The first smartwatch from Fitbit is purely fitness-oriented. You would not expect a similar experience from other watches if you are looking for a wristwatch to use while exercising.
Fitbit became popular with fitness trackers, but the firm decided to grow into an entirely new sector with the Ionic. The first time we saw the company making a smartwatch is long suspected Fitbit Ionic.
Display & Design
The Fitbit Ionic suits your wrist and is particularly light-weight compared to many conventional smartwatches. You’ll experience a high-level comfort on your arm when wearing it, which makes it easier to wear while exercising.
The device is also ideal for everyday use because it is easy to carry. You must wear it every day to ensure that your readings are as accurate as possible. You should have it in the pool or even swim with it. It’s safe because it is waterproof. The watch body is made of aluminum and has very small-sided antenna bands, but it’s attractive and the best looking Fitbit product so far. We found that the design was rather divisive, that we either loved it or hated it with friends and family.
On the left side is a hardware button, and two on the right side are identical to those on the Fitbit Blaze, which allow you to switch around the watch user interface. Both are also slightly elevated. Fitbit hopes that you will find them without any trouble as you tumble for the buttons when working out. We found that the buttons are designed to make the interface easier and it is also a touchscreen, so you can swipe through the apps.
The Fitbit icon is placed mischievously underneath the screen and takes up some space. Brightness hits 1,000 nits, which is the same as the Apple Watch 2 which ensures it can be seen even at bright sunlight while running away. The LCD screen is 384x 250, and we really liked its brightness.
We noticed the tactile screen to be sometimes slow to respond and sometimes had to move our wrist quite aggressively to function. This is especially annoying when you work out and you need to look at the numbers quickly.
We’ve come to know and love all of the fitness features of other Fitbit products and some upgraded features. The Ionic features a cardiac rate tracker which is the best feature, thanks to the new algorithm behind the scenes.
In our tests, we found it as accurate as others on the market. It worked a lot faster than with Fitbit products previously produced. This is especially useful in practice, and Fitbit uses your heart rate for a great deal of information in the workout application.
There is also embedded GPS and it is easier for Fitbit Ionic to establish the connection and ensure better monitoring. It sometimes took a bit longer than we wanted to connect to GPS, but during running or going out we never missed a connection. It’s also a great feature to be able to look through your data after a long ride or run.
There is also embedded GPS and it is easier for to establish the connection and ensure better monitoring. It sometimes took a bit longer than we wanted to connect to GPS, but during running or going we never missed a connection. It’s also a great feature to be able to look through your data after a long ride or run.
New features for running include a pause option to automatically notice when you stop at certain traffic lights or stop working out or before restarting your workout.
Fitbit has workouts included in its Fitbit Coach feature which can be downloaded from your mobile phone, providing a similar service to the Fitstar app.
Battery & Performance
We don’t think much about what goes under the hood and we don’t expect to know the accurate interior of the Fitbit Ionic. Nonetheless, in our research, we find that loading the Fitbit Ionic user interface is a bit slow.
It can take quite a while to set up a workout compared with other similar apps and it can also be difficult to get precise exercise readings.
We noticed that the Fitbit Ionics battery lasted between five and six days. When you work a lot with the watch, it will be much less, and when using GPS, the battery is hit particularly hard. Fitbit reports that it takes 10 hours to completely drain the battery if using GPS tracking.
The Fitbit Ionic is also available to upload music up to 2.5 GB in cloud storage. It’s not that much and only around 300 tracks can be uploaded. You should always have room here if you have other audio-books, podcasts or records. You can then attach Bluetooth headphones and play music without taking your mobile with you during a workout.
We consider the Bluetooth connection to remain stable, but it is disappointing that some popular streaming platforms including Spotify or Apple Music are not being incorporated to quickly play all the music you want.
Compatibility & Apps
The Fitbit Ionic is compliant with most modern iOS and Android devices, using phone’s Fitbit software. The Ionic comes with its own app gallery. Fitbit insists it’s not an app store. It also has third-party applications. We have seen third-party applications by Strava, Philips Hue, and The New York Times, etc.
Everything was available free at the launch of the Ionic App Store, but alternate applications can be purchased at some point in the future. In the Fitbit software, you can also pick a variety of watch faces, and many good choices currently exist. Nonetheless, we expect that the range will be expanded in the future because the choices for alternative wearables remain infinite.
Fitbit has made Ionic mobile payments easy through its own Fitbit Pay service. This is based on technology that Fitbit acquired a few years ago and that enables you to use NFC to pay with your wrist on contactless terminals.
The Fitbit Ionic is nice to wear, but some people do not find it to be the ultimate smartwatch. There are many good aspects, such as solid battery life, Fitbit Pay and built-in GPS, but there’s a lot missing, so this app is more like a Fitness tracker than a smartwatch.