Hands on: Swarovski Shine review

Shine bright like a solar powered Swarovski ... Shine

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

Misfit's new Swarovski Shine collection is a lovely addition to the fitness tracker world. The solar powered tracker could also be the next big thing in wearables - if it works right.

For

  • Looks like real jewelry
  • Interchangeable accessories
  • Supposedly solar powered

Against

  • Expensive
  • Face is hard to see
  • Tapping didn't always bring up time

The latest from Misfit is undoubtedly its trendiest fitness tracker yet. Misfit has always strived for fashion, similar to the approach Withings has taken with its Activité and Activité Pop, but with the new Swarovski partnership, Misfit has taken it one step further.

By combining the Shine with nine different accessories, the fitness tracker is now even more of a discreet part of your day to day wardrobe. The different jewelry-esque pieces are a bit pricier than the Misfit Flash or original Misfit Shine though you get a diverse assortment to choose from.

From the wrap around Slake bracelets, the three pendants and the fancier watchbands, you can spend between $69.99 to $149.99 (about £46.14-98.88, AU$85.66-183.57). There are also three different sets that come with more than one accessory with prices that range between $169.99 to $249.99 (about £112.07-164.81, AU$208.05-305.96).

Then there's a solar powered jewel that is perhaps the most interesting part of the Shine collection - and it's not even up for pre-ordering yet. However it was on the CES 2015 show floor brightly on display.

Misfit Swarovski Shine

The violet Swarovski Shine uses a patented "energy crystal" technology to allow for efficient solar charging on a small surface to power itself. The way the crystal is cut also supposedly allows the jewel to harness light better.

Misfit is claiming that the purple hued crystal is the "the world's first wireless activity and sleep tracker that utilizes an energy harvesting technology." The Shine simply needs to be exposed to light the retain a charge and doesn't require a cord or batteries.

Misfit Swarovski Shine

Both the clear and violet crystal face designs feature the usual trackers: step, distance, calories, sleep quality and duration. They also use the same Misfit app

They are also waterproof to 50 meters, and with a hard double-tap on the top of the crystal, it will tell the time via a glowing ring of LEDs.

Misfit Swarovski Shine

Though each time the representative tried to tap the crystal, it took a little while for the lights to pop up. My own taps apparently weren't enough for the sensor to register and the rep had to do it herself. Once the Shine worked, it was also difficult to actually see the LEDs underneath the crystal face. I couldn't tell if the devices weren't working or defective, after all, the battery lives are supposed to outlast the barrage of CES attendees, right? I'd have to test out the Swarovski's longer to see just how well they work, but they were undeniably fishy on the show floor.

Misfit Swarovski Shine

The new wrist bands were comfortable and definitely fashionable. The previous Misfit straps already fit me decently and these weren't any different. The Slake wrap around was a little loose but should fit normal wrists perfectly fine. I'm not a huge fan of jewelry but I ended up longingly eyeing the black Slake strap.

Misfit Swarovski Shine

Early Verdict

Admittedly all the new Shine products looked better in person than I had expected. I can see these Swarovski creations making great gifts for the moms, aunts and female friends in my life who are looking to get into fitness. Heck, I can even see it as a fitness incentive; they're already wearing a fitness device, why not download the app and actually use it?

I'm also hoping the defective crystal faces are merely a show floor snafu considering all you have to do is press the face on the Flash and Shine to see the LEDs. Seeing the lights is also another point to consider in depth later on since it was hard to make out anything through the crystals. I also didn't get to try out the actual tracking functions in depth though they're supposed to work in the same manner as the previous Misfit iterations.

The solar powered Misfit Shine is also a reasonable step for fitness tracking wearables. Charging all my smartwatches and fitness trackers has always been a huge hassle - especially with proprietary cords and cradles. Misfit has already been fantastic for its four and six month long battery lives with the original Shine and Flash, respectively. Now with the promise of a lifetime battery thanks to solar energy, it seems like the company will forge a new path for wearables.

The Misfit Swarovski Shine collection will be available for pre-order in the US exclusively on misfit.com, and will be for sale this spring in Swarovski retail locations in the US, Hong Kong and China and on Swarovski.com. The solar powered Shine will be on sale in June. Other global markets have yet to be announced though should also be on the roster for release.

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.