Fitbit is well known for its fitness trackers. While most of its early competition offered subpar devices that failed in comparison, the company rolled out well-made trackers.
However, things in the fitness tracker space is now heating up and Fitbit is finding worthy rivals made by TomTom, Samsung, and Garmin. And with Apple entering the fitness tracking space with its Apple Watch, Fitbit has been feeling the pressure now more than ever.
What does Fitbit have to do in order to stay at the top? Come out with its own smartwatch, of course. Fitbit now has the Fitbit Ionic. But how does it hold up against the Apple Watch 2?
The Fitbit Ionic comes in three color schemes: blue gray and silver gray, slate blue and burnt orange, and charcoal and smoke gray. The strap is made of elastomer, making it comfortable to wear even when your wrists are wet with sweat.
Meanwhile, the watch case and the buckle are made of space-grade aluminum. The touch dispay is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and is very bright that you can see it even under direct sunlight.
Fitness related features
The Fitbit Ionic features dynamic personal coaching, which guides you through customized workouts that you can also view onscreen. The routines are automatically adjusted to your body’s responses and according to your fitness level.
More than that, you also get recommendations for exercises that you can try out next. For instance, the Fitbit Ionic may suggest a yoga session to help you wind down after a tiring workout.
Unlike earlier Fitbit devices, the Fitbit Ionic also has an onboard GPS. This means you can leave your smartphone at home while you hike, run or bike. The onboard GPS helps measure your pace and distance, and shows you a map of your exercise route as well as elevation climb and split times.
The Fitbit Ionic can automatically detect what type of workout you are doing, so that you can still get your workout recorded accurately even when you do forget to log your exercise. Furthermore, you have a heart rate monitor that can show you the number of minutes you stayed in different heart rate zones.
Knowing your heart rate at different points of the exercise helps you keep at it at the right level of intensity, as well as helps you avoid overtraining. With the onboard heart rate monitor, the Fitbit Ionic can also tell you to slow down and can guide you through breating exercises to help you cope with stress.
Lastly, if you make swimming a part of your workout routine, the Fitbit Ionic can also track your swimming time.
The Fitbit Ionic can store your music and give you access to Pandora music streaming service. You can use Bluetooth headphones to listen to music as you work out. You can also install mobile apps on your Fitbit Ionic, giving more functionality to your smartwatch.
Plus, you can also pay with the onboard near-field communication contactless payment technology. That means you do not even have to bring your wallet when you run.
The Fitbit Ionic also delivers notifications from your smartphones. If you receive an SMS, or an incoming call, you will know about it just by looking at your wrist. Your Ionic will also be able to remind you of your day’s scheudles, as well as your friends’ latest status updates on Facebook and your boss’ tweets.
You can also customize the clock face, choosing from a range of unique designs. Plus, it comes with a long-lasting battery that can give you up to five days of battery life.
The mobile app allows you to get a more comprehensive view of your health, both after a particular workout or over time.
What’s in the box?
The Fitbit Ionic package has everything you need. It comes with the smartwatch, a charging cable, a carrying pouch for the cable, and two watch bands in small and large sizes.
What you would love about the Fitbit Ionic
The Fitbit Ionic is compatible with Android, iOS and Windows phone devices, as well as with desktop and laptop computers. This makes it easier for you to see and understand your fitness statistcis with graphs, graphics, and even your entire fitness history.
You can view the quality of your sleep, get insights on how to improve sleep, and monitor your resting heart rate. You can also get an idea of how fit you are compared with other people your age and your gender.
Moreover, the Fitbit Ionic is very comfortable to wear on your wrist. Not only that, but with the band’s breathable design, you can be safe from irritation and allergies from wearing a dirty band.The Fitbit Ionic’s lithium polymer battery also gives you five days of operation as a smartwarch and 10 hours of use with the GPS turned on. You only have to charge it for two hours.
What could be better
The Fitbit Ionic allows users to download apps on their smartwatches but the apps available right now are rather limited. You have the big names and the good fitness apps ready for download, but you might want to do other things and not find a good app for these.
Also, the Fitbit Ionic will only notify you about the calls and text messages that you receive on your phone. There is no way for you to do anything about it. You cannot answer calls or reply to text messages using your Ionic.
Apple Watch 2
The Apple Watch 2 is a water-resistant smartwatch with the new WatchOS 3 operating system on board. You can take it swimming and it will track your fitness numbers. It looks good, too, with a square shape and curved edges. It also has a smoothly formed glass and a digital crown that makes it look like a traditional watch.
Apple has included a lot of customization options as well. You can opt for a white ceramic finish, a Hermes strap, a Nike version, as well as a range of ordinary bands made of different materials and coming in a variety of colors.
The Apple Watch 2 comes with a built-in GPS that measures the distance, pace and speed you have gone even when you leave your phone. You can also choose from a dozen workouts, set your goals, and then start exercising. The smartwatch motivates you to move with the Activity Rings, which keeps track of your standing time, moving time, and exercise time.
The less time you spend sitting around, the faster you’d be able to complete your Rings. The watch will also tell you when to stand, move or exercise, and it makes it easy for you to share your fitness data with friends.
Along with the device’s fitness tracking features is the heart rate monitor. The Apple Watch 2 also has the Breathe feature. This feature reminds you to take a rest preriodically.
The Apple Watch 2 uses a 1.65-inch display that offers 390 pixels by 312 pixels of resolution. It is an OLED display that you can see even under direct sunlight. Compared to the original Apple Watch, the Apple Watch 2 has a faster processor.
The mobile app
The Watch app can be very complex and hard to figure out. You will need it not only to see your fitness statistics easily but also to customize the Watch 2, such as add or remove an app or change the settings. More than this, the mobile app will also collect your fitness data and you can easily see how fit you are and what needs to be improved.
Comparing the Apple Watch 2 and Fitibt Ionic
The Apple Watch 2 and Fitbit Ionic are clearly competing for the same market. If you are looking for a fitness tracking smartwatch, then you can choose from either one and still have a winner device on your wrist.
There are differences, however, that might help you decide whether to go one way or another.
Here are some areas where the Fitbit Ionic wins:
- While officially, the Apple Watch 2 is priced at $249, it is no longer available on Apple’s official online store, and the lowest price on Amazon for a new Watch 2 is more than $360. That still puts Fitbit Ionic at a better price point than the Watch 2.
- The Apple Watch 2 does not have an altimeter on board, which means that it does not track elevation as accurately as the Fitbit Ionic does.
- When it comes to fitness tracking, it can be a close call between the Fitbit Ionic and the Apple Watch 2. But Fitbit is known for their fitness tracking devices and that gives them an edge. The Ionic also has better sensors and a better health app than the Apple Watch 2. While both deliver roughly the same fitness tracking features, the Fitbit Ionic edges the Apple Watch 2 a bit.
- The battery life is clearly a win for the Fitbit Ionic, as well as the support for both Android and Windows Phone.
Areas where Apple Watch 2 wins
The Apple Watch 2 does benefit from being made by Apple. For one, it has more apps in its App Store for the Watch 2, and the smartwatch has Siri. And while the Apple Watch 2 loses slightly when it comes to fitness tracking features, it is way smarter with the notifications, allowing you to reply to the notifications you receive on the watch.
Then there is the NFC payments. While the Fitbit Ionic does have Fitbit Pay, there are more merchants and banks that support Apple Pay.
Side by side comparison: Fitbit Ionic and Apple Watch 2
|Model||Fitbit Ionic||Apple Watch 2|
|Price||$299.95 (For the latest prices check here)||$249.00 (For the latest prices check here)|
|Resolution||348 x 250||312 x 390|
|Heart rate monitor||Yes||Yes|
|Ambient light sensor||Yes||Yes|
|Battery||Lithium polymer||Lithium ion|
|Running time||18 hours||5 days|
|Can reply to notifications?||No||Yes|