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Fitbit is widely known for producing quality fitness trackers. But now, they have dived into smartwatch business. They have developed a new custom OS and therefore the Fitbit Ionic, the new smartwatch, is not Tizen, Android Wear or one of the common products in the market. The Fitbit Ionic is running the Ionic OS.
The new OS comes with several benefits such as multi-day battery life – it can last for over four days after a charging – and if your workout routine involves more GPS tracking, the watch will operate for 10 hours continuously. You should not worry about your workouts; the smartwatch offers both swimming and training modes.
The product is water resistant to around 50m. The manufacturer has included an in-built optical heart tracker and you will therefore know your real time heart rate zones when training and track your heart rate when resting. The smartwatch also tracks the heart rate variability.
Speaking of the Ionic OS, you cannot use your Android Wear apps. However, you will still receive notifications from Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and many others. The smartwatch also runs applications and the manufacturer has already installed Accuweather, Strava and Pandora.
The available 2.5GB storage can accommodate over 300 MP3 songs, which you can listen offline without the need of Bluetooth. To sync the device with Pandora application, you will need Premium or Plus subscription. What’s more, the device supports mobile payments, Mastercard, Visa, and American Express cards from top banks. The OS might be another version of the Pebble IP, which Fitbit acquired earlier.
New Design: Smart, but Not Standalone
With the Fitbit Ionic, health and fitness is likely to take the center stage. The all-around wearable does not look like a Vector or a Pebble watch. It is more of an improvement of the top-tier devices from Fitbit, Surge and Blaze. The product boasts a simple square face different from Blaze’s odd octagon. It also packs a bigger 1.42 inch screen with slimmer bezels. Even though the device has enough space beneath its screen to accommodate the Fitbit logo, the 1000 nit 348×250 LCD touchscreen is bright and crisp enough to allow visibility in direct sunlight. The feature is ideal for individuals who buy smartwatches for outdoor use.
The watch is available in three different colors: gray, black, and orange. The manufacturer has designed bands for each color to complement the Space Movie motif. A quick example, they have paired the orange smartwatch with blue band to somehow mimic intersection of the “Mars and Matt Damon in The Martian”. And for more personal touch the manufacturer developed an easier swapping method through a button situated under the band that unsnaps and snaps it in place faster. The method is easier than the push-and-slide method common with Apple Watches. The foolproof release and the hearty click allow you to know whether you have properly connected it.
If you held the 12.2mm Fitbit Ionic smartwatch today, you will realize that it has an appearance similar to that of Android Wear watch. However, that will disappear immediately you strap it on. The product’s aggressive convex design pushes the heart rate monitor further into your wrist. To most people, it sounds uncomfortable but it is not. The resulting wrist profile is around 6-7mm, importantly slimmer than the 10.5mm LG Style Watch or the 10.5mm Apple Watch Series 1, which are among the thinnest watches in the market. The extruding lugs might make it bigger for the small wrists, but the manufacturer has adapted a design that combines the classic Fitbit style with the full-fledged fashionable smartwatches.
Promised battery life
The four day battery life or 10 hours when using GPS is equivalent to that of the Fitbit Blaze and is better than that of Android Wear watch, Apple Watch or the Samsung Gear S3. However, the battery life is on the shorter side for lesser feature-studded fitness trackers.
After wearing it, the Fitbit ionic will function more like the available supercharged devices. The present array of sensors will constantly track your movements and you can therefore track your BPM, steps and calories by tapping the product’s default face. The on-board GPS, available on Surge, helps avoid overreliance on your phone.
The new Fitstar powered Fitbit Coach allows the user to access personal training through the watch with systematic visual instructions for various workouts. Even though it is not available with the launch version, the audio coaching version will feature 40 outdoor and indoor running and walking exercise sessions complete with encouragement and audible cues during workouts. The paid service is likely to round out the coaching system. For $8 per month or $40 per year, you will have a personalized sleep, nutrition and exercise plan based on your personal needs and goals. The plan will also adjust to match your routine.
The Fitbit Ionic also boasts automatic pause detection ideal for individuals who take breaks during their workouts. But because the device has no onscreen option, you will have to press the button or flick your wrist to see the stats. If you need to receive all notifications from your mobile phone, you should set the watch to vibrate immediately they arrive. However, you cannot use the watch to reply to messages or make calls. The four day battery will keep the Fitbit Ionic running for 10 continuous hours if music or GPS is on. It comes with a magnetic charging cable. And like most other Fitbits, you can recharge it at night.
Heart rate monitor
The device features advanced sensors that might track your blood oxygen level with time. What’s more, it boasts a more effective heart rate sensor. Oxygen levels might be important to the hardcore athletes. The feature is uncommon in most smartwatch devices.
You can store over 300 songs on the watch and play them through Bluetooth wireless headphones. Actually, Fitbit is so invested in the concept that they developed their own wireless headphones for use with the watch. The unit boasts 2.5GB of internal storage, which is available for music. You can opt to load the music from your computer or use the Pandora streaming services. The manufacturer has already preloaded the device with the Pandora application, which allows subscribers of the paid Pandora to store music on the watch.
Fitbit designed the new Flyer Bluetooth wireless headphones with the Ionic in mind. Even though the headphones cannot work with a smartphone or other Bluetooth audio devices, it will provide better quality sound. It is available in two colors: gold/white color and silver/blue color. Regardless of the version you choose, you will have to pay $129. According to Fitbit, most of the headphones in the market, are not durable and are not waterproof. They have tried to solve the problem by internally waterproofing the Flyer headphones. Therefore, you should not worry about sweat/liquid related damages.
Apart from the wonderful hardware pieces, the product has several interesting software aspects. It can concurrently connect to your mobile phone and the Fitbit Ionic. That is unusual and notable because it allows listening of music and taking of phone calls. The flyer boasts noise cancelling through its microphones allowing reduction of wind. The phone speaking part features several phone digital assistants such as the Siri. On the listening part it has passive noise isolation which reduces extra sounds in the environment.
The Flyer has two sound profiles. You can choose the PowerBoost sound profile, which increases both the EQ and the base, or the regular sound profile. What’s more, you can access the two by pressing two buttons together. To control the volume, tap down or up on the control’s part. To skip or back a track, you will have to long hold.
The Fitbit Ionic includes wireless payments support via NFC. In other words, you can easily load your credit card into the smartwatch through your smartphone app and start paying with the Fitbit Iconic. To benefit from this feature, you will have to add your credit card into the Fitbit Companion application. The wireless payments platform supports American Express, Mastercard and Visa.
To make payments, you will have to set a PIN code that you will use to lock/unlock to prevent access by other people. The PIN code will show up on the device when in use, but you will have to re-enter whenever you remove the watch. To use it for checkout, you have to long-hold down its left button for around 2 seconds for it to display the payment screen.
Supports both iPhone and Android
Unlike the Apple Watch, which works with the iPhone only, the product is compatible with Android and iPhone. The company is likely to open up a platform to allow building of more apps for the device. Users can personalize notifications they receive on the watch including calendar reminders, text messages and weather updates. With the Fitstar and the Fitbit Coach apps, you can select audio and video workouts, if you need guided workouts.
So, should you buy Fitbit Ionic?
The product is worth consideration. Its battery lasts longer than that of the Apple Watch and most Android Wear devices. The device might not be a perfect choice for all people, but it will perfectly match the needs of many. The optical heart rate sensor is better than that on most previous models. You will also listen to your favourite songs during workouts.