists and don’t like big, bulky feeling things on them) it is overall lightweight and reasonably comfortable. It fits the couple things I have deemed absolutely necessary in a fitness tracker for me personally: it’s waterproof so I can safely wash dishes/shower/whatever and not worry about it, and it uses cell batteries that are simply replaced once or twice a year or so rather than having to fuss with charging.
Colors/Display: I chose the color Carbon Black because based on the photos of the item on the Misfit site, I thought that a black background with little rainbow colored lights would be pretty. I mean look at their photo for it on their site:
That is very clearly rainbow colors, right? Unfortunately, Misfit has misrepresented the colors of this device’s display. There are 12 little lights around the perimeter and no matter what you do, they will never light up with rainbow colors as pictured on the Misfit site. Each light lights up, one at a time, as you work your way toward your step/movement goal for the day. On the first go around, the lights start off red and by the time you get all the way around they are orange. The second time around they start orange and end yellow. A third time starts them at yellow and at the end they are a very pale, barely perceptible greenish color. After that… nada. Most of the time the display is off and is simply black. You are to “tap once or twice” to “wake” the device (which often does not work and it requires multiple attempts to “wake” it) at which point it will display the time via a steady green light to show the hour and a blinking blue light showing the estimated minutes (much like looking at an analog clock or watch) and your progress toward your daily goal is shown based on how many of the lights you’ve gotten lit up so far, as per the above sequence. Once around means you reached your goal, the two times after that basically mean you’ve reached your goal two/three times over. If you want more detailed information you need to use your phone to load the app.
Accuracy: Obviously fitness trackers are movement based, and there is truly no way for any of them to be 100% accurate. They’re bound to count some movements as steps when they shouldn’t and vice versa – it’s just something that comes with the territory. I admit I’ve not really tested it out very methodically like some folks do (manually counting steps then syncing the device to see what it reads etc) – I just consider the amount it says I’ve walked as an estimate and I know the activities I do that throw it (knitting and crocheting for example) and try to do some extra walking/exercising to counter it and balance it out a little bit. The device has a “move reminder” feature which vibrates at an interval you choose from a small list of options – by default this feature is set to remind you to get up and move after one hour of inactivity. This might be nice, if it were more accurate than it seems to be. On multiple occasions I’ve been up and walking around and busy for a good ten to fifteen minutes and it’s buzzed at me for inactivity. I’ll be in the middle of feeding/watering the chickens or cleaning their coop, and bzzzzz. I have also had it go off on me more than once in the morning, waking me from sleep. Now that is annoying! Especially considering that it’s during the hours which I have set in the app as hours I am typically asleep, so that the move reminders are not supposed to be on then.
Sleep Tracking: This is one of the more fascinating aspects to me. Like I said, I’m a curious creature and while one can generally know how well they did or did not sleep based on how they feel in the morning when they get up, I still find it interesting to have the sleep tracking insights. Like the activity tracking it is not always accurate, though it seems to do a reasonably good job. One negative, however, is that it’s fully automated and supposed to be intuitive. There is no way to manually set the device into sleep mode, you just have to trust that it’s going to figure it out on its own. If you like to lie in bed and read before going to sleep, the device will think you’re asleep. If you have trouble falling asleep and lie in bed staring at the ceiling for an hour or more, it’ll think you’re asleep. You do have the option of editing the time you fell asleep and woke up in the app the next day, however doing this totally erases any “awake” periods, and also seems to alter the length of time shown as being light or deep sleep. If you’re really interested in tracking your sleep to find patterns to help you deal with sleep or other issues that your sleep is affecting/affected by, this could be a problem. I also learned you can totally confuse the device to the point it will just say you did not sleep at all on a given day. Without going into details all I’ll say is there was booze involved and I crashed early in the evening (say 7-7:30) then was up around midnight for a couple hours then back to bed for the night. The Shine 2 said I just didn’t sleep that day. It does not register naps at all.
App: The app that is used with the device is incredibly basic and does not really provide a lot of in depth information. It would be nice if it offered some more in-depth options. Here are a couple screenshots showing the information they provide for activity and sleep tracking. Note that the calories burned includes their estimate of resting calories you burn just to exist each day – but they don’t tell you how many calories were “active” and burned by doing exercise/walking. Even so, it’s some good basic information if you’re just after a general idea of what your activity/sleep is like.
Customer Service: I was disappointed enough in the misrepresentation of the colors of the device’s display that I contacted Misfit customer service to inquire about exchanging it for a different color, for had I known the display would be nothing like pictured on their site, I’d have been happier with one of the other colors they offer. It took them a week to get back to me. Their solution was for me to return my device, then use the refund to purchase a different color. I have a couple problems with this. One: they have a “60 day satisfaction guarantee”. I am within that time period, and I am not satisfied with the device due to their misrepresenting it on their site. All I wanted was a simple exchange. That, to my way of thinking, is a reasonable request on my part and should be perfectly acceptable and doable to them. Apparently not. Two: When I purchased the device it was on sale, plus I found a code for an additional discount. (It was shortly before Christmas when such deals are common.) It’s not on sale anymore, of course. If I were to do as they suggest and “use the refund to purchase another color”, I’ll have to pay more than I did initially and frankly I’m not willing as, considering all the various issues with the device’s accuracy and it not “waking” properly and the limited insights provided in the app, it’s not even worth the discounted price I paid for it, in my opinion.
Overall: I’m not impressed, either in the device or the customer service, and I could not possibly in good faith recommend this device (or any offered by this company) to those looking for a fitness tracker. Had they offered a straight up exchange for me, even with the aspects I don’t care for so much, I’d have been happy to take that and have myself a pretty little imperfect and mildly annoying at times fitness tracker. But with all things considered and their round about way of offering an “exchange” – nope. I’d been on the fence about whether I really wanted to keep it or not, and their customer service sealed the deal for me: I don’t want to keep it.
I’ve requested to set up a return. I did not mention I don’t intend to buy another color with the refund as per their suggestion – I just thanked them for the information and said I’d like to set up a return. I am admittedly a bit nervous that their already slow response time may be even slower, given it’s getting close to my 60 days to return it being up. Hopefully I will not have to raise a fuss with them to get my money back.
Update: I have received a reply to my request to set up a return, so at least the secondary response time was significantly faster than the initial response. I was told I will be getting a prepaid UPS label in my e-mail today to print out then to drop off the package at a local UPS location and I will be refunded within 3-5 days of them receiving the return.
Update 2: As of January 24th, the return was delivered yesterday and I have received my refund today; it was the 100% refund as anticipated.
Until next time. xoxo