Top positive review
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Gorgeous, no-charging, 50m waterproof = way better than Fitbit, Jawbone
on June 21, 2014
As an early adopter of these products, I’ve pretty much seen them all and used many of them myself, ever since the original Fitbit which didn’t even have an app for years (which I was actually fine with). My boyfriend thinks I’m nuts, but whatever, over the years, we’ve both seen a real impact that these things have made in my life.
My quick activity tracker resume is as follows: Fitbit -> Fitbit Ultra -> Fitbit One -> Jawbone UP -> back to Fitbit Flex -> Shine (mostly on the wrist). Basically I’ve been a Fitbit loyalist (bought and reviewed them on …) despite me having to replace each one of them at least a couple times a year because I would inevitably forget them on a shirt or something and accidentally throw them in the washer where they always died - I’ve actually never had a single one survive a wash. When I got the UP I was pretty excited because of the design from the pictures I saw. It quickly became a major disappointment because of how thick it was and how it 1) kept scratching my computer whenever I was typing (seems like a recurring theme in the reviews), 2) would get caught on my shirt sleeves, and 3) was in fact quite ugly. I stuck with it anyway because I dropped $130 on it *sigh* but eventually gave up after having to replace it THREE times because it would just stop working. And I even bought my Jawbone at the Apple Store - I thought all the stuff there was supposed to be really good - I can’t understand why out of all the activity trackers they sell there, they sell the Jawbone which is literally the worst rated activity tracker here on Amazon!
Anyway so back to Fitbit I went when the Flex came out which I used until… it started to smell. Like vinegar. It was pretty gross so I washed it…and then it died because water got into it. *sigh* My second Flex - same thing - started to smell after a few weeks. It also just didn’t really work all that well and was really annoying to charge all the time. Then I heard about the Shine through a friend who got hers on Indiegogo - finally broke down in a spat of retail therapy and got one here on Amazon. AND I LOVE IT. I actually recently saw the Shine highlighted in the latest iPhone 5 Apple ad (I have to say, the Shine is pretty Apple-esque in their design so I can see why they would show it off) so it reminded me to get one for my boyfriend…and to finally sit down and write up this review that I’ve been meaning to do for weeks now.
One thing I want to comment on from some of the reviews I’ve read about Shine in defense of the previous devices I’ve had in the past: yes, of course compared to Shine, my Fitbits and Jawbones were down-right ugly and toy-like but they were relatively easy to hide so it wasn’t actually that big of a deal (except for when I’m wearing a short sleeve shirt, in which case I just put it away in my purse). I never did the whole clip-on-the-bra thing because I always thought that was kind of weird but if I had a pocket I would just leave it in there and that worked fine. I guess the difference is, I actually WANT to wear Shine on the outside for people to see. Okay onto the review:
* STUNNING - I know everyone’s already said it but I just wouldn’t do it justice if I skipped it: the Shine is very obviously the most beautiful device on the market. Opposite to the Jawbone, it’s actually nicer looking “in person” than in the photos - you really can’t appreciate it until you hold it in your hands. I can wear it with just about anything and now I don’t have to hide it. :)
* SUPER COMFORTABLE - Again, not to just repeat what everyone’s said here but the thing is really thin and light. I rarely remember that I’m even wearing it no matter what I’m doing.
* SOLID BUILD QUALITY - The entire shell is made of aircraft grade aluminum and it FEELS great when you hold it or wear it - totally different from wearing any of the other plastic bands.
* NO CHARGING - I never realized how big of a deal this was until about three weeks in I realized that I never had to take it off to charge it. I’ve actually worn my Shine now for over five months without having to charge it (bought my first one in February this year and still haven’t ever had to charge it!). Pretty amazing. One of my greatest annoyances with my Fitbits and Jawbones was that I’d misplace or outright lost my charger (which was proprietary so I couldn’t just use my micro USB charger) ALL THE TIME and would have a week or two of gaps in my data - that alone made me quit a bunch of times. I know tons of my friends have had the exact same experience.
* TRULY WATERPROOF - This is kind of a big deal to me because I’ve had so many Fitbits die on me because they were definitely NOT waterproof as they claimed to be. I don’t need 50 meters waterproof since I’m not a swimmer or anything but I’d like it to last through my washer which my Shine has… probably a couple DOZEN times now. Including the dryer. This thing is really strong. Well it’s metal so I guess it’s supposed to be - still pretty amazing.
* ACCESSORIES! These guys have made a ton of money off of me by now since I’ve gotten pretty much every accessory they sell - helps me match better. My favorite is the Bloom Necklace which is gorgeous beyond belief; my next favorite is the black leather band which I can wear with just about anything - casual, business casual, etc. The silicone band that it comes with is pretty nice too - I know some people have said that theirs popped out but mine has stayed on my wrist all this time (five+months) so that hasn’t been a problem.
* TRACKS CYCLING - Okay this is way cool because neither the Fitbit Flex or the Jawbone could do this. Makes sense since I could only wear it on my wrist. With my Shine, when I go to spin class, I just take it out of the band, put it in the clip and clip it to my shoes and it tracks everything! There’s even a tile that comes up that shows that I was cycling.
* ACCURATE - see below for my little accuracy study. Basically, when compared to my Fitbits and Jawbone, the Shine was the least variable - readings were always very stable whereas with the others, I would get as much as +/-30% fluctuations even when I’m doing the exact same thing.
* AUTOMATIC SLEEP DETECTION - I totally LOVE this feature. Basically, I don’t do a thing and it just tracks my sleep and it does so amazing accurately. I have no idea how they do it but it just works. With my Flex I have to tap it like thirty times before it gets into sleep mode which was pretty annoying and made me never use the feature. Jawbone was a little easier - I just had to press and hold down the button for a few seconds. But for both Fitbit and Jawbone, I NEVER remembered to manually tag my sleep so I rarely actually got any sleep date whereas with the Shine, I get it, both the amount of sleep and the quality (deep vs. light) of my sleep… every night for the last several months.
* FRIENDS FEATURE - My girlfriends and I are all “friends” with each other on the Shine community so we’re all on each others’ lists in the app and can see how we’re each doing. The notifications are surprisingly not annoying and do in fact get me moving.
* LACK OF INTEGRATION WITH OTHER APPS - When I first got my Shine back in January, I have to admit that the software was kind of lacking, and there are still some features that I really wish it had. But since then it’s gotten way better - there must have been about 10 updates since then and everytime there’s something new. They don’t integrate into Runkeeper or MyFitnessPal which kind of sucks but it’s not the end of the world. I basically just use the Misfit App now and it’s fine. I do feel these guys are kind of missing the boat without integration into other apps but I guess I’ll deal with it.
* DOUBLE TAPPING TAKES TIME TO GET USED TO - The device doesn’t have any buttons so the way you make it display your progress or the clock is by double-tapping it. I know it took me a couple days to get used to it. I actually like the fact that it doesn’t have any buttons but this did take some getting used to. Basically, the trick is to wear it on your wrist or on your body somewhere and tap it there. If you take it off the band or the clip and lay it still on a hard surface (I don’t know why you would) the tapping doesn’t work as well.
* LACK OF LONG TERM VIEWS - The app is beautiful just like the device but it only has daily and weekly views. At least with the other products I’ve tried, I could view longer term data - like month-to-month how I’m doing. I know my friends who use the Fuelband (I’ve never had one myself) have lifetime points which to them was a big deal. Out of all the devices out there, it seems like the most obvious feature to have given how much more continuously I wear my Shine (I have months of continuous data as opposed to days) since I never have to charge it.
* LACK OF TRACKING OTHER DATA - For the longest time all you could get was activity and sleep data. They finally added food tracking (which is pretty fun to use because it’s just pictures rather than having to type stuff in which I never did in the other apps). And just now got weight tracking. But the weight tracking is manual rather than connected to my Withings Scale. I really don’t think I’m that obsessive about this kind of thing but I think hydration (which my trainer has always emphasized to me as being important) seems like it’d be a really great thing to be able to track how much water I’m drinking. I was able to do it in my other apps but not the Misfit app. Being able to enter in notes here and there would be nice too. Again not huge but you know.
* LACK OF MULTI-DEVICE SUPPORT - I know this is kind of nuts but I liked this so much that in addition to the grey one, I also bought the topaz AND the champagne one. The grey one is my go-to since it fits with just about anything I wear. The champagne one fits with my browns, yellows, and whites. But I think the topaz is the cutest but it’s harder to match so I save it for special occasions. It reminds me of a Tiffany blue - really classy. The only annoying thing is I actually have to unlink and relink the Shines when I use different ones because the app doesn’t support multiple Shines at one time. I know I’m probably not the typical Shine user but still - just sayin!
* NO TILES FOR YOGA - Again I’m probably being too picky here and it’s not like any of the other trackers could handle yoga either but it would have been nice if there was a tile for yoga since between spin and yoga classes, that’s the major of my exercise routine. My cheat on this is when I do yoga, I just tag it as swimming so I get more points (shhhh) since that’s basically how much effort I feel I’ve exerted after I’ve done yoga for an hour.
My rather non-scientific study:
Given that I had a dresser full of these things I thought I’d do a quick study with the ones that still worked and see for myself (I actually ended up borrowing my friend’s Jawbone since the last one I had died and I never bothered to replace it):
Home to parents’ home - about 15 minutes:
Fitbit One: 1892, 1681, 1983, 1782 -> average = 1835, range = 302 (3rd place)
Fitbit Flex: 2043, 1879, 1683, 1912 -> average = 1879, range = 360
Jawbone UP: 1437, 1698, 1952, 1702 -> average = 1697, range = 515
Shine on wrist: 1884, 1932, 1859, 1861 -> average = 1884, range = 73 (winner = least variable)
Shine on hip: 1901, 1891, 1802, 1837 -> average = 1858, range = 99 (2nd place)
Home to work - about 7 minutes to the train, 15 minute train ride, and 4 minutes to the office:
Fitbit One: 1385, 1539, 1472, 1681 -> average = 1519, range = 296 (3rd place)
Fitbit Flex: 1623, 1573, 1631, 1278 -> average = 1526, range = 353
Jawbone UP: 1103, 1492, 1067, 1213 -> average = 1219, range = 425
Shine on wrist: 1540, 1505, 1512, 1484 -> average = 1510, range = 56 (winner = least variable)
Shine on hip: 1556, 1444, 1498, 1464 -> average = 1491, range = 112 (2nd place)
The short of it is that basically, these things are pretty variable from device to device and it’s hard to tell which one is ACTUALLY the accurate one - it’s not like I counted my steps manually. The Shine on the wrist correlated pretty close to my Fitbit Flex. The Shine on my hip was pretty close to my Fitbit One. Jawbone was just off. Anyway, when I thought about it I realized that it didn’t really matter what the _actual_ number of steps was, but I would expect that whatever the device reported to me, it would not be so widely different each time. My Fitbit Flex sometimes just felt like a random number generator. So in terms of consistency, which I decided was my most important measure, my Shine wins hands down - and what’s amazing is that it’s pretty accurate no matter where I wore it. I haven’t tried it with the Necklace since I just got it but maybe that’ll come in a later update.
If the fact that I’ve stuck with my Shine and basically have rarely taken it off for the last five months is any indicator, I totally love this little thing. It’s so obviously the best device on the market - best build quality, most comfortable to wear, easiest to use (since I never have to charge it), most accurate, and best of all, instead of hiding it like I did with all my other devices, I wear it confidently outside. I get TONS of comments and practically every time I fly the person next to me notices it and if they’re the talkative type, they always ask me about it. These guys should pay me a commission given how many people have bought this because of me! It’s a joy to use mostly because I usually just forget that I’m wearing it and when I do remember and check my app, I’m blown away by the stuff I learn about myself - but this review is already too long - sorry about that.
The bottom line is I’ve lost 17 pounds (down from 143 to around 126) since I started using it. Even cooler is I sleep on average nearly half an hour more and get around 25% more deep sleep than say three months ago. I certainly FEEL like I sleep better - these days, waking up a lot more refreshed than I used to. The sleep improvement almost certainly has something to do with the fact that I drink way less coffee than I used to (1-2 cups vs. 4-5 cups before) but seeing my sleep improving as I drank less coffee definitely encouraged me to keep going. It’s probably not just because of the device but it’s certainly helped and now I’m just addicted.