Bridging the gap between fitness tracker and smartwatch-Fitbit Ionic

Watch review

Quick verdict

The Fitbit Ionic not only offers a solid, lightweight design with a nice screen, but also an integrated GPS and a special floating function that was missing from the previous Blaze.

For

  • Great design with beautiful colour display
  • Waterproof
  • GPS
  • Excellent platform
  • Continuous heart-rate monitoring
  • Automatic exercise recognition
  • Multi-sport tracking
  • Comfortable
  • Decent battery life

Against

  • Touchscreen not responsive enough
  • Expensive
  • It’s not that smart as smartwatches go

According to Apple, the Smartwatch series has proved so popular that it overtook Rolex and became the world’s most popular watchmaker. And since TomTom is pulling out of the wearables race, there are not many well-known fitness tracker manufacturers in this area that may be ruled by one instead of many.

However, Fitbit does not seem to agree, and defends himself with his own fitness trackers. The Ionic leads the charge and was recently complemented by the Fitbit Versa, which offers a softer, cheaper and less well-endowed version of this sporty smartwatch segment.

An evolved Ionic design?

  • Small/large wristband size options
  • 1.4-inch, 348 x 250 resolution display

As it stands, the Ionic is not a million miles from the first setting of the smartwatch, the Blaze. With its square dial and minimal, clear design, it looks rather inconspicuous.

Fitbit uses a manufacturing technique called nano-molding technology, which combines plastic and aerospace aluminum to create a lighter design.

Turning the watch around reveals a smooth, concave design that looks slimmer than it might look when worn on the wrist. It also means that the watch fits snugly on your wrist. So no matter what you do, you almost forgot that she’s even there. The Ionic is one of Fitbit’s most comfortable smartwatches, one step after the wedge-like design of some older models.

In addition, the prominent heart rate sensor, which is always on, is on the back, as you can see from its steady flashing green light. You can not turn off this feature even if the watch is not worn. This is a somewhat irritating peculiarity that, if resolved, is likely to prolong the battery life. However, when it is attached to the wrist, the flashing heart rate sensor is not visible.

With a rugged, scratch-resistant, Gorilla-glass-covered touchscreen, you can really get used to your workout without worrying about the display. The brightness is also high enough to see all the details on the screen, even in bright sunlight. This darkens automatically when you are indoors to save much-needed battery life.

The Fitbit Ionic’s straps are also easy to change and there’s a growing range of official third-party Ionic accessories and accessories so you can customize it a bit.

What smartwatch features does the Fitbit Ionic have?

  • Now running Fitbit OS 2.0
  • 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, altimeter
  • Fitbit Pay

As with every Fitbit since the original, the Ionic counts the levels, counts the climbed levels (a feature that has been included in the series since the Flex series), analyzes sleep, and measures heart rate (such as the Fitbit Surge) and Charge HR ).

The Ionic was the company’s first full-fledged smartwatch, even though Versa is now available. With the additional app support provided by its software, Fitbit now also helps third-party developers create apps for the Ionic. However, we can not see that Apple or Wear OS consider this as a threat, as it will take a while for Fitbit to build useful apps for this watch.

After about six months, there are some apps – you can, for example, install a Philips Hue app to control your lighting – there is no great parity between apps you may have on your phone and those that switch to the clock. Fitbit is not alone here, Apple and Google have both found that smartwatch apps in some cases are not really useful. What we mean by that: Do not judge a smartwatch on your apps.

Handling notifications on the Ionic is a bit basic (in terms of smartwatch), but the latest software version supports the quick answers provided by Android, so you can do a bit more with the watch than 6 months ago. iPhone users are less well served, especially compared to the Apple Watch.

One of the great features of the Ionic is Fitbit Pay, a platform-integrated platform that lets you buy things without a phone or wallet. This includes major credit card companies such as AMEX, MasterCard and Visa (plus HSBC, Santander and Capital One banks) in Europe). As in Garmin Pay, UK support is currently somewhat limited. So it’s a feature that you’re really interested in. You may need to open an account that is compatible – but it’s a feature that works well enough.

Another important smartwatch feature of the Ionic is music playback. You can add tracks to the clock and listen to them using any Bluetooth headset. A great feature for those who do not want to take their phone with them. Lately, this has expanded into a deal with Deezer that allows you to sync playlists with your watch, which is a bit more convenient than doing it on your PC.

The synchronization may fiddle a bit, but the connection of the wireless headphones was seamless.

How good is it at fitness tracking?

  • Built-in GPS, built-in heart-rate monitor
  • Water resistant to 50m for swimming/diving

The older Blaze and newer Versa lack a built-in GPS, which means the Ionic is Fitbit’s top offering. We’ve found that the built-in GPS can take several minutes to connect. So be prepared to wait for this to start up before you run – and there seems to be no hotfix on your phone speeding that up either. This is a little irritating if you are a regular runner and we should be honest – you are better off, but one of the forerunners of Garmin when running is your primary activity.

Fitbit claims the Ionic, thanks to its new swim mode, can track the lap of the pool or open water performance more closely than its competitors. During our tests, the Ionic has proven to be perfectly underwater and provides data on the screen with its brightly lit display while swimming. Unlike the Apple Watch Series 3 or the Garmin Forerunner 935, however, there is no special feature for recording open water swimming. GPS does not work exactly.

At the very least, the ionic works great in the pool, recognizing exactly when you have completed a length, and refreshes the display with that information every time you pause to record the next track. This is thanks to the device’s new autopause feature. This means that the Ionic is smart enough when you take a break, and it stops automatically and starts tracking by detecting the status of your movement.

We are big fans of the heart rate sensor, which displays the corresponding readings on the screen – whether you are exercising or not. The icons on the screen are presented in a neat way, so you can retrieve information at a glance. We’ve found that the averages are displayed compared to other wrist-based heart rate monitors.

An error with the Ionic is that previously completed workouts can not be displayed on the watch itself. As you get a summary of your workout statistics after the workout, it disappears as soon as you hit Done, and you’ll need to sync the watch with the app to see details on your phone instead. When they are dubbed, they are not too technical compared to their rival Garmin. If you’re a statistic geek, you’ll find that Garmin is better at processing your training data.

Fitbit supports a variety of activity types, as well as the ability to automatically detect specific types of activity. So you can just go and finish the day to know that everything is done.

Last but not least: sleep. This tracking feature works in the same way as the company’s previous devices and provides a summary of your sleep pattern – broken down into REM, light and deep sleep – after waking up. The analysis provided in the app is as easy to understand as instructive.

Does the Fitbit Ionic have a genuine 5-day battery life?

It is said that the Ionic has a 5-day battery life that is pretty accurate, depending on how much you use to measure your workout.

For example, after a full charge overnight and disconnecting the power supply at 7am at 5pm, the clock remained at an impressive 64 percent – after four consecutive, varied workouts. On this basis, we would say that the enthusiastic athlete should probably wear for 3 days.

In another week, we made it easier to use and did not record any workouts. Four days in and the Ionic was a respectable 31 percent. So, if you’re more casual and just want to monitor your heart rate and receive alerts, you’ll get the full 5-day quota.

However, Fitbit does not opt ​​for charging its devices via conventional micro USB. So if you’re on the road, the special Fitbit charger has to get into your suitcase.

Verdict

The Fitbit Ionic not only offers a solid, lightweight design with a nice screen, but also an integrated GPS and a special floating function that was missing from the previous Blaze. Compared to the newer Versa, it also offers GPS for a more immersive experience.

With a new and improved heart rate monitor, intelligent notifications, mobile payments, and all the features Fitbit users know and love, the Ionic is Fitbit’s leading smart watch.

There can be some inconvenience, such as the inability to see past workouts on the watch itself, the slight delay between swiping apps in the main menu, and the lack of advanced smartwatch features. However, the Ionic successfully bridges the gap between the fitness tracker and smartwatch.

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