Fitbit Ionic made waves when it was launched earlier this year. It may not have been the company’s first smartwatch, but it boasts new features such as an embedded GPS and NFC payments. How does it compare to the Asus Zenwatch 2?
Design and display
You can buy the Ionic in three color combinations: slate blue and burnt orange, charcoal and smoke gray, and blue-gray and silver gray. You can also switch up your look by buying additional bands. Aside from the classic elastomer bands ($30), Fitbit also offers leather bands ($60) and sports bands ($30).
Fitbit has made sure to use only the most durable materials for the Ionic, using elastomer for the strap and spacecraft-grade aluminum for the metal parts. Even the touch display has Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to protect it.
The LCD multi-touch display is very easy to see even when you hold the Fitbit Ionic under the glare of the sun. This is thanks to the automatic brightness adjustment, which allows you to see the display even when outdoors. It also helps save battery by turning down the brightness when you are indoors.
Fitbit is known for its fitness tracking and the Ionic does not disappoint in this area. It comes with a variety of sensors that can track your activities accurately. These sensors – accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate monitor, and altimeter – help the Ionic keep track of:
- Your activity for the entire day and counts the number of steps you took, the distance you covered, the calories you burned, the floors you have climbed, and the amount of time you were active.
- Your heart rate, which includes getting heart rate zones in real time and your resting heart rate.
- Individual sports, such as rides, runs, and other workouts supported by multi-sport. These activities are automatically recognized so that the data is as accurate as possible.
- The laps, duration, and calories burned while swimming.
- Your GPS-related activities. It calculates the pace at which you walked, determines the distance you traveled, maps out your routes, and determines split times.
- Your cardio fitness score.
- Your sleep duration, as well as sleep stages and quality.
The Fitbit Ionic is the first one from the company to have an embedded GPS. You can work out, run, hike, or bike and the Ionic would still be able to accurately record your activities.
The Fitbit Ionic also offers dynamic personal coaching, giving you guidance with customized workouts. These workouts are based on your current fitness levels and on your own body’s reactions. You will also get suggestions for the next workout you could try. For example, the Fitbit Ionic may suggest breathing exercises after you have finished a particularly tiring exercise session.
The Fitbit Ionic is able to show you notifications from your smartphone. If you get a call or text, you can check it on your Ionic. It will also tell you about your schedule, as well as keep you connected to your friends by showing their tweets and Facebook updates.
The Fitbit Ionic also brings online streaming music services, such as Pandora, to your wrist. With a Bluetooth headphone, you can have a fun workout with music. There are also some mobile apps available for you to download.
Furthermore, you can use your Ionic to pay for your purchases without having to take out your wallet, thanks to its near-field communication or NFC technology that allows you to pay with your wrist.
This means you can go on a run without bringing cash or card and still be able to buy yourself a cup of coffee before heading home or an energy drink when you’re parched – as long as the store allows NFC payments.
And like most other smartwatches, you can customize the watch face.
The Fitbit Ionic also comes with a mobile app that gives you both an overview of your health and fitness and details on different elements. It has a lithium polymer battery that can give you around 4 to 5 days of operating time, depending on your use.
Moreover, the Fitbit Ionic works with Windows Phone, Android, and iOS devices. You can also use any computer browser to see your fitness data. The Fitbit not just shows boring numbers; it gives you a wide variety of graphics and graphs.
It also keeps a history of your fitness information. It normalizes your personal fitness data and gives you an idea of just how fit you are compared to other people within your age range and gender.
A few negatives
The Fitbit runs on its own proprietary operating system and while it does allow you to download apps to your Ionic, there are relatively fewer apps available for Fitbit Ionic right now. This is especially true if you compare it to the number of mobile apps available for smartwatches using either Android Wear or WatchOS.
Also, the Fitbit Ionic only notifies you when you get a call or SMS message. You cannot answer the call because there is no speaker or microphone on the device. In effect, it does not really allow you to interact with the notifications you receive, you just see them.
Final say on the Fitbit Ionic
Costing $299.95 (For the latest prices check here), the Fitbit Ionic is the most fully featured Fitbit ever, combining an awesome fitness tracker with a workable smartwatch.
Asus Zenwatch 2
If the Fitbit Ionic has a $300 price tag, you would appreciate the Asus Zenwatch 2’s very affordable price. The Zenwatch 2 has a suggested retail price of less than $150, and it currently sells for $109 on Amazon (check here for the latest price).
But how does it compare to the Ionic in terms of features?
The Asus Zenwatch 2 takes on a rectangular shape, interchangeable straps, and a large display. You can choose from three colors for the stainless steel case: rose gold, silver, and gunmetal. To help bring variety and to help you get the look that you want, there are also a variety of straps available.
You can choose from either metal or leather straps in different colors. For instance, you can get a gray metal band, a silver metal band, or a beige leather band.
Unlike some smartwatches, the Zenwatch 2 features a crown button on the right-hand side of the watch, giving it a more classic look. Plus, you have more than five dozen watch faces exclusively only for the Zenwatch. And if that is not enough, there are also third-party watch faces that work with just about any Android Wear device. Or you can just design your own with the Asus Face Designer.
There are two available versions of the Asus Zenwatch 2. The 45-mm model has a 1.45-inch screen with resolutions of 280 x 280 pixels, while the 49-mm model has a 1.63-inch screen that has resolutions of 320 pixels by 320 pixels. The AMOLED screen is protected by Gorilla Corning Glass 3 and is very bright so that you can see it even under the bright glare of the sun.
Battery. The Asus Zenwatch 2 uses a 380 mAh lithium-ion battery that gives you a maximum running time of two days. But what makes the Zenwatch 2 stand out is its HyperCharge feature, which allows you to fully charge the device in just an hour. You can get a 60% charge in just 15 minutes if you use the included charger.
Android Wear. The Zenwatch 2 uses Android Wear as its operating system, which means that you can enjoy the things that the OS offers. It also means that you would be notified when you get a call or text. And you would be able to answer calls on the Zenwatch 2 itself.
The Zenwatch 2 has a speaker that allows you to hear whoever is calling, as well as hear alerts and alarms. You can also use the Zenwatch to send short messages, drawings, and emojis.
Asus Zenwatch 2 also has the smart assistant feature. It allows you to check phone logs, manage your e-mails, check your schedule, and do common tasks without having to take out your phone. It can also display what your phone’s camera sees. Additionally, it will give you access to ZenWatch Manager and allow you to change the setting on the watch itself.
Google Now cards are also directly accessible from the watch face. If you have an incoming call and you want to mute the notification, you can just simply cover the watch face. Other features of the watch include the ability to find or unlock your phone using the watch, and the ability to tell you when you accidentally leave your phone behind.
Comparing the Asus Zenwatch 2 and the Fitbit Ionic
It is very easy to see that the focus of these two smart watches are very different. The Asus Zenwatch 2 gives you a device that acts more like a smartwatch than a fitness tracker. This is not to say that the Zenwatch 2 has no fitness-related features. The Zenwatch 2 has a pedometer that offers you unrivaled accuracy in counting your steps and overall activity.
It also has the Wellness app that keeps track of your fitness data, weekly and daily activity summaries, and all of these are presented in easy-to-understand graphs, charts, and timelines. The Zenwatch can also track common exercises, give you reminders to move, and act as a workout coach.
Meanwhile, the Fitbit Ionic has more sensors to help you track your activities easily and accurately.
So if you want a fitness tracker that doubles as a smartwatch, get the Fitbit Ionic. If you want a smartwatch that has some barebones fitness features, go for the Asus Zenwatch 2.
Needless to say, there are things that Asus does better, and there are things that Fitbit does better.
Where Asus Zenwatch 2 wins. The Asus Zenwatch 2 is a very capable smartwatch that is priced way lower than the Fitbit Ionic, giving you the chance to own another smart device that fits your budget. It is another plus that the Zenwatch 2 has a premium look that is both elegant and classic.
In contrast, the Fitbit Ionic does not look like a $300 dollar watch, and this becomes painfully clear if you put them side by side.
The Asus Zenwatch 2 also uses a bigger (1.45 or 1.63 inches vs. 1.42 inches) and better screen (AMOLED vs. LCD) than the Ionic. Another thing to consider is that Fitbit has made the specifications for the Ionic obscure. The company did not readily divulge the processor and the RAM that the Ionic uses.
In contrast, you know that the Zenwatch 2 has the same processor, graphics processing unit, internal memory, and RAM, as most other Android Wear smartwatches available today.
Then you also have the operating systems used. The Ionic uses the Fitbit OS, a proprietary operating system that is quite new, while the Zenwatch 2 uses Android Wear OS. Android Wear gives you access to mobile apps and other services that are already available right now, and this earns a real plus point for the Zenwatch 2. You can also use voice commands with the Zenwatch 2.
Where the Fitbit Ionic wins. If you are serious about your fitness and would want a complete view of your activities, overall fitness, and sleep, then you should definitely get the Fitbit Ionic.
The Fitbit Ionic is also the better choice if you have an iOS device. The Zenwatch 2 works with iPhones and iPads, but the experience is minimal. The Fitbit Ionic also has better integrations with social media networks, meaning you could easily share information from your smartwatch to your Facebook account or Twitter feed. Music playback, embedded GPS, and NFC payments are also plus points for the Ionic.
Side-by-side comparison: Fitbit Ionic and Apple Watch 2
|Model||Fitbit Ionic||Asus Zenwatch 2|
|Price||$299.95 (For the latest prices check here)||$145.99 (For the latest prices check here)|
|Resolution||348 x 250||320×320,278ppi|
|Processor||Toshiba TZ1201XBG||Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz|
|Operating System||Fitbit OS||Android Wear|
|Memory||Not specified||512 MB RAM|
|Storage||2.5 GB||4GB eMMC Flash|
|Heart rate monitor||Yes||No|
|Ambient light sensor||Yes||No|
|Water resistance rating||Up to 50 m||IP67|
|Battery||Lithium polymer||380 mAh lithium ion|
|Running time||18 hours||48 hours|
|Connects to Wi-Fi||No||Yes|
|Connects to Bluetooth||Yes||Yes|