​Misfit Ray review

This reimagined tracker offers users more ways to wear

When we first clapped eyes on the Misfit Ray we were slightly puzzled. Here's a new, slick looking fitness tracker from Misfit, but it doesn't do anything different. The Misfit Shine 2 was released just a few months ago, so what's with this brand-new cylindrical tracker at the same $99 price?

Well, it's actually the answer to a problem faced by all fitness bands. That problem is thus: people only have a maximum of two wrists. And each wrist can handle just one wearable at a time.

Whether it's that classic watch you like, your shiny new smartwatch/fitness tracker or some other piece of jewellery, there's limited space for tech. What's more, people don't like wearing two devices – it looks dorky as hell and can leave you feeling encumbered. This is a problem for the fitness tracker.

It was an even bigger problem for Misfit than most. The round-faced Misfit Shine 2 clashes with most watches – people don't want two circles on either wrist – which is why the Ray heralds an all-new design. It looks like a bracelet, sits alongside other bangles or bands nicely and can be worn as a necklace.

Misfit Ray: Design and build

In terms of design, Misfit is keen not to be drawn into questions of gender. While dainty enough to look good on smaller wrists, the Misfit Ray does a good job of staying fairly unisex. That said, the rose gold model, with sport strap, that we've been wearing is definitely leaning towards a feminine aesthetic. The black model with the – as yet not on sale – cord bracelet, or the leather bracelet that you can get for $20 extra, for instance, may suit male wrists more.

Read this: Fitbit Alta review

The Misfit Ray itself is fairly dainty, measuring just 38mm in length and weighing just 8g, while it's still water resistant to 50m.

At first it appears as if the unit itself is a hollow tube, but the strap clips into either end with a hidden 8mm bar. The unit itself pulls apart to reveal two replaceable batteries.

The design also has another benefit. The straps are well and truly embedded into each end of the Ray, so there's no chance of it detaching from the band, lost forever on the street, which was a serious issue with the Shine 2.

Overall, the Ray is a design win. It's slim, sleek, comfortable and won't pop out. And it's even more appealing in person than the Fossil Q Motion, a very similar looking tracker from Misfit's new owner.

But you do lose a couple of things, most notably the circle of LEDs that the Shine series is famous for. Shine users are used to being able to use these to glance quickly at their progress and tell the time (with practice). Here, we have just one multicoloured LED.

All in all, the Misfit Ray simply represents more of the same, in a more discreet form factor.

Misfit Ray: Activity and sleep tracking

First up: this is an activity tracker, not a sports watch, and as such it will count your steps, measure distance walked and estimate calories burned via a 3-axis accelerometer as well as tracking activities such as cycling, swimming, yoga and dancing. No heart rate, no stress, no GPS.

Misfit step trackers are generally very accurate and the Ray is no exception; no surprise since this is a Shine 2 in different form. Wearing it on my wrist – often a problem for fitness trackers – I found that while the Fitbit Alta tended to add a 100 or so extra steps in the middle of the day, the Ray's results on the same days were slightly closer to the truth.

Distance was generally accurate when we took the Ray out running, though we'd recommend a GPS watch or a hybrid alongside this. Calories, too, might seem stingy at first glance but they're much more helpful to you if they're not overestimating that workout burn.

Days are broken down into scrollable stories. There are sometimes too many disparate activities but you can edit these to correct slight inaccuracies. What's also handy is that in the daily view, Misfit will tell you how much walking/running or swimming you still need to do to reach your daily points goal. You can also find friends on Facebook or compare your progress to say, the average female Misfit user.

That said, I've found Fitbit and Jawbone's communities and insights more motivating in the past than Misfit's simple app. Plus you lose the easily glanceable progress circle of LEDs from the Shine – you can tap the Ray to get a different colour depending on what percentage you are towards your goal, but honestly, I found that I didn't end up doing this much.

Sleep tracking is even more impressive – spookily so. You can edit the sleep and awake times in the Misfit app, which is helpful, but I didn't need to correct this once as it was spot on – the Ray even noted down my nighttime bathroom trips as 'awake' in the graphs. Plus it never once registered me as asleep when I was just watching Netflix. As for deep and light sleep, while this is pretty tricky for us to verify, short of lab tests, it's still interesting to dig into daily and weekly trends.

A nice activity feature is Misfit Move, which means that the tracker will vibrate when you've been sitting still for say, one hour. I set it to buzz me between the hours of 10am and 5pm (when I'm most likely working at my desk) and it's a strong vibration (stronger than alerts) and LED combo that got my attention every time.

Quick note: in terms of syncing, we had a few issues pairing and syncing the Ray to our Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, a problem we've had before. Persist, get rid of other Bluetooth devices in the room, and it should work. But we did have to reset Bluetooth a few times which is a pain.

Misfit Ray: Alerts and Link features

Misfit hasn't added a screen to the Ray but that doesn't mean it's just a passive tracker. Alerts can be switched on in the Misfit activity app but are limited to calls and texts for now – a blue blinking light and subtle vibe means you have a text, or green for calls. They work well and it's up to you whether that's helpful or not. I haven't received a text from anyone but my grandmother in months so it would be nice to see Misfit open this up to all notifications (WhatsApp and email in particular).

I imagine the reason it hasn't opened it up so far is to keep that battery life up. But if some users want to sacrifice some battery for a vibration when they get an email, why not let them? It's nothing close to what you get with Altruis, Ringly or an Apple Watch and I'm sure lots of Misfit fans would like to double up features wise.

There's also a smart alarm which works as described – set a time for the Ray to wake you up by and you'll get a vibration, we assume during a period of light sleep, before that time. For all the promises of waking up fresher, we've never actually achieved that morning person glow, but hey, smart alarms are popular.

Link wise, this requires a whole different Misfit app and sadly doesn't work quite as well with this form factor. With the Flash Link, you get more of a satisfactory button press so you know your action has been logged. Here with the Ray you're limited to two actions – double tap or triple tap – and one of those is already defaulted to showing activity progress. Plus I ended up tapping really hard to be certain it had registered.

Misfit Ray
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In short, it's limited. But if there are one or two things you want to control from your wrist – smart light bulbs, say, or your music on a connected speaker that is controlled from your phone – then this could be a nice bonus feature. You can add actions via IFTTT and altogether, it's great Misfit is going in this direction by adding the feature to all future wearables. It's just not there yet.

Misfit Ray: Battery life and charging

As with the Shine 2, the Misfit Ray's up to six months battery life is all the more impressive now that it does smartphone alerts too (not all the ones we'd like yet, but some).

What that essentially means is that there is no charging involved, which makes me feel a lot better towards any wearable, frankly. You can see the battery level in the Misfit app. Our Ray has been showing as fully charged for the past few weeks and has not budged from there.

The Ray is powered by two button cell batteries which you will need to replace when your tracker does eventually die, but these are pretty cheap so overall it's a win, especially compared to screen-based trackers that can't last a week.

Misfit Ray
By Misfit
Like the Fitbit Alta, it's hard (as a reviewer) to get excited about the Misfit Ray because it doesn't offer much that's genuinely new. That said, there are still plenty of people in the world yet to buy a fitness tracker – or even a wearable – and this is aimed at them. Maybe a classic watch wearer. Or the kind of person who stacks on costume bracelets. Or the smart home owner who wants to get a bit fitter. For the price, it's a comprehensive package and the no charging deal – especially with the notification vibrations – is still a real pull. A sleek all-rounder that is easy to live with and makes itself useful in a couple of different ways.

  • A Misfit tracker that won't pop out
  • Sweet battery life, no charging
  • Accurate tracking (especially sleep)
  • More alerts please
  • App could be more motivating
  • Link doesn't work as well here

What do you think?

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  • seasideslut·

    can't wait til fitness trackers actually do something impressive, successfully. 

    • misfitrayh8r·

      this gave me mono. not directly but when i bought it i got mono so i made that connection :))))))))))))))

  • tomfhowe·


    • tomfhowe·


      • p.lamkin·

        I see the problem. You're using Windows 10 Mobile. Don't. It's awful.

        • p.lamkin·

          In all seriousness, we'll look into this. Thanks for making us aware.

        • tomfhowe·

          Lol! I know right? I like it for like two reasons and the rest is just like... you may as well have a dumbphone

  • Whitt·

    Is this thing going to have a magnet in it like the Shine?  I'd wear my Shine on the same wrist as my watch, but I wear a lot of mechanical watches and don't want to magnetize the hairspring (again).  If this has the same functions and no magnet I'd be willing to switch (if my Shine ever breaks).

  • Kal_84·

    I wonder if it can track swimming nicely... I heard Misfit can be inaccurate at times when tracking steps and swimming (it only has one sensor that is tri-axis accelerator). The design is promising though. The nicest thing about it: It can be worn 24/7!

    • LilliK·

      My Misfit Shine does track swimming better now. It used to not be very accurate, I'd swim for an hour, to find out Misfit thinks I did 5 minutes. And you can't really edit what goes into the app – or you CAN, but the added calories/time won't count towards the daily goal. Plus you have to bring your phone to the pool if you want to sync & check. And be sure to have "swim" selected in the app before triple-tapping... I'm a bit ambivalent on how I feel about Misfit. I really like how this new one looks like, but the one I have has had so many issues, I'm not sure if this would be an upgrade.

      Or if I should just wait for the Fitbit that can swim :)  

      • delirious·

        Have it tried Moov Now? Disclaimer: I haven't tried one myself but heard it works quite well for swimming.

  • SWC·

    can you tell time from this model?

  • laberday·

    I'm really annoyed that they are promoting the cord-style band, but it's not available for sale. I asked and they could not even give me a release estimate.

    • Stark·

      same. I have asked the company a few times now. No response. 

    • sg208y·

      Don't be annoyed by some marketing effort to sell you the product, as long as the RAY itself works and you still active, you are better than most people. Search on youtube on how to make a simple paracord bracelet, choose your own color and ray'n'roll baby ... you got yourself a custom bracelet that no one else has. Think about it ... it's an opportunity, not to be annoyed from. There's always a positive spin to your initial negative comment :)

      • garnat·

        How do you attach the band to the tracker?

        • slooker·

          It's connected via two 8mm spring pins. They're the same type of pins that any normal watchband would use, albeit a little skinnier.

      • slooker·

        So I haven't taken the 8mm pins out yet, but I'm skeptical that you could fit some paracord behind those 8mm spring pins.  If you look at the pictures of the sports band that everyone wants, they aren't using the normal spring pins.. there's a plastic piece that is sticking out of the Ray.  

  • Mikoww·

    I had it for few days, returning it : 

    - sleep is far from being as accurate as Jawbone UP3, adding at least 20 to 30 minutes to the real sleep time.

    - big doubts about steps counting as well (10 to 20% under iPhone counts or jawbone counts

    - cord style band not available

    Waiting then for jawbone to announce something new soon!

    • Mikoww·

      and forgot to mention it doesn't recognise your sleep unless you are sleeping at least 1.5h or 2h... So forget about recording your naps (as the up3 does..)

    • slooker·

      - Sleep works fine for me.  I'm comparing with a withings activite pop and a jawbone up 2.  

      - Steps seem to be pretty accurate (within 5%) for the jawbone, activite and ray.

      - The cord style band not being available sucks for me :(

  • Aaron_603·

    Was so eager to get this tracker for its combo of waterproofing, slim bracelet format and 6 month battery, but there are so many strong contradicting views out there! :(

  • runninrebel37·

    Plain and simple......IF I have to customize my wallet to what this devices cost. then HOW ABOUT A DEVICE THAT CUSTOMIZES ITSELF TO ME AND THE EXERCISES I LIKE AND ACTUALLY DO!!

  • jfjen0211·

    Thank you for your review. How do you wear it as a necklace like they have advertised?

    • j.stables·

      Sorry, I was a bit fast on the answer then. Can't see Ray necklace - will chase this up and see what the score is...

  • slooker·

    It's connected via two 8mm spring pins.  They're the same type of pins that any normal watchband would use, albeit a little skinnier.

  • runner3·

    hi i was just wondering if anyone knew the dimensions of the stra. and wether it would fit my wrist which is 15cm.

  • wvlv·

    i have lost my misfit shine 2 almost two times.

    and have made a safty wire so it cannot happen again.

    i hope you improve the design because it is not only my complain.

    it was a gift of my husband and the children so i dont want to lose it.

    waiting for a reaction.........

    wilma van leeuwen

  • JKC·

    Can it be connected to Strava?

  • kvedw·

    What is the name of the BLACK WATCHES you wear with the Misfit Ray? It looks really cool. (Not the Withings one)

  • Runningmeh·

    i have a misfit ray. It's pretty, but the data it comes up with is just nonsense. Eg, if I change the activity from walking to cycling, it doesn't change the distance covered! If you select one favourite activity other than walking you can triple tap before starting and how for better data, but a. you have to remember and b. what if you do lots of different activities? Lots more examples of annoyingness, but I'm typing this on my phone, so I'll keep it short. Suffice to say, it has made zero impact on my day to day fitness tracking and I wouldn't buy one again.

  • Miche·

    the necklace that holds the misfit ray turned my neck green where it touched my neck

  • misfitrayh8r·

    wow this device was really bad

    i wish i could return it

    if only there was a refund lad

    rhyming..................... it

    leena wurver schmidt

  • misfitrayh8r·

    this device made me get my booty beat by the cool kids because of its very sleek design

  • misfitrayh8r·

    send help the misfit ray has taken cobntorl of my phone and lfier

  • jpc4003·

    how wll does the Ray work while using a treadmill?

  • TraceMcG·

    while i do like my ray, i have battery issues. mine takes 3 of the little suckers, and they aren't carried at convenient places like, walmart, canadian tire, dollar stores. oh sure they sell tiny batteries, but not the 393s i need. i had to go to a jewellery store in the mall for them. AND they are  son-of-a-b**ch to install! otherwise, we're good to go. :)

  • TraceMcG·

    while i like my ray, i don't like the battery setup. it takes three of the little suckers-393s, and they are hard to find. dollar stores, walmart and canadian tire don't carry them. had to go to a jewellery store in the mall to find them. $34 later, they are a son-of-a-b**ch to install. otherwise, it works well for me.

    • j.stables·