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Misfit Shine 2 review: The nicest fitness tracker you'll ever lose

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The Good Clean-looking, well-designed app: works with iOS and Android phones; improved Bluetooth syncing; waterproof for swimming or showering; internal battery lasts six months and can be replaced; automatically tracks sleep and adds vibrations for silent alarms including basic buzzing for notifications.

The Bad The included strap and clip are terrible: They don't securely hold the Shine 2, nearly guaranteeing it'll be lost sooner or later. No heart rate tracking; LED lights show daily progress and the time, but can't show other data.

The Bottom Line The Shine 2 is a decent fitness tracker that's waterproof and vibrates, dogged by a fatal flaw: it just won't stay on our wrist.

5.7 Overall
  • Design 2
  • Battery 8
  • Performance 7
  • Software 7
  • Features 7

I lost my Shine 2 somewhere near Park Avenue and 27th street.

As I was taking another meeting at a local hotel, I looked at my wrist. The rubber wrist-strap that used to have a golden disc in it was empty. I looked everywhere: in the lobby, on the street, at the cafe where I went before the hotel. I gave up.

The Shine 2 appeared days later in my bag. It popped off when I was reaching in, I guess.

I lost the Shine 2 and luckily re-found it a few more times. You might not be so lucky. That's the biggest problem with the otherwise nicely-designed little activity tracker: if you're using the included wrist strap, you're playing roulette.

misfit-shine-2-07.jpg

The Shine 2, with its wristband.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What is it?

The first Misfit Shine was a metal disc that lasted months on a replaceable battery, was waterproof for showering and swimming as well as had a cool space-pebble-meets-jewelry design. Its little LED lights shimmered and blinked to show activity progress, even blinking out the time if you could decipher it.

That was a few years ago. The Shine 2 isn't really a new proposition. It's bigger, flatter and now includes built-in vibration for alerts, silent alarms as well as phone notifications. Its ring of 12 LED lights are now multicolored, and can flash in multiple hues: like green when a call is incoming on your phone. In terms of your fitness, the Shine 2 automatically tracks sleep, steps and more physical activities like running.

The Shine 2 comes in black or rose gold.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Like its first tracker, the device has a replaceable battery that lasts months and can be swapped out later on. It's still waterproof for swimming and showering. But it also can be a smart button of sorts, triggering quick actions via Misfit's fitness app and the separately downloaded Misfit Link app much like the less-expensive Misfit Flash. Its surface is touch-sensitive, and a gentle press or tap can turn it into a selfie remote, music remote or a way to turn separately-sold Misfit Bolt Bluetooth light bulbs on and off.

misfit-shine-2-11.jpg

The tracker is small as a coin.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Design, features

The Shine 2 adds notification connectivity this time, mainly through lights and vibrations. There are still just 12 LED lights studded around the Shine 2's surface, but they can glow in a rainbow of 16 million colors now. Those LEDs still show fitness progress in a circle, blink out the time in hours and minutes as well as blink in patterns for notifications. Incoming messages or phone calls can't be displayed, but lights will glow and the Shine 2 will buzz to let you know to check your phone (three green lights means an incoming call, for instance).

Added vibration also allows for silent alarms, and sleep-cycle timed wakeup calls based on how the sleep tracking software measures your activity. The Jawbone Up2 as well as its 3 and 4 models, Microsoft Band and Fitbit bands also all do this...it's a common feature, and a welcome one considering the Shine does a pretty good job as an automatic sleep tracker. The Shine 2 also adds a 3-axis magnetometer to go with its 3-axis accelerometer, for what Misfit says is improved activity and sleep tracking.

misfit-shine-2-02.jpg

Tapping can show activity progress, or multi-tap to trigger a smart-button action.

Sarah Tew/CNET

It's easier to interact with Shine 2, thanks to capacitive touch sensors: it's a gentle two-finger touch to check progress, not a hard tap. And its Bluetooth range is greater: syncing can happen at a short distance, not just right next to your phone.

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