misfit flash linkJoy went nuts and tried out half a dozen fitness trackers and smart watches. (One of them came with instructions only in Chinese.)

She liked the cheapest one best: the $30 “Misfit Flash,” which was waterproof and could track both steps and swimming strokes. Now it’s out in a $20 version called the “Flash Link,” with most of the old functions plus an app that can control the camera on your smartphone. (Missing is the ability to count swim strokes.)

The Link is the size of a watch. You clip it on clothing or buy a wrist band. You can use it without connecting it to your phone or tablet, but the phone/tablet app makes it more fun and gives you details on number of steps, weekly and monthly totals, day by day comparison and a check on how well you’re sleeping. Yep, it measures tossing and turning.

To take one of those currently wildly popular selfies, set your phone wherever you want, step back and press the button on the Link. (We must confess at this point that Bob has never taken a selfie. He already knows what he looks like.) The device also controls music on Spotify or Pandora, and can advance slides in a presentation; press the Link to advance a slide or skip to the next tune.

The only drawback we saw — and this is true of all Misfit products and a lot of other fitness trackers as well — is it doesn’t have a screen. (You don’t get everything for just $20.) You track your progress by pressing the face of the bracelet to see what percentage of your goal you’ve reached and teeny-weeny lights flash around the perimeter. If 80 percent of the lights around the rim are showing, you’ve gone 80 percent toward whatever goal you set. For a detailed report with real numbers, tap the app and all will be made clear to you on the screen of your smartphone.

Update: We couldn’t get the camera app nor the music app to work. We hope you can. 


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