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Misfit Ray Fitness Tracker Goes for Style Points

LAS VEGAS - Continuing its trend of stylish and minimalist fitness trackers, Misfit launched the Ray, a $99 cylindrical fitness and sleep monitor that is designed to blend in with whatever you're wearing, yet still keep tabs on your steps and sleep.

Available this spring, the Misfit Ray is just 0.47 inches in diameter and about 1.5 inches long, and can be worn on the wrist or as a necklace. The tracker, made of aluminum, will come in rose gold or black, and can be attached to a variety of Misfit accessories.

Inside the Ray is a 3-axis accelerometer and a vibration motor and sensor that will not only buzz your wrist when a call or text comes in—or if you haven't been moving enough—but will also respond to taps from the wearer. As it's compatible with Misfit's Link technology, you can tap on the Ray to take a photo or turn on the lights in your house, to name a few examples.

During my time with the Ray here at CES 2016, I was pleased at how bright and colorful the device's LED bulb was. I also liked the gentle strength of the vibrating motor, which Misfit told me it painstakingly set to be strong enough to wake you from sleep. Ray will also keep track of your light sleep and restful sleep.

When you tap on the cylindrical module, the Ray's LED light will glow red once if you have met less than 25 percent of your fitness goal, twice if you're between 25 and 50 percent, thrice from 50 to 75 percent and four times between 75 and 99 percent. When you hit your target, the light will pulse through a series of rainbow colors.

In many ways, the Ray is a cylindrical version of its $99 Shine 2 activity tracker, which performs all of the same functions, but is shaped like a disc. However, the Ray has a single LED, whereas the Shine 2 has an array of lights around its circumference that can show the time, as well as how far you've come on your day's goals. They Ray is also water resistant to 165 feet.

As most people stop wearing their fitness trackers after about a month, Misfit is banking on the fact that the Ray will be stylish and adaptable enough that consumers won't be as conscious about wearing it in a variety of situations. But at $99, the Ray will face a lot of competition from other budget fitness trackers, such as the Fitbit Flex and Fitbit One, the Jawbone Up2, and, of course, the Misfit Shine 2.

Stay tuned for our hands-on to see if the Ray has staying power.