First look: Fitbit guns for Apple Watch Series 3 with Ionic smartwatch

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2017
Long rumored but now finally here, the Ionic is Fitbit's first step beyond fitness trackers into full-fledged smartwatches, putting it in direct competition with the Apple Watch.




On a basic level the Ionic is much like other options from Fitbit, with sensors for tracking steps, sleep, heart rate, and mapping, the latter via GPS or GLONASS. A SmartTrack feature will automatically detect certain forms of exercise, though it's best to manually launch a workout whenever possible. There are also onboard coaching options, which can tailor themselves to recent activity.

Another similarity is the watch's dependence on the Fitbit iPhone app, since there's no HealthKit compatibility to speak of. The app does however include a very comprehensive dashboard, and hooks for third-party platforms like calorie counter MyFitnessPal.




Where the Ionic begins to differ is in support for onboard apps. The number of titles is extremely limited at the moment but does include ones from Pandora, Starbucks, and Strava, as well as first-party options for weather, timers/alarms, and locally-stored music. There's even a "Relax" app similar to "Breathe" on the Apple Watch.




There are many parallels with the Apple Watch in fact, among them the inclusion of Fitbit Pay, an Apple Pay competitor which is still expanding U.S. bank support but should work anywhere NFC payments are accepted. Apple Pay often requires specific support by merchants.

The Ionic also offers a handful of different watchfaces and swappable bands, and will soon come in a special Adidas version with a perforated band, much like the Apple Watch Nike+. Like the Watch Series 3, the Ionic has a bright 1,000-nit display, and water resistance to 50 meters, enabling swimming workouts.

AppleInsider is working on a full review, coming soon.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    Um... OK...

    Were we supposed to get excited about this?
    razorpitigorskycaliwatto_cobraRobPalmer9
  • Reply 2 of 26
    And it’s infinitely uglier than the Apple Watch. 
    slprescottrazorpitairnerdigorskyking editor the gratewatto_cobraRobPalmer9lolliver
  • Reply 3 of 26
    Please, will someone put them out of their misery? Why they are continued to be funded I do not understand.

    And they're going to do a perforated band like the Nike one too?

    Spare me.
    watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 4 of 26
    netroxnetrox Posts: 740member
    I am seriously considering Ionic due to the fact that battery lasts for five days. I want to use it for sleep monitoring. I don't want to take my watch every night or morning to recharge and wait for it to fully recharged in an hour. That's a waste of an hour that could have been used to count steps.
    saltyzip
  • Reply 5 of 26

    There are many parallels with the Apple Watch in fact, among them the inclusion of Fitbit Pay, an Apple Pay competitor which is still expanding U.S. bank support but should work anywhere NFC payments are accepted. Apple Pay requires specific support by merchants.
    What?  I use Apple Pay in places that don’t have “specific support by merchants”.  In fact, I’ve used it at places (like the small pizza shop a half mile away from me) that didn’t even know Apple Pay was a thing at all.  Are there places that accept NFC payments that do not accept Apple Pay? How would it be differentiated? Meaning, how does a terminal decide that the NFC signal it’s detecting is from an iPhone or Apple Watch and then not accept the payment?
    StrangeDaysanantksundaramradarthekatboltsfan17watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 6 of 26
    And it’s infinitely uglier than the Apple Watch. 
    Interesting. I had am opposite reaction. I wish the Apple Watch looked more like this. I like the functionality of my Apple Watch, but wish it looked nicer. It's a bit bulbous.
  • Reply 7 of 26
    My GF and I are trail runners, and she wants a Garmin (b/c she can get a purple one)...I'm trying to give her my series one 38mm Apple Watch (I'll buy her a purple band) and I will get a 42mm Series 3 one for me! :)

    FYI: I know, for running, the series one is basically a fancy pedometer, but I'm impressed w/ it's accuracy. Out on known distance trails it's within a tenth of mile, consistently. 

    Looking fwd to getting the GPS feature.

    Best.



    caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 26
    dachardachar Posts: 330member
    Will it last longer than my Son’s Fitbit? His fell apart after 15 months.
    airnerdStrangeDayscaliwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 9 of 26
    airnerdairnerd Posts: 662member
    I owned three fitibit products (all flexes) and my wife had one.  They work during their warranty period and then never again.  First one I had 11 months and it stopped charging or tracking so they replaced it under warranty.  My wife had hers the same time, but it made it 14 months before the same happened.  I got my warranty replacement and 11 months later the same thing happened (but no warranty on a warranty replacement).  I went and for some stupid reason bought a flex 2 and it made it 13 months and died.  

    I did everything they suggested: never got it wet, took it off and charged every night, babied it essentially. 

    Never again will I own a fitbit piece of junk, not even their stock which everyone was so high on when they IPO'd.  They are junk and only worth their cost if they were 1/3 what they charge.  
    caliwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 10 of 26
    Still no HealthKit support. amazingly stupid. 
    GG1watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 11 of 26
    netrox said:
    I am seriously considering Ionic due to the fact that battery lasts for five days. I want to use it for sleep monitoring. I don't want to take my watch every night or morning to recharge and wait for it to fully recharged in an hour. That's a waste of an hour that could have been used to count steps.
    Bogus assumption. Those who track sleep with AW (Soli, I believe) report they need only charge it a short time while getting ready for bed or work in the morning and enjoy all day battery. If your health is dependent on tracking the steps you take during this time, you have bigger problems. 
    king editor the gratewatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 12 of 26

    There are many parallels with the Apple Watch in fact, among them the inclusion of Fitbit Pay, an Apple Pay competitor which is still expanding U.S. bank support but should work anywhere NFC payments are accepted. Apple Pay requires specific support by merchants.
    What?  I use Apple Pay in places that don’t have “specific support by merchants”.  In fact, I’ve used it at places (like the small pizza shop a half mile away from me) that didn’t even know Apple Pay was a thing at all.  Are there places that accept NFC payments that do not accept Apple Pay? How would it be differentiated? Meaning, how does a terminal decide that the NFC signal it’s detecting is from an iPhone or Apple Watch and then not accept the payment?
    Yeah this is ignorant nonsense. I’m at a loss why AI reporters don’t understand the products they’re covering. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 13 of 26
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 422member
    And it’s infinitely uglier than the Apple Watch. 
    Interesting. I had am opposite reaction. I wish the Apple Watch looked more like this. I like the functionality of my Apple Watch, but wish it looked nicer. It's a bit bulbous.
    So the Ionic is your idea of something that looks nicer? Jeez. I think it looks slightly less horrific than Samsung's first few smartwatches.
    edited October 2017 radarthekatcaliking editor the gratewatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 14 of 26

    There are many parallels with the Apple Watch in fact, among them the inclusion of Fitbit Pay, an Apple Pay competitor which is still expanding U.S. bank support but should work anywhere NFC payments are accepted. Apple Pay requires specific support by merchants.
    What?  I use Apple Pay in places that don’t have “specific support by merchants”.  In fact, I’ve used it at places (like the small pizza shop a half mile away from me) that didn’t even know Apple Pay was a thing at all.  Are there places that accept NFC payments that do not accept Apple Pay? How would it be differentiated? Meaning, how does a terminal decide that the NFC signal it’s detecting is from an iPhone or Apple Watch and then not accept the payment?
    Great catch. What a ridiculous assertion.

    Correct it, AI. Thanks!
    watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 15 of 26
    netrox said:
    I am seriously considering Ionic due to the fact that battery lasts for five days. I want to use it for sleep monitoring. I don't want to take my watch every night or morning to recharge and wait for it to fully recharged in an hour. That's a waste of an hour that could have been used to count steps.
    I remove Series 0 when I arise and top it off while hygiening. I charge it again during dinner. The 15-30 minutes I'm forced to move about without a smartwatch like some kind of animal, my 5S is in my pocket, recording my ever-so important, wee-damn crybabykins steps.
    StrangeDayscaliwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 16 of 26
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,043moderator
    I’ll predict the full review will act to correct the assertion in this article’s initial sentence.  ‘Half-baked’ will replace ‘full-fledged.’
    edited October 2017 caliking editor the gratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 26
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Please, will someone put them out of their misery? Why they are continued to be funded I do not understand.

    And they're going to do a perforated band like the Nike one too?

    Spare me.
    Please no.

    Every Apple category needs a new knockoff competitor otherwise Android will fill the void. 

    Citrently:

    Mac - Windows
    iPhone - Android
    Apple TV - Roku
    iPad - Android again (smh)
    Apple Watch - Fitbit
    watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 18 of 26
    Um... OK...

    Were we supposed to get excited about this?
    Um....no.   Um...it was just meant to be an initial perspective on a competitors device.  Um....ok?
    king editor the grate
  • Reply 19 of 26
    shaminoshamino Posts: 412member
    ...Fitbit Pay, an Apple Pay competitor which is still expanding U.S. bank support but should work anywhere NFC payments are accepted. Apple Pay often requires specific support by merchants.
    Let's correct this bit of misinformation.  Apple Pay uses the exact same technology used by contactless cards.  Which is why so many merchants make you sign the PIN pad even though ApplePay is authenticating the user via his fingerprint.

    There are some merchants that accept contactless cards but reject Apple Pay.  These merchants (or their banks) have installed explicit software designed to look for and disable Apple Pay.  Usually for political/ideological reasons (don't want to support Apple, wants to promote a competing mobile wallet tech, etc.)  Convincing a merchant to remove their Apple Pay-disabling firmware is not "requiring specific support", no matter how many press releases to the contrary the merchant may make.

    Are there places that accept NFC payments that do not accept Apple Pay?
    There are.  And every time I've looked closely, I've found that the merchant (or bank) in question is an investor in some competing mobile payment technology and is deliberately looking for, and disabling, Apple Pay thinking it will somehow boost popularity of the tech they are promoting.

    WalMart is one of the worst examples.  To be fair, they are blocking all contactless/NFC transactions, not just Apple Pay, but they definitely fall into this category.  They and 14 other companies explicitly decided to block mobile payments in order to promote "CurrentC", their own mobile payment system (which requires granting the service direct access to you bank account) that after 4 years of vaporware was shutdown and abandoned.  Today, WalMart still won't support NFC, but is instead trying to convince customers to make their in-store purchases through the WalMart app, which doesn't work anywhere else.

    Why not just accept NFC payments?  Because WaMart's CEO has some personal vendetta against Visa and MasterCard and is looking for some excuse to get rid of them, so they are using passive-aggressive BS to try and make customers pay with other mechanisms (like direct debits from checking accounts) instead.
    edited October 2017 watto_cobracaliradarthekatairnerd
  • Reply 20 of 26
    mrboba1mrboba1 Posts: 269member
    igorsky said:
    And it’s infinitely uglier than the Apple Watch. 
    Interesting. I had am opposite reaction. I wish the Apple Watch looked more like this. I like the functionality of my Apple Watch, but wish it looked nicer. It's a bit bulbous.
    So the Ionic is your idea of something that looks nicer? Jeez. I think it looks slightly less horrific than Samsung's first few smartwatches.

    Agreed. Looking at their website, those are the best images they have? It looks like the glass was put on as an afterthought, with the ridges visible above the watch that look like you could pry it off with your fingers. Looks like the weird lines of the first-gen stealth planes.
    king editor the gratewatto_cobraradarthekatlolliver
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