We got Misfit GM Preston Moxcey to break down all the Misfit Vapor changes

IFA 2017: It's all about battery life
Behind the Misfit Vapor changes

We've been waiting patiently for the launch of the Misfit Vapor, its first full screen smartwatch, all year and now it's nearly upon us with a release date now slated for October.

When we first encountered the device, it was (rather excitingly) running a fresh Misfit OS and boasted specs and features including built-in GPS, activity and sleep tracking and 5 ATM water resistance.

Now it's an Android Wear watch, with Misfit activity tracking, no sleep tracking and connected GPS that relies on your phone. That might disappoint some spec heads but the end product might also win over some more fans, particularly existing Misfit fans.

On Fossil Group's IFA stand, we bumped into Preston Moxcey, VP and general manager at Misfit as he was prepping his smartwatch wares for the expo crowds.

We asked him to take us through a few of the changes and if you're looking for one reason, it's battery life. Want a second? Misfit decided it wasn't building a 24/7 tracker or a standalone sports watch.

Care about sleep? Get a tracker

We got Misfit GM Preston Moxcey to break down all the Misfit Vapor changes

"When it comes to sleep, the reality is that people charge their watch every night," he told us. "The Vapor's kind of big, it would be literally the most overbuilt sleep tracker on earth. And it turns out sleep tracking is quite hard, it's like activity tracking but dialled up to 10. You have to be really sensitive with the sensors. So we took them out and it's for battery. We wanted to make it last a full day."

Later in our chat, Moxcey cracked the joke that "it's also good for our business. If sleep's important to you, have an activity tracker.

"Part of our thing of always on is tracking all day, there is no display smartwatch which can do that. So we thought that sleep was something we could still do in activity trackers, all the hybrids still do it and they do that well because it's low power. But we couldn't get it to work to the level we're happy with here."

Misfit users run with their phones

We got Misfit GM Preston Moxcey to break down all the Misfit Vapor changes

Then to the feature that a few of my colleagues on the site are a little miffed about - built-in GPS has been swapped for connected GPS.

"We've talked to a lot of people and the reality is - how many times are you not going to have your phone with you?" said Moxcey. "It's actually fairly rare. And we know - a much bigger complaint which everyone wants to talk about with all Android Wear watches, all smartwatches is battery life.

"If I want to see a map without getting my phone out, that's valuable and Android Wear supports that. But actually not taking my phone with me? Most of our consumers are female, most of them feel more comfortable having their phone with them anyway. They basically said - we take our phone, don't make it do stuff it doesn't need to do, we'd rather it last every night."

There are gains to be made making chips and software more efficient but the Misfit GM points out that battery technology hasn't changed in decades: "GPS is a nightmare, I'm sure you notice on your phone, it gets hot. An iPhone battery loses 15% on one Uber interaction, imagine what this thing [the Vapor] does. We're getting there but it's also about listening to consumers."

Android Wear with Misfit touches

We got Misfit GM Preston Moxcey to break down all the Misfit Vapor changes

Anyone who was taken with Misfit's slick-looking OS from our original hands on with the Vapor will be glad to know that there are a few Misfit touches alongside Android Wear.

"We started a long time ago, we thought we were doing some things ourselves.. The funny thing is a lot of it has stayed," he told us. "There's some things in here that we actually kept. We have a touch bezel. In Android Wear, when you touch an app, you cover it and can't see it.

"People only have one hand when they're wearing a watch so the idea of using the edge of the glass, it's nice and that's still there. The way we do activity tracking as an app and not just Google Fit, is still in there and the way that we do weather as a circle as opposed to listing a bunch of cities, is still in there."

Moxcey explained how this should still feel like a Misfit device, despite the switch to Android Wear: "What we did is we took some things we liked, the circular interface, the way we do activity, weather, the way we do music, all that's still ours and sitting on top of Android Wear but with their watch faces and apps as opposed to a full stack OS. Which is OK. They're preloaded, there isn't anything on the app store you have to go do, it's our little app sitting in the watch and our watch faces are there anyway."

Are you more or less inclined to buy a Misfit Vapor with all the tweaks and changes? Let us know in the comments.


Shop for recommended Android Wear watches on Amazon

Huawei Watch 2
Huawei Watch 2
$273.87
Emporio Armani Connected
Emporio Armani Connected
$395
Polar M600
Polar M600
$299.59
Michael Kors Access Sofie
Michael Kors Access Sofie
$350

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5 Comments

  • thefencechild says:

    This device is a smartwatch that also happens to track some activities.... so why wouldn't I get a regular smartwatch??

    Oh, and the Huawei Watch 2 lasts almost 2 days and has a screen..... this guy is making stuff up to make excuses.

    This is a fail on the highest account. Horribly disappointing.

  • thefencechild says:

    This watch is a joke. The Huawei Watch 2 lasted me almost 2 days while tracking steps and sleep. I only charged it when I was in the shower. 

    This guy is making lame excuses for a watch that was harder and more expensive to make than they thought it would be I am guessing. 

    Horribly disappointing 

  • thefencechild says:

    Sorry for the double post. The first time it gave me an error.

  • Deadeye37 says:

    I think its a good choice.  There are those that don't want to take their phone, but I feel like there are a lot more people that take their phones on their workout.  Besides, having GPS enabled will kill the battery quickly.  My Huawei Watch 2 normally lasts the whole day (5:30 am - 10:30 pm) with about 25-50% battery left (depending on the length of my workout - GPS disabled, also have screen always on, WatchMaker face changes every 3 hours, Wifi enabled).  I've done a few workouts with GPS enabled and my watch is dead around dinner time.

    The thing I wish Misfit would've included was NFC.  That would've had me hold out until this watch was released.

  • SteveB44600 says:

    This is really disappointing. I have been taking my time working out which smartwatch to buy and the Vapor was at the top of the list. I am currently using a Shine2 and this works very nicely (simple and straight forward too). That was one of things that attracted me in the first place plus the look plus AW2. If I buy a Vapor I now understand that if I want to track sleep I should use a second device just for that? If I want to track my workout I need my 'phone because only connected GPS! What else is lurking in the wings? Looks like I need to check out the Ionic and the S gear Sport...

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