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Fitbit Sense review: Fitbit offers high-end again

Fitbit Sense featured image
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2020 TechnikNews)

Equal three new Clocks introduced Fitbit this summer, and one of them is the Fitbit Sense. Here you can find out what it can do and where there is still room for improvement.

Since the Fitbit Ionic there was no real high-end Fitbit model. The wearables that have appeared in the meantime were by no means bad, but one or the other essential feature was always missing. A well-known candidate here is the integrated GPS. Instead of installing a sensor directly, Fitbit has relied on connected GPS in recent years. Here, the location data is taken from the smartphone via Bluetooth. In the new Fitbit Sense there is now not only the integrated GPS, but also an EKG function, a skin temperature sensor, an EDA sensor and a few other innovations. In addition, Fitbit Premium is finally available in this country. In this review, I want to explain how these features perform in everyday life.

Unboxing and initial setup

To my surprise, the packaging design for the Fitbit Sense has been slightly revised. The pack is now a little more compact and comes with black instead of Fitbit blue accents. You can see an image of the scythe with a slight texture on the front, den Proproduct name, a company logo and references to some features, including Fitbit Premium. If you remove the seal, the white box with the scope of delivery can be pulled out. The box can in turn be opened to the right and to the left. Then the Fitbit Sense comes towards you. You also get the charger, a longer bracelet to swap out, various notes and a quick start guide.

Fitbit Sense unboxing

Fitbit donated a new design to the packaging. (Image: TechnikNews)

The setupProzess, on the other hand, hasn't changed, you still need the Fitbit app for it. To start the first setup, you have to click on the Profil avatar and then select "Set up a device". Then the scythe in the Proproduct list appear, you have to select this. Now you have to connect the scythe to the charger so that it boots up and the smartphone can find it. Once that has happened, all you have to do is enter the code shown on the watch on your smartphone. After that, only the connection to the WLAN is established so that updates can be installed. This is now much faster than with older models and also with fewer crashes.

Design and workmanship

The Sense follows the Versa in terms of design language, but isn't as chunky as the Versa. The case has neither corners nor edges, just like the display. Fitbit sells the case in gold and black, and it's water-resistant to 50 meters. So swimming or just going for a run in the rain is not an option at all Prostated problems.

The display has a higher resolution than other models and is based on OLED. As a result, the always-on display, which I would like to come back to later, looks a lot better, since the pixels simply do not light up on black surfaces. The brightness of the display is sufficient even on very sunny days, which is also known from older Fitbit wearables. The colors also got a lot better.

Fitbit Sense display

Picture: TechnikNews

The button for navigation on the left is no longer a real button, the surface reacts to pressure. What is confusing here is that you have to press harder and not so hard to achieve the desired functionality. It makes the whole thing feel a little weird. In the Charge 4 the whole thing was better.

Fitbit Sense side button

The button on the side can no longer be pressed, it reacts to pressure. (Image: TechnikNews)

A new charger was designed for the Fitbit Sense, which is now held magnetically on the back of the watch, similar to the Apple Watch. This is considerably easier to use than the old mini charging station. One disadvantage, however, is that the small puck can only be attached in one position - if you don't pay attention, it can happen that the watch won't charge.

I am once again very convinced of the workmanship. The housing is largely made of aluminum and even after a few drops on the floor, no scratches are visible.

Straps & Bracelets

Anyone who read my last Versa reviews will remember that I was not at all satisfied with the mechanism for attaching the bracelet. The reason for this is that it was very difficult to pull the small metal hooks to the side. Now you just have to press down a small plastic button so that the holder is opened. We already know that from the Charge series.

The tapes also got a new design in principle. It is very reminiscent of that of the Apple Watch straps, with the exception that there are two loops instead of just one. Fitbit also has various variations in its range, including sports straps, leather straps and fabric straps.

Fitbit sense

Fitbit redesigned the bracelet for the scythe. (Picture: TechnikNews)

The bottom line is that I like the new design a lot more than the old one.

Sensors and battery life

Fitbit gives a value of six days for the battery life. With normal use I was able to achieve this. For multiple workouts pro Week with GPS and all the trimmings you have to deduct about two days from the running time. Using the always-on display can also affect the runtime. The watch is usually fully charged again after 1,5 hours. I like that you don't always have to think about the battery, because even after the battery warning you should get by with the remaining charge for at least one more day. Again, this depends on the factors mentioned.

Now let's take a look at the sensors Fitbit built into the scythe. As usual, we have a heart rate sensor that constantly measures the pulse. The GPS is there for calculating distances, the altimeter for detecting altitude, and the gyroscope and acceleration sensor are used to detect movements.

Fitbit Sense back

Picture: TechnikNews

The skin temperature sensor and several electronic sensors are new. The former measures the temperature during sleep and can thus detect fever, among other things. With the latter, a full electrocardiogram, or EKG for short, can be created first. In Austria and Germany, there is a dedicated app on the watch that can be used to start a measurement. The results can then be sent to the doctor as a PDF. However, the minimum age for this feature is 22 years. Second, the electronic sensors can be used to detect electrodermal activity. These can be signs of stress. While the temperature sensor and EKG feature can be really useful, I find that stress detection is more of a marketing feature. In addition, the results in my test were not exactly accurate either. I am enthusiastic about the ECG function if only because such technologies in wearables are simply the future. In addition, the need for something like this is clearly there.

NFC for Fitbit Pay is also included again. I explain exactly how it works in a separate report more accurate.

Aufzeichnungen

The sensors just mentioned record a wide variety of data over the course of the day. Let's start with the things the watch can record in everyday life.

As already mentioned, that's the heart rate. Due to the permanent observation, warnings can also be sent at particularly high and at particularly low frequencies. From this, from the height and weight, the calories burned are calculated. In addition, the gyroscope, altimeter and acceleration sensors recognize how many steps you have covered in a day and how many floors you climbed. A reminder appears on top if you don't walk at least 250 steps in an hour. This can optionally be deactivated. But then you miss the fireworks that appear when you reach the hourly destination.

Fitbit Sense records

Screenshots: TechnikNews

And then there's the Active Zone Minutes feature, which can be thought of as a point system. This is based on a WHO recommendation, according to which pro Spend 75 minutes of vigorous activity and 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. You get one point for every minute. If you reach the cardio or high-performance zone during workouts, you get double points. The whole thing can be very motivating and encourage more movement.

The scythe also accompanied me when running and walking. In short, the data collected is consistent with similar comparisonsproproducts largely match. The only thing I noticed about the GPS was that it was not entirely reliable at times. It often took longer for the clock to find a signal. On the other hand, I liked the fact that you can set goals for workouts and that you get a short notification if you slip into a new heart rate zone during a workout. Results from this are processed in the Fitbit app. In addition, you can see the calories burned, the altitude, the distance covered, the speed zones and the heart rate zones.

Software: Fitbit OS

FitbitOS is why Fitbit calls the Versa watches and the Sense smartwatches. Due to a few missing features, however, I never really thought that this name was appropriate. Over the years, however, the manufacturer has moved in the right direction in my opinion.

In terms of features, the scythe did less. In return, the OS got a new coat of paint just like the packaging. The icons in the app overview have been redesigned and individual apps have been given more color - the user interface is no longer so monotonous. You can see that in the workout, timer and alarm clock app, among other things.

As already briefly mentioned, there are hardly any innovations in the functions. The item “Find your mobile phone” is new. However, that didn't work for me at all and I couldn't find a point to set it up in the Fitbit app. The “Quick Reply” functionality for notification is also new, although it can only be used with an Android smartphone. Calls can now also be received, but not sent. For the future, I would like to see better performance with some features (such as "Finding a mobile phone"), the ability to make calls and better Spotify integration.

I liked the selection of dials very much again, as the range is mixed up. Finally, some watch faces can also adapt to the always-on display. The previous solution didn't appeal to me because a completely new clock face was displayed here. What is strange is that now some watches are chargeable at once, because you can usually find a similar-looking and free alternative.

Fitbit Premium

Fitbit Premium has been around for quite a while now, but it's only now that the service is available with us. For 7,99 euros pro month or 79,99 euros you can use the service. But what do you get for your money?

Premium includes advanced sleep analysis, Prohow-to programs, health reports, mindfulness sessions, video workouts, and games and competitions. The health reports surprised me the most. If desired, the Fitbit app will export a PDF that really ANY Health data that the watch records. The document provides information on heart health, weight, activity and sleep. This can be interesting not only for you, but also for a visit to the doctor.

Fitbit Sense health report

The health report is very extensive. (Screenshot: TechnikNews)

They also offer great added value Program, the health reports and the workouts. Especially now that it is necessary to stay at home again and forego the gym, here is a way to stay active anyway. The mindfulness sessions and the sleep analysis are also quite nice, as in addition to a balanced physical activity, rest is also important. When analyzing the sleep, however, I noticed that you don't really get much more data with Premium.

Prices and availability

You can get the Fitbit Sense from Fitbit, MediaMarkt and Amazon. The RRP is currently 329,95 euros. With this you get six months access to Fitbit Premium.

Fitbit Sense: Conclusion

With the Fitbit Sense, Fitbit finally brought a high-end watch back onto the market that can fully convince with the already known points. Here I am talking about recording heart rate and steps in everyday life, sleep tracking, the Protracking workouts and the long battery life. GPS is finally part of the game again and the notifications about the heart rate zones during workouts are a great advantage, especially for ambitious athletes. And for the first time you can get even more out of your scythe with Fitbit Premium for little money.

There is still disagreement about the features that have been added. We are talking about the ECG, stress management and the skin temperature sensor. While the former and the latter can be practical, I consider the various options for Protocolling of stress rather for a gimmick. On the other hand, I think it's great that Fitbit managed to build in the ECG technology. In my opinion, this is clearly the future.

So the scythe is best when you really want the most detailed health data. Otherwise, the Versa 3 or the Inspire 2 are also highly recommended, and a review will follow soon.

Thank you for providing the Fitbit Sense.

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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 1144 articles and left 108 comments.

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