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Misfit Ray review: A fantastic entry-level fitness tracker

Christopher Minasians Riyad Emeran
23 Jan 2017
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
80
inc VAT

It might have a basic feature set, but this featherweight fitness tracker is a ray of sunshine for entry-level fitness fans

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Specifications

Pedometer: Yes, Heart-rate monitor: No, Display: No, Battery life: 6 months

Manufacturers of fitness trackers have been known to cram as many features as possible within their devices. Misfit has taken a different approach and decided to focus on the design and aesthetics side of things, to create a wearable device that people will be inclined to wear on a daily basis.

Prior, the Misfit Shine was a fitness tracker that could be connected in multiple ways, but looked and felt bulky ion the wrist - thankfully, the company has addressed the design with the Misfit Ray.

Misfit Ray review: Design

Misfit has certainly delivered on its brief to create a tracker that’s more suited to the wrist, and, as is to be expected, the Ray is a beautiful piece of minimalist kit. The Ray itself is an anodised aluminium cylinder finished in either Carbon Black or Rose Gold. The bundled plastic strap is mounted inside the cylinder giving the device a real bracelet feel that’s still masculine enough for a male user, while being aesthetically pleasing enough to mix it with whatever complementing wrist jewellery women might wear.

The cylindrical design also makes the Ray very smooth and comfortable against your wrist – in fact, I’d say this is quite possibly the most comfortable tracker I’ve ever worn.  Combine that with a meagre weight of just 8g with the batteries installed, and I often forgot I was even wearing it.

There’s a single LED mounted in the Ray, which is designed to convey a variety of information, but it’s unlikely that you’ll remember what all the different combinations of flashes and colours actually mean. While the 12 LEDs on the Misfit Shine 2 make it easy to tell the time, and ascertain how close you are to your daily goal, the single LED messages transmitted by the Ray require a degree of code breaking that Alan Turing would be proud of. You could argue that equipping the Ray with a single LED was an example of style over substance, but given the beauty and simplicity of this device, I’d say that Misfit made the right call.

Misfit Ray review: Strap

The bundled strap is constructed from a translucent plastic that’s surprisingly soft and flexible, and you fix it to the Ray using two 8mm spring bars much like a traditional watch strap. It’s incredibly easy to adjust the strap for a comfortable fit – you just move the catch along one side to the desired position, and the other part then slots through a loop and snaps onto the catch.

Given that the Misfit Shine and Shine 2 have a habit of popping out of the wrist strap when you’re wearing it, it’s good to see that the Ray is extremely secure no matter how active you’re being. Misfit is also developing a host of accessories for the Ray allowing users to customise the colour and style of their strap, or even turn the Ray into an activity tracking pendant. This type of accessory range has already proved very popular with the Misfit Shine, and it’s probably safe to say that the Ray will lend itself to accessorising even more effectively.

Misfit Ray review: Battery life

Like the other Misfit trackers, the Ray doesn’t have a rechargeable battery built into it. Instead, it runs on three 393 disposable cells. You’ll get around six months of usage from a set of batteries, so you shouldn't have to worry about running out of juice midway through the day unless it really is running on empty.

Misfit Ray review: Fitness tracking

As you might have guessed from the single LED, the Ray only has the most basic features built into it. But for many potential users, what’s here is likely to be more than enough. The Ray will count each step you take throughout the day, and from that data, it will estimate the distance you’ve travelled and the calories you’ve burned. While that’s hardly ground-breaking, it’s worth mentioning that Misfit does seem to build incredibly accurate devices.

I ran 5k a couple of times with the Ray on one wrist and a GPS running watch on the other, and the Ray was no more than 200m off. That’s pretty impressive considering that the Ray is just counting steps with no real understanding of stride length or terrain. This is clearly something that Misfit has worked hard on since the Shine 2 and Flash were similarly accurate.

Another thing I really like about Misfit devices is that your daily goal is set in Misfit points, rather than just steps. It’s a similar approach that Nike took with its FuelBand and Fuel Points, but the beauty of Misfit points is that they take the intensity of your activity into account – so if you go for a run, it logs far more Misfit points than if you’d taken the same number of steps when walking.

The way Misfit points relate to different activities is highlighted on the Today screen of the app, where you’re told what you need to do in order to hit your daily goal – that could be an hour of walking, 20 minutes of running or 30 minutes of swimming. And yes, the Ray is waterproof, so swimming is an option.

Your sleep patterns are also tracked, with the Ray logging your restful sleep, light sleep and the time you’re awake throughout the night. The Ray is very well suited to sleep tracking – it’s light and comfortable so that you’ll barely notice it’s there, while its six-month battery life means you’ll never need to charge it overnight. You can also set the Ray to silently wake you in the morning thanks to its vibrating alarm. I’m always happy to see this feature in a tracker since it’s particularly useful if you need to wake up early but your partner doesn’t.

Misfit Ray review: Misfit app

Misfit has done a good job with its app – just like its devices, the Misfit app is very simple and easy to use. Your main Today screen will give you a large, circular indicator of your progress towards your daily goal. You can easily flip between your latest activity and sleep data, too, making it easy to see if you’re achieving or missing your goals.

Below that, you’ll find a timeline of your day. This shows any instances of intensive activities and food intake that’s logged, and you can edit those periods of intense activity, identifying them as a run, jog, or power walk. Unlike the Jawbone app, you can’t pull in data from Strava, which would automatically log your runs, but given that Misfit isn’t really targeting hardcore fitness types, it’s not really a huge surprise.

For food logging you can pair with MyFitnessPal, allowing every meal and snack you log in your MFP food diary to be exported to the Misfit app. The communication goes both ways, so all the steps you take with your Ray will be exported to MyFitnessPal, thus giving you a dynamic calorie count for the day.

Misfit Ray review: Verdict

I wasn’t too impressed with the Misfit Shine 2, but the Misfit Ray has won me over. It’s probably the best looking, most comfortable fitness tracker available, eclipsing even the excellent Fitbit Alta in terms of minimalist style. What’s more, I didn’t once find myself wishing that the Ray had a built-in display – partly because it would spoil the design, but also because I genuinely forgot I was even wearing it most of the time.

Yes, the feature set is basic, but the Ray is aimed at someone who’s looking for a very unobtrusive tracker that will still deliver a snapshot of their daily activity – something that the Ray achieves with aplomb. The six-month battery life is also a major bonus. At £80, the Ray won’t break the bank, either. If you want a fitness tracker, but don’t want the world to know you’re wearing one, the Misfit Ray is a great option.

Buy Now from Amazon

Hardware
Wearing modesWrist strap
PedometerYes
Heart-rate monitorNo
GPSNo
DisplayNo
WaterproofYes (50 metres)
Smartphone connection
OS supportAndroid 4.2+, iOS 7+, Windows 8.1+
WirelessBluetooth
Battery
Battery sizeN/A
Battery life6 months

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