Digital Health

A new ‘hearable’ Specter: Fitness Headphones&Minus Heart Rate

I held the Misfit Specter in my hands in a Las Vegas hotel room, under bright lights. It’s small: a pair of metal earbuds, angled a bit. And then, a small box with a metal clip that the buds attach to. I asked if the Specter might measure heart rate via my ears, something many up and coming “fitness headphones” do. It doesn’t.

Bluetooth headphones, plus some fitness. No heart rate.

James Martin/CNET

The Misfit Specter is a bit of a mystery to me. Misfit, a fitness and lifestyle tech company, has been acquired by Fossil Group, maker of watches. Then this, a pair of Bluetooth fitness headphones. The Specter automatically measures steps, runs and even, weirdly, sleep via an internal accelerometer. You could wear them on long plane flights and record your nap, maybe. A center button on the Specter turns the headphones on and off. They’re rechargeable, lasting up to 10 hours.

Misfit suggests that the Specter’s dual-driver sound will be as good as high-end options from Etymotic and Shure. I didn’t get a chance to listen to anything with this early mock-up. According to Misfit’s press release, they’re part of a partnership with 1More, an acoustic technology company, and developed/endorsed by Luca Bignardi, “four-time Grammy winner and world-renowned music producer.”

Trying them on, but I wasn’t able to test-listen.

James Martin/CNET

No price is available, either, or a clear release date. Misfit suggests it’ll cost over $100, less than $200. That’s a wide range. And why would I wear these instead of wearing a wrist tracker? Especially if they don’t measure heart rate, something headphones can actually do a good job with?

I don’t want to buy a high-end pair of headphones unless they’re really good. I have no idea how good the Specter is, but I’m skeptical.

All the smartwatches and fitness trackers…
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