A big FedEx padded envelope arrived today, containing a very small black box. Finally, months after I’d paid to their Indiegogo campaign, Misfit had shipped me a Shine, perhaps the most minimalist gadget I’ve ever purchased.
In a world of glossy images on websites for real-world disappointments, the Shine is surprisingly more attractive in real life than in the images used to sell it. It’s a smooth, convex disc, slightly larger than a pound coin in diameter and quite a bit thicker, like some piece of alien technology. There are no buttons to press, no visible display, just an almost invisible notch on the back where you prise the Shine open to insert a battery. I thought it would be shiny, given the name, but it’s a pleasant, dark grey metallic, classy rather than flashy. Placed in the strap that I bought at the same time (but which I almost missed when I threw the envelope out) it resembles one of those ion-rebalancing bracelets that gullible people wear. So maybe it isn’t that classy an image.
Setting it up is very simple. It’s only compatible with recent iOS devices (not Android, and certainly not my beloved Nokia) and all you do is hold it to the screen of your device until Bluetooth does its magic and it syncs. The app is the display for the Shine; the Shine itself just logs your movements and then feeds them into the app. Yes, there are twelve lights around the circumference of the Shine, which illuminate as you move around more, but they feel like a novelty right now. Perhaps later firmware updates will make them do more clever stuff, but for now I’m excited by a wearable device that claims to be laundryproof.
We already have lots of gadgets, and quite a few fitness ones, although my Garmin GPS units feel a lot more fragile than the Shine, but all my wife has had to play with in the past is the pedometer on one of her iPods and again, I doubt you could throw that in the washing machine and expect it to ever come back. Besides, for all the talk of devices converging, we like out separate devices. I have a Kindle for reading, an iPod for the 120Gb of music I want to carry around, a Garmin for running and a phone for, well, everything else now. I know that may mark me out as an old fuddy duddy, but I prefer the compromise of carrying around lots of different devices to carrying around a device that’s a compromise.
Not that I’m carrying the Shine. My wife is the recipient,of this technological wizardry, and given she’s been doing laps of the apartment to try and light up extra lights on the Shine, I’d infer that she likes it.