First Look at the New Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch

As my past few reviews might indicate, I’m not really a smartwatch person because I already have way too many things on my wrist. My primary wearable is the Fitbit Alta HR, and I’m not such a high-powered busy individual that I’d need a Dick Tracy smartwatch to keep track of my workday as well as training.

However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t get all giddy and excited when I heard about the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch, the latest in Fitbit’s line of wearables.

From introducing the first wearable ten years ago, Fitbit has expanded its product line to include sleek and stylish bands that track not only steps and calorie burn, but also heart rate, sleep quality, and exercise among other metrics. Up until this point, Fitbit’s most advanced product was the Blaze, a fitness watch that also displayed smartphone notifications.

But the Fitbit Ionic is an improved iteration and is Fitbit’s first go at a full-featured smartwatch and all it entails, with customizable watchfaces and apps alongside the signature features I love and depend on from my Fitbit.

Here’s the Fitbit Ionic’s product features, cribbed from their official press release.

  • Up to 5 days battery life: With multiple days of battery life on a single charge (10 hours with GPS or playing music), Ionic will outlast any activity you do during the day and still track your sleep all night.
  • Personal trainer with Fitbit Coach: Access on-device step-by-step instructions for 7 Min Workout, 10 Min Abs and Treasure Chest, as well as dynamic workouts that adapt based on feedback you provide on your wrist.
  • Running companion: Automatically track your run with the new Run Detect feature that kicks in GPS tracking – just step out of the door and go; see real-time pace and distance; auto-pause to grab some water or take a breather and automatically resume when you start running.
  • New swim exercise mode: With water resistance up to 50 meters, and industry-leading lap counting, use Ionic in the pool and see your real-time laps, exercise duration and calories burned for pool swims.
  • Industry-leading GPS: The unique design and integrated antenna inside Ionic provide a stronger connection to GPS and GLONASS satellites, delivering industry-leading GPS performance. Leave your phone behind and see pace and distance right on your wrist, as well as record elevation climbed, split times, and a map of your walk, run or ride in the Fitbit app.
  • Improved heart rate technology: Ionic has enhanced PurePulse® heart rate tracking with greater accuracy during exercises like cycling, intervals and running; better measure calorie burn, see real-time heart rate zones to optimize intensity, and track resting heart rate 24/7.
  • New sensor technology: The introduction of a relative SpO2 sensor for estimating blood oxygen levels opens the potential for tracking important new indicators about your health, such as sleep apnea.
  • Motivation through music: Leave your phone at home and find the motivation to jumpstart your workout by storing and playing more than 300 songs on device (2.5 GB of storage).
  • Make payments using Fitbit Pay: In the future, leave your wallet and phone at home and effortlessly pay for items right from your device, wherever contactless payments are accepted.
  • Smart notifications you need most: With extended smartphone notifications, receive call, text and calendar alerts, as well as notifications from apps on your smartphone like Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, Slack, Snapchat and more.

These product features certainly seem designed to appeal to executive (read: age-group) triathletes who want an all-in-one watch — battery life on GPS is long enough for a half-Ironman or a marathon! Having Strava as an installable app on the Ionic is an added attraction, since it allows you to sync any sessions recorded with the watch directly onto the Strava platform (something other Fitbit varieties have difficulty with).

I also love that the Ionic can be used independently of smartphones when going for training sessions. You can upload music files directly onto the phone and you can track rides and runs with the built-in GPS. To listen to music on the Ionic, you can pair it with any Bluetooth-enabled headphone or speaker. (Fitbit also launched its own Bluetooth headphone, the Fitbit Flyer.)

Fitbit Ionic w Flyer

Fitbit Ionic Underwater

While the screen is a relief to strained eyes with its large and high-resolution display behind gorilla glass, I haven’t seen how the Ionic displays the data it tracks. If I ever get the opportunity to review the Ionic, I would love a chance to check out the swim, bike, and run modes.

Now, onto appearance. The sleek design coupled with customizable watchfaces and interchangeable wristbands will allow the Ionic to move seamlessly between the boardroom and the gym. It’s quite understated and not too sporty, and I like that. Fitbit Ionic is available in three neutral color combinations: silver gray tracker and clasp with blue gray band, smoke gray tracker and clasp with charcoal band, or burnt orange tracker and clasp with slate blue band.

Fitbit Ionic Family

Fitbit Ionic Lifestyle Purse

The Fitbit Ionic is priced at P15,690 and is now available at major retail partners like Digital Walker, Beyond the Box, iBook, Timeline, The Inboxstore, iLiberty, Globe Telecom, Proton, Mobile 1, Banana Telecom, iCenter Cebu, Ambassador, Abenson, Lazada, Zalora, and Shoplite stores in Philippines. For more information, visit the Fitbit website.

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