Misfit’s new fitness tracker comes in at less than $60. The Flare is a device completely devoid of all bells and whistles for the sake of offering users simple tracking functionality without losing an arm and leg in the process.
It’s a logical play for the Fossil-owned hardware maker. After all, Misfit’s roots lie in simple trackers like the Ray and the modular Shine. Though this one slots into the company’s growing product line at a full $40 cheaper than those devices. Ditto for Fitbit’s entry-level Flex 2.
The wrist-worn wearable tracks steps, distance and calories. Its aluminum face features a decidedly minimalistic single LED in its center. With a tap, it will alert the wearer of how close they are to their daily goal. One flash is a quarter, two is half and so forth. It’s sort of a Morse Code for fitness tracking.
It will do some basic sleep tracking, through the Misfit app, which also lets users tag specific activity types. And with Misfit Link, users can essentially turn it into a “smart button” for different connected activities. And that’s pretty much it. It lacks the aesthetic appeal that’s long been Misfit’s trademark (making the name somewhat ironic, perhaps), along with some now-standard tracker features like heart-rate monitoring.
Really, it’s the company’s polar opposite of the forthcoming $200 Vapor watch it announced back at CES. Instead, it’s a play at the low-end of the market, one of the few growing spaces in the stagnant fitness tracking space, where even the industry leader Fitbit is struggling to keep its head above water.
Of course, the low end of the market is equally competitive — if not more so. Xiaomi was a rare bright spot in IDC’s recent wearable numbers, thanks to ridiculously cheap offerings like the Mi Band, which couples a display with heart-rate monitoring on a device that runs around $23. At the very least, Misfit does have an existing ecosystem, some name recognition and the might of Fossil behind it, but, ultimately, the Flare is more of a play at filling out the company’s line than it is a shot across the bow against other low-end fitness trackers.