Fitbit is about to launch the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch, which supports third-party apps. The long awaited Ionic comes in silver, gray and orange. It is priced at $299.95 and due for release in October. This price makes it the most expensive smart watch. The Apple Watch series 1 comes in at $269.
The Ionic boasts a lightweight aluminum case, with link lines for the WIFI, Bluetooth, and GPS. Fitbit has used a technique called nano-molding to blend together plastic and metal. This is usually used for smartphones.
The back of the case is designed to give for comfort as the sensors with your wrist. There are control buttons on both sides of the screen.
The display has a styled glass lens, with bezels around it. While there are not many specs given on the screen as yet, it has high resolution with bright colors. The screen brightens maxes at 1000 nits and is easy to read even in the brightest light.
While having some similarities to the Fitbit Blaze such as the color touchscreen, a music control and notification support the Ionic includes much more. Fitbit has added a water resistance feature as well as a swim tracker. With a built-in GPS, the crowning glory is still its third party access.
This offers new software, Fitbit OS, based on the previous smart watch manufacturer Pebbles. Fitbit bought them out last December.
Fitbit promise this will be ready for launch and is user-friendly for developers. Developers will be able to access the GPS feature as well as the accelerometer and heart rate monitor. Over and above the Fitbit offers Pebble technology. The watch users can add extra watch faces through the Fitbit app. The Fitbit App Gallery will house the apps.
Fitbit Coach, launched as Fitstar in 2015, will offer an audio service. This will mainly work on the walking and running programs. A guided health program is also on the cards, with promises of more benefits over the next 12 month period.
The software is the main attraction of this device. Fitbit has teamed up with Strava, Starbucks, Pandora, and Accuweather. This means they can offer exciting preloaded apps.
Working with most major credit card companies, the Ionic offers Fitbit pay. Using technology from Pebble this will work over NFC and make payment possible without the phone.
Fitness focus is a main feature of the Ionic. Fitbit’s heart rate sensor can accurately track heart rate during aerobic activity. It includes a new tri-wave sensor which monitors the blood for O2 saturation.
The built-in GPS follows outdoor activity such as cycling and jogging and again your phone is not required. Fitbit says that the tracking is the most accurate of all on the market. The Ionic is able to notice when you begin and end activities and automatically keeps a log. It is also able to track sleep patterns.
The ionic boasts a battery life of four days; this converts to ten if using the GPS. The Ionic is an excellent fitness tracker and easy to wear.
A late comer Fitbit does not match Apple and Googles third party support and their major advantage of in their fully integrated iOS and Android operating systems. An example of this is that while notifications can be seen, they cannot be interacted with.
The design of the device is clearly about fitness, and the watch has a proprietary strap mechanism. This limits you to Fitbit straps which cost around $29.95 or for the leather option $59.95. This is over and above the purchase price of $299.95.