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Fitbit Ionic GPS Smartwatch In-Intensity Evaluate

Final month Fitbit introduced their newest instrument – the Fitbit Ionic.  This is able to be a vital step ahead for the corporate, as it could constitute them stepping right into a reasonably other (and better finish) marketplace.  Whilst it used to be up to now tricky to mention they competed face to face in opposition to the Apple Watch and mid-range Garmin gadgets, it’s now transparent that’s the marketplace right here.  The Ionic packs in such things as song playback, GPS, and an app retailer.

All of which I’ve been trying out over the past month since sooner than it used to be introduced.  Thus I’ve were given a sexy excellent concept of what works…and what nonetheless wishes some paintings.  I’ve were given two loaner Fitbit Ionic’s that I’ll ship again to them in a while after I’m performed (as same old), however within the intervening time, right here’s my complete in-depth assessment!

What’s New:

It most likely is going with out announcing that the Ionic is Fitbit’s most complicated and feature-packed instrument ever.  It’s reasonably a mix of the Fitbit Blaze, the Fitbit Surge, after which a host of latest stuff atop all of it.  To get you briefly on top of things, I sought after to bulletize the entire primary new stuff in a single tidy phase.  Worry now not, I’ll be diving into all these things intimately all over this assessment, however this can be a excellent solution to briefly digest the entire key issues:

– Ionic comprises GPS internally
– Contains remodeled optical center price sensor
– In spite of everything completely waterproofed to 50m
– Contains 2.5GB of song garage
– Can Hook up with Bluetooth headphones for song
– Additionally has Pandora app for song streaming (offline)
– Added third birthday party app platform/enhance
– Added WiFi (plus in fact Bluetooth Sensible)
– Has battery existence of four days
– Added Fitbit Pay (contactless/NFC bills) to instrument
– New guided training methods for physique weight exercises
– New audio training methods for strolling & operating
– New guided well being methods for such things as eliminating sugar behavior or sofa to 5K
– Plus in fact a smattering of latest accent straps

Additionally, whilst they had been at it again in August, they launched two different new merchandise:

– Fitbit Flyer headphones: Bluetooth headphones designed for Fitbit Ionic
– Fitbit Aria 2 Scale: An up to date model in their unique WiFi scale

Phew – were given all that?  Just right. Let’s dive into issues extra deeply now.


Now we’ll get started off with a full-on unboxing video.  It’s like unboxing footage, however with far more element:

I may do a secondary unboxing down the street as soon as my bought gadgets arrive, so I’ll have footage and textual content from the ones.  On this case although, I used up all my unboxing glory inside the video above.

Sizes & Weight:

If we commence off with the load of the Fitbit Ionic, it sits at 47g with the huge band, and 45g with the small band.


For comparability, right here’s a couple of others.  We’ve were given the Apple Watch Sequence 3 (42mm) at 62g:


Then there’s the Garmin Vivoactive 3 at 43g:


And in any case, a pile of previous watches and their weights:

TomTom Spark 3/Runner 3: 48g
Apple Watch Sequence 2: 51g
Polar M600: 63g
Polar V800: 82g
Garmin FR35: 37g
Garmin FR25: 39g

And…the gallery of the ones!


In spite of everything, evaluating the dimensions/thickness of the gadgets, right here’s a have a look at the core 3 (Fitbit Ionic, Apple Watch Sequence 3, Garmin Vivoactive 3) when positioned facet via facet:



And the entrance:


As you’ll be able to see, in relation to thickness of the watches, those core competition of the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and Apple Watch Sequence 3 are in fact in point of fact equivalent.  Clearly, all of them have reasonably other exterior designs, however none are completely not like the others.

The {Hardware} & Fashions:

In case you had been to have a look at a Fitbit advertising and marketing marketing campaign of the Fitbit Ionic you’d most likely think there have been roughly 48 other fashions/colours.  However in truth there are merely 3 colour variants with a crap-ton of accent bands with other types.  All 3 style colours are $299USD, and all have the very same options.

The 3 colours are as follows: Silver (aka Blue Gray), Darkish Gray (aka Charcoal), and Gold/Copper (aka Burnt Orange)


Oh, there’s in fact a secret fourth unit: An Adidas ‘particular version’ variant coming in Q1 2018.  This is a part of Adidas and Fitbit hooking up in a health partnership.  Their love shack kind of mirrors that of Apple and Nike (who additionally made a distinct Apple Watch Nike+ unit).  Like Apple, Fitbit’s Adidas variant may have a couple of particular app-focused pieces, although the corporate isn’t in a position to element the ones but.  Mockingly, you’ll understand that Adidas has additionally not too long ago pulled out of sports activities tech gadgets…similar to Nike did a couple of years again.

In terms of accent bands, they kind of fall into 3 camps:

A) Inventory ones incorporated within the field (both small, or medium/huge) – $29
B) Game bands – $29
C) Swanky bands – $59

Right here’s one from each and every camp facet via facet:


The inventory band is most likely the least relaxed band I’ve observed/worn on a health wearable.  I wouldn’t move so far as announcing it sucks, however I’d surely want to not put on it.  The rubber is stiff and unforgiving, and it doesn’t breath.  Regardless that, there’s 0 probability it’ll ever fall off.


The game band is much better and extra versatile, it’s additionally a lot more breathable:


And then you definately’ve were given swanky bands, like those in leather-based.  Right here’s the brown leather-based variant:

Fitbit-Ionic-Brown-Leather-Band-1 Fitbit-Ionic-Brown-Leather-Band-2

For those who sought after it, right here’s the entire bands you’ll be able to these days to find, courtesy of the big percentage of Fitbit inventory footage (the whole thing else within the footage I’ve taken):


Having a look extra carefully on the unit itself, the shell is a unmarried molded part comprised of aerospace-grade aluminum.



The show is then layered in, and all the factor is correctly waterproofed to 50 meters.


Curious what it looks as if at the inside of? Me too.  So I dissected one for you:


Fitbit-Ionic-Internals-Main-Board Fitbit-Ionic-Internals Inside-Bezel Fitbit-Ionic-Internals-Display-Case

In truth, I didn’t dissect it, the Fitbit other people had one taken aside already and I simply pressed the shutter button on my digicam.  For people that need to chipset peep, I interested in taking some in point of fact transparent photos of the important thing portions.

As we’ll speak about within the different sections, the Fitbit Ionic helps NFC contactless bills, in addition to song by the use of Bluetooth, similar to wi-fi headphones (like the brand new wi-fi earphones Fitbit themselves have made).  From a GPS viewpoint, the unit comprises GPS with GLONASS enhance, which data at 1-second durations (extra on that during my GPS accuracy phase underneath).

The optical HR sensor is completely new at the Fitbit Ionic, with the corporate moving to a tricolor sensor platform (inexperienced, purple, and infrared).  They confirmed throughout a presentation one of the a lot of designs they examined previous to finalizing the design of the Ionic, together with various other sensor positions and patterns similar to transferring photograph diodes and LED’s in several patterns and what number of of each and every.  They settled on 3 photograph diodes and one LED set within the middle.  I quilt HR accuracy in a later phase underneath.


In addition they mentioned how the flatter/smoother the sensors were given, the simpler the standard of information (assuming mild wasn’t coming in).


Like previous Fitbits for a few years, the optical HR sensor data your HR 24×7, in addition to in workout.  The corporate says they’ve spent important assets on making improvements to the algorithms (and {hardware}) in particular for high-intensity actions, together with durations.  Of notice although is that the corporate is now situated to measure sleep apnea, with an replace slated within the ‘close to time period’.  The corporate says they may be able to decide if any person has sleep apnea with 90% sure bet, at which level they’d achieve out to their physician for extra trying out, and so on…  Nearly all of folks don’t know they’ve it.

Notice that there’s some discrepancy in what I’m listening to from Fitbit on sleep apnea paintings and whether or not or now not it’d be within the Ionic down the street.  As an example, of their investor name they mentioned this analysis can be acceptable to present gadgets (requested as a part of a Q&A), while after the development they reached out to mention it’s one thing they’re exploring/researching and would possibly not come to the Ionic. So we’ll see.

The Ionic Fundamentals:


So let’s get started off with the usage of the watch in a day after day environment, together with what the Fitbit app supplies as smartly.  First up is that the watch is touchscreen, in conjunction with 3 bodily buttons.  Two at the proper facet, and one at the left facet.  The show is off, except you lift your wrist or faucet the buttons, at which level it activates and brings you to the house watch face observed above.

At this level you’ve were given the date/time, in addition to growth against your objectives for steps and energy, and an icon on your present center price.  You’ll faucet any of those to get information about it – similar to general steps for the day:


In case you swipe from the higher edge downwards, you’ll get to the song display.  This permits you to get started/pause/skip song tracks.  After all, this calls for you be hooked up to a Bluetooth audio instrument, like a couple of Bluetooth headphones.


In the meantime, if you happen to swipe up, you’ll get your contemporary notifications (textual content messages principally).

You’ll additionally allow third birthday party notifications on a in keeping with app foundation, which, relying to your choice, is both tense or nice.  This implies they bypass the usual iOS/Android keep an eye on facilities and use a middle-man to permit/disallow notifications.  This will also be to hand if you happen to handiest need sure notifications to turn up, while it additionally could be a ache if you happen to don’t need to maintain white-listing the entire apps you may want.

In the meantime, if you happen to swipe from the left you’ll dive into precisely two of the settings: Show (gestures on/off), and notifications (on/off).


The actual items although are swiping to the appropriate and entering the more than a few apps.  Like maximum watch platforms that helps apps, even local purposes like going for a run are thought to be an app.  You’ll see a few of these apps right here.

Fitbit-Ionic-Apps-1 Fitbit-Ionic-Apps-2Fitbit-Ionic-Weather

This comprises the ‘Nowadays’ display, which is a abstract of your job that day:


Workout, training, and song are all issues I’ll quilt within the subsequent phase.  The relief timer although walks you via respiring workouts designed to get you to loosen up.  This features a two-minute respiring consultation, although you’ll be able to trade that duration if you wish to.

Moreover, you’ve were given the pockets (Fitbit Pay, see later phase), in addition to timers, alarms, and settings.  This settings phase is for sure deeper and covers the whole thing from vibration depth to brightness depth.  Along extra main points for whether or not or now not notifications are enabled in exercises or now not.


From right here on out you’re into third birthday party apps which are pre-loaded at the Ionic.  As an example we’ve were given each the Pandora and Strava apps.  The Pandora app permits you to move song, whilst the Strava app permits you to see runs and rides from Strava at an excessively fundamental degree.

Those don’t should be recorded via the Fitbit Ionic, which is good.  At the flipside, the app doesn’t supply any capability past reviewing historic exercises.  As an example, you don’t get Strava Reside Segments on it.

In spite of everything, there’s the Starbucks app, which lets you affiliate your Starbucks card with the instrument after which pay on your espresso goodness at Starbucks.

Now, to slip again reasonably to general steps and such for the day, the Fitbit is, in fact, monitoring that as any previous Fitbit would do.  This comprises steps, distance, energy, flooring (stairs), energetic mins, all along your resting center price.  All of that is viewable in that ‘Nowadays’ app I discussed above, or additionally within the Fitbit app to your smartphone (iOS/Android/Home windows).

Every of those sections will also be dug into extra deeply, similar to steps, the place you’ll be able to have a look at more than a few graphs of your steps over more than a few time frames.

2017-09-24 15.25.48 2017-09-24 15.25.52 2017-09-24 15.26.20

Some of the greatest attracts for other people into the Fitbit platform is their group sides.  That means that if you happen to’ve were given buddies on Fitbit, then it’s extra compelling to even be on a Fitbit, as you’ll be able to problem them or another way taunt them.  No in point of fact, you’ll be able to in fact taunt them:

2017-09-24 15.27.31 2017-09-24 15.27.38 2017-09-24 15.28.09

Like different Fitbit gadgets, the Ionic additionally tracks sleep.  You don’t want to do the rest except for put on the instrument, and it’ll document the time you fell asleep and awoke on a daily basis. It’ll additionally document any occasions you had been wide awake:

2017-09-24 15.29.08 2017-09-24 15.29.17

Usually, those numbers had been lovely shut, particularly within the final week.  You’ll dive right into a given day and have a look at totals for each and every night time relating to sleep phases, in addition to evaluate that in your 30-day moderate.  You’ll additionally evaluate it to folks your age/gender.  I haven’t determined if I’m higher or lesser than them.

2017-09-24 15.31.42 2017-09-24 15.31.40 2017-09-24 15.31.36

Finally, we’ve were given the facility to trace your center price 24×7 the usage of the Ionic optical HR sensor.  The Ionic will continuously observe and document HR knowledge issues, which can be in flip transmitted to the Fitbit app/platform.  It’s right here that you’ll be able to have a look at your 24×7 HR standing over the years.

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2017-09-24 16.36.50 2017-09-24 16.36.59

Essentially the most fascinating side of this knowledge is resting center price (RHR), which is able to normally be used to identify over the top fatigue or incoming illness.  As an example, I do know that my day-to-day low resting HR is normally underneath 50bpm, but when I see it spiking to 61bpm, then that tells I’m most likely extremely drained or about to get in poor health.

2017-09-24 16.38.38 2017-09-24 16.38.28

That mentioned, Fitbit has lengthy hyped up resting HR values in comparison to each and every different instrument I’ve.  They’re typically at the order of 5-7bpm upper than maximum different gadgets, every now and then extra.  I’ve long gone backward and forward with Fitbit about this previously, and the way they outline resting HR values, and in the end I don’t suppose we’ll see a large number of growth there.  They did one primary shift a few yr in the past of their calculations, however having a look on the Ionic, it kind of feels to have regressed a little on this explicit house.

Game & Health:


To start out a exercise you’ll swipe over to the apps display, and make a choice ‘Workout’.  At this juncture you’ll be in a position to make a choice from half of a dozen sports activities which are at the watch.  Those come with operating, biking, indoor swimming, and so forth.  Then again, those default sports activities will also be custom designed the usage of the cell app.  Right here’s the total checklist:

2017-09-25 07.20.59 2017-09-25 07.21.14

Notice that openwater swimming isn’t supported this time from a GPS accuracy viewpoint.  Additional, within the common pool swimming choice, center price isn’t supported both.  It does depend laps although.


Along with swiping during the sports activities, you’ll be able to faucet at the little equipment icon to configure settings for that specific game.  This comprises such things as auto-lap settings (confusingly referred to as ‘Computerized cue settings’), customizing the information metrics proven, and auto-pause.  In terms of knowledge metrics, you get 3 ‘chunks’ you’ll be able to customise: Best, center, backside.

Fitbit-Ionic-Sport-Cue-Settings Fitbit-Ionic-Sport-Metrics

The highest and backside metrics will stay static, whilst the center metric will rotate via while you faucet it.  So whilst it’s technically only one web page, via tapping you get a host of metrics.  It’s by no means as versatile as maximum different watches from a health viewpoint, however it additionally kinda suits the invoice for the Fitbit logo.

Whilst you’re doing all that, the unit is obtaining GPS sign.  As soon as it has this, it’ll say ‘Hooked up’.  Ahead of that time it’ll say confusingly “Let’s Cross!”.  I don’t in point of fact perceive the common sense right here, as telling folks to move sooner than GPS is obtained is in regards to the worst imaginable factor you’ll be able to do from a GPS sign viewpoint.  Now not handiest will they get erroneous knowledge, however it prolongs the purchase of GPS as opposed to simply status there a couple of extra seconds.


Fortunately, maximum occasions it does to find GPS in a question of seconds, so by the point making a decision to press get started, it’s in a position to roll.  As soon as began it’ll demonstrate your stats at the display while you lift your wrist or press a button.  Another way, the display is off.

As you move via each and every lap (in keeping with your settings), you’ll get computerized lap banners.  Reasonably apparently, on my most up-to-date run I had by chance left the automated laps at .50 miles (observed above in footage), but it in fact alerted me at each and every 1.00 miles.


Talking of insects, throughout this similar run the watch crashed mid-run for no obvious explanation why.  I had crossed the three-mile marker a brief distance sooner than, after which I came about to look down and located it again at the ‘Run’ get started display (to begin a brand new run).  I used to be in a position to begin a brand new run, however clearly that’s lower than preferrred – particularly because it completely misplaced the primary half of of the run (long gone).  That is the primary time it’s performed this for me, however it’s additionally the primary time in a very long time (years?) I’ve had a GPS watch crash on me mid-workout (non-beta).

After all, as I run alongside I will faucet the display to switch metrics:

2017-09-24 18.25.29

2017-09-24 18.04.23

All of this works superb and dandy, however is basically the similar throughout all sports activities.  As an example, although you select Tennis, there’s now not in point of fact the rest explicit to tennis right here.  It nonetheless lists knowledge fields like laps and distance.  It’s not going that you just’d use ‘laps’ for the rest tangible in tennis.

Whenever you’ve finished your exercise you’ll be able to press the bodily pause button within the decrease proper nook.  That is one thing I a lot admire over the Apple Watch, which calls for swiping.  For sports activities with sweat and perhaps rain or gloves, a bodily button is all the time higher.


At which level you’ll get your exercise abstract (or, half of my abstract in this night’s runs case):


All of that is then sync’d to the Fitbit app.  Notice that there isn’t any solution to get admission to your exercise knowledge at the watch once more after you’ve finished the exercise.  That means, there’s no ‘historical past’ web page.  Regardless that, if you happen to sync to Strava, then you’ll be able to pull it up that method the usage of the Strava app at the watch.

You’ll additionally glance on Fitbit’s web page and notice the runs there as smartly:


Switching gears just a little bit, Fitbit additionally comprises some default exercises by the use of the Fitbit Trainer app.  That is other than the top rate training choices which are coming on-line quickly.  The Fitbit Trainer app guides you via 3 other body-weight targeted exercises:


After deciding on a given exercise you’ll be able to both get started it, or have a look at the stairs:

Fitbit-Ionic-Coached-Workouts-List Fitbit-Ionic-Coached-Steps

All over the exercise, it’ll provide you with just a little animated GIF of the precise strikes/positions you’re meant to do, in conjunction with count-down timers for each and every phase.


All of it works smartly sufficient, although with handiest 3 exercises in there, it’s lovely restricted.  I feel again to the Adidas Sensible Run GPS watch that had boatloads of exercises.  Similar is going for the Microsoft Band, which had lots of exercises too.  At the flip-side, either one of the ones gadgets at the moment are defunct…so perhaps giving for free unfastened exercises wasn’t the recipe for luck both.

After all – Fitbit’s primary purpose on this house is to get you to pay for his or her top rate training choices.  Regardless that the ones aren’t to be had moderately but.

In spite of everything, notice that right now the Fitbit Ionic is reasonably astoundingly not able to hook up with any exterior sensors, together with center price straps.  It additionally doesn’t broadcast its center price outbound (similar to over Bluetooth Sensible).  The primary piece in being not able to hook up with center price straps makes it a ways much less aggressive for sure actions the place optical HR would possibly fight (like I see with biking).  Maximum different gadgets, together with the ones from Apple, Garmin, Polar, Suunto, and smartly…everybody, permit connection to no less than a center price sensor.  Optimistically Fitbit appears to switch this.



The Ionic is in a position to play again song the usage of it’s 2.5GB of inner garage, mixed with any type of Bluetooth headphones or audio system.  You must simply as simply pair it to the Fitbit Flyer headphones as some small Bluetooth Speaker.  Heck, it’d most likely even paintings along with your automotive simply superb too.


At the present Ionic helps two core song varieties: Recordsdata you switch over, and the Pandora platform for streaming song. With Pandora, you’re caching explicit playlists onto the instrument itself.  I’ll get started with Pandora, after which quilt different song.  To start, you’ll move into the Ionic settings at the cell Fitbit app after which make a choice Pandora from the Track phase:

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It’s up there that you’ll be able to auto-sync your most sensible Pandora stations, or you’ll be able to specify as much as 3 stations from a small pile of stations.  Right here’s an inventory of the ‘well-liked stations’ you’ll be able to upload onto the unit from the app.

Fitbit-Ionic-Music-Pandora-Stations-1 Fitbit-Ionic-Music-Pandora-Stations-2 Fitbit-Ionic-Music-Pandora-Stations-3

As soon as that’s performed you’ll move forward and plug for your Ionic to a wall charger, and be sure that you’re on WiFi with the instrument itself.  After a while (a heck of a large number of time), it’ll get started shifting song.  You’ll drive it from the cell app to begin, however I to find that doesn’t appear to hurry issues up.  I to begin with attempted a couple of hours of ready to get my first sync to finish/demonstrate the rest, and that did not do the rest a couple of occasions.  In the end I gave up monitoring my sleep for an evening and let it sync in a single day and it in any case completed the sync procedure.  As soon as that’s performed you’ll be able to make a choice which playlist you wish to have to play:


After which from there it simply begins enjoying it.  You’ll building up/lower quantity at the instrument, in addition to skip the tracks and pause/play.  You’ll’t specify sure tracks, simply skip forward.


Then in any case, anytime the unit is plugged in and charging it will have to additionally sync updates to the Pandora stations.  However since I don’t in point of fact observe which songs are in there, I’ll need to take their phrase for that.

Subsequent up we’ve were given loading song onto the watch.  To do that you’ll want to configure your watch to make use of WiFi, and then you definately’ll want your laptop (PC or Mac) to be at the similar WiFi community as your watch.  You can’t load song out of your telephone.  Throughout the Fitbit app to your laptop, dig into your Ionic settings after which select Track > Private Track.


Because the textual content above notes, you’ll want to stick your Ionic right into a song receiving mode.  Necessarily, it has to catch the song soccer.  Additionally of notice, you’ll be able to’t do that on a resort/Starbucks/and so on WiFi as the ones all require logging in.

As soon as that’s all settled, you’ll be capable of upload folders on your song:

image image

It’s at this juncture that I noticed I don’t in fact even hassle to have saved song on my pc anymore.  I simply use Spotify 95% of the time, and on occasion Amazon Top song the rest of the time.  So I went off and grabbed an album and kerplunked it right into a folder to sync over.

I additionally discovered that it calls for you utilize playlists, and now not simply folders of song.  You’ll upload the entire folders on this planet, however it received’t do the rest until there’s a playlist concerned.


Someplace alongside the way in which the Ionic disconnected from the song switch bit, and I needed to re-enable the song sync piece.  Nonetheless, sooner or later it were given onto my Ionic.  It’s at this level that I may just play the song from the Ionic to the headphones.  All of which is lovely simple.

From a connectivity viewpoint, I haven’t had any problems with droppage of Bluetooth connectivity from the watch to the headphones.  I’ve attempted each left and proper wrists, and it kind of feels superb.  It’s a not unusual downside amongst watches to headphones to have one facet that works higher (for the reason that receiver is typically on a given facet), however on this case I’ve been excellent.

In spite of everything, referring to Spotify – many have puzzled about that.  So out of interest, I requested why they shifted from what used to be up to now some courting with Spotify to Pandora.  You’ll take into accout Pebble had tied the knot on a Spotify streaming deal for his or her deliberate Core instrument.  As soon as Pebble used to be obtained via Fitbit, they killed off the Core – however I had was hoping we’d see the Spotify courting floor down the street.

The very diplomatic solution from CEO James Park used to be that the song trade is ‘difficult’ at best possible.  Regardless that his eyes mentioned to me ‘I need to punch myself within the balls over the song trade’.  Optimistically although, we’ll see different streaming apps quickly.

Fitbit Flyer Headphones:


Along with launching the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch, the corporate additionally threw down a moment product on the similar time – the Fitbit Flyer headphones.  Those Bluetooth wi-fi headphones are designed in particular with the Ionic in thoughts, although they do paintings along with your telephone or some other Bluetooth audio succesful instrument.

With a purpose to get you on top of things, I’ve were given a whole video on simply the Flyer headphones – together with unboxing and the way they paintings step-by-step:

The Fitbit Flyer is available in two other colour variants, a gold/white colour, and a silver/blue colour.  Both model will set you again $129, which is reasonably underneath the high-end top rate wi-fi game headphones.  In terms of why Fitbit determined to go into the marketplace, they famous that many present game headphones both weren’t designed to final very lengthy – typically succumbing to a water-proof comparable dying early (which is correct).  So Fitbit aimed to unravel that via internally waterproofing the headphones as smartly, within the match sweat/liquid does set up to get in.


In case you crack open the package deal you’ll discover a slew of various dimension ear pointers, wings, and fins.  It’s like a type of Oscar Myer snack programs, however for headphones.


Now, except for the {hardware} items, there are some fascinating instrument sides.  First is that it might in fact similtaneously connect with each the Fitbit Ionic and your telephone similtaneously.  That is in fact atypical, and is notable as it permits you to be paying attention to song whilst operating alongside from the Ionic, after which have your telephone ring-in with a decision. All of which is treated seamlessly.  While with maximum different headphones you wouldn’t be capable of take your telephone name at the headphones because it handiest may just pair to the watch (one merchandise immediately).

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As a part of taking that decision the Flyer comprises noise cancelling by the use of its two microphones, permitting wind aid to happen very similar to what other motion cameras are doing as of late.  The telephone talking portion carries via with the inclusion of more than a few telephone virtual assistants (e.g. Siri).  At the listening facet, it’s additionally were given passive noise isolation, which can lend a hand cut back further sounds for your surroundings.

From a battery existence viewpoint the unit clocks in at 6 hours of energetic time (and will fast price for quarter-hour and get some other hour).

In spite of everything, the unit in fact has two other sound profiles for listening.  There’s a standard sound profile after which a ‘PowerBoost’ sound profile, which will increase the bottom and EQ.  That may be accessed via simply touching the 2 buttons immediately, and also you’ll straight away pay attention the variation.  To keep an eye on quantity, you unmarried faucet up or down at the controls piece, and to skip/again on tracks you lengthy preserve.  Tremendous easy.

Total in doing a couple of exercises with them – issues sound lovely excellent.  However I’m rarely one to pass judgement on more than a few audio headphones – as I don’t have a tendency to run with them very frequently (and by no means cycle with them).  Nonetheless, the combination piece is in point of fact smartly performed (particularly the pairing, as you’ll be able to see inside the video).

Fitbit Pay:

As a part of the Fitbit Ionic rollout, Fitbit could also be spinning up Fitbit Pay, which is their contactless cost resolution that lets you pay for pieces at retail outlets the usage of simply your Fitbit Ionic instrument.  This wi-fi cost device is treated by the use of NFC, permitting you to simply position your wrist on the subject of the cost terminal at a shop.

You’ll get started via including your bank cards into the Fitbit spouse app.  The platform helps Visa, MasterCard, and American Specific.  For the reason that platform received’t remove darkness from until October, I had to make use of a  demo card.  Worry now not, you don’t want some Fitbit branded bank card or the rest.

Fitbit-Ionic-Fitbit-Pay-Setup-1 Fitbit-Ionic-Fitbit-Pay-Setup-2 Fitbit-Ionic-Fitbit-Pay-Setup-3

There are some barriers right here although, particularly on which banks are supported. See, each and every time the sort of firms (Fitbit, Garmin, Apple, Samsung, and so on…) begins a contactless cost platform they’ve to barter at once with each and every financial institution on this planet that problems bank cards.  Sure, in point of fact, each and every…unmarried…financial institution…personally.

For a corporation like Apple with super marketplace pull, that’s quite ‘simple’ (quite being the important thing phrase right here).  They are able to ask any financial institution, and that financial institution will say ‘Sure sir, how briskly?’.  While for a corporation like Fitbit or Garmin, that procedure can take a little longer.  As such, Fitbit is lacking various primary banks (so is Garmin).  In reality, none of both my US or French bank cards paintings with the platform (now or in October).  This significantly comprises Chase Credit cards, which is the most important bank card issuer in america, 50% greater than their nearest rival.

After all, as a part of the setup procedure you’ll additionally set a PIN code, which is used to fasten/free up the unit to be sure that if any person steals your watch that they may be able to’t simply move off on a buying groceries spree.  The Apple Watch works the similar method.  The PIN code presentations up at the unit while you first try to have interaction with it after putting it to your wrist.  In case you take away the watch then you definately’ll want to re-enter the PIN code.


In terms of the usage of it for checkout, you’ll merely long-hold down the left button for approximately 2 seconds and it’ll carry up the cost display:


At this level you’ll be able to simply faucet your wrist at the cost reader.  Clearly the cost reader has to enhance NFC bills, which can range moderately a little.


As an example, in america I to find maximum primary outlets enhance wi-fi bills, while a small ma & pa store out within the geographical region may now not.  But on the similar time at house in Paris nearly the entire cost pads in fact do enhance contactless bills, however aren’t setup/enabled.

Whenever you’ve tapped the reader it’ll demonstrate as a hit to your wrist. You’ll additionally move into the telephone app to test/validate the cost stats.  Right here’s all the procedure at paintings at a gasoline station in a perfect brief clip I filmed:

The primary purpose here’s in an effort to move out for a run or journey or no matter, and now not take your pockets with you.  Merely take your Fitbit and be capable of drop into that juice shack afterwards and snatch one thing with no need a bank card or money.  After all, you’ll need to validate the department stores you propose to talk over with do in fact enhance contactless bills sooner than appearing up with simply the watch in the future.  However maximum people finally end up again on the similar puts after our runs, and typically know the ones smartly sufficient.

In chatting with the CEO of Fitbit, James Park, about the place he envisions this era going inside the Fitbit product line – he famous that they need to see it as widely supported as imaginable, noting:

“That’s [NFC] a era we’re going to take a look at and push throughout our complete line.”

I adopted up with asking whether or not that intended we’d see it down at the standard ~$120-$140 gadgets which are within the Fitbit Price/Alta/and so on differ at some point, and he showed that’s the purpose:

“Sure, over the years.”

After all, that every one takes new {hardware} – so it’s now not one thing they may be able to upload to present gadgets as of late – however it feels like that’s obviously the course going ahead.

third Celebration Apps:


The Fitbit Ionic is the primary Fitbit instrument to enhance third birthday party apps.  A lot of the paintings to make this occur got here from the Pebble, which Fitbit obtained final December.  This acquisition used to be basically for his or her engineering ability and paintings on a brand new JavaScript-based platform that used to be in beta for Pebble gadgets.  Fitbit didn’t push ahead any of the Pebble gadgets.

The excellent news out of that although is that Fitbit’s app SDK and platform is normally extra mature than that of an organization simply beginning out with their first app platform.  The unhealthy information although is that as of as of late there are principally no apps within the retailer.  After all, that’ll trade briefly.

Nonetheless, to turn you ways this works, to load apps you’d move into your Fitbit Ionic settings, and make a choice ‘Apps’. It’s right here that’ll demonstrate you two units of information.  First you’ve were given ‘My Apps’, which presentations belongings you’ve loaded already.  You’ll make a choice a given app to get admission to any settings, as an example, so as to add a Starbucks card:

2017-09-24 16.11.09 2017-09-24 16.11.55

Then if you happen to faucet up the ‘All Apps’ choice, you’d be capable of see different apps to load onto the instrument.  Except for, right now, there’s no different apps to load.  So…it’s a brief checklist.

2017-09-24 16.12.12 2017-09-24 16.12.15

I’ll most likely circle again in this later this yr as soon as the app retailer is a little fuller and we will be able to see what issues seem like.  I additionally be expecting we’ll see extra apps release because the Ionic begins delivery right here on October 1st.

Switching in short over to the developer facet of apps (you’ll be able to skip this section if you happen to don’t need to geek-out for a moment), the brand new SDK is fully web-based and referred to as Fitbit Studio.  The SDK can be to be had beginning day after today, September twenty sixth.

It permits you to create apps and watch faces the usage of JavaScript and SVG, and doesn’t require you be tethered to iOS or Android to create apps.  So long as you have got a cyber web browser, you’re excellent to move.  Right here’s essentially the most trendy watch face in all the assortment – the DCR Face…Watch Face.  My Face, on a Watch Face.  Down the street (close to time period), you received’t want the SDK for this, however within the intervening time, my awesomeness awaits:


The platform is large simple to make use of, and deploying to an eye fixed is just about quick – permitting fast trying out (although sadly there isn’t an emulator to be had but, albeit it feels like that’s at the radar).


What’s extra fascinating is that people can percentage apps and watch faces with others with out going via an approval procedure.  As an example, if you wish to create a customized watch or app face on your group or circle of relatives or no matter, you’ll be able to percentage that by the use of a personal hyperlink.  That personal app received’t demonstrate up within the app retailer for the sector to look, as for that you just’ll want the Fitbit approval (which they hope to stay fast).

The Fitbit App SDK has been launched, however it’ll take a while for apps to turn up.  Be expecting to look smaller apps within the close to time period (e.g. hobbyist apps), however then most likely via the tip of the yr you’ll see greater firms diving into issues.  After all, like all app platform it’s most likely that Fitbit is operating carefully with primary firms to take a look at and get apps finished for his or her platform.  So I wouldn’t be expecting issues to be empty for lengthy.

Middle Fee Accuracy:


Subsequent up we’ve were given center price accuracy.  This kind of falls into two buckets: 24×7 HR, and exercise HR.  Via and big, I see no tangible problems with 24×7 HR consistency, however I do see problems with it merely figuring out my RHR worth as upper than it’s.  This isn’t a dimension factor, however fairly the algorithms they use at the backend to make a decision what ‘resting’ in point of fact is.

Mentioned otherwise: It’s measuring and recording my 24×7 center price simply superb, however then in relation to deciding what constitutes the resting HR worth, it kind of feels to err at the excessive facet. I speak about RHR values and 24×7 tracking right here and why it’s fascinating.

Ahead of we transfer directly to the check effects, notice that optical HR sensor accuracy is fairly numerous from person to person.  Sides similar to pores and skin colour, hair density, and place can have an effect on accuracy.  Place and the way the band is worn are *an important* items.  A unit with an optical HR sensor will have to be cosy.  It doesn’t want to depart marks, however you shouldn’t be capable of slide a finger beneath the band (no less than throughout exercises).  You’ll put on it a tiny bit looser the remainder of the day.

Adequate, so in my trying out, I merely use the watch all over my customary exercises.  The ones exercises come with all kinds of intensities and prerequisites, making them nice for accuracy trying out.  I’ve were given stable runs, period exercises on each motorbike and operating, in addition to pace runs and rides.

For each and every check, I’m dressed in further gadgets, typically 3-4 in general, which seize knowledge from different sensors.  Normally I’d put on a chest strap (typically the HRM-TRI or Wahoo TICKR X), in addition to some other optical HR sensor watch at the different wrist (many fashions throughout this trying out duration).  Notice that the numbers you notice within the higher proper nook are *now not* the averages, however fairly simply the precise level my mouse is sitting over.  Notice all this knowledge is analyzed the usage of the DCR Analyzer, main points right here.

First up, a run in Amsterdam a weekend in the past.  This used to be a quite flat run, and a quite even tempo.  Right here’s how issues regarded:


As you’ll be able to see, issues are in point of fact moderately excellent.  There’s an excessively tiny little bit of distinction within the first 26 seconds, however not anything that I may just in point of fact get too disillusioned about.  The primary short time of a run are frequently difficult as your physique warms up – however on this case I’d say the Ionic in fact did the most efficient of all 3 sensors, even higher than the chest strap.


However that’s the item about cooler and dry fall runs that aren’t but super-cold, it’s the place optical HR in point of fact shines in comparison to a chest strap that may frequently get tripped up with low moisture.

Subsequent let’s have a look at a run with some depth variability in it.  Oddly sufficient I’ve selected the run from this night the place it crapped out half-way, so we’ve handiest were given the second one half of of the run.  However that’s OK, that’s the section the place I did amusing stuff.  The primary a part of the run as I watched the HR it matched the HR strap.  You’ll see the Ionic line show-up mid-way via this (the purple line):


Let’s zoom to the mini durations I did.  Those had been about 30-60 seconds lengthy each and every, with driven paces after which again to my common tempo in between.  Thus it wasn’t entire restoration in between, so the peaks/valleys are much less.  However you’ll be able to see my HR is kind of going between 160BPM and 175-178BPM.


After all, you notice that at the first one the Wahoo TICKR totally ignored the boat.  I adjusted it and it used to be superb.  Once more – a ravishing instance of a groovy/dry fall night run the place there wasn’t a large number of sweat, however used to be a forged breeze drying issues out.

You’ll see at the 2d and third durations, all 3 gadgets had been very shut.  But at the 4th and fifth bumps, the Spartan optical HR sensor obviously hit cadence lock.  That’s when it locks onto your operating cadence as an alternative of your HR.  This used to be most likely as a result of I picked up the tempo a little on the ones two.  However, the Fitbit Ionic nailed some of these.  Now not positive how a lot more merely I will put it.

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I can notice that during my first glance submit at release I noticed some problems with the unit obtaining center price at first of a run.  That used to be on beta instrument and I haven’t observed that on manufacturing instrument.

Finally, let’s check out some biking.  This used to be a just about 5-hour journey (together with a forty five minute beer forestall in fact) within the Swiss Alps.  You’ll learn all about it right here.


What’s fascinating in this journey is having a look at the way it treated other prerequisites.  Take the primary 2hr and 40 mins.  Except for some transient descents, this used to be nearly solely mountaineering.  And inside this phase, issues for the Ionic in yellow in large part regarded excellent (apart from the quick descents the place it strayed):


Now I make a dependancy of by no means preventing the watches once I journey/run, simply as it makes my existence more uncomplicated. So when atop the mountain we grabbed a drink for a little, it stored recording.  However it in point of fact struggled right here (2:40-3:20).  Don’t fear, the Vivosport additionally struggled.


Then again, the struggles endured as I began to descend.  This is quite common for optical HR sensors, because the bumps (of which there have been masses) are difficult when mixed with usually low center charges.

Then, you notice across the 4:20 marker that issues come again in combination once more.  That is mountaineering again up – and the depth of the center price makes issues fit.  Once I crest the highest although, it has troubles once more.  This conduct fits what I noticed on nearly all rides.  The rest with constant and sustained depth used to be superb, however variable or low-intensity used to be difficult.

Thus, general I’d say that for many operating prerequisites the optical HR sensor is normally lovely excellent, while for biking open air it’s difficult.  I will’t demonstrate you biking indoors, as a result of Fitbit doesn’t export the recorded HR knowledge on non-GPS exercises.  However I will say that the ones knowledge issues, as I watched them are living throughout the teacher exercises, had been superb.

GPS Accuracy:

There’s most likely no subject that stirs as a lot dialogue and keenness as GPS accuracy.  An eye fixed may just fall aside and provide you with dire electric shocks whilst doing so, but when it presentations you at the mistaken facet of the street?  Oh hell no, carry at the fury of the web!

GPS accuracy will also be checked out in various other ways, however I want to have a look at it the usage of various gadgets in real-world situations throughout an unlimited choice of actions.  I exploit 2-6 different gadgets immediately, looking to get a transparent image of the way a given set of gadgets handles prerequisites on a undeniable day.  Stipulations come with the whole thing from tree/development quilt to climate.

Through the years I’ve endured to tweak my GPS trying out technique.  As an example, I attempt to now not position two gadgets subsequent to one another on my wrists, as that may have an effect on sign. If I achieve this, I’ll put a skinny cloth spacer of about 1”/3cm between them (I didn’t do this on any of my Fitbit Ionic exercises).  However frequently I’ll merely raise different gadgets via the straps, or connect them to my shoulder straps of a CamelBak.  Plus, dressed in a couple of watches at the similar wrist is widely known to have an effect on optical HR accuracy too.

Subsequent, as famous, I exploit simply my day-to-day coaching routes.  The use of a unmarried course again and again isn’t in point of fact indicative of real-world prerequisites, it’s simply indicative of 1 path.  The exercises you notice listed below are simply my customary day-to-day exercises.

I’ve had moderately a little of number of terrain inside the period of time of Fitbit Ionic trying out.  NYC, Amsterdam, Las Vegas, Paris, Reno, French Alps, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and extra I’m most likely forgetting.  Mountains, desolate tract, woods, and towns.

We’ll have a look kind of the similar actions as above, beginning first with the run in Amsterdam.  Right here’s how that appears at a excessive degree:


You’ll see the FR935 and the Fitbit Ionic agree, while the Suunto unit doesn’t in sure sections, particularly inside the park.  That is the place you wish to have to make use of satellite tv for pc view to appear extra carefully and notice if it fits the trail/highway within the park:


You’ll now simply see that the Suunto went swimming within the pond, whilst the Fitbit and Garmin tracked extra carefully.  However even inside that context, I wouldn’t say the Fitbit used to be nice both.  As an example have a look at the sections I tried to spotlight underneath at the backside portion, the place the Fitbit used to be off within the woods:


After all, the Garmin wasn’t very best both, it’s offset a little at the higher edge, however it’s stage of suck used to be lower than the opposite two.


It’s reasonably fascinating to me that the gadgets had essentially the most bother inside the park (which isn’t that dense within the grand scheme of items), in comparison to the development spaces that they tended to do higher on.

Subsequent, let’s move to a mountain run.  Whilst I’ve were given different runs which are in additional dull locales, I love to turn this one, because it in point of fact presentations how forged the GPS accuracy is.  For reference, that is what the terrain seemed like that I used to be operating along (a mountain cliff):

2017-08-26 13.06.33

Right here’s a have a look at the GPS observe at a excessive degree:


However let’s zoom in the place the mountain is steepest, proper alongside the lake edge:


It’s moderately excellent right here.  The Fitbit Ionic takes the cake as the most efficient general GPS observe (notice: The Vivoactive 3 used to be on a lot older beta firmware in his run, so whilst now not unhealthy, take that with a grain of salt).

After all, there are some transient sections the place the Fitbit struggles a tiny bit, as the trail is reasonably lined via a rock protecting of varieties (the place you notice the fencing within the above percent).  Right here you’ll be able to see it lose the plot and opt for a swim.  On this case the Vivoactive 3 nailed that few hundred meters higher.


However general in this difficult run, all 3 gadgets did reasonably smartly.

Finally, we’ll take a look at that Swiss alps journey, and have a look at the accuracy there:


This course used to be among the massive cliffs of the alps, the dense forests, and normally extremely difficult GPS terrain.  I had a boatload of gadgets recording throughout this journey, so lots of information to match in opposition to.

Skimming via issues, the whole thing appears excellent, so I’m going to make a choice essentially the most tricky phase to zoom in on, which is in dense woods:


The whole lot appears rather excellent, save one little flip.  It is a in point of fact complicated switch-back from a GPS viewpoint, proper in opposition to a cliff of varieties.


You’ll see the entire gadgets struggled a little right here keeping up the similar trail in each the up and down instructions.  Then again, the Fitbit did fight a tiny bit extra in a single course – being additional out.

Nonetheless, that is extremely tricky prerequisites, and this phase accommodates all of a couple of hundred meters of all the 60KM course.

Total the GPS accuracy at the unit has a tendency to be excellent in maximum instances.  Then again oddly, I discovered it has a tendency to do higher in more difficult scenarios than more uncomplicated ones.  On occasion within the more uncomplicated ones it ‘wanders’ a little as you noticed within the Amsterdam park instance.

(Notice: The entire charts in those accuracy sections had been created the usage of the DCR Analyzer instrument.  It permits you to evaluate energy meters/running shoes, center price, cadence, velocity/tempo, GPS tracks and lots extra. You’ll use it as smartly on your personal device comparisons, extra main points right here.)



All in the entire Fitbit Ionic is with out query Fitbit’s maximum spectacular providing so far.  And in doing in order that they’ve were given an excessively reputable competitor to sure variants of the Apple Watch, in addition to Garmin, at the health facet.  The addition/aggregate of song, GPS, and contactless bills manages to hit the candy spot of what any person may need that heads out for a morning run and needs to snatch breakfast at Starbucks afterwards a couple of blocks from house.

After all, this mixture isn’t new both. Apple’s had it for some time now, and moderately effectively too.  However what Apple has lacked (and nonetheless does) is the fitness-focused backend platform.  Apple’s gadgets are in some ways nonetheless very remoted from a well being/health viewpoint (except you utilize third birthday party apps).  The whole lot is kind of locked into Apple Well being, which is particular in your telephone.  There isn’t a web site you’ll be able to move to.

And surely those choices will have to completely be when put next, as with Garmin’s gadgets for the extra sports-focused crowd.  Every has their very own execs and cons.  Apple’s {hardware} is lovely in conjunction with a large app ecosystem, however the battery existence much less so.  Fitbit’s battery existence is healthier, and their day-to-day job monitoring platform is superb.  In the meantime, Garmin dominates the sports activities perspective, partly because of for much longer battery existence.  I feel a standalone submit evaluating the 3 primary choices is most likely so as (Fitbit Ionic, Apple Watch Sequence 3, Garmin Vivoactive 3).

Till then – you received’t move mistaken with any of them. I’ve were given they all, and they all at their core paintings smartly. It’s only a subject of working out what actual options you wish to have and the way you prioritize them.

With that – thank you for studying!

Discovered This Publish Helpful? Enhance The Web page!

Optimistically you discovered this assessment helpful. On the finish of the day, I’m an athlete similar to you in search of essentially the most element imaginable on a brand new acquire – so my assessment is written from the viewpoint of the way I used the instrument. The evaluations normally take a large number of hours to place in combination, so it’s a good bit of labor (and hard work of affection). As you most likely spotted via having a look underneath, I additionally take time to respond to the entire questions posted within the feedback – and there’s moderately a little of element in there as smartly.

If you are searching for the Fitbit Ionic or some other accent pieces, please believe the usage of the associate hyperlinks underneath! As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t value you the rest further, however your purchases lend a hand enhance this web site so much. Much more, if you happen to use or Aggressive Bike owner with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time customers save 15% on acceptable merchandise!

And naturally – you’ll be able to all the time sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That will get you an ad-free DCR, get admission to to the DCR Quarantine Nook video collection filled with at the back of the scenes tidbits…and it additionally makes you superior. And being superior is what it’s all about!

Thank you for studying! And as all the time, be at liberty to submit feedback or questions within the feedback phase underneath, I’ll be at liberty to take a look at and solution them as briefly as imaginable. And finally, if you happen to felt this assessment used to be helpful – I all the time admire comments within the feedback underneath. Thank you!

Discovered This Publish Helpful? Enhance The Web page!

Optimistically you discovered this assessment helpful. On the finish of the day, I’m an athlete similar to you in search of essentially the most element imaginable on a brand new acquire – so my assessment is written from the viewpoint of the way I used the instrument. The evaluations normally take a large number of hours to place in combination, so it’s a good bit of labor (and hard work of affection). As you most likely spotted via having a look underneath, I additionally take time to respond to the entire questions posted within the feedback – and there’s moderately a little of element in there as smartly.

If you are searching for the Fitbit Ionic or some other accent pieces, please believe the usage of the associate hyperlinks underneath! As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t value you the rest further, however your purchases lend a hand enhance this web site so much. Much more, if you happen to use or Aggressive Bike owner with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time customers save 15% on acceptable merchandise!

And naturally – you’ll be able to all the time sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That will get you an ad-free DCR, get admission to to the DCR Quarantine Nook video collection filled with at the back of the scenes tidbits…and it additionally makes you superior. And being superior is what it’s all about!

Thank you for studying! And as all the time, be at liberty to submit feedback or questions within the feedback phase underneath, I’ll be at liberty to take a look at and solution them as briefly as imaginable. And finally, if you happen to felt this assessment used to be helpful – I all the time admire comments within the feedback underneath. Thank you!