With great battery life, sleep insights, mobile payments and a complete slate of features coming with software updates, Fitbit’s new smartwatch almost has everything.
Up to four-day battery life
Fast and simple mobile payments
Accurate and insightful sleep analysis
Touchscreen sometimes unresponsive
Not many programs (yet)
No always-on display
Fitbit’s first smartwatch-like device, the Blaze, wasn’t well-received. It lacked style, had no software and required a smartphone for even the standard functionality, like GPS. So Fitbit returned to the drawing board.
The result may be the Fitbit Ionic, that your company is calling its first proper smartwatch. This product is an enormous improvement over its predecessor, with features such as for example GPS, NFC for payments, music storage and an iphone app store that lets the watch shine even though there is no smartphone in your pocket. I simply wish it looked better.
Editor’s Note: The Fitbit Ionic has been replaced by the Fitbit Sense ($329), a fresh smartwatch which has GPS, can track AFib, and has sensors that may also monitor your skin layer temperature and stress, and provide guidance about how to boost. The Sense also offers built-in music storage, Fitbit Pay, and can last up to six days on a charge.
If you own a Fitbit Ionic, nspire HR, Charge 3, Charge 4, Versa, Versa 2, or Versa Lite, you can sign up for Fitbit’s new heart study, and the business will notify you if your device detects an irregular heart rhythm that indicates AFib. Fitbit may also hook up you with a health care provider for a free of charge consultation. The Fitbit Heart Study, available to U.S. residents 22 years or older, has been conducted to regulate how accurate its devices are in detecting atrial fibrillation, as the initial step to obtaining FDA approval. Here’s how exactly to join the Fitbit Heart Study.
A Face Only Fitbit Could Love
Let’s get the evident criticism taken care of: I hate the Ionic’s design. It’s like Fitbit took a 1980s vision of a 21st-century smartwatch and updated it very slightly with an increase of modern materials.
The watch is 38.6mm wide, however the 349 x 250, color, LCD touch-screen display occupies just 29.7mm of this width. The others is black bezel, which is thicker on the chin where Fitbit put its logo. The actual display ought to be much bigger, and the bezels on all sides ought to be considerably thinner.
It doesn’t help that watch looks ridiculous on me, which managed to get hard to love. The thick aluminum frame that surrounds the display and houses the springs for swapping out the Ionic’s band didn’t comply with the curves of my wrist, leaving gaps large enough that I possibly could start to see the sun through them.
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Design is subjective, and my wrist is on the tiny side, so not everyone could have the gap problem I experienced. But companies that neglect to make smartwatches in sizes that may accommodate all wrists will battle to gain widespread adoption, because they’re limiting themselves to half the marketplace.
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The frame houses the GPS antenna, which Fitbit says produces a more robust connection, but I wish the Ionic had taken some cues from the newer, round, stylishly oversized Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches. Even the square Apple Watch, using its rounded corners, is more fashion-forward than Fitbit’s take. This product is merely too big, too bulky and too square to work for many individuals.
At least the Ionic looks much better than the Fitbit Blaze. That’s something.
Fitness Remains the Focus
Apps won’t be the reason why most Fitbit fans buy this watch. Those are simply just a bonus along with Fitbit’s suite of fitness-tracking features, which get better still on the Ionic.
The brand new smartwatch finally puts Fitbit features which may have been scattered over the company’s lineup in a single device. The Ionic sports GPS, continuous heart rate-monitoring, guided workouts in the brand new Fitbit Coach app, swim-tracking, and a run-detect feature that turns on GPS and starts tracking your stats when you’ve been running for 2-5 minutes. You don’t need to decide on a workout or press any buttons; it happens automatically.
This feature is effective for those folks who run in the mornings. When I forgot to get started on a good work out in the Exercise iphone app on the Ionic watch face, it didn’t matter – when i ran for about one minute . 5, the watch would activate GPS and launch the Exercise software for me personally. It logs the info for your complete run, not only the main point where GPS kicks on, which pays to.
This watch looks ridiculous on me, that makes it hard to love.
The Ionic is water-resistant for 50 meters (identical to the Apple Watch) and includes a lap-swim workout option in the Exercise app. I exercised with the Ionic in a pool and will verify its water-resistance, although I am the world’s slowest swimmer and can’t attest to the accuracy of the device’s lap counts.
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Fitbit improved its fitness-tracking sensors and the algorithms in it, and added an SpO2 sensor for eventually detecting sleep apnea. That feature isn’t available yet, but I tracked multiple runs wearing both an Ionic and an Apple Watch Series 2, and the heartrate data on both devices harmonized perfectly.
Where Fitbit Shines
With Ionic, Fitbit nails a couple of things that no other smartwatch has managed: sleep tracking and battery life.
Just like the Charge 2 and Alta HR before it, the Ionic uses your heartrate to graph your sleep cycles, to help you see how enough time you may spend in REM, light or deep sleep every night. The sleep and wake times are accurate, and the Ionic may also sense when you wake at night time. So, when you sync these devices to the Fitbit iphone app in the morning, it could let you know how restless your sleep was.