Misfit Phase review

Misfit has been making wearables since 2012 when its Shine fitness tracker smashed its Indiegogo campaign. Now owned by Fossil Group, Misfit is giving Fitbit a run for its money with impressive and fashionable trackers and smartwatches. Among its newest offerings is the Misfit Phase, an activity tracker with a traditional watch face that can connect to your iPhone or Android phone to track your steps and sleep, but also alert you to notifications. Find out more in our Misfit Phase review.

Misfit Phase review: Price

The Misfit Phase doesn't come cheap. It's £165 from Misfit's own store, which we think is just that bit too pricey. And there are some models that'll cost you £185 thanks to the upgraded leather strap.

The Phase certainly looks nice (I'll talk more about that in the design section of this review) but you'll get a lot more from alternative fitness trackers and even smartwatches. In fact, Misfit's own Vapor smartwatch looks likely to carry a price tag of £199, and that'll have a digital display and built-in GPS among other things.

Then there's the Misfit Ray, which I still think is the best fitness tracker you can buy for under £80. It can actually do almost everything the Phase can aside from tell you the time. You can find out more in our Misfit Ray review.

If the Phase had a price tag closer to the £120 mark I'd be more likely to recommend it, so I hope that the price drops a bit at some stage in the future.

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Misfit Phase review: Design & build

The packaging is stunning. It may seem unimportant to some, but for me it certainly oozed a quality and style that made me even more excited to start wearing it.

I don't wear a watch regularly, so it instantly felt strange to have quite a chunky and heavy device attached to my arm, even if it is good-looking. But it didn't take long for me to get used to it at all and on the one day I forgot to wear it I found myself missing it regularly.

There are several colours to choose from. I tested the Rose Gold option with a White Leather Strap (and therefore that £185 price tag), but there's also Black with Black Sport Strap, Black and Rose Gold with Black Leather Strap, Silver with White Sport Strap, Navy and Gold with Navy Sport Strap and Navy and Gray with Brown Leather Strap.

Unlike most other fitness trackers I've tried, I felt comfortable wearing this for any occasion, even during a formal night out. It did get a bit sweaty and uncomfortable during a workout, though, so if you intend to use it to monitor vigorous workouts regularly you might be better off choosing the Sport Band over the Leather option.

There are a few downfalls to the Phase's design though. The first is that it's very chunky. It protrudes from the wrist quite significantly and it has a 41mm case so is quite wide too.

Secondly, the strap is really long. I have small wrists and had to tighten it as small as it could go, which meant the remaining strap wrapped almost the entire way around my wrist again making a double layer that simply added to its chunkiness. For a watch that has design options with a feminine appeal, I'd have expected a shorter strap option.

The White Leather strap that came with the Phase is already a bit worn, despite only being used for about three weeks so far. There are also slight dents in the metal casing so I'm concerned about the durability of the watch. However, it is water resistant up to 50m so you don't need to remove it in the shower or when it rains, and better yet you can even use it to track a swim.

Misfit Phase review: Features

Now that we know what the Phase looks like, which is arguably almost as important as features when it comes to wearable tech, let's take a look at what it can actually do.

The Misfit Phase could be mistaken for an ordinary watch, with a traditional watch face on show for the most part. However, the Phase actually connects to your iPhone or Android phone via Bluetooth to offer additional functionality.

You'll find that the Phase tracks your steps, distance traveled and calories burned, and you can use it to track a variety of sports including running, cycling, swimming, football and even dancing. You can set your own target and you'll soon find yourself taking the stairs instead of the lift or cycling to work instead of getting the bus.

You don't have to look at the app to see how close you are to your target. Pressing the top button on the right of the Phase will cause the hands of the watch to move. Your activity starts at 12 and ends at 12, so the further round the hands travel the closer you are to reaching your daily goal.

If you want it to, the Phase can also remind you to stand up if you've been sitting still for too long, which can be helpful at work to stop you from spending too much time in front of your computer screen.

At night, the Phase will automatically track your sleep if you're wearing it. It's smart, and the sleep tracking is one of my favourite features. For me it's simply about curiosity, but for some it could help determine habits that are causing bad sleep, or night time rituals that help you sleep better.

Another handy feature of the Phase is notifications. With no digital screen you won't be able to see any details about the notification, but you'll find that your Phase vibrates when your phone is ringing or when you have a new message. There is a tiny colour-coded indicator that you can customise to help you determine who the notification is from, though.

You can also use the Phase to wake you up in the morning. You can set an alarm for any time you choose and you'll be gently woken up with a vibration at your wrist.

The lower button on the right side of the watch is customisable. You can use it to control your camera, music and more. For example, if you choose Music mode you can press the button once to play or pause your music, twice to skip to the next song, three times to go back a song or hold to increase the volume.

When it comes to battery life, the CR2430 coin battery should last for up to six months before you'll need to replace it. That's a big advantage of a hybrid smartwatch over a fully-fledged smartwatch which would normally require regularly charging due to its power-hungry display.

What the Misfit Phase lacks is a heart rate monitor and GPS, which is a real shame particularly at this price tag. If those are features you can't do without, it'll be worth waiting for the Misfit Vapor's release later this year.

Misfit Phase review: The Misfit App

One of the reasons I've always been a fan of Misfit is the app. I find Misfit's app to be a joy to use, both intuitive and beautifully designed. It's easy to glance at it and get plenty of information about your activity or sleep, and if you've got a couple of minutes spare you can delve further to find out more details if you want to.

If you have friends with Misfit devices, you'll find that you can compete with them each day in the hopes of reaching the top of the leaderboard, which is always great motivation.

You can also use your Phase in conjunction with other apps including MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper and more, and you'll get a profile that'll show you your highlights over time.

OUR VERDICT

If you feel comfortable spending £165 to get a stylish watch (albeit rather a chunky one) with smart features, and are confident that you won't miss GPS or heart rate monitor, you'll be pleased with the Phase. But for anyone questioning that price tag I'd recommend looking at Misfit's other trackers or waiting for the new Misfit Vapor smartwatch release.