Hands on: Misfit Phase review

Misfit's first watch may not be what you expected

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

Misfit's first smartwatch is an analogue device with some great fitness features packed in, but is it worth choosing over a digital smartwatch?

For

  • Great look
  • Long-lasting battery

Against

  • Thick design
  • Limited features

Misfit has just announced its first true smartwatch - the Misfit Vapor - but the company has also made an analogue, hybrid watch that you'll be able to buy before the smartwatch.

The Misfit Phase is the first hybrid watch from the company, despite the firm making fitness trackers for a number of years now.

The Misfit Phase comes with a classic looking watch face but also tracks your steps, distance traveled and more.

Misfit Phase price and release date

The Misfit Phase is out now in the US, UK and Australia. You can buy it directly from the Misfit website for $175 (£165, AU$250).

That's quite a lot of money compared to other Misfit products, but is a similar price to other analogue smartwatches you can buy right now. For example, the Withings Steel HR costs a touch more at $179.95/£169.95 (about AU$300).

Design and features

The Misfit Phase looks like a stylish watch you'd wear on a daily basis - this will negate the day-to-day problem of most fitness trackers where they don't fit in with your normal, everyday wardrobe.

The watch itself is large and may be too big for some wrists. You can buy either a small or large strap version of the Misfit Phase, but the case only comes in a 41mm size.

It feels good quality and is made of satin aluminum and stainless steel.

It's also water resistant, but we wouldn't want to wear this swimming without an appropriate strap.

There are a selection of different watch faces and hands for the Misfit Phase. There's Black, Black and Rose Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, Navy and Gold or Navy and Grey. For the purpose of this review you'll see the Navy and Grey version throughout.

The casing looks good, but it feels a little thick and will stand out from your wrist quite a bit.

It's easy to interact with the Misfit Phase though, using two buttons at the 2 o'clock and 4 o'clock positions of the watch.

Pressing the top button will show you how close you are to your fitness goal for the day. If you've set it up for 10,000 steps a day and you've achieved 5,000 the hands will go half way around the watch face.

If you've reached your target, they'll go the full way round to 12 o'clock.

The bottom button can be programmed for different functions - at the moment we have it set up to pause or play music, but you can also use it to take a selfie from your phone or control different smart devices in your home.

You'll also receive notifications through the Misfit Phase.

Unlike a device like the Apple Watch 2, this won't show you who is trying to contact you - it'll just vibrate when you're receiving a call, a text or an alarm.

The Misfit app makes it simple to set up the Phase and also gives you a variety of ways to see how your fitness regime is going. This is where you'll see the steps you've taken and how many calories you've burnt.

You can also use the Misfit Phase for sleeping tracking, but we don't think it would be a comfortable device to wear at night considering how bulky and heavy it feels on the wrist.

Battery-wise the Misfit Phase is impressive, as it runs off a traditional watch battery and will last at least six months.

Early verdict

Misfit may have created one of the most useful and attractive hybrid smartwatches on the market.

The thick and heavy design doesn't suit everyone and isn't as attractive as some of the other hybrid products out there from classic watch brands, but this offers a lot of features those devices don't.

Step tracking on a good looking device like this makes for a great wearable and this could be the perfect option for anyone who doesn't want a flashy smartwatch with limited battery life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James is Phones, Wearables and Tablets writer for TechRadar and covers all the big announcements from the best manufacturers making gadgets for your palms, wrists and face. Based in London, James is often testing out the latest and greatest phones, smartwatches, VR headsets and - when he can be motivated to go outside - fitness bands. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest from the mobile world.

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.