The rule of thumb for making tech for women has always been make it pink or make it sparkle. Now with the Swarovski Shine, the tech has disappeared. But hot damn, this fitness tracking jewellery sparkles.
The Swarovski Shine comes from a partnership between the cut crystal specialists and Misfit, the difference being that Swarovski hasn't simply chucked some stones in Samsung's direction, the brand has put its name to the device.
Read this: Misfit Ray review
It brings the same activity and sleep tracking as the Shine and Flash before it, this time with a crystal atop the metal disc module and a range of bracelets, bands and necklaces. Whether you think the options are gorgeous or garish, one thing's for sure - this is a blueprint for 'invisible' wearable tech that fits into our lives.
Misfit Swarovski Shine: Design and build
When we talk about wearable tech disappearing, we don't mean making devices smaller and thinner and lighter to the point they're useless. We mean making what we already wear smart.
So while the Misfit Shine and Flash do a decent job of looking inconspicuous on the wrist, the Swarovski Shine demands attention. The large, but very light, crystal is delightfully glinty and depending on which accessory you choose, there's plenty more sparkle.
We've been wearing the cheapest accessory in the range, the Slake bracelet in black Alcantara fabric - it feels like suede and it's comfortable to wear but it's pretty full on, especially in the day. Misfit is selling the Shine in sets which come with a sports band. Bear in mind that combined with one of these, the tracker is water-resistant but we wouldn't recommend taking your bejewelled band to the pool.
Also available are the more subtle Vio, Sirora and Lisea pendants and blingy Piofiora, Cardoon and Cleyera wristbands in a range of prices starting at $69 per accessory. All set with Swarovski crystals of course. The idea is that you can buy bands and necklaces to suit every occasion which is exactly the kind of system which will appeal to fashion-conscious women who don't want to get stuck with a coloured fitness band. Though at these prices, it's quite an investment to get the set.
One problem on the Slake bracelet at least is that the rubber enclosure which houses the tracker detracts from the premium feel quite a bit - we know that Misfit needs to stop the Shine flying across the room but it ruins the effect somewhat. The Opening Ceremony and Intel MICA bracelet, which admittedly is $1,000, remains the high-end wearable to beat in the style stakes.
We didn't get a retail box with our Swarovski Shine sample but we presume it also includes a clasp for attaching it to gym clothes, for instance.
Being a Misfit tracker, there's no screen to show the time, alerts or your progress. There is simply a circle of LEDs - these are easier to see clearly on say, the Flash, but they are bright enough here to be visible on the crystal if you're concentrating. These can show the time, synced to your phone, with a blinking LED for the minute hand, and also your progress towards your daily activity goal with a double tap of the Shine. That's it. Everything else is done in the app.
Misfit Swarovski Shine: Tracking
If you like the look of the Swarovski Shine, the next biggest factor will be how you get on with Misfit's tracking. Chances are the Shine will monitor everything you need it to - steps, activities (running, swimming, walking, cycling, tennis, basketball) and also sleep tracking.
Step counting is accurate, as we've come to expect from Misfit, and this is pretty crucial because the Shine is being billed as an everyday piece of smart jewellery, not something to strap on when you're exercising. Activity tracking is up to scratch, too, once you've triple tapped to start a session, though this is far from a replacement for a GPS watch. It's also worth noting there's no altimeter as on some Fitbit devices, so the Misfit is no good for stairs climbed or hiking, and no heart rate monitoring. This is a back to basics wearable.
As for sleep tracking, this is so-so in terms of accuracy. We like that there's no need to switch the Shine into sleeping mode, it detects this automatically but this isn't perfect. And again, the Swarovski studded Slake bracelet is too uncomfortable to wear in bed - not to mention the worry that it would get damaged - so it's the sports band or nothing.
For more on Misfit's tracking abilities, read our Misfit Flash review.
Misfit Swarovski Shine: App
Misfit's tracking is comprehensive enough but compared to most rivals, its app is extremely simple. Perhaps too simple depending on how invested you are in the fitness and motivation element.
You can view your activity or sleep history by day, week or month with graphics to show number of steps, calories burned, distance travelled etc and how many points you earned towards your goal. For sleep tracking, you can see how much sleep you've had and how much of that was deep sleep. There's also the usual notifications for personal bests and the option to connect your account to Facebook.
Misfit's iOS app, to be fair, is better than the Android offering but both fall behind Jawbone and Fitbit in terms of giving you actionable info on your habits and a real community or virtual coaching to keep you going.
The Shine will pair, via Bluetooth, to an iPhone or Android phone though it's worth noting we've had a few pairing and upgrading issues with a Moto X (which isn't on Misfit's list of supported models but is included in the 'Android 4.3+' category).
Let the sunshine in
Misfit Swarovski Shine: Battery life
Talk about a wearable fitting into your life and the Swarovski Shine's six month battery life stands out. We've only been wearing it for a few weeks so far but there's no reason to believe this Clear Crystal edition won't make it to the half-year mark on its coin cell battery. And it means there's no reason to hate your tracker. No finding the proprietary charging cable or realising as you leave for work that it's dead.
What's even more exciting is the upcoming solar-powered Swarovski Shine which uses a purple crystal to harness the power of sunlight and light bulbs to recharge your tracker. We don't charge our regular jewellery and now with the Shine, we don't have to charge our smart jewellery either. This is the future of tech trinkets.
Misfit Swarovski Shine: Price and release
The Swarovski Shine collection is only available in the US at the moment with no details yet on launches in the UK and Europe. A set including the Clear Crystal Shine, an entry level Slake bracelet and a sports bands starts at a fairly reasonable $169 and if you really want to splash out the Vio pendant set costs $249.
If you're not taken with the Swarovski collaboration, the regular Misfit Flash is just $50 and the Shine is $99. The Swarovski edition is up for pre-order now with delivery set for June 2015.
- Looks like jewellery
- Modular system
- Amazing battery life
- App could be more useful
- Rubber clasp ruins aesthetic
- Some pairing issues