Misfit knows plenty about stylish fitness trackers, but up to now it’s been focused on simplicity, not smarts.
That all changes with the Vapor - it’s the company’s first true smartwatch, but not one running an off-the-shelf OS. It’s a bespoke beauty, with the kinds of fitness-tracking tech that’ll keep you healthy and a unique sense of style to go with it.
Read on to find out why this was one of our favourite wearables at CES 2017, and why you’re going to want to get one.
When Misfit revealed the Vapor, I instantly had flashbacks to the original Moto 360 - it looked great on paper, but just didn’t deliver in the flesh when it came to build quality. After seeing the Vapor in person, though, I clearly didn’t need to worry. This thing is gorgeous.
There’s more than a bit of design influence from parent company Fossil’s other brands, but all you need to know is this is a stainless steel smartwatch that feels every bit as luxurious as it looks.
The 1.39in OLED is one of the sharpest screens I’ve seen on a smartwatch, with pin-sharp looks and tiny text that’s easy to read, without jamming your nose right up against the glass. And of course, there's no flat tyre here.
I love how scrolling your finger around the edge of the dial moves through different menus - it's like having a physical dial, only without the added visual clutter. It's minimal, and I'm a big fan of minimal.
It’s fully featured underneath, too, with an optical heart rate monitor and built-in GPS as well as the usual accelerometer and gyroscopic sensors. Misfit has made sure to add the same waterproofing you’ll find in its other fitness trackers, too - you’ll be able to take it for a swim as well as wear it in the shower.
A touch of class
Everything is nailed down on the hardware front, but it’s the software side that’s stopping the Vapor from launching right away.
There’s no Android Wear or Tizen here - Misfit is doing its own thing, designing everything from scratch, and that takes time to get right. It’s a brave move, but I still liked what I saw when I tried it out.
The OS works with both Android and iOS phones, sticks notifications right on your wrist and will support third party apps - when they arrive. The UI is ultra-minimal, but feels really snappy, with no bloat slowing it down.
Misfit has learned a lot from other smartwatches, so you can long-press the screen to quickly change watch faces, or swipe between widgets for things like weather, heart rate, exercise tracking and music controls.
There’s built-in Bluetooth and 4GB of storage on-board, so you can pair your Bluetooth headphones directly to the watch and go on a run without your phone.
It’s really slick right now, so hopefully Misfit can iron out the kinks and get it ready for launch soon.
Watch this space
It’s great to see Misfit keeping the best bits of its other wearables for the Vapor, including the quick release straps that don’t need any tools to pop on and off.
It works with the existing range of straps and watch bands already out for the Phase hybrid smartwatch, and you can expect more to arrive along with the Vapor later in the year.
Colours are always going to divide opinions, but at least you’ll have a choice: a subtle black or a slightly more showy gold. It’s still pretty relaxed, though - this is one smartwatch you’ll be able to wear incognito if you like.
It doesn’t look massive on smaller wrists, either. There’s clearly a lot of tech squeezed inside, but you wouldn’t know it from a quick glance.
I’ve got no clue as to exactly how much space inside is left for batteries, though. Lifespan is still being tweaked, but expect a day or two between charges at least. The magnetic charging dock should be easy enough to attach for a quick refuel before your morning shower, or just before bedtime.
Misfit Vapor initial verdict
OK, so software support might be a total mystery right now, with no word on third party apps or which services will play nicely with the Vapor at launch. What you get out of the box is pretty comprehensive though, and it all looks gorgeous thanks to that high resolution screen.
The Vapor is a stylish watch in general, so if Misfit can deliver a slick wearable OS, it should have great potential. The price is fantastic too at US$200, making it much better value than an Apple Watch or anything running Android Wear.
I’m really hoping it doesn’t take long to finalise the software, because I can’t wait to strap one of these on and give it a full review. Check back later in the year for more coverage as soon as we get one into the office.