Of all the activity trackers out there, Misfit's minimalist disk-shaped device is probably the least conspicuous and most stylish. Which is why it's a good thing the company kept the same design for its second-generation Shine 2, which, while slightly larger than the original, is slightly thinner. Available the first week of November for $99, the Shine 2 features a few other noteworthy improvements, which I discovered in my hands-on with the device.
At first glance, the Shine 2 looks pretty much the same as the original: A round disk made of machined aluminum that's thickest in the middle (8 mm) and tapers towards the edges. The Shine 2 is a little heavier, but it's doubtful you'll notice its 0.3-ounce weight on your wrist. Like the first Shine, there's a circle of tiny LED lights around its edge that tell you the time and your progress. However, on the Shine 2, the LEDs are multicolored, so it's easier to tell the difference between the time, how many steps you've taken, and if a call is coming in.
Additionally, the Shine 2 has a 3-axis magnetometer to go along with its 3-axis accelerometer, which the company says will improve the accuracy of its sleep and motion tracking. The face of the Shine 2 now has a touch sensor, which not only makes it easier to interact with the device, but can be used for swipe features in the future. A vibration motor can be used as an alarm, or to alert you that a call or text message is coming in.
Like the original, the Shine 2 can be connected to a variety of smart home devices, such as the Logitech Harmony Hub and IFTTT, to trigger actions when you tap the device. For example, a double tap on the Shine 2 can trigger your lights to turn on, or snap a picture with your smartphone's camera.
Among sub-$100 activity trackers, there's a fair amount of competition, including the Jawbone Up2, Fitbit One and Fitbit Flex. However, the uniqueness of the Shine 2's design -- which allows it to be worn as a wristband, on your hip or as a pendant -- could be a deciding factor for those who want an inexpensive device for measuring their steps and sleep.