Misfit Command first look: Fossil's influence is plain to see

Misfit takes a second swing at the hybrid

While many wearable makers are seeing more value in fitness, Fossil's ever-growing infantry of smartwatches are keeping their eye on fashion - and it might be paying off. The Misfit Command, the second watch to emerge since Misfit was bought by Fossil, is very different to what we've seen from Misfit so far.

Last year's Misfit Phase was its first attempt at a "watch", and while we liked it, the Fossil influence is far more distinct in the new Command.

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The Misfit Command will launch this holiday season, starting at $149.99 and moving up to $169.99, depending on your choice of materials. But we've already had a little time trying it out - here's what we think so far.

Misfit Command: A dollop of Skagen

Misfit Command first look: A cl

When I first locked eyes on the Command I mistakenly thought it was another Skagen hybrid. The markings and sub-dial definitely are reminiscent of the Skagen Hagen Connected and that's no bad thing.

The Command case measures 44mm across and 15mm thick, making it just a tiny bit narrower than the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 for comparison. Not quite creeping into Flavor Flav territory, but small wrists beware: this isn't a dainty watch.

There are four variants of the Command, all stainless steel with a matte finish. The rose gold, black-and-silver, and black-and-bronze models all come with a silicone strap, while the silver tops out the price scale with its stainless steel band. All of them are water resistant to 50m, so unless you're deep-sea diving you've no reason to worry about getting the Command wet.

Misfit Command: Familiar smarts

Misfit Command first look: Fossil puts its stamp on

It's been interesting to see Fossil and its cohort experiment and improve on how they tackle notifications on hybrids. Without a display, it's not easy to deliver notifications that are instantly recognizable, useful and minimize the need to pull out your smartphone.

The Phase tried this using a combination of colors (using a small color wheel on the face) and the hands to tell you why your watch just buzzed. For example, you could set WhatsApp messages to show green, and assign your best friend to the 1 o'clock, so if both were shown, you knew it was them. It takes a while to get used to this way of doing things, and even then it's only useful for a quick glance to gauge the urgency ("An email from Dad? Guaranteed to be another unfunny forward joke").

The Command this time takes inspiration from some other Fossil hybrids we've seen by adding a sub-dial. This will show you your activity percentage for the day, but also has tiny icons to indicate what information it's displaying - a notification, a second time zone, an alarm, or the date. In fact the days of the week are also marked alongside the left side of the Command's dial, so it's way easier to glance the date when you need it. This sub-dial requires much less thought than the color-code system, so that's an improvement in our books.

Misfit Command first look: A cl

Otherwise, the Command delivers the same smarts we've seen before, including the smart button function (also sometimes referred to as Misfit Link). This lets you assign the lower button to take a photo on your phone remotely, control your music, or ring your phone when you've lost it. I've found myself using this surprisingly more than I expected to when testing other hybrids with the same function.

Activity tracking is pretty bare bones once again. You've got step tracking, calorie burn and basic sleep tracking - all inferred from movement. There's no heart rate sensor on here, and while that's not a criticism of the Command, it obviously means the health and fitness elements are limited.

One of the best features of the Command is the one-year battery life - double that of the Misfit Phase. That's a lot, even for a hybrid like this.

The Command starts at $149.99 and will begin shipping 28 November.

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