Android Wear smartwatches are saddled with the problem that the tech companies making them suck at fashion design. So it's good news that one of the better-looking smartwatches out there, the Misfit Vapor, will run Android Wear 2.0 instead of the custom software we saw at CES 2017.
Water resistant to 50 meters, the Vapor (a bold name choice for a tech product) is equipped with a unique round touch bezel in rose gold or black, and has solid tech specs, too. That includes a 1.39-inch AMOLED display, Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip, 4GB of memory, an accelerometer, gyroscope, heart-rate sensor and GPS.
Android Wear 2.0 obviously gives the Vapor a lot more flexibility, letting users pick from a wide range of apps, watch faces and fitness tracking programs. The touch-sensitive bezel has Android Wear 2.0 support, letting you scroll through apps and watchfaces and respond to notifications "without obscuring content on your display," Misfit writes. The company will also include its own custom watchfaces and apps.
Misfit's parent Fossil today unveiled hundreds of hybrid and touchscreen watches, including Android Wear 2.0 models from Diesel, Emporio Armani and Michael Kors. That's good news for fashion-conscious connected watch buyers, and also nice for Google -- the new watch models arriving with the launch of Android Wear 2.0 were underwhelming, style-wise. Thanks to Fossil (and Tag Heuer, if you've got the cash) there are now some options you won't need to hide under your sleeve.
The best part of the Vapor is perhaps the aggressive $199 price. It'll ship some time this summer and work with any smartphones running Android 4.3 or iOS 9 and higher.
Vapor is Misfit's first touchscreen smartwatch
While the wearable market isn't as hot as it used to be, Misfit is still holding strong with its lineup of fitness trackers, including the recently launchedhybrid Phase watch. And now, it finally has a touchscreen smartwatch, the newly announced Vapor. It looks like a traditional round watch -- something plenty of other companies are aiming for -- but it's a bit more refined than than other smartwatches I've worn. Vapor packs in all of the health tracking features you've come to expect from Misfit, with the addition of built-in GPS and heart-rate tracking. Best of all: It will sell for a reasonable $199.
The Vapor has a 1.4-inch AMOLED screen, which looked pretty bright in the well-lit hotel room where my demo took place. It's unclear how it will hold up in direct sunlight, though. It's powered by a Snapdragon 2100 processor and packs in 4GB of storage, which could be useful for storing music, allowing you to exercise without your phone. The Vapor is also water resistant up to 50 meters, though I can't imagine it's the sort of thing you'd want to wear while swimming.
Honestly, it's hard to get excited for smartwatches these days. But the Vapor's combination of value and features could make it one worth keeping an eye on, especially if you're looking for something that looks better than typical wearable. Misfit is also developing a custom interface for the Vapor, which features a radial home screen that you navigate by swiping along the edges of the display.
At $199, the Vapor will go head to head with plenty of Android Wear smartwatches. And while we don't know its release date yet, it will likely have to contend with Android Wear 2.0 devices later this year. But if anything, Misfit has proven that a bit of style and polish can make for a successful wearable.