The $199.95 Fitbit Blaze is an exercise tracker that appears like a smartwatch. Furthermore to tracking activities, exercises, and heartrate, it includes a color touch screen that presents workout guidance and notifications from your own smartphone. With up to five days of battery life, it really lasts longer than smartwatches just like the Apple Watch. But if you are looking for genuine smartwatch functionality you will be disappointed, as there are no software or other smart features to talk about. And if you already own an able fitness tracker there is little reason to upgrade. Having said that, self-quantification newbies will discover a lot to like here.

Design
Instantly, the Fitbit Blaze looks like the Apple Watch, with a rectangular, Gorilla Glass-covered, 240-by-180-pixel color touchscreen. However the similarities end there. The Blaze’s screen is smaller, at 1.25 inches, as the Apple Watch Series 2 measures 1.34 or 1.53 inches diagonally according to the size you select. The Blaze’s display can be dwarfed by a chunky black bezel, and flanked by two large gaps between your screen and the octagonal frame.

The Blaze includes a modular design where the tracker portion easily pops into and out of a frame mounted on the band. The primary reason because of this design is in order that you can easily switch from a workout-friendly, sweat-resistant elastomer strap to a far more stylish leather or stainless link band. The frame measures 1 by 1.58 by 0.5 (HWD) inches and weighs a light 1.44 ounces (like the band). There are three buttons on the frame; one on the left side and two on the proper side. It creates for a fascinating look that people haven’t quite grown to love. We much choose the sleek, gapless design of the Apple Watch, as well as the bracelet-like form factor of the Fitbit Alta HR.

Out of your box, the Blaze includes a black, blue, or purple elastomer strap, as the premium bands sell separately as accessories. Black, camel, or gray leather bands include stainless frames for $99.95, and the stainless link band and silver frame cost $129.95. We reviewed the bottom $199.95 model with a black elastomer strap. Fitbit also provided a gray leather band for testing.

Swapping bands is easy, because of easy spring release buttons. However the bands themselves aren’t terribly impressive. The elastomer band is less comfortable compared to the Fitbit Charge HR’s strap because of a rougher texture that may tug on arm hair. The leather band is softer to touch, but feels somewhat rigid on the wrist. That you need to probably break in as time passes. After wearing the band for a time, it’s simple to forget that it is even on.

The Blaze is rated 1ATM for water resistance, this means it’s safe from rain, splashes, and sweat, nevertheless, you can’t use it in the pool or shower. Additionally you won’t want to wear the leather band while training.

Display and Battery
You can set the watch to wake when you increase your wrist or press the left button. The display itself looks crisp, and colors are vibrant. The Blaze is quite responsive. We had no issue swiping and tapping through its various screens. All information appears bright and legible indoors and out, even in sunlight.

On the key screen you’ll locate a faint battery icon in the upper left, with enough time of day as well as your active heartrate below. You can customize this screen with different watch faces, though only four can be found at this writing. Based on the face you select, you will see enough time of day, your steps, and continuous heartrate.

Swipe left or right and you will see your calories, mileage, floors climbed, and steps taken, in addition to shortcuts to fitness monitoring, FitStar on-screen workouts, and different settings (more on these features below). Under Settings, you can modify the display brightness to Dim, Normal, Max, or Auto. Swiping down on the key watch face reveals a notification toggle (On or Off) and very good music player controls, and swiping up displays a notification timeline.

On the trunk of the tracker you will discover the heartrate monitoring sensors and a charging port. The Blaze includes just one more new proprietary charger that wont use your Charge HR, Charge 2, or Surge. Despite a broad ecosystem of devices, there is absolutely no compatibility between them in terms of chargers, which is disappointing.

The Blaze runs on the box-like charger with a lid you need to plug right into a USB adapter or laptop. To charge the Blaze you must open the lid, place the tracker portion inside, and close it. It requires about one hour to recharge the tracker’s lithium polymer battery, and it’s best for about five days. That’s much better than most smartwatches, which often last up to two days for the most part, and on par with other fitness trackers.

Pairing and Notifications
The Blaze works together with Bluetooth 4.0 devices that run Android 4.3 or later and iOS 8.0 or later, in addition to a number of Windows Phone devices. To pair, it is advisable to download the free Fitbit iphone app and create a free of charge account. From the medial side menu, tap Devices, then your Plus icon in the upper right. Then choose the Blaze from a set of Fitbit devices. We linked the Blaze to a Samsung Galaxy S6 in a couple of seconds, and it automatically installed a software update. Once paired, the Blaze automatically syncs together with your mobile device whenever it’s in range.

When connected, the Blaze displays incoming calls, calendar alerts, texts, and different other notifications. We could actually receive and read full messages from Google Hangouts, but texts can get muddled. In the event that you receive several text from the same person, the messages get lumped into notes like “2 messages” or “3 messages,” nevertheless, you can’t actually open them or read them. You may also accept or reject calls from the tracker, but this feature is bound to iOS devices.

To utilize the Blaze for music playback controls, you must set up a second Bluetooth reference to the telephone you’re already paired with, which is somewhat confusing. You just have to follow the Music Control instructions in the app, nonetheless it took several tries before we first got it dealing with the Galaxy S6. Meanwhile, iOS users can control music through an individual Bluetooth connection. After the Blaze connects, you need to use basic playback controls including Play/Pause, Previous Track, and Skip Track. On the music control screen, you need to use the buttons on the Blaze’s right side to improve or lower the quantity.

Features and Performance
The Blaze tracks calories, distance, floors, steps, sleep, and different exercise stats. You will see all this data at length in the the Fitbit app, which remains among well known fitness apps. The Blaze also helps it be simple to view basic data on its display by scrolling through its various screens: Today, Exercise, and FitStar.

Today is where you will discover your daily stats, including calories, continuous heartrate, floors, mileage, and steps. The Exercise screen enables you to manually get started exercises, including bicycling, elliptical training, running, treadmill, and weights. Also you can select other exercises, like hiking, soccer, and tennis to seem as options using the Fitbit app. Each workout is accompanied by specific real-time performance stats on the display, accompanied by a listing of your workout towards the end. You can’t open and view past workouts on the Blaze itself. To achieve that, you need to make reference to the app.