The Misfit Flash Link is a basic, inexpensive pedometer. Interestingly, it also works as a programmable "smart button." Basically, a "smart button" is a remote control for various, select smartphone and home appliance functions. None of the other devices we tested work as "smart buttons." The Flash counts steps with the same digital accelerometer technology of all the other devices we reviewed, and syncs with a smarthphone app like the highest scoring products in our test. The app is streamlined and simple. The device itself is water resistant, tiny, and seemingly durable. To have a more robust app experience, check out the Best Buy Jawbone Up Move.
Misfit Link Review
Cons: Only rudimentary on-device data display, app data is simple
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Misfit Flash Link is a budget activity tracker that also serves as a programmable "smart button." Most of our review, in the interest of comparing to the rest of our selection, focuses on the Link's performance as a pedometer. However, it must be mentioned that the options for its use as a "smart button" remote are nearly endless. We tested it briefly as a music controller and phone camera remote, both of which worked as advertised. Other online reviewers have made extensive use of the Flash for remote controlling and report favorable function.
Our review and scoring rubric prioritizes a device's function as a pedometer. As a pedometer, the Flash Link is nothing special. For that reason the overall score, as shown below, is nothing special. If you want a programmable remote that also counts steps, the Flash Link is nonetheless appealing.
In evaluating the data management of a device, we look at the way information is displayed, stored, and organized. The best devices in this category have built-in screens showing a comprehensive selection of the information captured, a fair amount of internal memory, and also sync with cloud-linked smartphone app interfaces. The Link checks all of these boxes, but with some caveats. First, it joins about half of our tested devices with smartphone apps. Some of the products we tested, including award winners Ozo Fitness SC2 and CSX Simple Walking 3D have only on-device screens and memory. The other half of our test roster, including the Jawbone UP Move, and Top Pick Spire and Bellabeat Leaf come integrated with special phone apps.
The Flash Link has an excellent, albeit somewhat simplified, phone app. As compared to both the Jawbone and the Fitbit, the app experience is bare bones. Some will like this simplicity. As far as on-device data display goes, the Link is arguably the most basic in our entire review. With a circular series of tiny LEDs, the Link can present analog time of day and percent progress toward one's pre-set step count goal. That is it. Only the Jawbone Up has a more rudimentary on device display. Even our Top Pick for absolute simplicity, the CSX Simple Walking 3D, presents a clear, large-printed step count right on the device.
Depth of Data
The Flash Link, in recording steps, distance, and rudimentary sleep information, sits in the middle of the pack in terms of the types of data collected. Overall it is the highest scoring pedometer that didn't get an award. The other, award-winning products that scored better overall (Bellabeat Leaf, Spire, and Jawbone UP Move) all collect more comprehensive data and/or present that data on the device itself. Most notably, the greatest difference between the Misfit and the higher scoring products is the ability to capture user-entered data. Both Fitbit and Jawbone have been at this game a long time, with excellent apps to show for it, and the newcomer Bellabeat earns its Top Pick Award for the most extensive set of user entered data fields in the entire test.
None of the products we tested actually varied all that much in overall accuracy. In our formalized, repeatable testing the most accurate varied from the least accurate by only 11 percent. However, in that selection, the Misfit scored at the bottom of the pack. Our test methods involved walking a known distance (the inside, 400m/.25mile lane of a standard track), counting the steps manually, and comparing the devices' captured data to these known quantities. The Misfit's step count was off by only 2 percent, but the distance measurement underreported by a consistent 20 percent (measuring .20 miles instead of .25 per lap).
Interestingly, the absolute simplest device in our test, and basically the least expensive, the Top Pick winning CSX Simple Walking 3D, was the most accurate. After all this, it is important to note the relative importance of the accuracy of a device like this. Since most users will use their pedometer to motivate daily or weekly step counts, and compare only to themselves in this pursuit, the actual accuracy doesn't matter all that much. As long as the error is consistent, one can set a benchmark and aim for that without much concern for the actual step count.
Ease of Use
Modern, small electronics are getting more and more user friendly. With their full-function Shine device, Misfit basically launched a sub-category. The budget friendly Flash Link is an even easier to use, long-battery-life, pedometer and activity tracker. The biggest advantage of this sub category is the fact that the battery never needs recharging. Using a readily available watch battery, the Flash Link can be clipped and worn for months and months with no maintenance. Setting up and syncing is equally easy. Our test did not last long enough to evaluate the battery life of the Flash, but our experience with similar products suggests that the six-month estimate is likely quite accurate.
The Flash Link is the smallest and lightest product in our review. It comes set up to clip to one's pocket, but can also be worn on the wrist with an aftermarket band. It is significantly smaller than the Jawbone UP Move. As compared to the largest in the test, the Striiv Smart, the Misfit is a tiny fraction. The entire Misfit, in its clip, is smaller than just the clip of the Striiv. The one disadvantage of the portability of the Flash Link is that the device can come dislodged from the clip easily. As compared to the Fitbit Zip Wireless, for instance, the Flash comes dislodged far more easily. We recommend carrying the Flash Link inside your pocket.
The Flash Link is a great, basic activity tracker. If you have any use for the "smart button" remote control function of the Misfit, it is an easy choice.
This is the least expensive app-enabled device in our test. If you want digitally organized data from your pedometer, the Flash Link is a clear choice.
As a "smart button" enabled pedometer, this is a unique product. It is so inexpensive that many will choose it only for the smart button feature, and get the step counting attribute almost incidentally. As a pedometer, it is serviceable and functional. Competitors do a better job of motivational and organizational data tracking in the app, but the Misfit is slick and simple.
— Jediah Porter