The following review is part of the Back to Business special.

 

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Fitbit Ionic

This could be considered to be Fitbits second attempt at entering the smartwatch market, following on from the Blaze which was released last year.  Many would suggest it is more a hybrid smartwatch/sports tracker combo.  I, however, consider it to be THE Flagship sports tracker with the most important aspects of a smartwatch; making it the new Benchmark for fitness wearables!

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Features

The Ionic has to be the most comfortable and lightweight wearable I have tested so far.  I hardly noticed it when not in use.  Which is surprising, given its nice big screen!  The colour LCD display is wrapped in Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which means it will take a lot to crack!  When it lights up the picture quality is vibrant, even outdoors.

I should point out, that even the images on the Fitbit Ionic website, do not do the device justice.  It really is a great looking device that looks much better on the wrist than on a webpage!

And if you don’t fancy the look of the elastomer wristband the Ionic comes with, you can always change the look to fit your style with one of the many additional straps that Fitbit do for it.

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Setting up the Ionic was easy and is done with the free app downloaded to your smartphone (Android | iOS | Windows).  If in doubt you can confirm your device supports Ionic with this online tool.

If you want to store music on your Fitbit then you will need the desktop App so you can transfer your playlists or podcasts!  There is 2.5GB on board storage which means you can leave the phone behind when you go for a run.

The same, easy set up process, can be said for Bluetooth pairing.  I used the Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones and they were discovered and connected in seconds.

Once I was up and running the overall operation of the Ionic is straightforward enough, although with 3 side buttons and touchscreen capabilities, it will take time to master all it has to offer.  Which is a lot!

I preferred to use the App to control and configure the Ionic, where possible, rather than the device itself.  The screens on wearables will never be big enough to operate and interact like you would your phone, but the Ionic does have a great sized screen to display the information you want, when you need it!

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As I stated at the start, I consider this to be Fitbits best ever fitness tracker.  Although at launch not all (4 on the device out of the box) of the Fitbit Coach options are available, nor are the red optical heart rate sensors made active in the software.  Both of which will be in 2018.

Day to day the usual activities such as steps, heart rate, distance covered, exercise and sleep are monitored and synced back to your smartphone as and when you open the app.  Alternatively, you can get a summary display on the device.

The range of sports profiles is immense!  I did not test them all but a point to note is when you use swimming mode.  The Ionic is water-resistant to 50m and once you have selected the Swimming profile the touchscreen functionality stops and you need to operate it by the side buttons.  This is a great piece of attention to detail.  How well does your smartphone work in the rain?

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When it is not helping you to maintain or improve your fitness, the Ionic is a great companion for your daily activities.  You can receive email notifications direct to the Ionic and caller notifications.  The ability to respond to emails/text is not on the Ionic where as other Smartwatches on the market help you do so, I don’t see this as a huge loss, in fact it is the reason this is a great fitness tracker and not an ok smartwatch!

With Fitbit Pay you can connect the device to a credit card and pay anywhere that accepts contactless.

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Specifications

Despite a lack of 3rd party developer apps readily available for the device, it is still feature packed with plenty to offer.

  • Multi Sports Modes inc. Run/Bike/Swim/Workout
  • Water Resistant to 50M
  • Built-In GPS
  • Sensors & Components
    • 3-axis accelerometer
    • 3-axis gyroscope
    • Optical heart rate monitor
    • Altimeter
    • Ambient light sensor
  • Up To 4 Day Battery life
  • 2 Hour Charge Time
  • 2.5GB Music Storage
  • 3 Colour Options – Blue Grey/Silver Grey, Slate Blue/Burnt Orange, Charcoal/Grey

 

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Price

The Fitbit Ionic is £279.99 from Amazon and is Prime Eligible.  Optional wrist straps start from £24.99 direct from Fitbit.

 

In Summary

As part of my Back to Business Series, I’d recommend any fitness tracker to frequent business travellers who have a concern regarding their health.  The Ionic for me is the perfect balance of helping you stay healthy, push you to achieve better workouts and will be a useful device to have during the day.

With more and more places accepting contactless payment – the Ionic can be set up to just your business credit card and  you have all your expenses in one place and easily covered.  Admittedly this depends on which country you are in and your budget!

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At the end of the day that same device becomes your personal trainer.  It knows how active you have been throughout the day and you can use that data to adjust your evening workout intensity.

My only concern is the price!  At £299 it is up there with the likes of the Apple Watch Series3, which is more smartwatch than fitness tracker.  So a premium price tag for a device that does not have all of its capabilities ready to use is a hard sell!!

But, if you are serious about your health and need a little motivation as you travel, the Fitbit Ionic is a perfect device to do so!

 

 

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