Fitbit debuts Ionic smartwatch to mostly positive first impressions

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2017
Fitbit on Monday unveiled the Ionic, its first full-fledged smartwatch intended to go head-to-head with products like the Apple Watch.




The Ionic remains largely fitness-focused, but runs new software called FitbitOS with notifications, an app store, multiple customizable watchfaces, and Fitbit Pay -- allowing NFC-based retail payments anywhere contactless Visa, Mastercard, and American Express transactions are accepted. That may give the platform a slight edge over Apple Pay, which requires that retailers be specifically compatible.

Initial third-party apps include ones from Accuweather, Strava, Starbucks, and Pandora. More should become available by the time the watch actually ships in October. To make use of Pandora people will have to be Plus or Premium subscribers, but people will also be able to upload music directly from their computer.

A key first-party app will be Coach, a rebranded version of Fitstar, with animated guidance through a series of workouts. While some workouts will be free, full access will cost $7.99 per month, or $40 per year.

The watch syncs with iPhone, Android, and Windows devices.

In terms of hardware the device uses a 1,000-nit color touchscreen housed in 6000-series aluminum, and is water-resistant to a depth of 50 meters (164 feet). It includes GPS, heart rate, and blood oxygen sensors, and should typically last up to four days or more on a charge, though continuous GPS use is limited to 10 hours.




Early previews from the media have been mostly positive, with Engadget for instance suggesting that the company has "succeeded in making a well-rounded smartwatch," differentiating itself by focusing on its strengths in health and fitness. The Verge expressed "mixed feelings," calling it the best Fitbit they've used, but adding that notifications are non-interactive and its design doesn't lend itself to formal events, unlike the Apple Watch or higher-end Android Wear products.

Ars Technica said it was "cautiously optimistic," arguing that winning over Apple Watch and Android Wear users will require hitting the "right balance" between smartwatch and fitness-tracking features.

At its October launch the Ionic will cost $299.95, and come in gray/silver, blue/orange, or charcoal/gray combinations. Sport and leather bands will cost $29.95 and $59.95, respectively. Two other accessory options will include Flyer Bluetooth headphones, and the Aria 2, an updated Wi-Fi smartscale.

Apple is expected to launch a third-generation Watch on Sept. 12. The device may include LTE, allowing it to operate more independently of an iPhone than either the Ionic or the Watch Series 2.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 599member
    I also noticed their version of Nike watch bands...(adding an extra row of circles) and their future partnership with Adidas to have an Adidas Fitbit Watch. Funny after the CEO's comments about Apple claiming how Fitbit knows the market, not Apple.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cultofmac.com/426280/fitbit-ceo-apple-watch-is-the-wrong-way-to-approach-wearables/amp/
    edited August 2017 watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 2 of 39
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,187member
    That name is as close to "ironic" as possible.
    king editor the gratemacky the mackywatto_cobrajbdragonlolliver
  • Reply 3 of 39
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 710member
    I like the design. I like the battery life. I like the incredible water resistance. I like the blood oxygen sensor.

    It makes the Apple Watch look dated. Apple have some work to do.
  • Reply 4 of 39
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 666member
    zroger73 said:
    I like the design. I like the battery life. I like the incredible water resistance. I like the blood oxygen sensor.

    It makes the Apple Watch look dated. Apple have some work to do.
    I hope these guys enjoy the limelight for the next 2 weeks.  As for my thought, it looks pretty nice and the sensor is surely a great thing, but I am pretty ambivalent.  Still perfectly happy with my Gen1 Apple Watch.
    GeorgeBMacjbdragon
  • Reply 5 of 39
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,599member

    I am not throwing stones here, however, it kind of reminds me of my first digital watch from Timex I had back in the 80's.

    I honestly think Fitbit has an issue, Apple is killing them on the high end, and there are competitors coming in on the low end like $40 for something that is almost as good as this without the oxygen sensor. My Daughter just bought one of these $40 devices and I was actually impressed with it and it has and IOS app they works well with the health app. It actually look nice too .

    Not sure how Fit is going to survey trying to play in the middle ground. 

    edited August 2017 mark fearinghmurchisonteknishnwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 6 of 39
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,898member
    zroger73 said:
    I like the design. I like the battery life. I like the incredible water resistance. I like the blood oxygen sensor.

    It makes the Apple Watch look dated. Apple have some work to do.
    Wait and see if those sensors actually work accurately.
    jbdragonmacky the mackywatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 7 of 39
    zroger73 said:
    I like the design. I like the battery life. I like the incredible water resistance. I like the blood oxygen sensor.

    It makes the Apple Watch look dated. Apple have some work to do.
    It is easy to overestimate from press releases and sample products for press review. How well it all works together is a question, as is accuracy and build quality. For the cost, it ain't cheap, it's hard to see how this 'wins' over any model Apple watch.
    jbdragonStrangeDayschiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 39
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 422member
    zroger73 said:

    It makes the Apple Watch look dated.
    Yeah, ok.
    jbdragonStrangeDaysmacguibrucemcwatto_cobraGeorgeBMacmagman1979
  • Reply 9 of 39
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Wow. A 1980s reject, its obvious that they don't have the material science ability to create anything else than some boxy retro crud
    StrangeDaysmacky the mackywatto_cobramagman1979
  • Reply 10 of 39
    macmcapplemacmcapple Posts: 8unconfirmed, member
    PEBBLE KILLER!!! PEBBLE KILLER!!! You killed Pebble as a company to give us this? No 7 day battery life? No E-Ink display? No Button only model for people who work in situations where the watchface will always be touched? No interchangeable bands? and i'm assuming no free developer kits to make your own watch faces to make the most diverse watch face collection in the world? Fitbit ruined the innovation and uniqueness of Pebble with their buy out... Pebble was fan-stinking-tastic...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 39
    Roger_FingasRoger_Fingas Posts: 145member, editor
    PEBBLE KILLER!!! PEBBLE KILLER!!! You killed Pebble as a company to give us this? No 7 day battery life? No E-Ink display? No Button only model for people who work in situations where the watchface will always be touched? No interchangeable bands? and i'm assuming no free developer kits to make your own watch faces to make the most diverse watch face collection in the world? Fitbit ruined the innovation and uniqueness of Pebble with their buy out... Pebble was fan-stinking-tastic...
    There are interchangeable bands, they just have to be from Fitbit (or designed for the Ionic, at least).
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 12 of 39
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,978member
    zroger73 said:
    I like the design. I like the battery life. I like the incredible water resistance. I like the blood oxygen sensor.

    It makes the Apple Watch look dated. Apple have some work to do.
    Disagree. It looks like a techie gizmo that I’d never wear to a nice dinner, let alone be able to resell. But my stainless steel AW with a high quality leather strap is a classy looking device that gets many compliments because it stands on its own as a watch/accessory. 
    edited August 2017 teknishnmacky the mackychiawatto_cobramagman1979
  • Reply 13 of 39
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,271member
    Glad to see Fitbit replace the Blaze with something modern. 

    I don't think they're going to wrestle the high end back however.   I think their big mistake was 
    not supporting Apple Health.  


    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 39
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,307member
    It makes the Apple Watch look dated. Apple have some work to do.
    Disagree. It looks like a techie gizmo that I’d never wear to a nice dinner, let alone be able to resell. But my stainless steel AW with a high quality leather strap is a classy looking device that gets many compliments because it stands on its own as a watch/accessory. 
    I agree with your 'Disagree'. That's a singularly unattractive bit of kit, looking much like an '80s pre-Casio iteration of what future tech might look like. It's apparently been designed to look as fashion-less as possible to accent 'real' fitness utility.

    As for performance, all that remains to be seen. I hope it works well, as the only competition is good competition. Otherwise this is like Apple kicking a Pebble puppy.

    To me, it fails miserably in form. Let's hope it does much better in function.
    macky the mackywatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 39
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,631member

    AppleInsider said:
    That may give the platform a slight edge over Apple Pay, which requires that retailers be specifically compatible.

    I'm not sure this is correct. I don't have any trouble getting my Apple Watch working with any NFC terminal.  Did you mean that the issuing bank has to support Apple Pay?
    edited August 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 39
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,093moderator
    The battery lasts four days, but... the watch doesn't actually do much.  And the one app that's likely to be useful on a fitness-focused watch, comes with a monthly fee not far off from the cost of gym membership.  Well, at least they got one thing right.  A smartwatch should be square. 
    macky the mackywatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 39
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,631member
    Mmm. Seems the Apple Watch Series2 has blood oxygen sensors, but they're not being used. What's that about?
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 18 of 39
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,631member
    macgui said:
    It makes the Apple Watch look dated. Apple have some work to do.
    Disagree. It looks like a techie gizmo that I’d never wear to a nice dinner, let alone be able to resell. But my stainless steel AW with a high quality leather strap is a classy looking device that gets many compliments because it stands on its own as a watch/accessory. 
    I agree with your 'Disagree'. That's a singularly unattractive bit of kit, looking much like an '80s pre-Casio iteration of what future tech might look like. It's apparently been designed to look as fashion-less as possible to accent 'real' fitness utility.

    As for performance, all that remains to be seen. I hope it works well, as the only competition is good competition. Otherwise this is like Apple kicking a Pebble puppy.

    To me, it fails miserably in form. Let's hope it does much better in function.
    Yes, I can't say I'm taken with the style. It looks too much like a gadget. But that's just me. 
    edited August 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 39
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,307member
    While almost nothing about this watch interests me, even if it performs well, I am happy that it does NFC payments. It may inadvertently help increase the availability of Apple Pay, one of my favorite Watch features.

    I'm not a fitness devotee but am in reasonably good shape. To that end, the Watch does everything I need towards increasing my physical well being. So, admittedly pro-Apple, it would take a lot for a product to even pique my interest, let alone cause me to buy something other than a Watch.

    The Ionic should sell well, given it's feature set. I'm curious as to the pulse/ox accuracy. I have an inexpensive pulse oximeter that give the same heart rate as my Watch, but have no idea as to its ox/O2 accuracy.
  • Reply 20 of 39
    AI_liasAI_lias Posts: 300member
    Not bad, but the price is too high. Will wait until a week-long battery life is doable, and price comes down to $250. In my opinion, looks better than the Apple watch, which looks too boxy, this one at least tapers from the width of the watch into the band a little. Apple watch seems a bit thick also, maybe it's just appearances. Finally, Apple watch does not have multiple-day battery (sleep tracking), and costs much more to be comparable.
Sign In or Register to comment.