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Fitbit Ionic (Adidas Edition) review: The perfect watch for hobby athletes

Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2018 TechnikNews)

At the IFA 2017 in Berlin Fitbit introduced the Fitbit Ionic. Fitbit OS and a long battery life - these two things should make the watch a competition for other smartwatches. I took a closer look at the Ionic.

Unboxing and initial setup

As you already know from me, I documented the unboxing and the initial setup in a separate post.

Here's a quick run-through of the Prozederes: The packaging of the Fitbit Ionic, which contains a photo of the watch, a Fitbit logo and various inscriptions, is elongated. It contains the Ionic, a charging cable, a smaller replacement bracelet, a quick start guide and various warnings.

That's all inside the packaging (picture: TechnikNews, 2018)

All initial setup takes place in the Fitbit app. You should plan about 20 minutes for this. Of the ProHowever, zess is simple and was designed by Fitbit to be very self-explanatory.

Design, workmanship and comfort

The Fitbit Ionic is very angular, but still pleasant and surprisingly light to wear. The design of the watch makes it even possible to go swimming with it - Fitbit guarantees that the watch is waterproof up to 50 meters.

On the back there is the heart rate sensor and the connectors that are used to charge the sports watch. The charger attaches itself magnetically to the small contacts and holds there relatively firmly. As long as the watch is worn on the wrist, the pulse is measured continuously. The sensor responsible for this is an optical heart rate sensor, which usually measures the pulse more precisely than conventional pulse sensors.

There is a back button on the left side of the Ionic. This starts Fitbit Pay when you press it for a long time, which I unfortunately can't turn offprobeer because the service is not yet available in Austria. Two more buttons are located on the right side of the Fitbit Ionic. When on the watch face, pressing the top button launches the workout app and pressing the bottom button launches the alarm overview. Otherwise, these buttons are used for pure navigation through the OS, which I will come to in more detail later. Also on the side are the slots into which the bracelets are inserted. Wristbands can be removed and swapped out with a simple push of a button. This Prozess is just as easy to use as with the Apple Watch.

The bracelets are inserted into the two side slots (picture: TechnikNews, 2018)

The display is 1,41 inches and can be extremely bright, up to 1000 nits bright. The resolution is 348 × 250 pixels, which means that content is always sufficiently sharp. There is a simple Fitbit logo under the display.

Straps & Bracelets

Fitbit offers several straps for the Ionic that can be used to replace the included ones. These are available in sizes S and L and are priced between 30 euros and 60 euros. The interchangeable bracelets that the company produces itself are divided into three categories.

First there are the sports bands with several punchings so that the skin under the band can breathe better. You can choose between black, blue and orange for the colors. On my Adidas edition of the Fitbit Ionic, a dark blue sports strap, which unfortunately cannot be bought, was already attached at the factory.

The Ionic Adidas edition comes with a special dark blue sports bracelet (Image: TechnikNews, 2018)

Then there are the bracelets made from Horween leather. Although these are not suitable for workouts, they look damn chic in the photos. You can choose between a dark blue and brown. Finally, Fitbit offers the normal silicone wristbands, which are available in blue, gray and black.

If you don't have the money for the more expensive Fitbit bracelets, you can search for bracelets for the Fitbit Ionic on Amazon. For the most part, these have very good ratings, even if they are all a lot cheaper than the options from the manufacturer of the Ionic.

Specifications

Fitbit built an altimeter, an accelerometer and a gyroscope to track steps, floors climbed and the like. An optical heart rate sensor was also installed, details on this above. GPS is available for recording routes. The tracking usually worked very precisely for me, but every now and then there were a few errors that I could get over.

You should be able to use the watch for up to five days on one charge. For me it usually took four days before the watch had to be connected to the power again. I was only able to achieve a usage time of five days without charging once.

According to Fitbit, the internal memory is so large that over 300 songs can be stored on it for playback without a connection to the smartphone. However, I couldn't find the exact numbers.

Fitbit app

The Fitbit app is the interface between the Fitbit Ionic and the smartphone, tablet or PC. A special dongle, which you can buy from Fitbit, is required for synchronization with the PC.

When opening the app, a tile view, which is located under a summary with the most important fitness information, greets the user. By pressing a tile you get to detailed overviews of the selected health area. With a long press on one of the small squares, these can be rearranged or even removed individually from the start page.

I especially have to highlight the area where all sleep data is saved. It shows in detail how long you slept and when you went through which sleep level. at Polar or Xiaomi you don't even get the slightest bit of information about your sleep.

At the top right there is a shortcut that you can use to get to the things relevant to the Ionic. Among other things, you can download watch faces, install apps, manage Fitbit Pay and edit the training shortcuts that can be found in the workout app on the Ionic. For the dial, I usually opted for a chronograph or the Adidas watch face. The additional app offer is nice-to-have, but I didn't find any use for it.

In summary, it can be said that the app was designed very clearly and well. At the beginning, however, it can happen that you are overwhelmed by the whole amount of data that can be seen in the app.

Fitbit OS

Fitbit markets the Ionic as a smartwatch, and in my opinion a smartwatch is only as good as its operating system. The operating system that runs on the Ionic was named Fitbit OS by the manufacturer. This was created with the knowledge that the company Pebble had bought and, in my opinion, still needs some improvements if the company is using the established smartwatch operating system Wear OS and watchOS wants to keep up.

When you wake up the clock, the first thing you see is the clock face. Unfortunately, the user can only change this via the smartphone app, which can be a bit frustrating because the watch face on Wear OS and watchOS can be changed directly via the watch. If you swipe from top to bottom, you open the notification center. Fitness data relevant today appears when you swipe your finger upwards. Unfortunately, there is no information about your last sleep or the amount of water consumed - so there is no avoiding a detour to the Fitbit app.

A swipe from right to left opens the app overview. The only thing I noticed there was the Adidas app, as it is not preinstalled on the normal version of the Fitbit Ionic. There is no calendar app or a contact overview. Both can be found on the Apple Watch and on Android watches since wearOS 1 and Android Wear 1.

I noticed very negatively that the entire OS feels very slow because of the jerky animations. Even that doesn't exist Proproblem that inputs are not recognized and executed immediately - on the contrary, all commands were always recognized and executed immediately. All in all, there's still quite a bit here that Fitbit should improve on. As of today, I would describe the Fitbit Ionic more as a sports watch with some smartwatch features.

Summary and Conclusion

Time to sum it all up, starting with the design, which I have absolutely no fault with. The watch is well made, looks good, is light and feels comfortable on the wrist. I didn't find any disadvantages with the display either. Even on sunny days, it can be bright enough to display the content clearly and sharply. I also liked the Ionic's battery life and the GPS. Fitbit did an excellent job here. I didn't have any negative experiences with the Fitbit app either. Only the large amount of data that the app collects about my own health overwhelmed me a little at the beginning.

My only real criticism of the Fitbit Ionic is Fitbit OS. In my opinion, this operating system is currently far from being a smartwatch operating system. In addition, constant jerks in the animations contribute to the fact that Fitbit OS feels extremely slow. I hope that Fitbit will improve this with various updates.

All in all, I believe that the Fitbit Ionic is the perfect sports watch for hobby athletes. The watch is great to wear in everyday life and is also a faithful companion during workouts. After a workout, you get an overview with the most important information about it, without being confronted with too much data. Your own sleep can also be more detailed with the Fitbit Ionic than with the competitionproducts, which I did every night.

Prices and availability

The Fitbit Ionic is available from Fitbit in the online shop, from Amazon and from various retailers. The normal version costs around 299 euros. If you want the Adidas edition, you have to pay 30 euros more, i.e. 329 euros. For 30 euros you get a special bracelet, your own dial and access to the Adidas Coach app.

Many thanks to Fitbit and Fleishman-Hilliard for providing us with the test device.

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David Haydl

David lives in Graz and has been there for around half a decade TechnikNews, also editor-in-chief for some time. He regularly provides the site with news, test reports and the like TechnikNews Weekly, which was his idea to launch. He likes to spend his free time outdoors, listening to a lot of music (and clearly too loud) and some podcasts on all kinds of topics, and also likes to go running. He enjoys the time that remains with his charming girlfriend or in front of the TV.

David has already written 1137 articles and left 106 comments.

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