, ,

Misfit’s First Smartwatch is the Sleek, Sporty Vapor

Fossil is putting their acquisition of Misfit to good use.

EMBARGOED UNTIL 1%2F5%2F2016 Misfit Vapor Hero

Up until now, Misfit has been known best for the Shine, their simple, fashionable fitness tracker. But, in 2015, Misfit was acquired by Fossil, a company that has always been interested in the smartwatch, in all its forms. At CES today, Fossil and Misfit made the most of both their areas of expertise with the Vapor, a new round smartwatch packed with Misfit’s fitness features.

MIS1302792; SP17 Connected Accessories Lifestyle

The round watch is relatively thin for a smartwatch, with a 1.39″ 326 ppi AMOLED touch display that looks sharp no matter what’s being displayed. The case is 44 mm, though, so it’ll still look pretty large on the wrist. It runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset, which was made with Android Wear devices in mind. But, this isn’t an Android Wear watch — Misfit has their own software and UI, and they’ve created a way better menu system. Instead of the interminable swiping required by most other smartwatches, the Vapor puts menu items around the outer edge of the display. These can be navigated by dragging your finger around the watch case itself, not the display — considering there isn’t much display real estate here, making sure that your finger doesn’t block the display was a wise design move.

So, what’s on the menu, anyway? It’s the usual stuff — fitness tracking, heart rate tracking, notifications, settings, and goals. Vapor’s looking like a really strong smartwatch in all of those respects — inside, there’s an accelerometer, an altimeter, a gyroscope, an optical heart rate sensor, GPS, and a microphone for calls and voice searches. It’s the inclusion of GPS that can’t be overstated. With GPS, the watch can track running and cycling routes without a phone, which has become a must-have feature for fitness enthusiasts. Even better, the watch has 4 GB of storage and Bluetooth connectivity, meaning runners can use Bluetooth headphones to listen to music directly from the watch.

We usually look at smartwatches with some wariness, but Misfit seems to be making all the right moves. The Vapor is relatively lightweight, has GPS, and can function as a standalone music player. Throw in water resistance up to 50 meters deep and a premium stainless steel case, and you’ve got what looks like the perfect running smartwatch right now. Battery life will only be two days, though, so less display-intensive options from the likes of Garmin still have the advantage there. If anything, we’d like to see a version with a smaller case, but it’s hard to shrink smartwatches down.

Misfit plans to release Vapor later this year at $200. It’ll be available in black or rose gold, with a number of strap options.