Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch Review

The Fitbit Ionic is Fitbit’s most advanced device to date and first attempt at a full-featured smartwatch with customizable watchfaces, notifications, and apps alongside the signature features I love and depend on from my Fitbit.

I was seeded the Fitbit Ionic about a month ago to review. I was so excited because I’d already written about the Ionic previously in a blog post, but I really wanted to get my hands on an actual unit.

I ran the Takbo.PH Women’s Stride Virtual Run for the entire month I tested the Ionic, so I really got to know the watch. Read all about the product specs and new features here.

Things I was happiest about:

  • The Ionic has a Treadmill workout option so it was able to capture pace, heart rate, and distance while I ran most of my required kilometers on treadmills. Its Outdoor Run workout option also has really good reliable GPS (with GLONASS).
  • Heart rate could be captured on-the-go right from my wrist, so there was no longer any need to wear a chest HR strap which usually causes chafing.
  • Data displayed on the watch screen during run workouts was pretty good (options to display pace, distance, elapsed time, lap time, and time of day).
  • I could use the Ionic alongside other Fitbit products I already own, and because they were all synced to one ecosystem, all my fitness data could be viewed in one place.
  • Customizable watch face and potential for changing strap colors let me express my individuality and personality through this wrist accessory.

Things I was less thrilled about:

  • Workout uploading through Fitbit linked to Strava only worked for outdoor runs. Treadmill runs and pool swims, even if they synced successfully onto the Fitbit app, did not show up on Strava.
  • Music needs to be stored locally as MP3 files — no Spotify app available yet. (Deezer now has a Fitbit app.)
  • No option to record rest intervals during swim sessions, or record drill laps.
  • No capability to pair ANT+ transmitters for bike power, cadence, and indoor speed.

However, because the Fitbit Ionic is like a miniature computer on your wrist, an update to the firmware can add on some of that functionality that could round it out as an alternative to dedicated sports GPS watches like Garmin and Suunto.

On the whole though, if you want a smart watch that has some capability as a workout watch as well, the Fitbit Ionic might be just the thing for you.

Check out the full review on my vlog below:

About Noelle De Guzman

Noelle De Guzman is a freelance writer and recreational athlete with over 12 years of experience in fitness and endurance sport. She believes sport and an active healthy lifestyle changes lives.

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