Fitbit is another company that makes the best fitness trackers and wearables I love and trusts with all my heart. The San Francisco-based company which was founded by James Park more than a decade has been releasing a state of the art fitness trackers and are going head to heads with likes of Google’s Android 2.0 and Apple’s Watch Series 3. So you are planning to buy the smartwatch, just sit back and read this article on Fitbit Ionic review and learn what to expect and what not to expect from this amazing smartwatch
Several of Fitbit’s trackers and wearables which you must’ve heard about include Fitbit Versa, Fitbit Ace, Fitbit Zip, Fitbit Surge, with Fitbit Ionic which is surprisingly becoming my best Fitbit wearable giving I wasn’t really into it when it debut towards the end of last year.
But now I am beginning to love this piece of tech, I believe its time I give you an in-depth review of Fitbit Ionic, tell you what I now love about it and what I didn’t like then about it and didn’t like it now about it. Because no matter how amazing anything can be, there must be few con(s) as well as pro(s) in the Fitbit ionic features.
2018 Fitbit Ionic Review and Features
Let me start by telling you that Fitbit Ionic has gotten a reasonable amount of updates, fixes, and improvements since its launch last year, with up the grade to FitbitOS 2.0 being the center of attraction. I used to be a fan of Google’s Wear, but since discovering that Fitbit has been making upgrades and decided to give it a try, to be frank, I’ve been wearing the watch on and off ever since.
With the software upgrade as well as other improvements, now, I willingly find myself loving this watch more and more than I did last year and early this year. I am also looking forward to seeing what Fitbit can do with its future smartwatches and how they plan on making them better especially in some places where they aren’t so great, such as;
#1. Design (Wierd to me before, still weird to me now)
I guess one of the disadvantages of hardware is that no updates can come to them in their current state unless they are re-made in a new model, as such, no upgrade will be coming to Fitbit Ionic in its hardware form. Tastes do vart, as I am not a fan of Fitbit Ionic design, another person may disagree with me on this and love it just the way it looks.
Besides its awesome features, I expected a $300 smartwatch to at least look catchy to everyone. The not flashy looks and designs of the smartwatch might be part of the reason(s) Fitbit’s been selling it at a $40 discount for a while now.
#2. Its a bit Large
Fitbit Ionic is a bit large for a regular fitness tracker, though another person might just love the size the way it is. However, I still believe that Fitbit knows their game in the market of fitness trackers. The Ionic might be a little big than my regular fitness tracker which might be considered as a minus for some users, but it not entirely a bad call if you choose to look at it from another perspective such as.
==>> The Fitbit Ionic has a convex bottom that keeps the sensors in contact with your wrist at all times and at the same time, the band connectors point downward at an angle of (45-ish degree) thereby making its bands be more snug, even if you’ve got small, bony wrists.
Another advantage is about the band attachment clips, initially, I was concerned about these, but I will admit, as I am writing this review article I am pleasantly surprised. The third-party band works great with the Ionic, as a matter of fact, I’ve occasionally swapped bands while wearing the Ionic and they all still fit and worked perfectly. Nothing is broken, and they plug in just as tightly as the watch was when in pristine condition.
If you are familiar with wearables, you will know very well that the chances of getting custom bands for a watch that isn’t 100% standard are basically zero. But the fact that third-party bands work with Fitbit Ionic speaks well for Fitbit.
With third-party bands, you also get to save a few dollars as Fitbit’s band options are way overpriced, but many of the third-party options are as good for much less
#3. Still not impressed with Fitbit Ionic’s Display
Personally, I still get the irks (smidgen though) with Fitbit Ionic because of its display. But seriously who makes a fitness tracker have a rectangular display with huge bezels? In terms of display, I prefer the Fitbit Versa to Fitbit Ionic, but the differences in their displays mean that developers will have to make two ratios for their apps and watch faces.
However, there are few things that make up for the bezels and they are
- The display is very readable outside
- There is a wonderful LCARs watch face
But I sincerely hope that hope Fitbit can minimize the bezels on their future smartwatches because this is one of the things that makes the watch look cheaper than it actually is.
#4. Battery and Performance could use some improvements
Besides my concerns for the strands, the battery and its overall responsiveness and performance were my other worries about this fitness tracker. Unfortunately, these concerns weren’t exactly met 100% to my taste as they did with the strands.
- The entire interface seems to be a step behind as you swipe around
- Leaving an app or settings screen feels especially sluggish as it always seems to take the watch face a second or more to reload.
- Scrolling animations are also stuttery and generally unpleasant.
On the second thought, it occurred to me that making the watch to be snappier and the whole interface to be less behind as I swipe might affect battery life negatively. With the way the device is right now (ie with less snappy response), the battery life is fantastic for a cheaper fitness tracker, which by the way is one of my favourite things about Fitbit Ionic.
It seems to be last longer than Fitbit Versa as I’ve used mine up to 5 days on a single charge. Honestly, it is refreshing to have a piece of gadget that you make use of regularly and won’t have to marry about charging it the way I worry about charging my phones. As long as the battery life remains fantastic, I can overlook the less snappy response, besides, it’d be silly to wear a smartwatch that gets barely a day of battery life even if it’s faster.
#5. The Software needs some improvement, But Synchronization is perfect.
For a wearable making company that has been around for more than a decade, I expected more from the OS Fitbit use in their watches. Yes, they’ve been making wearable devices for 11 years now, but the Ionic was the first true smartwatch, but sometimes, the software seemed a little less than “smart.” They, however, earned a few credits with the FitbitOS 2.0 update which have substantially improved this watch.
Working and exploring further in the OS, it is very common to have your quick access and stats at the front of any smart device, talk more of a fitness-oriented watch, therefore, Fitbit putting the “Today” interface a single swipe away from the watch face was a good call.
However, the watch won’t display you all your workout data, so you need to trust that everything syncs over to the phone. That said, the Fitbit Ionic’s synchronization is more reliable for me than the Fitbit Versa.
Generally, FitbitOS isn’t that bad, in fact, it is really better than I anticipated, and I am sure there will be more improvements once developers embrace it. There are few basic apps and a ton of watch faces. You can rearrange these apps on your watch’s list, pressing the hardware button will launch the first two apps in your list.
It is alright to assume that these shortcuts were hardcoded by the company but really, Fitbit could do better making this feature known just as Apple did with watchOS 3 because it’s extremely useful.
#6. Sorry, but the app gallery is still half-baked
Despite the improvements that came with FitbitOS 2.0, Fitbit Ionic’s app gallery still sucks. There’s no way to search the store for apps, and the app doesn’t keep track of apps and watch faces you download. Once you uninstall them (or switch to a different watch face) you need to poke around in the store to install them again. There’s also no way to change watch faces on your watch.
#7. Synchronization is perfect but Tracking still needs some improvements.
Samsung’s Gear devices seemed to work better than Fitbit Ionic which doesn’t speak well for the manufacturers. The fitness tracker is able to track workouts well enough as usual, but sadly it didn’t recognize specific activities.
As I scroll back through my old exercises in the Fitbit app, I can see a clear change in the quality of tracking over the life of this watch. Honestly, it’s gone from generic and inaccurate workout detection to dead-on every time. It can tell the difference between similar activities like running on a treadmill and using an elliptical.
However, you can still start specific workouts manually, and software updates make the process less tedious. I’m also happy to report the always-on display option for workouts which works correctly now (but only for workouts). The “Today” fitness stats are easier to access as well.
The FitbitOS 2.0 update made sleep tracking which was once sketchy for me on the original Ionic software to work flawlessly now. As far as I can tell, the watch detects when I go to sleep and it when I’m up.
There’s this way the tracker uses movement heart rate data to determine how well you slept with measurements of REM, deep sleep, light sleep, and awake time. To promote the accuracy of its sleep tracking Fitbit Ionic points to various studies and many nights of internal testing. It seems at least plausibly accurate to me given that I don’t exactly have access to clinical equipment to verify these results.
#8. Notifications could use some improvements
Notifications are great ways to keep updated with whats coming into your phone when you don’t have the luxury to open your phone completely, and Fitbit tried as much as possible to check that box.
The “almost smartwatch” syncs notifications from my tracker to my phone and vice versa, but they are almost useless. The notifications don’t remain bundled like they are on the phone, and scrolling through the list of notifications is so laggy (just as I’ve explained in point #4).
Secondly, the notifications themselves are limited, you can’t always know what the notifications are all about. You get a title (usually truncated) and a snippet of text and can’t take action on any notifications at this time.
Be that as it may, Fitbit says quick replies for messaging will arrive on the Ionic this May. and I know it’ll improve things a bit, but I think Fitbit should throw it all out and start from scratch.
A conclusion of The Fitbit Ionic review and what I love about Fitbit Ionic
1. The Fitbit Ionic is far from the perfect smartwatch for me, but I know its perfect to someone else.
2. Software updates have made the Ionic more reliable and capable without negatively impacting battery life.
3. It has best-in-class fitness tracking, and the Android app is fantastic for checking out your health stats.
4. Switching phones is entirely painless.
5. I still do not the Fitbit Ionic’s design, but I will admit third-parties have stepped up to release a ton of nice bands for it and guess what, they all fit perfectly, 100%.
6. Fitbit should really do something about the Ionic’s rectangular screen and chunky bezels make the Ionic look rather cheap.
Is Fitbit ionic waterproof?
Yes, Fitbit Ionic is waterproof. It can withstand a long heavy rainfall and designed for swimming at (50M max). If you are using Apple watch, I guess it’ll be worth mentioning that you can use the guide here to Calibrate Apple Watch To Give You an Accurate Pace And Calories Measurement.