This review will focus on the Fitbit Ionic, which is more of a fitness watch than a smartwatch

Rating

DESIGN 7.5/10

EASE OF USE 8.0/10

USE OF INFORMATION 8.0/10

MOTIVATION 8.0/10

PROS

  • Detailed capabilities in the realm of fitness
  • protected from the rain.
  • Longevity is assured by the battery.
  • Sharp, vibrant display
  • easy on the body and pleasant to sit in.

CONS

  • There is a limited number of applications from third parties.
  • operating system with a slow speed

After months of rumours and speculation, the firm whose brand has been synonymous with fitness trackers finally unveiled the world’s first ever smartwatch to the public in September. This product, which has been given the name Fitbit Ionic, is a device that directly competes with the Apple Watch as well as the other sports watches produced by Garmin.

The Ionic is the most ambitious product that Fitbit has released to this point, and its goal is to bridge the gap between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. It is equipped with GPS, resistance to water, on-board music, and mobile payment capabilities, all of which are housed in a design that is not too unlike those of other Fitbit wearables.

Is it safe to say that this meets all of the requirements? Continue reading to find out.

Design

Because it is so patently obvious, let us state the obvious straight away. Ionic is not exactly appealing to the eye thanks to its dated aesthetic. There is no mistaking that this is a Fitbit device due to its appearance, which is reminiscent of a combination of the Surge and the Blaze. It’s a more manageable size, but it’s still quite large. The fact that it only weighs 50 grams is the product’s saviour because of how lightweight it is

The core unit is constructed from durable and lightweight 6000 series aerospace-grade aluminium, despite the fact that it maintains the same square unisex appearance. The high-resolution LCD touch-screen has dimensions of 3.0 centimetres by 2.2 centimetres with a resolution of 348 by 250 pixels. The edges have a slight curvature to them, which helps to balance out the otherwise blocky appearance. In order to be competitive with the Apple Watch, the timepiece features an enhanced number of pixels and a brightness that may reach up to 1000 nits. Regarding the screen quality, this is pretty much the best that can be expected at this time.

The colour display maintains its vividness even when the surrounding light is dim. Because of the auto-brightness changes, even in direct sunlight it can be seen without any difficulty. On extremely rare occasions, you might find that better visibility is achieved by tilting it ever-so-slightly.

During workouts, the screen comes in handy because it displays the facts in a clear and concise manner. Despite this, Fitbit does not make optimal use of the available screen real estate. They could have included more statistics if they had used larger fonts, but they did not.It was possible that the screen’s actual dimensions may have been made to be greater as well. The bezels are fairly thick, and the brand name beneath them takes up a lot of area that could be used for something else.

The display is turned off by default but can be quickly activated when necessary. There are three textured buttons on the sides: one on the left that wakes up the device and works as a back button; and two context-sensitive function buttons on the right. The left button wakes up the device and functions as the back button. You are also able to navigate the display by using this in conjunction with the touch-screen.

In spite of the fact that all of this looks promising on paper, the navigation is actually rather slow. The scrolling can be a little slow at times, and the touch control is not quite as responsive as it could be. It will get the job done, but if you’re expecting an Apple Watch-like experience, you should look elsewhere.

Although there is just one case size available for the tracker, it comes with two different straps so that it can be worn on either a large or small wrist. If you shell out the extra cash for the sport or leather versions of the watch, you will have the option to replace the textured rubber wristband that comes standard with the watch.

Personalising the display by selecting one of 17 distinct clock face options is one more way in which you may tailor it to your preferences; additional faces will be added in the near future. The watch faces themselves are not kept locally on the device; therefore, the only way to modify them is through the mobile app. Which implies that every time you feel like making a change, you will need to download and reinstall a new face. This is not the best possible solution.

Next year, Fitbit will also make available a special version branded with the Adidas logo. It is not entirely apparent what exactly this entails, but it is safe to assume that it will have a distinctive appearance and will include branded training programmes. This most likely has a significant role to play in assisting Fitbit in consolidating its position within the Asian market, given that Adidas operates over 10,000 outlets in China.

To summarise, the Ionic is neither fashionable nor elegant; however, it is functional and has the appearance as well as the sensation of being athletic.Because it features an excellent display and can be worn comfortably on the wrist, it is an excellent choice for use 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Under the hood, you will discover some decent specifications, including a multitude of sensors, such as an altimeter, 3-axis accelerometer, digital compass, GPS/GLONASS, optical heart rate monitor, ambient light sensor, and vibration motor. Other sensors include a vibration motor.

Additionally, the wearable possesses what Fitbit refers to as a relative SpO2 sensor. You won’t get any useful data out of it right now, but in the future, it might be used to monitor blood oxygen levels and diagnose sleep apnea. Additionally, the company has improved its heart rate sensor, making it fit more comfortably against the user’s wrist. The improved accuracy has the potential to assist in the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) in the future. This is in addition to providing better data regarding the patient’s heart rate. Fitbit has high aspirations for itself in this sphere.

When it comes to anything that is always resting on your wrist, water resistance is a key quality to look for. After what feels like an interminable amount of trial and error, Fitbit appears to have at last triumphed. The Flex 2 was the one that started everything off, and now the Ionic comes with an amazing water-resistance rating of 5 ATM (or 50 meters). You may wear it regardless of the weather, and it will even keep track of your time spent swimming

Battery life is equally as crucial as the device’s resistance to water. Despite this, you probably do not want to have to charge your watch every single day. Apple, do you happen to be reading this right now?

The Ionic advertises a battery life of between four and five days, and testing in real-world conditions confirms that this is accurate. Even if this is totally acceptable, it is important to point out that this is partially due to the fact that the watch display turns off by itself. It should come as no surprise that the battery life will decrease when playing music nonstop, and turning on the GPS will cut it down to 10 hours from its current capacity of 20. Nevertheless, this compares quite favorably with the other companies in the industry, which provides Apple with an ambitious goal to shoot for.

It includes activity monitoring features.

As would be anticipated, this is a clock that prioritizes physical activity in terms of its various functions. You will receive everything that has made us fans of Fitbit devices in the past. In addition to the standard steps, distance, floors, active minutes, and calories burned, this feature also provides inactivity reminders, automated activity recognition, and activities designed to help sustain periods of calmness.

This review will focus on the Fitbit Ionic, which is more of a fitness watch than a smartwatch.

The application will give you specific information regarding the stages of light, deep, and REM sleep as well as the amount of time you were awake in the morning. The watch is equipped with innovative sleep tracking features and analytical capabilities that were released earlier this year. Ionic’s superior comfort over previous Fitbit models ensures that its sleep tracking is more accurate than those of its competitors.

The first Fitbit smartwatch allows users to exercise without the need for a phone nearby. When used for tracking fitness in outdoor environments, the built-in GPS will keep track of split times, as well as pace, distance, and elevation. The business has done an outstanding job of engineering the antenna into the frame of the product. In addition to that, there is the possibility of establishing a connection with GLONASS satellites, which ought to result in an improvement in performance.

When a connection is made, a connection logo will appear on the display, and there will be a brief buzz as well to let you know that the connection has been made. My very first race went extremely well. Because the path was recorded so precisely, I couldn’t help but feel really impressed. The subsequent runs began to record some veering, and it was at that point that I realized the performance of the watch was comparable to that of other GPS watches. It’s pretty decent, but it’s not flawless.

The Purepulse heart rate sensor from Fitbit stores data on the wearer’s heart rate at intervals of 1 second during exercise and at intervals of 5 seconds during all other times. During your workouts, you will receive information on your heart rate zones in real time, and in the morning, you will receive information on your resting heart rate. As was previously reported, the heart rate sensor has been improved, meaning that it should provide more accurate readings than previous Fitbits. In addition to this, it is now totally flush with the back of the body, whereas on earlier models it had a tiny protrusion in this area.

Fitbits are among the very best wrist-based cardiac monitors on the market today. They are also among the most affordable. When subjected to strenuous activity, there is a possibility that they will be off by a couple of beats. Notwithstanding, this is something that can be expected from any gadget of this kind. A chest strap is always going to be the superior choice if you are seriously interested in training for different heart rate zones.

The accompanying smartphone app will, in addition to providing you with specific information regarding your heart rate, also offer you a glimpse of your cardio fitness level (VO2Max). In addition, there is the stress-free activity known as Relax that will assist you in being calm.

Moving on to the recording of activities

The watch features a mode called “exercise” that can record real-time statistics on a variety of different types of sports, like running, cycling, yoga, and tennis, among others. The addition of an automatic pause mechanism is a really helpful new feature. If you are jogging and then stop for some reason, such as at a traffic light, the watch will automatically engage the pause option and then restart when you begin running again.

Because it can withstand water pressure of up to 50 meters, the Ionic can also keep track of your swimming workouts. It is extremely beneficial to be able to navigate in the water using physical controls, as touchscreen alternatives are not likely to ever be satisfactory. The clock is capable of tracking distances, times, and calorie burn fairly accurately, but it is unable to provide information regarding the wearer’s heart rate. It is important to note that in order to set the pool length, you will need to do it in advance inside the Fitbit app, as doing so directly on the device itself is not available.

The fact that there is no method to retrieve training history on the watch is a minor nuisance, considering that you are able to browse through your data both during and after an activity. As soon as you leave the workout after viewing the summary, it will no longer be available to you. This indicates that you will be required to utilise the mobile app on your smartphone in order to review your data going forward.

Ionic’s package also includes a brand-new Coach functionality.The digital personal trainer acts essentially as a replacement for Fitstar, and it is worn on the wrist. It leads you through various routines. The workouts are presented on the watch in the form of animations that resemble GIFs, so that you are aware of exactly what to do. During your workout, you will be able to keep an eye on the timer and monitor your heart rate. Additionally, you will feel an occasional vibration to let you know when it is time to switch from one activity to another.

There are three different workouts that come pre-installed on the smartphone by default. These include the 10-Minute Abs workout, the 7-Minute Workout workout, and the 20-Minute Treasure Chest workout. You don’t need to be in a gym to do any of these, and you can complete all of them in the convenience of your own living room. If you choose to pay for a subscription, you will have access to more workouts.

This review will focus on the Fitbit Ionic, which is more of a fitness watch than a smartwatch.

In 2018, the firm plans to launch Guided Health programmes, which you will be able to utilize to create individualized exercise and health routines for yourself. There are also plans to introduce audio workouts to the timepiece, but, in order to access these, a monthly subscription service costing $8 per month will be required.

Smartwatch features and capabilities

Ionic is not only about physical activity. For the very first time, Fitbit has expanded the capabilities of one of its wearables beyond the realm of activity tracking. And this is the point at which things start to become a little bit cumbersome.

There is, for instance, storage that can be accessed offline for music. A first for a device made by Fitbit. The internal memory of 2.5 GB is sufficient to store more than 300 songs, and you also receive access to Pandora without the need for a separate phone. You can listen to all of this without having to use your hands by connecting the new wireless headphones that Fitbit offers.

However, there is some bad news to report as well. Manually starting the music transfer process is the only way to do it when using Fitbit Connect on a desktop computer connected to WiFi. The second choice is to fork over some cash and sign up for a premium Pandora account. Neither one of these options is satisfactory. You shouldn’t be surprised if you come to the conclusion that the most convenient way to listen to music is to carry your smartphone around with you. But at least this watch can hold music, and if you put in the work to set it up, it can serve as a miniature iPod.

There are alerts for calls, texts, and calendar events in addition to the standard notifications. You are able to read them, but Ionic does not permit you to respond to the comments they leave. Because of this, you’ll need to pull out your phone, which is obviously not the best option. While email communications will be abbreviated, SMS messages will be displayed in their entirety. The feature works well enough for a cursory glance at the notifications, but that’s about it. It would be convenient to have canned responses available for use when engaging with the system.

Another first for Fitbit, the Ionic comes equipped with a near-field communication (NFC) chip that can save your credit card information, allowing you to leave your wallet at home. Fitbit Pay is now available in select countries, but not everywhere just yet. Those who are located in the United States have the option of adding their American Express cards in addition to selecting Visa and Mastercards from supported financial institutions. However, the number of banks that support Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Samsung Pay is still a long way off from what is now available.

At least it’s not difficult to take advantage of the feature. To access the virtual card, you need to press and maintain pressure on one of the side buttons. During the setup process, you will be prompted to select a four-digit password that serves as an additional layer of security and that you will use in the future to validate purchases. Once you have entered your PIN, the ability to make payments will remain active on your watch for as long as you keep it on. If you remove it, you won’t be able to use the functionality again until you enter the correct pin code again. Even while this could be considered an annoyance, it is a tiny price to pay for the benefit of being able to leave your smartphone behind and still make secure payments for the products you purchase.

Last but not least, there are the applications, or more accurately, the absence of applications! The smartwatch is equipped with an App Gallery and operates on Fitbit’s in-house developed operating system, which was made possible by the company’s purchase of Pebble.

Again, this differs from country to country. Ionic devices sold in the United States come with a dozen or so pre-loaded apps, some of which are as follows: Today’s features include weather, music, Strava, Starbucks, Pandora, Coach, relax, exercise, music, alarms, timer/stopwatch, and Strava. But this is more or less where it comes to an end. In some other countries, there are even fewer items on the list. In addition, the apps that are available do not have the same level of refinement as those found on devices such as the Apple Watch.

Since Fitbit opened its software development kit (SDK) to third-party developers in September, there is little question that this will change in the future. However, given the current state of affairs, the selection is extremely limited.

Overview / Summary

The Fitbit One is the company’s first ever smartwatch, and it functions primarily as a fitness watch. In spite of the fact that it makes an effort to be comprehensive in terms of non-fitness qualities, it ultimately is not successful. Fitbit will need some more time to smooth out the kinks that are associated with the additional smarts.

The encouraging news is that the company maintains its dominant position in the activity-tracking market. The Ionic is a good option to consider if you want a device that can monitor your fitness levels throughout the day. It has everything that we have grown to love about Fitbits, plus it has water resistance and built-in GPS on top of that.

There is a possibility that Fitbit Ionic Gadgets & Wearables will receive a commission.

Although it does not have a particularly attractive appearance, the Ionic has a fantastic screen, is comfortable to wear at all times, and has a battery life that is satisfactory. Also, let’s not overlook the fact that the company’s software ecosystem is, in terms of both user friendliness and straightforwardness, among the best there is.

The device is exactly what you need if you’ve been searching for a waterproof Fitbit that also includes GPS and a screen. Make sure, however, that your expectations for your smartwatch are reasonable.

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