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misfit flash link technology

Say hello to the Misfit Flash Link, a $20 fitness tracker that's also a smart button (hands-on)

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One of CNET's favorite affordable fitness trackers is the Misfit Flash. Small, plastic and waterproof for swimming, it's one of the best little trackers around. And it's less expensive now, by a significant margin: it's $20, and it now works as a smart remote. (UK and Australian prices weren't announced, but $20 is £13 or AU$27.) 

misfit flash link

A clip-on smart button. (Josh Miller/ CNET)

The Misfit Flash Link, available in the US Thursday, is a Misfit Flash without the extra wristband that used to come packed in. The Flash is a plastic disc with a battery inside, and a squeezable clicker on top. That click-button can already be used with Misfit's Bolt light bulb, but a new Misfit Link app will enable other button-click functions, too. 

misfit flash link

The included clip could fit on a keychain. (Josh Miller/ CNET)

Prices on fitness trackers are dropping fast, but $20 might be one of the lowest prices out there for something that does this much. Xiaomi has the $13 Mi Band, and there's a $12 fitness band that requires re-buying each year, but there are few options this low otherwise. With fitness bands getting this cheap, however, it'll put a lot of pressure on anything else that isn't a smartwatch.

The Flash tracks steps, can be worn while swimming and automatically logs sleep. A ring of 12 red LEDs show daily fitness-goal progress, or can also blink out the time. And its battery life goes for around six months before needing to be replaced. 

misfit flash link

LED lights: 12 of them. (Josh Miller/ CNET)

Misfit's also dropped the US price on its other trackers: $30 for the Misfit Flash (which basically amounts to an extra packed-in wristband for $10 more), and $70 for the aluminum Misfit Shine, which has identical fitness tracking, fits in more jewelry-like accessories, but lacks the new Flash smart button features.

Via the new Misfit Flash app, the Flash Link can be a selfie remote, a music remote for pausing, skipping tracks or raising/lowering volume (click or double-click, and click/hold to adjust volume), a Keynote remote for presentations, and in the future it will also hook up with IFTTT and Harmony for other smart-home features. Older Misfit Flash devices can take advantage of the new functions, too. 

misfit flash link

The new Misfit Link app. (Josh Miller/ CNET)

I tried the new Misfit Link app with the Flash Link, and it worked well, as a basic one-button remote. Clicking the single button paused or played a song: clicking twice skipped tracks, while clicking and holding raised volume. The Flash Link can only be programmed for one app at a time, though. If you want it to be a selfie remote, you have to switch in the app...or buy a second Flash Link. To set it up as a fitness tracker, the Flash Link needs to paired separately in the Misfit app.

Misfit Link is the third app Misfit has made available, in addition to the Misfit fitness app and Misfit Home, which controls Bolt color-changing LED bulbs. It's an attempt to re-brand Misfit's Flash devices as something more than fitness trackers. Misfit's hoping you might buy these little clip-on buttons and use them around the home, maybe without even thinking of tracking fitness at all.

iOS users can try the new Misfit Link app this week, while Android phone owners will get Misfit Link next month. Whether or not you find the Misfit Flash Link's smart button features appealing, this is now the most ridiculously affordable fitness tracker around: it seems like a remarkably good deal.

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