Elegant design. Well-suited for petite wrists. Swappable bands. Long battery life. Good companion app.
So-so fitness tracking. Notification vibrations are easy to miss.
- Bottom Line
The Misfit Path is a chic smartwatch with traditional analog styling for casual users with an eye for fashion.
Smartwatches might be cutting-edge tech, but when it comes to fashion, they're far more likely to be found on the wrist of someone wearing a pair of Allbirds in Silicon Valley than a model wearing a pair of heels on the runway. Misfit is attempting to change that, first with last year's Phase and now with the $149.99 Path. The Misfit Path is not only stylish and elegant, its small form factor makes it comfortable for women. It brings basic fitness tracking and phone notifications to your wrist, minus the apps (and touch screens) you get with smartwatches like our Editors' Choice, the Fibit Versa. If you like the look and aren't expecting much in the way of technological innovation, it's a solid choice.
Is That a Smartwatch?
The Path is designed very much in the vein of its predecessor, the Phase. The main difference is size. Smartwatches tend to overpower petite wrists. But the Path is more in line your traditional Timex, with a 36mm case. It comes with a 16mm silicon sport strap that can swapped out for dressier options. Models include Gold Tone, Rose Tone, Stainless Steel, or Stainless Steel with Gold Tone Accent. We tested a Stainless Steel unit with a black silicone strap. I was pleasantly surprised at how versatile this configuration is out of the box—I could easily pair it with both casual and work-appropriate outfits.
Part of the reason Misfit is able to keep the size in check is because there's no touch screen. At a glance, the Path looks like a traditional analog watch. It has the Misfit M where the 12 hand should go and minimalist dots in lieu of numbers. The right side of the case has two buttons. The top button lets you view your activity progress (by moving the watch hands), while the bottom button can be programmed to control music or take a picture on your phone. You can also connect it to other smart home devices via If This Then That (IFTTT).
The watch is water resistant to 165 feet, or 5ATM. That means you can wash the dishes, hop in the shower, or jump into the deep end of the pool without needing to take it off (it doesn't track swimming, however). And you don't have to worry about charging the Path—it runs off of a coin cell battery with an estimated six-month lifespan.
The Path's simplicity extends to its technical features. Inside is a three-axis accelerometer, enabling it to track steps, calories burned, distance traveled, and sleep. You can also use it for alarms, as well as to receive calls, texts, email, and app notifications from your phone. The Misfit app lets you assign numbers to contacts for call and text notifications (up to 12, one for each hour marker, pictured here). When you receive a notification, the watch will vibrate and the hands will move to the assigned number.
You can also use the Misfit Move feature, and the Path will vibrate during certain hours of the day to remind you to get up and move. Vibrations are noticeable, but far from the strongest I've felt. They are fine during waking hours, but I always slept through the alarm.
Like the Path, the Misfit app (for Android and iOS) is elegant, with clean graphics that present easy-to-understand metrics. The main screen shows a large circle that indicates your progress toward your daily fitness "points." You can set a goal per day based on how active you want to be. Below that are icons for Activity and Sleep, and under those is a feed of your day's activities along with motivational messages. At the very bottom of the screen there are menu tabs for Home, Social, Devices, and your personal account information. Finally, there's also a plus sign in the bottom center of the screen. Tapping it lets you manually add activity, sleep, weight, calorie data, and measure your heart rate via your phone's camera.
Fair for Fitness
As mentioned above, the Misfit Path tracks basic fitness metrics, if not as many as a full-fledged fitness tracker. If you're looking for features like an optical heart rate monitor or swim tracking, you'll want to look elsewhere.
On a one-mile treadmill walk at 3.5 miles per hour, the Path logged 1,718 steps. A Yamax SW-200 Digi-Walker, a pedometer used in clinical studies, logged 2,125 steps over the same walk, for a substantial difference of 19 percent. It fared much better for a one-mile treadmill run at 5.0mph. The Path logged 1,880 steps to the Yamax's 1,936, for a negligible difference of 2.9 percent.
In terms of general activity, I compared the Path for a week against the Fitbit Versa, wearing one on each wrist. Some days the overall step count was within 100 to 200 steps of each other, while on other days it varied as much as 2,000 steps.
As for distance tracking, the Path underreported my one-mile walk at 0.7 mile, and overreported my run at 1.1 miles. That's not ideal, but it's also not a total deal breaker. The Path lacks sensors more advanced trackers employ for better accuracy, so these results aren't surprising. If you're just looking for a general idea of your daily activity level, it's close enough.
As for logging specific workouts, the Path will automatically count any exercise as general activity. You can go in and manually edit it to running, walking, tennis, soccer, basketball, cycling, or swimming.
Sleep tracking isn't a strong suit. I have chronic insomnia and often wake up in the middle of the night. The Path rarely registered the times I woke up—as you can see in the screenshot, it only marked three minutes awake. By comparison, on the same night, the Fitbit Versa noted I was awake for 44 minutes. The Path also logged my night's sleep at 4 hours, 10 minutes, where the Versa's 3 hour, 25 minute count was closer to accurate. Likewise, the Versa logged my sleep average over a week as 6 hours, 2 minutes, while the Path logged it at 8 hours, which I know is definitely not correct.
A Casual, Stylish Smartwatch
At $150, the Misfit Path is a good watch for anyone looking for a little more than just the time. It has simple smart features and can track general fitness activity. Its chic design and small form factor also make it one of the best-looking smartwatches we've seen—it's not as ostentatious as the Michael Kors Access Sofie, or as overtly techie as the Apple Watch Series 3.
That said, if you're looking to keep your phone in your pocket while still being able to read texts or hail a cab directly from your wrist, you're better off with our Editors' Choice, the Fitbit Versa. It isn't quite as stylish as the Path, but for $50 more it offers a touch screen, more accurate fitness metrics, and a number of quality apps.
About the Author
Victoria Song Analyst, Consumer Electronics
Victoria Song is the wearables and smart home analyst at PCMag. Since graduating from Temple University?s Japan Campus in 2010, she's been found reporting and editing in every corner of the newsroom at The ACCJ Journal, The Japan News, and New York bureau of The Yomiuri Shimbun. In her spare time, she bankrupts herself going to theater, buying expa… See Full Bio
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