Fitbit’s Ionic is their first genuine smartwatch and Apple should be worried, because it has plenty to offer and it is at a similar price point to its competitors.
Design, key features and first impressions
Just like Fitbits before it, the Ionic’s central module – made from aerospace-grade aluminium – can be detached and swapped for any strap that takes your fancy. Likewise, this is the second Fitbit device suited for swimming, after the Flex 2 set that idea in motion last year.
It comes with the tech that you would expect in a smartwatch. There’s onboard Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC for contactless payments and Bluetooth for connecting to other devices. But the best thing is the new SpO2 monitor which tracks blood oxygen levels, a great feature that Fitbit are keen to highlight.
They say this will help alert users to sleep apnea, which it says is a direct result of low blood oxygen levels. It is also, as with most of these features, a useful metric for your workouts.
There is 2.5GB of internal storage which can save about 300 songs, with GPS on and music playing, expect the Ionic to last around ten hours on a single charge.
Now for the software. Pebble was acquired by Fitbit quite recently in an effort to take on some of their expertise into Fitbit’s OS. Instead of using Android, Fitbit opts for its own operating system which is called Fitbit OS – first impressions are good it feels sleek and fast to use. There are not so many apps for it yet, but you can be sure there will plenty of third party commercial apps, who will gladly jump on board.
Fitbit’s Ionic sounds like the real deal, so far so good and it better be good as it will be on sale for £300.
This is Samsung Gear S3 and Apple Watch 2 territory, offering a lower price than the established competition may have been a better option.
It's a pretty impressive start though, for Fitbit's first venture into the smartwatch market. The Ionic looks the part, has a whole suite of fitness features, and it just might be the smartphone others will need to beat.
UK price, release date and specifications
- Screen: 1.5in 250 x 348
- Storage: 2.5GB
- Battery life: 10 hours
- Water resistant: Up to 50 meters
- Price: £300
- Release date: Pre-order for 2nd October release date at Amazon UK