Hands on: Misfit Command review

This non-smart watch might be the smartest option for you

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

Looking for a stylish watch that has many smartwatch features, but isn’t crippled by horrible battery life? The Misfit Command might be the perfect fit, given you take to its design.

For

  • Year-long battery life
  • Affordable
  • Stylish

Against

  • Some may not take to the design

The Misfit Command takes the panache of the Misfit Vapor, removes Android Wear 2.0 and, well, most everything else, until all that’s left is a good-looking hybrid smartwatch that lasts a really long time.

Hybrids strike a nice balance between a purely analog watch and a smartwatch in that they usually retain a desirable aesthetic that’s only achievable with minimal tech (arguable, the smartwatch’s biggest weakness) and enough smarts to keep you informed.

So, if you’re someone who digs the bold look of the Vapor, but doesn’t want to spend as much cash or make a mad dash to your charger each night, the Command, going on pre-sale today in the US for the low price of $119 ($30 off its regular asking price), might be the perfect fit. If you miss the pre-order window, you can pick it up for $149 (about  £112, AU$197) when it releases on November 28.

Design

While not the thinnest hybrid smartwatch around, the Command’s bold look makes up for it, comprised of a waterproof, stainless steel chassis and glistening metallic-rimmed glass top that looks the part with any set of clothes.

Making our way around the perimeter of the Command, Misfit has planted two buttons along its right side. Similar to the Misfit Phase, these buttons perform similar functions: upon pressing, the top button rotates the watch hands to show you your fitness tracking progress. The button near the bottom of the watch can execute a custom action that you can set within the Misfit app. This ranges from snapping a picture, picking up phone calls, resuming music, and more.

Where the Misfit Command really stands out is with its ability to provide much more information on the screen than most other hybrid smartwatches. Whereas, with its predecessor the Phase, you had to remember which color you had assigned to a type of notification, the small hand in the Command’s middle will point to the sort of notification piping through from your phone. It’s as elegant and simple as it should be.

On the wrist, this wearable feels weighty, but not overly so, and we’re happy with the way it looks, but of course that will come down to personal preference. Available in black steel, black copper, navy blue, and steel color options, there’s something for all tastes and wrist sizes.

Performance

We had the opportunity to check out the Misfit Command ahead of its reveal and while what we saw was the finished product, we didn’t personally have the chance to get acquainted with the full suite of features and tools at an owner’s disposal.

However, the Misfit representative provided a rather persuasive demo using that showed the Command responding quickly to smartphone notifications. Call it a “dumb” watch, but seeing the watch’s hands line up in formation to convey information showed that it has some smarts that we’re excited to tap into for the full review.

Perhaps, the most attractive aspect of the Command is its battery life, which is longer than you’ll see per-charge on a smartwatch. Far longer, in fact: this is Misfit’s first hybrid wearable to break the one-year battery life milestone. Even if it falls short by a few months, even six months of consecutive performance is impressive for a watch with any functionality beyond just telling the time.

Early verdict

The Misfit Command is a regal option to consider just in time for the holidays. There’s no doubting its confident design and impressively low asking price.

If you’re someone who is attracted to the idea of a more intelligent “dumb” watch, this could end up being one of the year’s best yet thanks to its one-year battery life. Keep an eye out for a full review to see how things pan out with Misfit’s latest.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.