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[Accessory Review Challenge] Misfit Vapor X

  1. john.awad
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Sep 14, 2020

    john.awad , Sep 14, 2020 :
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    (Note: You might have to wait for the GIFs to load completely)

    Ever since I was a kid, I always wore a digital wristwatch (I was a Casio fan). I loved being able to add my friends' phone numbers, and time how long I could hold my breath. And as a tech enthusiast, when I heard that Android was coming to watches, I immediately hopped on the bandwagon and bought myself a Moto 360.

    Fast forward to 2020 (passing through the Moto 360 Sport and the Samsung Gear S2), I now have a Misfit Vapor X, which I snagged for $40 (down from $280) during Misfit's crazy sale in August.

    Misfit is owned by Fossil, and they've released several Wear OS watches since 2017. The latest, the Vapor X, released in August 2019, is basically a repackaged Fossil Sport with a few modifications.

    Let's dive in!



    The Specs

    Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100
    RAM: 512MB
    Storage: 4GB
    Battery: 300mAh
    Size: 42mm circular design, 20mm swappable bands with quick release
    Display: 1.19 inch, 328 x 328 pixels, AMOLED
    Features: Accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate, GPS, altimeter, ambient light sensor, NFC (for Google Pay)
    Hardware buttons: Middle button with scrollable crown, 2 customizable side buttons
    Water resistance: 5ATM, up to 30m underwater. OK for shallow water swimming and showering
    Speaker: No
    LTE: No
    WiFi: Yes
    OS: Wear OS by Google



    Packaging, hardware, and design

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    Packaging and accessories


    The box is, quite literally, a box. It has a transparent top, from which you can see the watch. The sides have a quick features listing, and some cheesy lines that are supposed to appeal to the younger generation.
    In the box, you will find:

    • The watch
    • A charger (wireless)
    • A quick start guide and warranty information
    You will not, however, find an adapter. So you'll have to either pick one up, or use any old 5V, 0.5A brick lying around. The charger and the back of the watch are magnetic, so it snaps on very easily, with a satisfying *click*. It is wireless, but the watch will not work with other chargers because it uses a unique system to align itself.

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    You can almost hear it!


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    Hardware and design

    The Vapor X exists in 3 different case colors: Black, Stainless Steel, and Rose Gold-Tone. I picked up the Black version with the Jet Silicone Strap and it looks so sleek and stealthy. The case has a beautiful soft matte finish, and it matches very well with the strap, which has a deep, rich black color. The watch is lightweight (43g), and sits comfortably on the wrist. It fits my average sized wrist well, and is not cumbersome. I was initially not a big fan of the 4 protruding lugs, but after using it for some time, it's actually not that bad. I came from the Samsung Gear S2, which doesn't have this lug design, and I think it looks cleaner. But it comes down to personal preference.

    The bands have a quick release mechanism so you can easily exchange them with other 20mm ones. The silicone band has 2 loops, and a nub at the end of the strap to prevent the loops from sliding off, so it sits securely and won't accidentally come off. However, the nub makes it very difficult to strap and unstrap the watch, because it snags the loops on its way in or out. I also found that the band accumulates some dust quite easily, but it's not too bad or immediately noticeable. And after some time of using it, I noticed some gunk on the underside of the straps, most likely due to sweat, water, and soap from hand washing.



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    The underside can accumulate some dirt and gunk from exposure to water, sweat, and soap


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    The nub at the end of the strap secures the loops, but make it harder to strap and unstrap the band


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    I feel like the loops will be the first things to break on this watch


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    The band quick release mechanism is quite handy!


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    The band does pick up some dust, but it's less obvious/annoying in reality than on pictures


    There are 3 hardware buttons. The middle one acts as a home button, as well as opening the app drawer. It is also a rotating crown used for scrolling up and down lists (in the app drawer, notifications, settings, etc.). I find it very practical, and I use it very often! The 2 side buttons are user customizable, and can be set to various shortcuts, from launching Google Pay, to opening an app, to turning on the screen flashlight. I've set mine to flashlight and stopwatch. There's no back button, and it cannot be programmed, so you're stuck with swiping right on the watch to go back. But I personally don't mind that much.


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    Scrolling with the crown is a joy
    The watch lacks a speaker, but I don't really miss it. I don't think I would've used it, except for some rare times where I couldn't access my phone. Having the OnePlus 8 as my daily driver, the haptics on the Vapor X feel very loose, so I believe it's using an Eccentric Rotating Mass vibration motor, which feels cheap and low quality. I would have preferred better quality haptics.

    I was delighted at the presence of good water resistance. The Vapor X is rated for 5ATM, and up to 30m underwater. Misfit claims it's good for showering and shallow water swimming. Just don't take it diving or jumping off high platforms and cliffs. I took it out for a swim, and it survived just fine! Now I can just leave my watch on while in the water. They even claim you can wear it in seawater, but make sure to rinse it well with fresh water afterwards. I personally would rather not wear in salty water. It does not, however, include any first party swim tracking, and you will have to find 3rd party solutions from the Play Store. It would have been nice, for a water resistant watch, to include this feature.


    Software, features, and performance

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    Software and features

    The Vapor X runs Wear OS by Google. The current version I have is 2.17, released in April 2020. It is what you would expect from a Wear OS watch: decent performance - not top notch, okay battery life, and good features.

    The watch face is, of course, customizable. There's many first party choices, but if that doesn't suit your preference, there are countless 3rd party watch faces on the Play Store. Most watch faces can be customized with "complications", such as battery percentage, weather, heart rate, and other app/system shortcuts, so you will probably find a combination that suits you.

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    Google Fit watch face

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    Lucid Watch Face


    From the homescreen, you can swipe in any direction: Down for quick settings, up for notifications, right for Google Assistant, and left for tiles. Tiles is a relatively new addition to Wear OS, and allows you to place up to 5 full screen "widgets" such as weather, Google Fit progress, hand washing timer, and more. It is missing 3rd party app tiles though.

    The built in fitness tracking is performed by Google Fit, which, for my needs is quite enough. It automatically tracks workouts such as runs, walks, and bike rides, and you can later see them on the watch, or on the phone app. You can also manually track workouts and start other exercises such as the "Breathe" exercise, which guides you in 2 minutes of slow breathing. The animations in that exercise are beautiful and calming.


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    So smooth!
    One of my favorite apps to use on a smartwatch is Google Keep. This might sound benign, but for me this is one of the most important apps/features that I have missed so much when I was using the Samsung Gear S2. Let me explain: I use Google Keep as a shopping list. My wife and I can both edit it, and it supports Google Assistant. All we have to do is say "OK Google, add tomatoes to my groceries list", and *poof*, it's added. At the grocery store, I open the list on Keep, see the items, and check them as they're done. No fiddling around with the phone while struggling with the cart and the groceries. I just glance at my wrist. It's such a practical experience from start to finish which was just not possible except with a Wear OS watch. I was so happy that I could do this again when I switched back to Wear OS.

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    Google Keep is an essential app for me


    Another feature I had missed on the Gear S2 was Google Maps directions/navigation. I bike often, and sometimes I need directions, so I just start navigation on my phone, and follow directions on my watch. I can even open the Maps app, and follow the map there. This was impossible on my Gear S2, and I was so glad to get that feature again.

    One thing that is missing is the ability to download offline music from Spotify and use the watch untethered, for example when going for a run. Right now, the only thing you can do with the Spotify app on Wear OS is control music. So first you need to start the music on your phone, and then you can control it with the app. But the built in media controls can do that just fine. So until Spotify adds offline support on Wear OS, their app is quite useless. The Vapor X packaging even advertises offline music playback, but when I found the relevant support article online, they just say you must have a paid 3rd party subscription, and that you must download their app and download music for offline use.


    Performance

    In terms of performance, the consensus is that a minimum of 1GB of RAM is needed for a minimal lag experience on Wear OS, so at 500MB, the Vapor X does struggle a bit, but not nearly as much as older Wear OS watches. This was evident while setting up the watch and installing system updates: everything was laggy, the touchscreen often did not respond, and it was an overall poor experience. But once all the updates were done, and the watch settled for a day or 2, performance went up again. Google Assistant, however, is really hit or miss. Sometimes it works flawlessly, and other times it just wouldn't respond. That's one thing I wish Google would improve. But for day to day use (checking notifications and tiles, media controls, etc.) I don't notice significant lag apart from the occasional hiccup. In general, scrolling is smooth and the responsiveness is good enough. And hey, for 40 bucks on sale, there really isn't much for me to complain about. But I'd expect more if I had to pay $200 for this watch.

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    Yes, Google, I know there was a problem, *sigh*

    Battery

    Battery life is an area that has gotten a little better in Wear OS, but still needs improvement. With all features turned on (Location, always-on screen, tilt-to-wake, WiFi, NFC), the battery usually lasts the day for me, but I am always aware of the battery and I'm trying not to use my watch too much. With always-on screen turned off, I can finish the day with about 30% left, which is not bad at all. But I wouldn't be comfortable manually tracking an activity without charging first or turning off always-on screen. Misfit also has different battery modes (borrowed from Fossil) that can quickly be changed from quick settings. You can choose from 4 different modes: Daily, Extended, Custom, and Time Only. Daily has most features turned on, while Extended turns off some of them like always-on screen. Custom mode, as the name suggests, lets you manually choose which features to turn on or off, and that's what I use, so I can tailor the enabled features to my liking. Time Only mode turns off all features except the time (pressing the button shows the time briefly), so it's supposed to give you a few extra hours on low battery, or, as they claim, "weeks on a full charge". This is definitely helpful if you know you won't have access to charging for a while.

    Google also promised a new system update coming in the fall, that will improve both performance and battery. Hopefully we'll be able to see some real improvements!


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    The Custom battery mode

    Final thoughts

    Despite the general opinion that Samsung's Tizen OS is better than Wear OS, I was so glad to switch back from the Gear S2, to the Vapor X. Wear OS, in my opinion, is much more compatible with Android (duh), and this is very important to me. I love accessing Keep for my groceries list, notification management (quick replies!), and customizable watch faces.

    The Misfit Vapor X is a great package for those features, despite some performance and battery shortcomings. With its lightweight, comfortable, and elegant matte black design, it is a great smartwatch to have. I'm just afraid of breaking the strap loops when wearing and removing the watch from my wrist. The scrollable crown is a joy to use, and it's so satisfying to scroll with. I can finally take my watch for a swim, thanks to 5ATM water resistance.

    Day to day use, notification management, media controls and fitness tracking all perform well with little issues. Google Assistant needs to be improved in terms of performance and responsiveness though.
    There's plenty of 3rd party apps and watch faces, so customization is solid. The different battery modes are so helpful and are well designed. You can easily see the active/inactive features in each mode, and this helps give you an idea about which ones are battery hungry. Most importantly, you can effortlessly set up your own custom mode.

    I am really happy with this watch, and I'm looking forward to keeping it for a while.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020

    #1
  2. Starcommander
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Sep 14, 2020

    Starcommander , Sep 14, 2020 :
    Hey mate, nice review. But some of the images are broken. I can't wait to see them
     

    #2
    john.awad and Salt505 like this.
  3. john.awad
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Sep 14, 2020

    john.awad , Sep 14, 2020 :
    Thanks for the heads up! I can see them fine on my end. I think it could be a Google Photos issue, I'll switch them over to another image hosting service!

    Edit: Should be fine now. You might need to wait a bit for the gifs to fully load.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020

    #3
  4. TheGadgetGirl
    The Lab - OnePlus 8T Reviewer Oct 1, 2020


    #4
    john.awad likes this.
  5. john.awad
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Oct 1, 2020


    #5
    TheGadgetGirl likes this.