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Misfit Flash Link review: ​A bargain fitness tracker with a split personality

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The Good Extremely low-cost; water resistant for swimming or showering; built-in progress meter display; replaceable battery lasts up to six months; has bonus smart-button features

The Bad Choosing between fitness tracking and smart button functions involves toggling between two apps; some smart button features don't work as advertised; rudimentary display and single-button operation can get confusing for advanced functions.

The Bottom Line Misfit's entry-level fitness tracker gets the job done at a supercheap price, but its 'smart button' functions leave a lot to be desired.

7.0 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Battery 9
  • Performance 7
  • Software 6
  • Features 7
Sarah Tew/CNET

If you look at the box for the Misfit Flash Link, you'll see it claims to be a "smart button" -- a sort of one-off remote for toggling music remote controls and smartphone selfies. In actuality, it's a fitness tracker -- and a good one. But for some reason, Misfit doesn't want to you to easily know that.

So, if you choose to get Misfit's new super-affordable wearable, here's my advice: use it as a fitness tracker, sync with the Misfit app, and ignore the "smart button" secondary app, Misfit Link, altogether.

In fact, the $20 Misfit Flash Link is really an earlier product, the Misfit Flash, that ships without that model's wrist band. The Flash, which was already one of my favorite low-cost activity trackers at $50, now costs just $30. So, you're really deciding whether to get the Link -- which just comes with a clip for your pants, shoes, or keychain -- or get the Flash for $10 more, which comes with the clip and the band.

Button, and clip: that's it. Sarah Tew/CNET

Whichever one you pick, know that the Flash is plastic, water-resistant for swimming, has a battery that lasts six months, and has a ring of twelve LEDs on the top that tell time by blinking, and also show how much of your fitness goal you've achieved by slowly filling a ring. The Flash and Flash Link come in various colors. They're simple. And they're a little easy to lose if they fall out of their clip or band.

What's so weird about the Flash Link is that Misfit wants you to pair to a new Misfit app called "Misfit Link" that adds programmable smart button features to the tracker. You can only pick from a few: music controls (volume, track skipping, play/pause), selfie remote (snapshot and burst), and a presentation remote (which didn't work with Keynote). It can also work as an activity tracker...but, with this new app, I wasn't able to get it to sync properly.

Selfie remote. Sarah Tew/CNET

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