Susan Dennis (susandennis) wrote,
Susan Dennis

The Battle of the Fitness Bans (not heavy metal)

I've been wearing, tracking, swearing at and thanking two different fitness bands. There are a million fitness bands out there. Of those, there are quite a bit fewer that are waterproof and even fewer that track swimming.

My two are:

Misfit Shine - $62.50 Mi Band - $23.00
shine mi
Amazon links and prices that change nearly daily but this is actually the lowest price I've seen for the Shine.

I was really hoping to come up with a clean and tidy list of pros and cons with checkboxes and, in the end, have a clear winner so I could walk away with only one.  Not happening.  So we're going with points here. Points are weighted by how important (or not) they are to me.

Both are great. Really.

They both are not huge or ugly and are comfortable to wear. The Shine has a clock that is funky to figure out but once you do, it kind of handy (+1).  You get info out of the shine by tapping it twice. You get info out of the Mi by swinging your arm and then looking at it. Not quite as weird as it soiunds but close. (-.5)

Both come to life with Android aps. And I would pretty much redesign both apps to make them better. Neither is great and they suck and shine in different ways. The Mi gets points for being the easiest. Click on the phone icon and it goes to your band and gets the info without your having to do anything. (+1). The Shine app has gotten considerably better in the 3 months I've used it but still, you have to click and then go to the right screen and then click sync and about 80% of the time it does it fairly quickly.

Both apps track sleep - total, light, etc. And do it automatically. And show you in the app. Yawn.

The Shine and it's app track individual activities. I tap it 3 times before I start to swim and then again when I am done. This isolates that time/action into an activity that I can then tell the app was swimming. It tracts other activities much the same way.  Once it's on the phone, you can cheat. You can totally make up an activity - type/time. And it will sync as if it is real. You can also edit one - tell it you swam longer/shorter... You can change your swim to basketball or socker. If you want.

The Shine tracks general activity without your having to do anything. If I do one of my inside walks - inside or outside - it will track it as light or moderate, depending on how fast I was going. (+1) Futzing around the house gets points but no activity.

The Shine has 12 lights to show you where you are progress wise (+1). The MI has 3 (-1).

Which brings me to Shine's most confusing downfall. It has a point system that works ok within its own ecosystem. I set the number of points and I know how how many points I got today or yesterday and I can compare and all is cool but... points aren't steps and aren't really comparable although Shine tries. It 'translates' them to steps and gives you calories burned off. But, still, it's confusing. (-1)

The Mi Band calls everything steps and measures them automatically. And gives you calories consumed.

Both give you miles and times. And there is literally no agreement. I can wear both for a day and they each report vastly different times I slept, how I slept, how many steps and for how long. It's really hilarious.

A made a little chart:

Screenshot 2015-07-14 at 4.09.34 PM

I have Shine set for 1,800 points per day. And the MI set for 10,000  per day.  When the MI band hits its goal, it vibrates on my wrist which I think is really nice of it. (+1).  When the Shine reaches its goal, when I double tape it all lights twinkle which is also nice.

The Shine can share data with one or two other apps (like Runtastic) and, oddly enough, Walgreens which gives me Walgreens points. Then when I get enough once in a while the cashier will say 'oh, you have $5 credit! wanna use it?' which is kind of fun but I think they are getting ready to shut that puppy down.

The MI Band can sync up with Google Fit (+2) which I like and if I were really anal, I could tag specific activies like swimming. But even I have my limits. At least I can always see it all online.

I grab the Shine data with IFTTT.Com. I have it set up to send the activity data to a spreadsheet evey day and the sleep data to another spreadsheet every day. So maybe I am anal.

The MI is cheap. Dirt cheap. I paid as much for a bunch of different colored bands as I did for the gadget to put in them. You can also buy different colored bands the the Shine but 1. there aren't as many options and 2. they are more expensive.

Last night I found an app that I can use to turn my MI band into more of a notification machine. Now it shows blue lights for progress. When I get email, it vibrates and gives me green lights.  A call gets yellow lights and vibrations... etc. There are lots of options.

I'd really like to toss them into a blender and pour the nearly perfect device!

p.s. Forgotten Stuff

The Shine is powered by a watch battery which lasts about a month, is cheap and easy to swap out with new.

The MI has a rechargeable battery and comes with a USB powered little sleeve you stick it into to charge. An intial charge takes about 2 hours.  The app sends an notification when it's fully charged. It follows the life. I just checked and the app says I charged it 9 days ago and there is 75% battery life left. I'm guessing it will tell me when I need to charge.

The Shine has an alarm - silent and regular - but ONLY if you hook it to an Apple App.

The MI has an alarm - visual and vibration, silent and regular for everyone. It wasn't a feature I was interested in but find I appreciate it more and more.
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