FullSizeRender(1)I got myself a new gadget for the new year. As with breakfast cereal and moisturizer, there are way too many choices, and that slowed me down. Swimming is one of my major activities, so I wanted something waterproof, but not something that looked like a gonzo diver’s watch. And not something that cost hundreds of dollars, either.

Eventually, thanks to Amazon, I found the Misfit Shine. That alone didn’t narrow things down much. I think the search brought me to the Speedo version first, and it took some rummaging around to discover that the regular old version is also waterproof.

The box sat on the kitchen table for a couple of days until I worked up the courage to open it. I figured it would be a hassle, but it was better than I’d expected. The worst part, actually, was opening the box. I needed help with that (not from a fourth-grader; from a 65-year-old with a pocket knife). The battery slaps into the heavily magnetized case; the two halves snap together; the band wraps intuitively around the groove in the tracker. The app downloaded quickly to my iPhone. Then just tap twice, and you’re off and running.

Which is not to say there’s no learning process. The clock is a weird configuration–a lighted dot for the hour, a blinking dot for the minutes (interesting that this twenty-first-century piece of electronics requires knowledge of analog time-keeping). I thought the clock was set an hour early–a daylight saving or timezone-of-manufacture problem and spend a lot of time trying to figure that out. Eventually I discovered I’d set the device in the band at a slight angle. Problem solved.

The band is quite flat and comfy–no problem with the keyboard, which is why I stopped wearing watches.

Some of the niceties were harder to figure out. The app provided an option for displaying activity before the clock–when I did that, the clock never showed up at all. So I unchecked it.

A stranger issue occurred when I did as the app suggested and selected a favorite activity–swimming (the reason I bought the Misfit Shine, remember?). Instructions said I could tap three times before I started the activity and it would give me results. That was a disaster. Selecting swimming meant that no other activity registered at all. And after swimming 35 minutes, I didn’t get 750 points, as I would have expected; I got three.

When I went back to tracking all activities, I was suddenly at 110% of my daily goal, and the app said, “You’re an overachiever, aren’t you?”

Way to make friends, Misfit Shine.