Samsung Frame TV review: 4K TV + Art Mode

There’s no avoiding the fact that TVs are ugly. Engineers have been making them thinner and improving the video picture, but until now, getting them to fit nicely into our home decor has been an afterthought. So when I heard about the new Samsung Frame TV and its integrated design concept, I knew I had to try it.

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Misfit Ray is pretty; but does it track well? Review

ray4Want to automatically track sleep, steps, calories and exercise, without having to worry about constant charging? The Misfit Ray might just be for you. The Ray arrived to my test center recently for a review, and I strapped it on right away to get started.

Misfit Ray is a sleek cylindrical fitness band that looks a lot more like a chic bracelet than a fitness tracker made for the gym; and that’s a good thing. I had high hopes for the device after having a positive experience with the Misfit Shine previously, but I was to be disappointed with the new device.

What Misfit Ray doesimg_3456

The Misfit Ray is a lot like other fitness trackers with some notable differences. For starters, if you often forget to charge your band, and your 5K run doesn’t get tracked, you’ll like the fact the Ray doesn’t need charging.  It uses a replaceable battery (three tiny ones, actually) that should give you six months of tracking and data, according to Misfit’s website. Sadly that was not the case for me, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Ray also:

  • Automatically tracks steps, distance, calories, and light and restful sleep
  • Has vibration alerts for call and text notifications, movement reminders, and alarms
  • It’s swimproof, with anodized aluminum or stainless steel cylinder with multicolor LED progress display
  • Monitors sleep duration and quality
  • Shows steps taken and distance traveled
  • Allows for tagging of specific activities, like cycling or yoga
  • Tracks calories burned
  • Can be used to take selfies and control lights and music; Smart button enabled to control connected household devices

What’s in the box:

Inside the package you get the Misfit Ray, 1 Band (your choice of Sport or Leather), batteries and a Quick Start Guide. The leather watch-style band that came with my device was comfortable, easy to get on and off, and pretty.  Overall the device looked nice and felt very light on my wrist.  Almost immediately I stopped noticing it was there.

Getting Started with Misfit Ray

img_5351 img_5352 Installing the batteries was the hardest part of operating the Ray.  In the tiny pictograms in the Quick Start Guide, it appears as though a sharp tool is being used to pry the end cap off the Ray’s cylinder.  After much poking, prodding and gouging, I was mystified, since I could absolutely not get the device open.  An online tutorial helped explain the battery compartment is actually accessed by pinching the band as close to the cylinder as possible, then twisting it to the left.  Finally!  Armed with this new and more accurate info, the batteries slid into a small sleeve, and I was good to go.

Pairing Problems

As an owner of a Misfit Shine (read the review of that here) I figured pairing would be easy. I loaded up the app, and selected ‘devices’. Much to my disappointment, I was unable to pair the Ray.  It seemed to me to have something to do with the Shine, which was still on my account, blocking access to the Ray somehow.

After numerous attempts, I pulled the batteries out of the Shine (because there’s no turning it off) and started over with the Ray.  It finally connected!

Misfit Ray – Data & Statsimg_4645

I wore the Ray daily for several weeks, on the same wrist as my Fitbit Alta. After about the first week, I started comparing the data.  I saw immediately that the Ray was counting far fewer steps than the Fitbit.

I know my Fitbit is correctly calibrated for me, because I’ve adjusted it to my stride and counted along as I walked to verify it. For me my Fitbit is a very accurate benchmark with which to measure other devices.

No calibration, and step numbers were way off

img_4629The Ray was just not adding up for me.  Calorie counts I found were similar on both devices (but unless you’re inputting accurate calories with an app like MyFitnessPal, you’re likely just getting an average anyway).

Sleep seemed off a bit as well – sleep times for the Ray were actually overestimated, compared to the Fitbit numbers. The Ray clocked more sleep for me, by anywhere from 25 minutes to more than 50 minutes’ difference as compared to the Fitbit times.

Most concerning for me was the low step count, and no apparent way to adjust it. I couldn’t find any guides or help online in this area, so I reached out to my Misfit contacts to inquire if there is a way to calibrate the band to achieve more accurate results, however I wasn’t able to get an answer back even after several weeks.

App doesn’t give me what I want easily

The Misfit app was not my favourite either.  I found the focus on “points” instead of steps within the app confusing, and not tangible enough for me to take action. The number of steps is buried in the bottom right of the app screen, seemingly like it’s not as important as other data.

Accessing old data is hard

As I was writing this article I’d hoped to post a more detailled comparison of step counts between the Fitbit and the Ray, however the app only allows me to view my activity “points” when it came to historical data.  I couldn’t view my daily step counts like I can on Fitbit’s app.  Not very helpful for stats junkies or folks seeing concrete feedback. As a result, you’ll just have to take my word for it that the data was regularly incorrect.img_4772

Misfit Ray does other things too.. but…

Misfit knows it has to compete with other smarter devices like the Apple Watch, Fitbit and Jawbone, so it added some smart functionality.  There are message and app notifications for calls or texts, but other apps that play nice with the Ray aren’t likely to be on your must-have list of alerts; Skype, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, What’s App and Gmail are among the very short list of supported apps that will vibrate when an alert comes in.  However there’s no screen to check; alerts come in the form of a subtle coloured light on the top of the band. However I found it confusing trying to remember which coloured light corresponded to which app or service’s alert.

Batteries didn’t last .. or the device stopped working

Not really enjoying my overall Ray experience, I put the band away for a few weeks and then went to do some more testing.  I found I couldn’t wake the band up. Having only had it for about 3 months, I was surprised.  I pulled the batteries out and reinstalled them, tried waking the band, reinstalling the app, but the device was dead. It could be the batteries that came with this unit were duds, but by this point I wasn’t in love with the device enough to go and find new batteries, so I called it a day on the Ray.

Overall review of Misfit Ray

If you want a fitness band, do yourself a favour and get something other than the Misfit Ray. For the money, a Fitbit is more accurate, easier to use, and has more functionality and an easier to read and interpret app.

The Misfit Ray is pretty, but that’s it.  It’s all looks and not enough substance. It sells for  about $135 CAD/$99USD.

Installing and using the smartphone-controlled Osram Lightify Flex LED kit

Osram Lightify KitI’ve been looking for an easy under-counter lighting solution that can brighten up my dark kitchen, without requiring a degree in electrical engineering.  I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the Osram Lightify Flex system was to install. Even better is the option to control the lights using my iPhone, and being able to change their colours!

There’s a full review coming soon, meantime, check out my video showing what’s in the kit, how to install it, and what it can do for you.

If you have any feedback on the Lightify line, I’d love to hear it.  Add your comments below.