Health

Fitbit Ionic review: Meet the $300 fitness-centered smartwatch

22 Mins read

Fitbit knows how to make an exercise device; what about a smartwatch?

Fitbit has plenty riding on its new $three hundred Ionic smartwatches. Analyst reports advocate that the smartwatch category will keep growing over the next few years, and Apple and Google already have well-established gadgets and operating structures. Being one of the pinnacle gamers in the wearables recreation, Fitbit is unlikely to construct a tool that runs Android Wear (a good deal less watchOS), so it designs its devices from the floor up. The Ionic is Fitbit’s severe try at a smartwatch, a ways more significant than the $two hundred Blaze that got here out final year. Running Fitbit OS, the Ionic combines the most critical health capabilities with what Fitbit believes to be the most crucial smartwatch capabilities. While trying out the Ionic, I asked myself important questions: does it provide first-rate fitness revel for the charge? And does Fitbit thoughtfully contain the best smartwatch features in a typically health-centered tool? It does—but there may be better solutions available.

smartwatch

Design

It became hard to be excited while the Ionic leaked months’ primary pictures before its debut. Those images confirmed many of our worst fears: Fitbit setup stuck with the middle design that stimulated the Blaze fitness watch, which’s chunky and unattractive at great. The Ionic isn’t elegant; however, few smartwatches are. However, it does enhance the Blaze in several approaches. First, the module’s unibody layout is thoughtfully made with nano-molding technology; this fuses metal and plastic to make a non-stop tool and lets the Ionic be water-resistant up to 50 meters. The device is extraordinarily skinny thanks to the internal grouping of GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi antennas. The unibody layout also approaches that it is no longer a module held in the region using square reduction out of metallic, which is Blaze’s biggest layout sin. The Ionic’s module is a single piece of barely curved hardware that attaches to two ends of a wristband, just like the Apple Watch and maximum Android Wear gadgets.

The well-suited Ionic bands also are similar to those available for their competition. Fitbit evolved its standard, game, and leather-based accessories for the best smartwatch, all with a traditional watch-like adjustable clasp. I had one of every, and they’re normally secure. My favorite is the sports band because it has holes to allow better airflow to the pores and skin. It won’t be an original layout, but it prevents skin irritation via exercising and past.

Fitbit’s mechanism to connect and detach the bands is like that on the Apple Watch. Small, narrow buttons at both the modules release the band portions, allowing you to snap fast in others. Fitbit’s method is more straightforward than Apple’s because the Apple Watch’s band-launch buttons are built into the module rather than on its aspect. Launching the ones requires a sharp object or lengthy fingernails to press and preserve the button long enough to slip the band portions out of their class. Props to Fitbit White for creating a comparable mechanism that is quicker to finish and easier on the palms.

What you engage with a maximum at the Ionic is the 1.4-inch, 348 x 250-decision, 1,000-nit touchscreen, which is tremendous to look at in both right and awful lights. The backside bezel is the most important and has the Fitbit call, while the facet and top bezels are slimmer. The black part of the module is deceiving, even though it now does not all display actual estate. Hugging the display are three physical buttons: one at the left facet for powering up the device and on the right aspect for in-pastime picks. The top-proper button doubles as a quick-get entry to the Today app button, which shows your present-day health facts, At the same time, one press of the bottom-right button quickly opens the Exercise app.

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On the lowest of the module are the magnetic nodes that connect with the proprietary charging cable and the heart price screen. Fitbit designed the Ionic bottom to be flat towards the skin, with no ridges or indentations across the optical coronary heart rate display. This must produce more accurate readings and the shortage of pressure points created by uneven surfaces.

A SpO2 screen—a peculiar sensor that measures oxygen stages inside the blood—within the Ionic. Fitbit claims this may sooner or later alert customers to sleep apnea issues; however, it has no outward-facing functions right now. There’s no blood oxygen indicator on the Ionic nor a phase for that information within the Fitbit app. According to a Fitbit representative, the business enterprise is “nonetheless exploring how this will show up inside the client experience,” which means you won’t even know it’s onexistence.

A massive part of the Ionic’s attraction is its 195mAh battery life. Fitbit claims the tool can last more fantastic than four days at a single price or 10 hours while using GPS. After four days of consecutive use of my Ionic, the battery turned into nonetheless at forty-five percent; the day after today, I used the GPS a chunk, which knocked the remaining battery life down to approximately 38 percent. Battery lifestyles are one of the Ionic fine functions, especially considering that the Apple Watch and maximum Android Wear gadgets can be the simplest ultimate of two days at a single price.

Activity capabilities

The Ionic runs Fitbit OS, the employer’s working device, to be used on all its smartwatch devices going forward. It’s dependent on other wearable running structures, with an eye fixed-face homepage and adjoining pages web hosting apps on hand via swiping left or right. We’ll get into the opposite apps at the Ionic when we speak about its best Android smartwatch features, but for now, we will awareness of the Exercise app. This is where you may find all the sporting events you could tune directly from the watch. You can load as many as seven exercising shortcuts onto the watch simultaneously, and the default shortcuts include run, motorbike, swim, and treadmill. (There is 20 total, including extra-precise sports like yoga, martial arts, hiking, and golf.)

As with other trackers, you may categorize workouts as other physical games within the Fitbit mobile app; in doing so, you have a far more comprehensive listing of trackable sports. But in the evaluation of Apple Watches and Android Wear devices, the Ionic does not have as many options to be had on the device. Fitbit does, but it assists you in personalizing functions like GPS and car-pause for each exercise. These different features can be edited right earlier than beginning an activity by tapping the equipment icon on the device’s display’s pinnacle-left corner. The GPS on/off choice will be available and accessible if you’re doing an indoor version of an exercise rather than an outdoor session.

Starting an exercise on the Ionic is as simple as urgent the “go” arrow at the bottom-right nook of the show or hitting the bottom-right button on the aspect. Ionic’s workout routines are “quick start” in this sense. (Apple has additionally updated its Workout app in watchOS 4 to have short-start options. Before the watchOS four updates, best your maximum-used workouts would start immediately upon hitting the Workout app icon. All others would ask you to define an exercise purpose primarily based on distance, time, or energy burned.) But you cannot specify a goal for a man or woman exercising with the Ionic.

The Ionic’s display indicates three stats at a time during an exercise. You can customize those from each workout’s settings without delay on the watch, choosing information that appears on the top, backside, and middle of the display. By default, top and bottom stats are already selected, but you may swipe on the show’s middle phase to scroll through all available data, including time, steps, energy, heart charge, distance, and tempo records. I liked having that flexibility with the center segment, but I always made positive that the facts most critical to me changed into the set for the pinnacle and bottom sections. You can customize visible in-workout stats on the Apple Watch as well (it can display four at a time at the show); however, you cannot achieve this on the watch; you need to edit settings in the Watch app on iOS.

Fitbit includes a Weight exercise shortcut on the Ionic; however, it doesn’t have a rep counting or workout reputation characteristic. Android Wear 2.0 introduced an aid for rep counting and a few exercise reputation, permitting you to boost weights, enter the quantity of weight lifted, and entire sports like crunches or bicycles comfortably. New Garmin gadgets, just like the $ hundred and forty Vivosmart three, remember reps as nicely, so it seems like Fitbit missed a possibility.

Heart rate monitor

Inside the Ionic is Fitbit’s PurePulse heart fee monitoring technology that still seems in its different health trackers, together with the Alta HR. While the Ionic’s coronary heart charge reveal floundered the primary few instances I used it (it became 20 BPMs off more than one example), I didn’t enjoy many problems after that. Fitbit recommends wearing the Ionic 3-hands-width away from your wrist bone—and tight sufficient so it can not wobble. The Ionic’s heart rate reveal became a stable maximum of the time compared to the Polar H10 coronary heart price chest strap and the heart fee display on the Apple Watch Series 2, studying my coronary heart fee within 2 BPM of those other gadgets.

GPS

The GPS in the Ionic labored as expected. The GPS took about one minute to seize my region earlier than an outside run. That’s now not speedy. However, you do not anticipate the GPS to find your location before heading out, and as soon as I started, the device did map my route appropriately. The Ionic is a primary development over the GPS in the Fitbit Surge, released about three years ago. The Blaze most effective had “connected GPS,” meaning it knew your area most straightforward using your smartphone’s GPS (which intended to carry your telephone while running out). Considering the Fitbit Surge will possibly get replaced through the Ionic, Fitbit indeed makes onboard GPS a substantial function on its high-stop tracker.

Sleep tracking

The Ionic outshines the Apple Watch in sleep monitoring. Apple, nevertheless, would not natively assist sleep tracking with its wearable (even though there are 0.33-birthday party apps you may use to follow), but Fitbit has tracked sleep for years across more than one device. The Ionic uses its continuous heart fee monitor to pulse all through rest, categorizing your state into wakeful, REM, light, and deep sleep. I always revel in searching on the sleep line graphs within the Fitbit app because I can see after I wakened and how long I changed into within the unique sleep tiers the night time earlier. It’s also clean after I don’t have a fantastic night’s sleep, as my graphs display plenty more significant conscious time than they do REM or deep sleep.

Smart Track

Fitbit’s Smart Track characteristic is also a perk that Apple Watches and Android Wear devices do not have. Smart Track mechanically recognizes physical games after you’ve performed them for a fixed amount of time. Smart Track has advanced over the years so that you can now customize that set quantity of time; I typically maintain mine at 10 minutes for every activity. It’s no longer confined to running, biking, or different sports activities; both; Smart Track on my Ionic most often facts durations of lengthy walking when moving around Manhattan or purchasing at the mall.

Fitbit Coach

The “Dynamic workout” is part of the tool’s guided training characteristic. It offers you a short exercise to complete, and when you’re finished, you may inform the device if it becomes too hard, too clean, or simply right for you. Dynamic exercise will produce any other exercise that is better suited to your health stage. Fitbit says this option will arrive later in q4. However, I was disappointed that I could not check this one out. Personalized exercises are huge perks for health trackers like the Ionic—and the simpler they’re to use, the higher they’re at, giving the user an extra tailor-made exercising experience.

Also drawing close are intention-oriented exercising regimens that last for weeks, like software that preps the consumer for a 5K race, similar to eating regimens that target habits like reducing the amount of sugar you consume. Most of these guided exercising and weight loss plan workouts can be sequestered at the back of a paywall; users will pay a month-to-month charge for access. The Ionic comes preloaded with three guided exercise routines, but you may join up if you need access to others.

How are they? Well, the ten-minute Abs workout inside the Coach app on the Ionic is wonderful. This recurring guides you through some exercises that target your core; you may preview them by tapping the listing icon at the pinnacle right corner of the exercise’s display screen. The list names the sporting events you’ll do, in which order, and the number of instances you’ll complete them or the duration necessary for the finishing touch (as an instance, 30 seconds in preference to 30 reps).

During the circuit, the Ionic’s show indicates how to do the exercise with a picture of a real man or woman (no stick discern iconography) and the wide variety of reps or time length earlier than transferring directly to the subsequent exercise. It doesn’t appear that the Ionic acknowledges and counts each rep you complete, though; I paused for some seconds for the ab workout, and the rep counter persisted in featuring brokers as if I turned into finishing them in real time. It’s safe to say the Ionic assumes you entire a broker each 2d or so, which means you can, without problems, move at your tempo and nevertheless pass on to the next workout. Because of this, you may prefer the time-primarily based physical games in those workouts. However, maximum exercises may combine rep- and time-primarily based sports. Aside from the rep-cheating possibility, I loved the 10-Minute Abs ordinary, which becomes fairly strict even for a person like me who is familiar with every exercise within the exercise.

While the guided exercise offerings are slim, at least they exist. Neither Apple Watches nor Android Wear gadgets have locally referred workout routines. The Apple Watch’s closest aspect to watchOS four is customized monthly challenges, which present a fitness undertaking primarily based on your beyond the month of the hobby. Fitbit’s offerings take me back to the Microsoft Band’s Extra, which treated guided workouts well. You should even browse Microsoft’s laptop program for the Band and make your exercise exercises combining man or women’s sporting events to make a circuit. I nonetheless desire that a wearable will regain this feature from the useless for a few days.

Arc watches the face of the Ionic. Tappable stats at the Arc watch face. 1-Minute Abs exercising in Fitbit Coach.
List of sports covered in the 10-Minute Abs exercise. Today view, displaying your modern health information for the day. Elliptical workout shortcut in the Exercise app. Pressing the tools icon on the exercise shortcut creates customizable settings for each activity.

Guided respiration

The Ionic also has Fitbit’s guided respiration characteristic, which leads you via pair minutes of deep breathing meditation. This characteristic uses the Ionic’s show to encourage you to follow an expanding and deflating circle—inhale while the process inflates, exhale while the process deflates. The device also vibrates lightly while you’re purported to inhale and exhale. None of this differs from guided breathing on other Fitbit devices like the Charge 2, but you could enjoy the total-color animations on the Ionic.

I’m trying to meditate often. However, I decide on audio-guided meditation as the app Headspace gives. I wouldn’t say I like observing the Ionic display and looking to suit my breath with the circles—finally, my eyes and respiratory deeply at my own pace is what I want in excellent approximate meditation. This is tough, even as staring at a display or expecting my wrist to vibrate.

As for maximum fitness gadgets, the Ionic has reminders to move and cute animations while attaining your overall fitness purpose daily. The device encourages you to complete about 250 steps per hour with a little dancing stick parent animation driven for your wrist as soon as consistent with the hour. This is slightly more extraordinary than the Apple Watch, wherein you get “stand signals” to remind you to arise from your seat in the instances you’ve selected. Also, in Watch 4, you will get an end-of-the-day alert from the Activity app that tells you how to near your circulate ring for the day. A 10-minute walk might do it someday, or you may need a 30-minute stroll if you have not been that active every other day. I like the ones with clean quantitative pointers because they eliminate the thriller round, attaining a flow goal.

Smartwatch features

The Ionic is Fitbit’s first actual smartwatch. It has a working gadget known as Fitbit OS, and it connects via Bluetooth to iOS, Android, and Windows smartphones. Apple Watches most straightforward paintings with iOS devices; Android Wear devices paint excellent on Android gadgets (even if they guide iOS devices). Windows smartphones had been neglected using the maximum currently announced wearables. If you’re interested in the Ionic and you very own a cellphone, possibilities are it the two will feature paintings collectively.

Let’s discover Fitbit OS. The predominant display is your watch face, which you can personalize by selecting specific designs in the Fitbit mobile app. Only one watch face is offered at the Ionic at a time, so everyone who likes the potential to swipe between favorites (as you can do at the Apple Watch) may be upset. From the watch face, appropriate to the right to convey up show and notification settings and see the Ionic’s final battery lifestyles. Swipe down from the top of the watch face to see your present-day track selection; swipe up from the bottom to see all the phone signals you haven’t disregarded yet.

Swiping to the left from the show’s right face brings you to the diverse app pages on the Ionic. By default, four pages keep several preloaded apps: Today, Weather, Exercise, Coach, Music, Wallet, Timers, Relax, Settings, Pandora, Alarms, Strava, and Starbucks. It’s a straightforward setup that must be clean to recognize even if you’ve never used some other smartwatch earlier. It’s almost like using a telephone in that there are four apps consistent with the web page, and also, you certainly swipe to particular pages to get the right of entry to extraordinary apps. You also can press and keep on an app icon to transport it to every other location.

Notifications

Like many best smartwatches for iPhone, and unlike other Fitbit devices earlier than it, the ionic bond can obtain all your smartphone’s notifications if you want. You can customize these in the Fitbit app, turning on or off indicators from precise apps. I admire the enhanced electricity because I don’t need a few apps to get right to entry to my wrist. However, the exception of the Ionic’s telephone notifications is sub-par. When a text alert pops up, you can only examine a snippet of the message, and also, you can not respond from the watch or engage with it at all. The only things you could do are dismiss it or permit it to funnel into the notification drawer.

Swiping up from the bottom of the display suggests all notifications you have not disregarded yet, and tapping on one most superficial well-known shows the app from which it got here. A difficult estimate of while you obtained the alert (like “2 hours ago”). Both watchOS and Android Wear will let you interact with signs to a few diplomae. You can reply to messages using your voice, choosing a canned response, scribbling an emoji, or typing custom text on a tiny keyboard.

In popular, the notifications look unfinished compared to the ones on watchOS or Android Wear. Fitbit’s alerts are, by and large, textual content. Some are in distinct shades depending on the app they got here, and unique characters and overseas characters are frequently changed using question-mark mystery characters. A few emojis pop up here and there, and they add some livelihood to the signals, but in any other case, they sense sadly compared to the ones on different devices.

Watch Faces

At least the watch faces take benefit of the Ionic’s lovable display. There are currently 17 watch faces, some of which feature small bits of other information that might correspond to watchOS and Android Wear headaches. However, this statistic is more often than not focused on fitness; a few watch faces have small circles and numbers that suggest steps taken, energy burned, modern-day heart price, active mins completed, and extra.

The only large issue I had with watch faces (aside from the truth, you can best have one by one at the Ionic) is that it took a healthy 30 seconds for a brand-new watch face to update my cutting-edge one. After deciding on the brand new face you need in the Fitbit app, tapping the “installation” button starts the method—which takes tons too long. The Ionic releases a bit of vibration when the brand-new watch face is ready to head. However, it should no longer take extra than a pair of seconds to exchange the look and feel of your digital timepiece.

Noticeably absent from the Ionic smartwatch is a virtual, voice-managed assistant. Apple has Siri on its wearables, and Google has Google Assistant on Android Wear gadgets. Using embedded mics on the Apple Watch and Android Wear gadgets, you may ask these assistants questions, and they may fetch the solutions for you. Siri can even communicate again to you in watchOS 4. I’m not surprised that Fitbit didn’t create a virtual assistant for the Ionic because neither Siri nor Google Assistant is vital for the health to enjoy on those devices. Still, voice management does make fundamental query-and-solution interaction smooth and amusing on smartwatches.

NFC bills

The Ionic has its personal NFC fee gadget referred to as Fitbit Pay. Other than the truth that it exists, Fitbit Pay isn’t always pretty thrilling. It works like different contactless payment structures, allowing you to pay for things via preserving the Ionic up to a reader and paying with a preloaded credit card. You can connect a couple of-of your credit cards to Fitbit Pay; however simplest one may be the default. The characteristic currently works with American Express, MasterCard, and Visa credit score cards, and Fitbit is looking to partner nicely with some banks within Destiny. The feature makes sense. With the Ionic’s onboard GPS, it’s a great preference for out-of-door workouts, and people who leave their smartphones and wallets at domestic can still purchase a post-workout smoothie. After every transaction, a notification at the Ionic show shows you how much was charged to your card.

Onboard track

The Ionic has an area to keep about three hundred songs you can enter without a phone nearby. Populate the Ionic with neighborhood song documents (MP3, AAC, and WMA file types) or a playlist synced from a paid Pandora account. That’s superb if you’re one of the 4.8 million Pandora subscribers. However, it is a bummer if you’re one of the 60 million paid Spotify customers or one of Apple Music’s 27 million subscribers. Pairing Fitbit’s new Flyer wireless earbuds to the Ionic becomes a breeze: urgent the button on the right Flyer bud for a couple of seconds puts it into pairing mode, and navigating to the Bluetooth segment of the Settings app on the tool will provoke pairing nearly at once.

I want to say the sesame about the Ionic’s onboard track syncing benefit. I went the neighborhood record direction in view that I don’t pay for Pandora, and it’s an incredibly buggy revel in. Ideally, you connect your Ionic to the same Wi-Fi community your PC is connected to via the Fitbit mobile app and then open the Fitbit Connect computing device software. There’s now a bold “Manage My Music” choice on Connect’s domestic web page, which brings you to a web page with identified music playlists from assets like iTunes. You must then enter “switch” mode using going to the Ionic Music app. That makes your Ionic recognizable and geared to accept music wirelessly from your PC. You pick out the playlists you need to sync in the Connect program, and within a few minutes, they all sync with your Ionic, in principle.

Until publishing this evaluation, I couldn’t sync the song to my Ionic. Fitbit emphasized that my Connect software program is an “early build” and that the employer is operating on it, so things may be higher when users get their arms at the Ionic this October. Even though this seems proper, the Ionic’s track syncing experience is quite clumsy. Apple’s and Google’s music offerings let you download documents to their respective wearables from your cellphone—no PC or desktop software is required. Only paid Pandora subscribers may have even a fraction of that smoothness while syncing music to the Ionic.

Other Apps

There are not many 0.33-birthday party apps for the Ionic, so it is hard to say what the app’s enjoyment may be like in DDestiny. In the next phase, we communicate approximately Fitbit Studio, making it less complicated for builders to create Fitbit OS apps. It makes me wonder if we will see a few beneficial apps made for Fitbit’s working machine. The Ionic is mostly a fitness device with a few smartwatch features. While every smartwatch employer is trying to decipher the mystery of apps on smartwatches, a few are already quite realistic.

For example, Apple Maps on Apple Watches and Google Maps on Android each provides turn-with the aid of turning using directions, on-tool maps, and vibrations. With a nearby smartphone, that is excellent because you get the audio comments from the cellular app and the physical beatings from the wearable app. Without a telephone (or with audio grew to become down), you continue to get wrist-based total signals while you need to showdown every other road while not having to take your eyes off the road. Hopefully, savvy builders will make practical apps for the Ionic to be an excellent higher smart watch similar to a useful health device.

Fitbit app and Fitbit Studio

The Fitbit mobile app hasn’t been modified, given that we reviewed the Alta HR, and it remains the great partner mobile app for any fitness tool. Everything you’ll want to recognize about your health is obtainable from the homepage through squared-off sections: steps, distance, calories, active mins, and floors climbed to take a seat on the top with exercise, measures according to an hour, heart charge, sleep, weight, water intake, and diet sections under those stats. You also can add areas for tracking exercise, logging meals, sleep, weight, or water, adding a chum, or scanning a barcode. These sections make your maximum-used interactions quickly available so that you don’t move to dig for them on other app pages.

It’s clear how a whole lot further Apple and Google ought to go along with their health app reviews while searching on the Fitbit exercise web page. It’s tremendously intuitive, with a swipeable segment on the top providing your goals, a monthly breakdown of workout conduct, and graphs for workout length, distance, coronary heart price, and calories burned through the years. Below the map is a list of all your logged workout routines, and you can upload any you forgot to log in real-time.

Each exercise is represented with an information card categorizing the exercising, date and time of record, distance, pace, everyday coronary heart price, and a bar graph displaying how much the exercising became spent in extraordinary heart charge zones. However, you should forestall there for those interested in more stats; you may use the faucet on the card to convey detailed data. The man or woman exercise page shows the precise amount of time spent in every coronary heart rate zone, a line graph of heart fee changes throughout the exercise, every other chart of calories burned over the years, and the “effect on your day” stats like what number of energetic mins you received from this exercising.

Fitbit has executed a high-quality process constructing a health and fitness atmosphere within its essential cell app that focuses on the consumer’s facts and extra ways to improve the user’s health. The other sections in the app consist of Challenges, which feature place-based walks that take you thru locations like New York City or Yosemite’s Vernal Falls, as well as goal-orientated demanding situations that propose such things as stepping up your pass game during your paintings week; Guidance, which holds some of the equipped-to-move guided workouts; and Social, wherein customers can hook up with their friends that also use Fitbit devices. Apple and Google have a few sharing features of their fitness apps; however, in widespread Apple’s Activity app and Google’s Fit app consciousness on showing health stats and no longer a lot else.

Fitbit Studio

Fitbit Studio is the employer’s Web tool for creating new apps and watch faces for the Ionic (and doubtlessly other devices jogging Fitbit OS). It’s now unavailable to all yet, but I received a demo of the machine. Apps and watch faces have created the usage of Javascript, CSS, and SVG, making it easy for developers at most tiers to experiment with making programs. I participated in a demo in which I custom-designed my very own Ionic watch face in Studio, and this system became easy to apply and navigate. You can look at your creations on your device or take hold of a shareable link to send in your pals and family to get their remarks. (That shareable hyperlink is essentially personal as your app may not be available at the Fitbit App Gallery.) Once you are glad about your app or watch face, you can publish it to Fitbit for evaluation. All Fitbit approved’ programs may be accessed utilizing all Fitbit customers at the App Gallery in the Fitbit app.

This quickly-to-be-launched App Gallery corresponds to Pebble’s app save that lived inside its cell app. Fitbit received Pebble at the end of 2016 for around $34 million, and it is clear that the developer network that stuck around helped create the onboard app framework and experience for Fitbit. Another exceptional feature of the App Gallery is that every app is standalone, so you don’t need to download a partner cellular app for your phone. Android Wear treats apps like this, and it even has an on-tool Play Store, while Apple nevertheless calls for you to have the cell app on your phone earlier than you can get right of entry to watchOS features on one of its wearables.

Good now—with any luck, better with time.

There’s a drawback to getting new gadgets before all people else do: not all the tools can probably do is prepared. Some of the capabilities I changed into most excited to test at the Ionic aren’t geared up but: Dynamic workouts, the brand new Fitbit Coach app and enjoy, the completed App Gallery, and (to a degree) its onboard song talents. It’s tough to evaluate a product’s initial fee, much less its toughness when many of the most interesting features aren’t available.

Fitbit has successfully driven out software programs and firmware updates to its different devices, so I believe the announced functions will work as promised at the Ionic. But that doesn’t help us now, nor does it assist in deciding if you should purchase the Ionic at launch. Fitbit did deliver on one promised factor: sticking to its fitness roots. The Ionic is a wonderfully successful health watch with each feature you’ll anticipate in a $300 fee device: coronary heart price monitoring, GPS monitoring, NFC bills, onboard track garage, phone signals, and third-party app integration. Guided exercises are done thoughtfully at the Ionic. However, I can only desire Fitbit to throw its users a few extra bones with additional free guided workouts before asking them to pay for Fitbit Coach each month.

But even if the Ionic has all the capabilities you’d count on a $300 wearable (plus a few extras), that does not imply how Fitbit accomplished them at the tool is exceptional you could get. The Ionic is an intense fitness-tracking watch. However, it’s a lackluster smartwatch. Its phone signals are stagnant and uninteresting, the procedure of having a tune on the tool is clunky and frustrating, having the most straightforward one-watch face to be had at the agency at once stinks, and 0.33-party apps proper now are restrained.

I would now not propose the Ionic to an iPhone consumer because you can get a higher smartwatch experience—and a similar fitness experience—with an Apple Watch. If the health experience means more to you than the smartwatch reveals, I could offer the Ionic to an Android person. But even then, it is probably well worth waiting—no longer due to the Ionic’s health chops, however, because Garmin has the $300 Vivoactive 3 coming soon, and it seems to have similar features. Fitbit stuck to its roots with the Ionic and produced a good health watch—but it’s no longer the excellent all-cause wearable you may get for $300.

The Good

Works with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Great battery existence. Bright, colorful touchscreen. Comprehensive fitness tune capabilities and informative sleep tracking. Free guided exercises are a laugh and smooth to follow. Fitbit’s mobile app is a high-quality fitness accomplice. The Bad Can handiest save one watch face at a time at the tool? Smartphone alert high-quality is lackluster. Limited third-party apps in the meanwhile. Music integration most effectively works with a paid Pandora account or nearby documents. SpO2 screen integration is still a mystery.  No rep counting features. The Ugly Some useful Ionic functions, like Dynamic workouts and a full Fitbit Coach, weren’t prepared for us to check.

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