Fitbit’s first smartwatch, the Ionic, is packed with many features that fitness enthusiasts will love, writes Izwan Ismail

FITBIT, the San Francisco-based company, has finally come out with its own smartwatch, which it calls the Ionic.

For a company that is known for its fitness bands this past decade (with models like the Blaze, Charge 2, Alta HR and Flex 2), a smartwatch that offers users a more complete package for fitness and other activities is the way to go.

At a glance, the Fitbit Ionic looks similar to the Blaze but it is a different device altogether.

What’s nice about the Ionic is its design.

Despite looking “big” with its 1.42-inch squarish display, it is lightweight (about 30g). Its textured rubber band is soft yet durable, and it’s also very comfortable on the wrist. If you want to look more stylish, there are also leather alternatives to the strap.

I like how Fitbit designs the secure fasteners for the Ionic strap. The manner in which it snaps into place ensures that it will not unfasten accidentally while you’re in the midst of exercising. This is important as sometimes the smartwatch or fitness band watch can accidentally unfasten and fall to the ground without the wearer realising it.

I’ve been using it for all sorts of activities like jogging, swimming, walking and also casual daily work-wear. This smartwatch is versatile enough for all situations.

The LCD screen is bright, offering up to 1,000 nits of brightness level, and it is also touch-enable for easy manoeuvring of functions. The screen is hardy because of the Gorilla Glass 3.

The screen could have a larger display area if Fitbit eliminates its logo at the bottom, which I feel is unnecessary.

There are three buttons on the watch ― one on the left and two on the right ― to access all the fitness modules and smartphone functions but you can also do this by tapping the screen and swiping it to the left, right, top and bottom.

Ionic builds on Fitbit’s health and fitness expertise with a new SpO2 sensor, making it possible to track deeper health insights like sleep apnea in the future, industry-leading GPS tracking, on-device dynamic workouts, improved heart rate tracking, and water resistance up to 50 metres.

Smart features such as contactless payments (not yet available in Malaysia), on-board music, smart notifications and a variety of popular apps and clock faces are available in the Fitbit App Gallery.

The watch runs on Fitbit OS, which is the company’s new operating system for smartwatches. The Fitbit App Gallery allows you to select the apps and clock faces that appeal to you so you’re always armed with the information you want most and in a way that reflects your personal needs and style.

The App Gallery also offers a range of health and fitness apps from Fitbit.

I find it pretty comprehensive. They include Exercise, Fitbit Coach, Relax and Timer as well as popular apps such as Strava, the leading social network for millions of athletes at all levels, and Weather, powered by global leader AccuWeather.

Each app is designed specifically for Ionic so you don’t have to download an accompanying mobile app or have your smartphone nearby. The App Gallery will continue to expand with more apps and clock faces.

While some devices require you to select certain fitness functions to enable it to track what you’re doing, the Ionic does it automatically.

Wear it and it will automatically track your activities such as steps, heart beat, distance covered, calories burnt, and active minutes. The watch measures your activities based on the personal data that you have set, such as weight, height, age, etc, and will adjust the exercise you should cover to keep you healthy and fit.

The “personalised coach” module offers step-by-step instructions for several workouts, including 7 Min Workout, 10 Min Abs and Treasure Chest.

At the end of your workout, it will give you your workout summary, like the time you spent on the workout, calories burnt, and average heart beat per minute.

For sports activities like running, cycling, swimming, treadmill running, weight lifting and workout training, it will automatically (after about 2-5 minutes) track GPS for real-time pace, distance and split times on your wrist.

Auto-pause, meanwhile, will turn on with Run Detect, but the Exercise app can be turned on by selecting the Gear icon at the top left corner of the screen.

With auto-pause turned on, Ionic will effortlessly pause your workout when you’re waiting at a red light and resume tracking once you start running again.

This features enables you to get the correct measurement of your activities.

The Fitbit Ionic is great on battery life. One full charge can last up to five days, which is impressive for a smartwatch with a big screen.

You can wear Ionic to bed and it will automatically track the amount of time you spend in light, deep and REM sleep, as well as time awake, each night.

In the Fitbit app, you can view your Sleep Stages and receive Sleep Insights for personalised guidance to help you improve your quality of sleep.

It also allows you to compete with friends, family and co-workers through its Daily or Weekly Challenge for extra motivation and support.

Besides that, you can also view notifications from your smartphone. The watch is water-resistant up to 50 metres, which enables you to do all sorts of water activities.

You can swim in the pool and view real-time laps, exercise duration and calories burnt.

It also allows you to add music from your computer. Just download the Fitbit Connect app on your Mac or on your Windows PC through the link below and follow the Ionic User Manual for Music instructions to select music and sync from your computer via WiFi to Ionic to transfer songs.

This will make your exercise more fun and motivating with your own choice of music.

Fitbit Ionic is designed for those who aspire to be their best. From beginners to experienced athletes, it offers personal, actionable guidance to motivate you while keeping you connected with the smart apps and notifications regardless of the smartphone you use.

If you’re looking for a smartwatch that can give you all the things you need to keep you fit and healthy and is easy to use at the same time, you may want to give the Ionic a try.

The device is priced at RM1,399.

Verdict: 4/5

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Fitbit Ionic.

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