After a week with the Shine, I am ready to let it go.

My expectations of the Misfit Shine were moderate. I purchased a Shine for my mom in July 2014, which she subsequently lost in October. It has been replaced by a Misfit Flash, which it’s the Shine’s cheaper, plastic version.

The Shine is nice to look at. At about the size of a quarter, it is small and lightweight. Its aluminum housing is smooth and sturdy. The silicone band included with the tracker is soft and smooth, with a metal clip that secures tightly. The Flash is a bit thicker and plastic, but equally lightweight. I honestly forgot I was wearing the Shine on my wrist until I saw it there. The Bloom necklace, on the other hand, is as heavy as its stainless steel construction would indicate and the chainlink was scratchy and uncomfortable. 

Regardless, an activity tracker is not about fashion sense; as the name suggests, it’s about tracking activity. I say “A tracker is only as good as its app.” I stand by that statement. When it comes to apps, Misfit’s is certainly lacking. The Shine (and Flash) automatically detect and categorize your activity (walking, running, etc.), as well as your sleep. However, you cannot add activities if you were not wearing the tracker, for instance, or modify the activity classification. When it comes to sleep tracking, you cannot edit the entries, or add naps. Basically, you cannot track anything after the fact. If you would like to track a nap, you would have to open the app and tell it you are about to sleep. If you would like to track a specific activity, you would have to open the app and do accordingly. Furthermore, you have to ensure you sync before closing the app or your activity classification may not record. 

If the app is lacking, waiting until you figure out the device may be cheating you out of precious miles. My first workout while wearing the Shine came in at 2.26 miles, yet the Shine claimed I had only gone 1.5 miles. That is a 3/4 mile discrepancy; not insignificant if you consider that this was an early morning workout and by the end of the day I could have easily gone 6 miles while the device showed 3.2 miles. If it is not even relatively accurate, it is not useful. [Note: Sleep tracking basically said I was either awake or restless practically the entire time I was in bed, except when it showed I was in deep sleep while I was awake, sitting and reading a book, which I held in the same hand as the tracker. Need I say more?]

I had noticed this discrepancies in my mom’s usage, but attributed them to our difference in height affecting the algorithm. I was wrong. It is not a great consequence if the readings a off, but a little or a lot, in my mom’s case. For the most part, she does not even sync her tracker for several days at a time. She likes the idea of having the tracker and really likes the sleep tracking, but she does not use the data in any way. However, I do use the data daily. 

I use the data provided by the tracker to step it up, to push a bit further, and to limit my activity so I do not overdo it. I combine the tracker with a heart rate monitor to track my overall performance and improvement. I do not care about “Calories Burned,” but if I have walked 5 miles, I want to see that. If I have run 11 miles, I want to see that too (so I can yell at myself for several days for overdoing it, and being sore all over). If I have been sitting for 10 hours, I would like to see that too. 

I had high hopes for the Misfit Shine, but it fell short.

I still think it is a great tracker for people like my mom. Someone who wants to be generally aware of their activity and track sleep (not that I think those readings are accurate either), but who do not spend any time at the gym or running/swimming/cycling/etc. 

It can look great, and it does, but that is not its primary job. When it comes to working hard, the Misfit Shine slacks off. It can be said both the Shine and Flash have been aptly named; one Shines in its elegance while the other showcases itself with Flashes of bright color. Nevertheless, those are not main purposes of an activity tracker. 

Great in theory. Fine tune the execution, improve quality control so that all units are accurate and give us an app that is practical and useful. The Misfit Shine is a great device if their target demographic was slightly active baby boomers with little tech savvy. 

Sad to say, but the Shine did not make it either.