Misfit Vapor X review

Running out of steam

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Fitness tracking

  • GPS provides good route tracking
  • HR sensor is not quite as ‘best-in-class’ as claimed
  • A decent fitness tracker overall

The Misfit Vapor X has all the crucial elements of a good exercise tracker: GPS, a heart rate sensor, a bright screen, music playback, and water resistance.

Misfit does not add any of its own software, so you’ll have to use Google Fit unless you hunt down another app from Google Play. There’s nothing wrong with Fit for those who run 5K a couple of times a week to keep off the pounds, though.

The Misfit Vapor X’s GPS provides very good route tracking. Run with your phone and it will use its location data as standard, but the smartwatch seems to lock on to a location about as quickly when using its own chip.

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Heart rate measurements are mixed, though. The Misfit Vapor X frequently over-estimates resting heart rates, and we spotted a few unexpected peaks when recording walks and runs. Misfit claims this watch has a ‘best-in-class’ heart rate scanner, but it is an update or two away from perfection at the very least.

The Misfit Vapor X isn’t great for day-long heart rate monitoring either. Some fitness trackers provide measurements for every minute of every day, seemingly without killing the battery. But the all-day tracking mode here just offers readings every now and then.

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If exercise tracking is your main goal, consider a Garmin Forerunner 735XT, Garmin Vivoactive 3 or Forerunner 235 instead. And cheap GPS bands like the Huawei Band 3 Pro are arguably just as useful. Any tracker with decent GPS and a reasonable heart rate monitor is great for casual run tracking.

The Vapor X is a good fitness tracker, but every Wear OS band at the same price has the same core fitness features nowadays.

Features and performance

  • Newer Snapdragon Wear 3100 does not hugely revitalize Wear OS
  • NFC for Google Pay
  • 4GB of storage (1GB accessible) for music and apps

Wear OS watch features largely plateaued some time ago, but the Misfit Vapor X has all the parts you might ask for.

There’s NFC for Google Pay transactions, and an internal microphone lets you talk to Google Assistant. Just long-press the crown and its interface appears on-screen.

The Misfit Vapor X has 4GB of storage for extra apps, or music and podcasts downloaded for listening without a phone. You can connect a pair of wireless headphones directly to the smartwatch for this purpose.  You don’t get all 4GB of that to play with, of course - the majority is taken up by the operating system and preinstalled software. Before installing any third-party apps, our Misfit Vapor X had 0.95GB left, enough for a few albums but not a whole music collection.

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There were no extra apps pre-installed on our Misfit Vapor X, but the watch does come with a handful of tasteful, if fairly vanilla, watch faces.

None of these features are special for a Wear OS watch. But the Misfit Vapor X does have the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset, rather than the older Snapdragon Wear 2100 used in the Misfit Vapor 2. This had raised a few eyebrows at the older watch's release as the 3100 was already available, so it's good to see its successor included in this smartwatch.

The newer version adds a Cortex-M0 co-processor. This handles certain very low-intensity jobs, with the aim of increasing power efficiency.

It does not make the Misfit Vapor X much more powerful than its predecessor, though, as the Snapdragon 3100 has four primary Cortex-A7 cores just like the previous-generation version.

Sure enough, the Misfit Vapor X is not a hugely responsive watch, just like most other Wear OS bands. The basics of flicking between the watch face and apps screen are usually quick enough, and there’s little-to-none of the pervasive scroll lag that affects some old watches, but it’s simply not that snappy.

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Recently-run apps tend to appear in about a second. Those you open fresh take around 2.5-3 seconds to appear. It affects the shortcut hardware buttons on the watch too. The competition brings this into renewed focus.

Companies like Fitbit, Huawei and Samsung have wearable software platforms with much less scope than Wear OS, but these very limitations often help make them feel more responsive. Even Huawei’s much cheaper Band 3 Pro feels faster than the Misfit Vapor X. Sure, the former doesn’t do a great deal, but it does what it can do quickly.

The Misfit Vapor X and other Wear OS watches are not painfully slow, but the real uses for an extra-smart smartwatch are no clearer now than they were in 2014. Okay, apart from smart lights. Controlling those from a watch is neat.

Battery life

  • 1-day battery life
  • Battery-saving watch mode

The Misfit Vapor X has a 310mAh battery, and its stamina is the dismal Wear OS norm. We find it lasts around 25 hours. This is without having done anything of note. No GPS tracking, no app use, just the occasional brief look at some incoming notifications.

This is at the lower end of the Wear OS norm, only nudging its way into ‘acceptable’ longevity because the Misfit Vapor X uses the always-on screen mode as standard. Turn it off and you’ll be able to squeeze out a few more hours.

At this point, though, the limited distinct benefits of Wear OS arguably just aren’t worth its high maintenance style. Living with a smartwatch that lasts several days instead of one is much easier.

The Misfit Vapor X’s fitness tracking stamina is reasonable. An hour-long GPS-tracked run took 25% off the battery. Faster runners can use this wearable to track a marathon. Slow ones can’t.

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There’s also a battery-saver mode. This presumably makes best use of the co-processor of the Snapdragon 3100, as it doubles the battery life to two days. However, it also turns the watch into a basic timepiece. You can see the time and date, but that’s it.

Is there any more proof of quite how restrictive Wear OS is in a real-world sense? The Huawei Watch GT lasts up to two weeks doing all sorts, not just showing the time.

You recharge the battery using a little magnetized dock. This isn’t a wireless charger. It has two little metal prongs that make contact with rings on the Misfit Vapor X’s underside. Charging takes around an hour, which is faster than most competitors.

Andrew Williams

Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.