The Misfit Flash Link is basically a Misfit without a wristband. It’s only $19.99, making it one of the least expensive fitness trackers on the market. You can track activity like steps and miles, set fitness goals, and—new to Misfit—control music, take selfies, and flip through slide presentations by pressing its button. Those new features will be made available across the rest of the Misfit wearable line like the original Flash and the Misfit Shine, but for now they’re only on the Link. And the new Misfit Link app is also iOS-only; an Android version is promised in the future. But if you have an iPhone and want to dabble in self-quantification, but don’t want to spend more than a night at the movies, you’ll find a lot to like in the Flash Link.
Design and Features
The Flash Link comes in one of four colors: Onyx (black), Frost (white), Reef (teal), or Coca-Cola Red. It resembles an unassuming little coin—it’s just barely wider than a quarter and about as thick as a few stacked together. Like the Flash and the Shine, it’s a button that you can wear, and when you press it, a dial of lights illuminates around the edge. How far around the lights flash indicates how close you are to meeting your activity goal for the day. The Misfit Flash Link can also tell time when it’s in Activity Tracker mode, just like the original Misfit Flash. Swimmers can wear the waterproof tracker to see how long sessions last, and whether they were light, average, or intense workouts. If you take your Flash Link for a run or a swim without your phone, it will store your activity information until the next time you sync it.
Unlike the original Flash, the Link only comes with a hard plastic clip rather than a stretchy, comfortable wristband. Though I found the Link comfortable to wear on one side of my T-shirt collar, I much prefer having access to a fitness tracker by raising my hand rather than blindly tapping it while it’s on my sternum. This is an easy problem to solve, however: you can spend the ten extra dollars for the original Misfit Flash, which includes a wristband in addition to the clip, and will eventually gain the new features that are unique to the Link. Also, I realize that some people prefer a clip to a wristband. If that’s you, you should be happy with the design.
As for batteries, you don’t have to worry about charging the Link once a week. It runs on a replaceable coin cell battery for up to six months. The Flash Link uses Bluetooth 4.0, and is compatible with iOS iOS 6.1.3 or later, as well as devices running Android 4.3 or higher. But as mentioned earlier, the Misfit Flash Link app is only available for iOS right now.
App and Performance
The free Misfit Flash Link app is completely new, and unique to the Misfit Flash Link, at least for a little while. In addition to tracking activities like running, sleeping, swimming, and walking, the Link can be used to navigate music playback, take selfies using your phone’s camera, and control presentation slides. All of these features work simply by pressing the Link’s button in a number of relatively intuitive ways, which I’ll explain below. You can also use the original Misfit Flash app with the Flash Link, but you won’t have access to the music playback, camera, or presentation controls.
The Link app is very easy to use. An image of the circular Link sits in the center of the app’s screen, while the main controls can be found in the upper right corner and the bottom of the screen. In the upper right you’ll find the Edit option. Tap this and you can choose from the following options: Enable or Disable Activity Tracking, Change Mode, or Unlink Flash. Enabling the Activity Tracker, sure enough, activates the Link’s activity tracking capabilities. Unlinking the Flash unpairs the device from your phone. Choosing Change Mode lets you select Music Remote, Selfie Button, or Presso Clicker (this is the presentation slide control). Select one of these and tap Save in the upper right corner to use that mode.
The Music Remote feature is great. You just click the Link’s button when Music Remote is saved in the Edit screen and your music automatically plays so long as a music app (such as the default music player, or a third-party app like Spotify) is open at the same time. You get the full range of control with one button, too: click once to play and pause, click twice to skip forward, click three times to skip backward, hold the button to raise the volume, and click and then hold to decrease the volume. It works really well, although there is a bit of a delay for each action, so it can be a little difficult to get the exact volume setting you want. Click and hold too long and you can mute your music.
The Selfie Button is pretty self-explanatory. It basically works as a remote shutter for your device. Click the button once to take photo, or hold it down to take a series of burst shots. Of course, you’ll still need to frame yourself first using your phone screen, but this allows you to position the phone on a flat surface like a stand, and snap photos from afar. That’s about it, but it worked very well.
The Presso Clicker is similarly simple, if a little odd at first. To use the presentation controls, you must first enable the function via the Link app. Then, disconnect the Flash Link from your phone by forgetting the device in the Bluetooth settings, and connect it with your laptop or other Bluetooth-enabled computer you’re using for your presentation. Finally, open Powerpoint or Apple Keynote and use the Link’s button to move through slides. Click once for the next slide, twice for the previous slide, and hold the button down to black out the screen.
Fitness tracking still relies on the original Misfit Flash app, which means you’ll need to use two separate apps if you access to all the Link’s features. While you can track your very basic activity level using the Link’s dial of lights, you still need to tap View Activity in the Link app, which then switches over to the original app. That’s not very convenient, but if you don’t mind switching between two apps at once, then it’s not that big a deal. For more on the Misfit’s brand of activity tracking, check out our original Misfit Flash review. The Flash Link functions the same way.
With the Flash Link, Misfit essentially drops the price and adds features to an already solid and affordable tracker. That makes it a pretty easy impulse buy or an easy entry starting point if you want to see if activity tracking is right for you. There aren’t many other fitness trackers around the $20-$30 range besides the original Misfit Flash and the Jawbone UP24. Like the Misfit devices, the UP24 lacks a display, but it features customizable vibration functions for alarms and timers in addition to the standard suite of fitness tracking capabilities. However, it is only splash-resistant and cannot be taken for a swim. If you have a larger budget, and you want to monitor your heart rate, the Fitbit Charge HR is worth a look. It also tracks measures steps, miles, calories, and distance, and sports a basic display. It even delivers notifications from your smartphone. But if you’re just looking to get into the world of self-quantification, for $20, you can’t go wrong with the Misfit Flash Link.