Misfit Vapor smartwatch: Our first take

Misfit's first smartwatch is easy to use, and half the price of Android watches

Forget about Apple and Samsung: Misfit’s first smartwatch is the one to watch in 2017.

Up until recently, Misfit has been content to stick with screenless fitness trackers and smart analog watches. The Vapor changes all that. It is Misfit’s first smartwatch with a full touchscreen. Unlike most of the smartwatches Fossil Group’s brands have released, the Vapor isn’t running Android Wear. Misfit is still working on the software experience, but the watch already looks very polished.

Here are our first impressions of the Misfit Vapor and its software.

A simple, classy design

Misfit is well known for its sophisticated, simple design language. The Vapor continues in that vein with a fully circular 1.39-inch AMOLED screen, sleek metal watch casing, and silicon strap. The casing comes in a rosy gold or black finish and there’s only one button on the side, which serves as the power and back button. It’s not terribly thick for a smartwatch, and it looks perfectly at home on both male and female wrists. It’s always a pleasant surprise to find a smartwatch that suits my slim wrists.

Much like the Moto 360, Misfit’s Vapor is a solid option for women who want a smartwatch. It’s also worth noting that Misfit typically introduces new accessories, bands, and color combinations for each season — just like a fashion brand — so you can expect to see a variety of styles and metal finishes to follow.

The bands are very easy to swap using Misfit’s patented button system. Instead of the typical pin mechanism that most watchmakers use to change straps, the Vapor uses two little round button-like pegs. Of course, that means you’ll have to buy your watch straps from Misfit, but it is a much easier process.

Early software and a touchable bezel

It’s early days yet for the Vapor, so the software is far from final. Right now, it’s just the broad strokes, but it looks great. When you tap on the watch face, you’ll see a cool animation that looks like a ring of fire dance around the bezel’s edge to tell you how close you are to reaching your goal. Small icons on the watch face trigger apps like weather, music controls, and more. You can access all your apps with a press of the side button.

All your apps will range themselves along the circular bezel of the watch, so you can rotate through them with your finger just like you would on an old-fashioned phone dial. You just tap on an app to use it and hit the side button to get back to the previous screen. It looks a lot like Samsung’s Tizen circular interface, which is on the Gear S watches. Of course, all this could change over time as Misfit refines the experience. However, the basic flow should be similar on the final product.

The software was slick and lightning fast in our quick demo, which is no doubt thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip inside the watch. Misfit also added 4GB of storage for music, so you can listen to your tunes on Bluetooth headphones without having to carry your phone around. The watch will also likely have fitness tracking features and its heart rate monitor will ensure that your metrics are more accurate. Misfit said it will have a workout/activity tracking app, but we haven’t seen the final version yet.

The Vapor looks like a very intriguing new take on the smartwatch.

As for other apps, Misfit knows it doesn’t have the gravitas to set up its own app store and entice developers to make apps for a unique operating system, so the Vapor will have a few stock Misfit apps, the ability to reply via voice message, and a steady flow of notifications from any app on your smartphone. It’s a wise decision, but it will lessen the number of things you can do on the watch itself. Misfit argues that simplicity is better than being overwhelmed with features, though, which is also a fully valid point.

A bargain for $200

The Vapor is more of an advanced version of an analog smartwatch that has a screen than it is an Apple Watch competitor. However, it will likely appeal to those who are interested in trying out an attractive smartwatch for less money. Its $200 price point is $150+ below the cost of every Android Wear smartwatch and the latest Apple Watch.

The Vapor looks like a very intriguing new take on the smartwatch with its custom software and fashion-conscious design. We look forward to testing the final product later in 2017. Misfit has yet to give us a firm release date, so we’re left to hope the Vapor materializes before 2017 vanishes.

Highs

  • Attractive watch design
  • Reasonable $200 price
  • Zippy processing
  • Heart rate and fitness tracking
  • Intriguing circular navigation

Lows

  • Software is still in early stages of development
  • Not available until later in 2017
Product Review

This $295 smartwatch has the Armani name, but not the looks

The Armani Exchange AX Connected smartwatch does everything right. It has strong technical features, a good design, and isn’t over-priced. But is subtle brand name appeal enough to recommend it?
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for April 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Trash

Looking to get into shape? Snag one of these fitness trackers

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Deals

Apple Watch Series 3, Fitbit Charge 2 see price cuts from Walmart and B&H

Save around $50 on the Fitbit Charge 2 from Amazon and more than $100 on the Apple Watch Series 3 at B&H Photo Video and Walmart. These may be slightly older models, but they're still excellent fitness trackers and smartwatches.
Mobile

A Google patent hints at a new attempt at an augmented reality headset

Google may be working on another augmented reality headset. The company was awarded a patent for an augmented reality headset. Unfortunately, the patent isn't specific as to what the headset will look like.
Home Theater

Here are some common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Outdoors

When it's not keeping you dry, Gore wants to keep Silicon Valley innovating

The Gore Innovation Center in Santa Clara, California is designed to help tech start ups to create innovate new products that integrated Gore-Tex fabrics and other materials in wearables, health devices, and more.
Wearables

The North Focals smartglasses help you rock out with new Spotify support

The North Focals are a pair of smartglasses with a whole lot to offer. They not only look pretty good, but they allow you to get directions, check upcoming items on your calendar, and more. Here's everything you need to know.
Wearables

Army uses modified Microsoft HoloLens 2 for ‘real-life game of Call of Duty’

The U.S. Army gave CNBC an exclusive look at its modified Microsoft HoloLens 2 augmented reality headset. The Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, provides various functions for training and combat.
Wearables

Now is the time to pick up and wear a discounted TicWatch smartwatch

Mobvoi is running a promotion on two of its desirable smartwatches, the TicWatch C2 and the TicWatch Pro, where you can get 20-percent off the usual price. This brings our favorite, the C2, down to just $160.
Wearables

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch: Is more expensive better?

Samsung has finally launched its latest smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. The device is aimed at sporty people and is clearly well-designed. But is the new device better than Samsung's flagship watch?
Wearables

The ultimate golf watch isn’t a smartwatch. It’s Hublot’s Big Bang Unico Golf

Forget golf smartwatches, the Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf is the ultimate timepiece to wear out on the links. It's the world's first mechanical golf watch, and will keep score for you throughout the game.
Deals

Smartwatch deal: The Apple Watch Series 3 just dropped to $199

Now’s a perfect time to grab the last-gen (but still awesome) Apple Watch Series 3. It's a great wearable for those looking to hop into the world of smartwatches, and this limited-time deal makes the Series 3 even more attractive.
Health & Fitness

From the office to the gym, these are the best smartwatches for fitness

The line between smartwatch and fitness tracker continues to blur. To help narrow the field of the best fitness watches, we sifted through what's available and curated a list of devices worthy of a spot on your wrist.