Misfit’s first touchscreen smartwatch is the Misfit Vapor, and it runs Google’s Android Wear operating system. It stands out from the rest of the Android Wear competition because not only does it offer heart-rate tracking at a low price, but it also has a unique touch-sensitive bezel.
That’s right — like the Samsung Gear S3 and the Gear Sport, you can use the edges around the watch face to scroll through menus and notifications. The key difference is the bezel physically moves on the Samsung’s watches, whereas there are no moving parts on the Vapor. While it’s not as stylish as some of the more recent Android Wear smartwatches, we thoroughly enjoyed wearing the Misfit Vapor. Let’s take a closer look.
Slim and simple design
Despite its large size, the Misfit Vapor manages to sit comfortably on the wrist. It has a 1.39-inch fully-round AMOLED display in a 44mm stainless steel case, with a thickness of 13.5 mm. It feels slimmer than it looks. As a unisex smartwatch, men may not find the size too different from traditional watches; but while the watch is on the bigger side for women, we appreciate the larger screen size because it’s easier to read alerts.
The smartwatch comes in a variety of color styles – Jet, Stainless Steel, Rose Tone, and Gold Tone. If you choose Rose Tone case, you’ll also have the option of going with a Midnight Blue Sport Strap or the Rose Beige Sport Strap. The Gold Tone case comes with the Desert Sport Strap while the Stainless Steel and Jet come with black straps.
We tested the Jet color, which is an all black case with a silicone black strap. It looks minimal and simple, but we didn’t find anything compelling about the watch’s design. Take a closer look and you’ll also notice the strap is a dust and lint magnet. It fits well and the watch is comfortable, but thankfully the 20mm bands are interchangeable — we recommend swapping it out. The included bands make the Vapor look sporty, but swap to a leather or nylon band and it can quickly turn into a dressier watch.
It looks minimal and simple.
The Vapor only has one button on the side, but it’s not very pronounced. It’s clicky, and you can use it to access installed apps, such as Android Messages, your contacts, and even the Google Play Store to download more apps. Hold down the button and you can call upon the Google Assistant to ask it to set reminders, ask about the weather, ask general queries, and more.
But the highlight of this watch is the touch-sensitive bezel. Simply brush your finger along the black edges of the watch to browse through menus and notifications. It’s more natural than a rotating crown like on the Apple Watch, and it also means you don’t have to block your view of the screen with your finger. Better yet, it reduces the amount of fingerprints on the display. If you have slightly bigger fingertips, you may run into some issues touching the screen instead of the bezel, disrupting the experience.
Occasional lag, vibrant display
As with almost all Android Wear smartwatches, the Misfit Vapor is powered by the dated Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor. We did encounter lag more often on this watch — which we didn’t on other Android Wear devices — when loading specific apps. Otherwise, swiping through apps was smooth and quick. There’s 4GB of internal storage so you can store music to the watch, and play them via Bluetooth-connected earbuds.
With 326 pixels-per-inch, the display resolution is sharp, and the AMOLED screen easily gets bright enough to see in broad daylight. The inky blacks help make the colors pop off the screen.
But for a smartwatch meant to endure workouts, we found the glass protecting the screen scratched easily, and we’ve already noticed a scuff mark on the casing. The watch is only $200, and while we’re not expecting sapphire glass, it’d be nice to not worry about scuffing up the watch too much on a hike or run.
Android Wear is simple to use
The Android Wear operating system has significantly improved since Google introduced version 2.0 last February. The Vapor runs Android Wear 2.7, and it has all the features we’ve come to expect like the Google Assistant and the Google Play Store. Sadly, there’s no way to use Android Pay to make contact-less payments, because the Vapor does not have an near-field communications sensor (NFC).
Android Wear is really simple to use. Swipe down to access your settings, and swipe up to view your notifications (or use the touch-sensitive bezel). Tap on a notification to read it in full, and you will get options to interact with them — you can delete emails, respond to messages, and more.
When replying to text messages or other notifications using your smartwatch, you can use your voice, scribble letters, or type through the keyboard. There are also Smart Replies, which are short, contextually-relevant phrases you can send to people if you’re in a rush. We preferred gesture-typing with the keyboard since it’s quick and easy.
Customizing your look is easy as pie. Swipe left on the watch face to scroll through preset options, and tap the gear icon to customize these faces exactly to your liking by changing the colors or by shifting around the subdials that give you extra details at a glance.
For a smartwatch that’s meant to endure workouts, the display scratches easily.
Misfit does try to distinguish its watch over the competition with its own micro-apps: Forecast, a weather app where the background mimics the current weather, a world clock, Misfit Activity, Misfit Activity Review, and Misfit Pulse — we’ll get into the last three soon.
While Android Wear is compatible with the iPhone, you should know its capabilities are limited. For example, you cannot respond to iMessages, and you need to have the Android Wear app open in the background to make sure the watch is paired. We recommend the Apple Watch Series 3 for iPhone users, and for the best experience with this watch, use an Android phone.
Easily track daily activity
The Misfit Vapor’s second unique feature is its heart-rate sensor. Wearables with heart-tracking capabilities are nothing new, but there aren’t a lot of other Android Wear smartwatches with such a sensor at just $200. The Vapor’s closest competitor is the Mobvoi Ticwatch S.
Placed underneath the watch, the Vapor can track your heart rate both manually and automatically. We’d randomly glance at the Vapor during the day to find it taking our pulse. By tapping “See More,” you can see previous measurements from the same day. Toggling on the “Smart Sample” option will also enable the Vapor to measure your heart rate intermittently during workouts — so you don’t have to think about it.
With the Misfit Vapor, you can either use Google Fit and Fit Workout to track your activity, or you can sync your smartwatch to the Misfit Activity app on Android and iOS. On the smartwatch, the Misfit Activity app allows you to track exercises like walking, running, cycling, swimming, and hiking based on time, distance, or no goal.
We found the metrics it tracks to be accurate, and the heart-rate sensor was only off by two beats when we compared it with a manual test.
The heart-rate sensor was only off by two beats.
The Vapor doesn’t have GPS built-in, but like other Android Wear watches, it can use the GPS from your smartphone. The Misfit Activity phone app utilizes this to show you your progress on a map, but you can’t see this on the watch itself, which is a shame.
You can see a summary of your workout statistics by opening the Misfit Review Android Wear app. To see data from more than a day of workouts, you’ll need to use the Misfit Activity app on your phone. It’s well-designed, and the data includes calories burned, steps taken, distance traveled, and your pulse readings throughout the day.
You’ll be happy to know the Vapor is swim proof up to 5ATM, or about 50 meters. It’s why the watch can also track your swims. Sadly, there are no built-in sleep tracking capabilities. It’s a feature available on several other smartwatches, and this is a feature lacking with Android Wear, not necessarily the Vapor. Still, it would be nice to see Misfit add it in as a micro-app.
Standard one-day battery life
The Misfit Vapor comes equipped with a magnetic charging puck. When it was completely dead, it only took us about an hour and a half to reach a full charge.
The charging puck forces you to magnetically attach it to the watch a certain way, which can be a tad annoying. We prefer a dock-styled charger, or at least a flat charger you can attach any way like the ones Fossil provides for its watches.
Misfit claims the Vapor can last 24 hours on a full charge, and it did. On a full charge, the Vapor lasted us an entire day — with about 16 percent remaining the following morning. We didn’t use it excessively for fitness tracking (though the watch was periodically tracking our heart rate), but we did send text messages and interacted with notifications. Don’t expect a full day of battery life if you start tracking your activities.
The Misfit Vapor will cost you $200, and the price is the same for all the other color variants. It’s available now from Misfit’s website, Best Buy, Amazon, Macy’s, Dillard’s, and other retailers nationwide.
Misfit offers a limited two-year warranty that covers manufacturing defects, but it doesn’t cover accidental damage to the case or watch strap.
The Misfit Vapor is a comfortable and minimal smartwatch, with a sharp, large display and a slim case. Its heart-rate and fitness tracking capabilities — paired with its Android Wear smarts — make it a bargain for just $200.
Are there better alternatives?
Yes. For women, if you’re looking for a classier Android Wear smartwatch that’s less sporty, the Fossil Q Venture is a great choice that has similar specifications minus the heart-rate sensor. The display is smaller, and while there are bedazzled options, there are subtle color variants that look flattering on the wrist during the day and night. It’s a little more expensive than the Vapor, with prices ranging from $255 to $275 depending on the style. The Fossil Q Explorist is the men’s version that’s also a solid alternative, though with no heart-rate tracking.
There’s also the Michael Kors Access Sofie, which starts at $350 and goes all the way up to $495. The watch face includes a pavé set stone design for a more luxurious look. It’s not fitness-focused, like the Q Venture. The men’s version is the Michael Kors Access Grayson.
The closest alternative in terms of features and price is the unisex Mobvoi Ticwatch S, which also costs $200 and has a heart-rate sensor. It’s a little more stylish and looks sportier.
There’s also the Huawei Watch 2, which packs a heart-rate sensor along with a GPS and has an improved build-quality. Unlike more recent Android Wear watches, it has NFC for contactless payments through Android Pay. For iPhone users, we recommend the Apple Watch Series 3 since all its features will easily work with your device.
How long will it last?
The Misfit Vapor will last you for two years at the very least. It may look scuffed up and you may need to replace the bands, but it’s the battery performance that will likely start to wane around the two year mark. The watch will also likely stop receiving software updates after two years.
Should you buy it?
Absolutely. If you have an Android phone and are in the market for a smartwatch with a heart-rate sensor, then the Misfit Vapor is a great option.