The first Misfit Vapor was nearly vaporware. Its successor, the Vapor 2, tried to fix the original smartwatch’s issues but was ultimately hindered by an outdated processor. Today, Misfit launched its third stab at a smartwatch with the Vapor X – and at least on paper, it looks like it could be a substantial improvement over its predecessor
The most significant upgrade here is that the Vapor X is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip. That’s not terribly surprising, given that last week, its parent company Fossil just announced the same processor would power its Gen 5 smartwatches. It is, however, encouraging to see another 3100-powered watch that won’t leave you completely bankrupt. The 3100 was technically available at the end of 2018, but so far we haven’t seen it in many watches. Right now 3100 watches are limited to the Fossil Sport, Montblanc Summit 2, and the Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon 2nd Gen. In case you’re wondering, the latter two cost a whopping £1,000+ and £2,500+, respectively. Meanwhile, the Vapor X will retail for the much more affordable price of $280, (about £230) with a limited-time introductory price of $200 (about £165).
The Vapor X is also getting a new battery saving mode, just like the Fossil Gen 5 watches. It probably won’t translate to the five-day battery life you’d find on a Fitbit or Polar smartwatch, but it’s a welcome change nonetheless. Wear OS watches have been plagued with short battery life, so while it’s probably a minor improvement, it can’t be worse than the dismal experience I had with the Vapor 2.
Likewise, the Vapor 2 was limited when it came to health and wellness features – primarily because it was reliant on Google Fit and Google Fit Workout apps. This time around, the Vapor X will get Fossil’s new Cardiogram app, which features interactive charts and metrics that purportedly keep an eye out for signs of diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, and atrial fibrillation. That said, the science for tracking diabetes, sleep apnea, and hypertension via a wearable heart rate monitor is unclear, and other smartwatches have only begun to tackle Afib. Misfit also says the Vapor X will come preloaded with new applications, including Spotify. That might not seem like much, but it’s a nice touch considering how much of a pain it is to download apps on Wear OS in the first place.
The rest of the updates seem iterative. Misfit says the Vapor X will be lighter thanks to a “re-engineered ultra-lightweight aluminum alloy case.” Aside from the 3100 chip, spec-wise the Vapor X seems similar to the Vapor 2. It’s got a 4GB of storage, 512 GB of RAM, standalone GPS, heart rate monitoring, NFC payments, rapid charging, and water resistance up to 30 metres.
That said, the Fossil Sport had similar specs, and the zippier 3100 chip gave it a noticeable boost in performance. I tested the Sport at the same time as the Vapor 2, which featured the 2100 chip, and the difference was stark. The Vapor 2 was the more stylish of the two, but it just couldn’t overcome its laggy screens, lackluster fitness options, and dismal battery life. We’ll have to test the Vapor X ourselves to see if it fixes those issues, but if it does, this could be an Android smartwatch with the whole package – stylish, top performance, and affordable.