If smart watches are dying (like some claim), nobody told Misfit.
The company, which is owned by fashion brand Fossil, already has a nice lineup of fitness trackers that don’t compromise style in order to collect fitness data. Their product line is what might happen if Fitbit started reading GQ or Vogue. Right now, their top-of-the-line model is the Misfit Phase, a sleek, minimalist analog watch that also happens to provide fitness tracking features.
But that will change as soon as Misfit launches their very first touch screen smartwatch: the Misfit Vapor.
A developer at Misfit, who requested anonymity, says that the Vapor will run on Misfit’s very own proprietary operating system. Like other Misfit watches, it will offer fitness and sleep tracking features, as well as email, call, text, and app notifications.
The hardware is a major upgrade from other Misfit devices. The Vapor includes a GPS, heart rate sensor, and an altimeter. In addition to Bluetooth connectivity, it will also connect via WiFi. This allows you to be free from your phone — you could walk outside of Bluetooth range in your home and still get email notifications. The display is protected by scratch resistant Gorilla Glass 3. Bonus: you can swim with it. It’s water-resistant down to 50 meters.
Also new for Misfit is the Vapor’s standalone music playing functionality. It can store up to four gigabytes of tunes, so you can go for a run and still listen to your workout mix while you leave your phone at home.
As far as battery life, the Misfit Vapor lasts for two days with regular usage. That puts it above the Apple Watch 2, on par with the Samsung Gear S3, and a bit below most Garmin watches.
But like most Misfit watches, the design is where it really shines.
Let’s start with the display. The Misfit Vapor features a gorgeous 1.39 inch AMOLED display, which shows impressively sharp images for a smartwatch. The screen displays 326 pixels per square inch. Misfit claims the display is even better than most smartphones. Misfit also came up with a new concept for navigating the smartwatch: it’s called a “virtual bezel.” To choose apps or browse options, you run your finger across the Vapor’s edge.
Samsung famously used a similar concept for their Gear S2 and Gear S3. On those smartwatches, the movable bezel made the display a breeze to navigate, and it created a extra-convient way to interface with certain apps, so it’s fantastic to see the concept catching on.
When you browse through the apps, you can see where the name “Vapor” comes from. The icons don’t totally disappear at once when they go out of view. Instead, they gently dissipate. It’s a nice visual effect, and also a way to include a lot of icons on the display without making it feel too crowded.
Misfit did not confirm whether the new device, with all its new features, would require a new Misfit app. But the company did not rule it out.
The product isn’t geared toward athletes who run triathlons for fun. Instead, Misfit is targeting a younger demographic who understands the value of exercise and wants to use a smartwatch to enhance their calorie-burning sessions, but also wants something that looks nice on their wrist.
You might call them the “athleisure crowd.” Imagine somebody who goes for a brisk run, takes a shower, then swaps out the sweat-resistant silicone band on their Misfit Vapor for a more stylish leather band when they hit the town for the night.
When the Misfit Vapor is released, it will sell at a competitive $199. While the official word is that it will launch “later in the year,” the Misfit developer I spoke to says that the company is aiming for a release this summer.