Misfit Wearables Shine Data & Connectivity

The Shine exhibits some fundamental differences very early in the going. For instance, Misfit Wearables has chosen to not create a Web site where customers can go to view their results. In fact, the only way to view your data is via the iOS-only app. Like a few other devices, the Shine doesn’t offer an Android app, perhaps because of additional phone-level compatibility hurdles. Here’s how the Shine compares:

DATA & CONNECTIVITY CriteriaMisfit ShineFitbit FlexJawbone UP
Clinically validated000
FDA Approved000
On-device display?100
Web display?011
iOS App111
Android App001
Automatic Upload (via bluetooth, wifi, xwave, etc.)110
Proprietary Hardware Connections (antenna, charging, other?)0-1-1
Customer data download001
Bluetooth110
Wifi000
NFC010
Z Wave000
Integrate data gathered with other devices from the same brand?010
Integrate with other brands?000
Can the device be calibrated?001
Battery Life (days divided by 10; range of eligible values = .5 to 1.5)1.50.51
TOTAL5.55.55

The Shine syncs via Bluetooth and unlike some other activity monitors, it receives no penalty for using proprietary connection or charging hardware. A contributing factor is the use of a CR2032 battery, which should give the Shine a battery life measured in months, possibly as much as six months.

Before we leave this category, the issue of syncing should be discussed in its own right, along with the Shine’s user interface. Syncing tends to be a mystery as a result of the twelve blinking dots (that need to blink the right way!) and the brief and blithe instructions provided. For instance, the instructions ask you to “tap” the Shine on your phone’s screen to start syncing.

A common result was that nothing happened. Making things worse, because of the limited information provided by the phone app or the device itself, it’s hard to tell if the lack of activity means nothing’s happening, or if something’s happening but you’re just not allowed to see it. After periods of idly waiting and watching, the lack of activity appeared to mean just that – nothing was happening.

The good news is that the Shine now syncs successfully with my iPhone. The bad news is that I don’t know how or why it started doing so. The amount of information delivered by the display hasn’t changed in the interim.

The Shine is not alone in offering a minimalist user interface – the Flex and the UP take a similar approach. After reviewing each of these devices, it’s hard to take pleasure in the interactions when you don’t understand them, you can’t tell if the device is working properly, or if it’s working at all.

[Update: I’ve kept the Shine app open in the background lately. When I call it to the foreground, syncing starts quickly and seamlessly, and the Shine’s display simultaneously exhibits activity.]

The game’s not over – in the Data & Connectivity category the Shine’s score puts it on equal footing with its peers.

Let’s see how it does in Functions.