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Need to know: Misfit Shine

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Wearable technology, in general, and activity monitors, specifically, have become quite popular lately, and for good reason. Gone are the days when a heart rate monitor had to be strapped around the chest with a proprietary, and rather rudimentary, receiver strapped to the wrist with its monochromatic LCD display providing almost no information whatsoever. Now, this kind of gadget has become more streamlined, intuitive, and conveniently integrated as part of the mobile phone technology many of us are already carrying in our pockets.

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The Shine, from Misfit Wearables, has been around for about a year, and new, as of December 2013, is its ability to sync with Android devices. Now that the rest of us can play with Shine, it has become one of those products about which you need to know. Let’s take a look, shall we?

The Shine, itself, is wee - about the size a quarter. It is a discreet disc of aluminum with 1560 laser-drilled holes in it. These incredibly tiny holes allow light, but not water, to pass through, which, by the way, is the extent of its user interface. These holes, backed by bright, and obviously miniscule, LEDs provide a few basic bits of information such as progress toward set goal, time of day, and confirmation of input, with the rest of the user interface left for the phone or tablet based application to handle.

The little disc is powered by a common CR2032 button cell lithium battery which, according to Misfit, will need changing approximately every four months “or when the battery stops working” (I kid you not, it really states this in the FAQ). Though some will recoil in horror that Shine uses a disposable, single-use battery, many more will enjoy the convenience of not having to charge the device every few days and then throw the whole thing in the bin when its integrated rechargeable battery inevitably bites the dust. Bravo for sidestepping the gremlin of built-in obsolescence.

The magic behind Shine resides in its application. This app, which works with iOS 6.1.3 and up on iPhone 4S, 5, 5S, 5C, iPod 5th Gen, and iPad 3rd & 4th Gen and iPad Mini, and with Android OS 4.3 (Jelly Bean) on devices utilizing Bluetooth 4.0 LE such as the Samsung Note 3, Nexus 4 & 5, and HTC One, is free, easy to install, and fairly simple to deal with. Thanks to the three-way accelerometer in Shine, the application can track walking, running, swimming, cycling, and sleeping. Misfit promises that it will be expanding on the set of activities Shine will be able to track, allowing customization of the app based on your own activities.

Shine, which comes in grey, black, topaz, and champagne, ships with what Misfit calls a “sports band,” clasp, battery install tool, one CR2032 battery, and links to its two applications, and costs $119.95. A necklace ($49.95) and fancy leather band ($49.95) are available separately, or as part of their “All In One” package ($169.99). For more information about Misfit Wearables or Shine, click here. Stay tuned for the upcoming review of the Misfit Shine.

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