When it comes to buying a fitness tracker, you’re often forced to choose between good design with a lack of functionality or capability in a gargantuan device that looks like a Power Rangers communicator.
Misfit want you to feel that this isn’t the case anymore with Ray - an inconspicuous tracker that looks like a sleek bracelet at first glance, but with enough of a feature set and a helpful (if inaccurate at times) app to track your everyday life.
Crack open the box and you will be welcomed by the elegant, modern, neutral Ray in whichever colour you have selected - from the classic black, silver or gold to the more fashion conscious rose gold.
As for how its worn, the Ray comes with either a rubber or leather band for your wrist, and you can buy more fashionable alternatives like a leather double strap or versatile chain necklace.
This means the tracker is easy to match with a number of outfits and styles, from office attire to the running gear and even the night club-wear.
And the lack of a screen makes for sleeker style in my eyes - I don’t want to wear an ugly digital watch like some trackers. The simple pulsing light flashes and vibrations direct my attention to alarms and notifications throughout my day without being a garish distraction.
However and wherever you decide to wear the Ray, you’ll realise how incredibly light it is. Seriously - it's easy to forget you're even wearing it and would mistake it as a forgettable piece of jewellery.
On a quick note about unpacking the Ray, you may also be initially bewildered at the severe lack of what you’d expect in the box of a fitness tracker - namely, there is no charging cable…
Well, with the use of standard watch batteries, you will get a battery life of 6 months! Some people will prefer the use of a charging cable, but I see this as a massive bonus - especially with the inexpensive nature of these batteries.
And then you put it on, set up the app and face a rather mixed affair of intuitive UI and “way off” tracking.
Using the Misfit app is a breeze (kudos to the ‘mrfit’ or ‘missfit’ average user that made me feel really competitive), and the simple double/triple tap interface of the Ray itself makes the device itself disappear into the background of your life. But the experience is marred by tracking that either wildly overestimates or underestimates your distance.
As one of my tests, I took the Ray out some 5km runs, which it translated to be anywhere between 4.5 and 5.2 miles. Meanwhile, with a 3.5 mile walk, the distance tracked was 2.2.
This trend of mis-tracking extends to sleep - while it generally knows when you have fallen asleep and woken up, the Ray was not sensitive enough to track any disturbed sleep, such as waking up violently after a nightmare.
On the main hand, this is good for tracking steps and the app’s gauge-based interface is good for tracking this. But without accurate distance or sleep tracking, what benefit does this have over using the basic accelerometer functions of your smartphone?
Well, in one word, the benefit is style. Make no mistake about it, the Misfit Ray is compromised in ways that would make it a no-go for any serious fitness fanatics out there. But, if you’re in the casual crowd, looking to achieve your daily goal of 10,000 steps and get a good night’s sleep, the Ray is well worth a look.
With an update to the Ray’s distance/sleep tracking and the app, the lack of overcomplicating and effective reporting of data could make this a killer buy in the future.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.