Fitbit is the reigning king of fitness trackers. The company has had a series major fitness wearable releases last year. Fitbit realizes that there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for users and, as such, there’s a variety of Fitbit trackers designed for various modes of use.
At the core of the Fitbit experience is excellent software and interoperability, this means you can pair any Fitbit with an Android or iOS smartphone in order to keep track of your stats. You can also access all of this information on Fitbit’s website or even use your PC to sync back and forth.
In terms of design, the Fitbit Ionic looks like a futuristic watch and offers a clear and bright display. Since Fitbit doesn’t make smartphones or computers, their design for the Ionic isn’t informed by this and it is quite elegant and dressy albeit on the masculine side.
Made from aluminum and Gorilla Glass 3 on a curved display, it is a design that contours around a wrist better. Below are these are the heart rate sensors.
The Ionic has a traditional digital watch look and feel and the watchfaces they offer are clear and easy to read. Hoping to hear news of third party watchfaces coming soon.
Fitbit Ionic has the easiest strap replacement system I’ve tested. You simply plug in new straps and you are good to go. You do need to give a firm push to ensure the mechanism catches, but otherwise, it is easy to go from the sporty rubber strap to a dressy Horween leather strap.
Having a waterproof Fitbit watch has been huge for me. My young son has started learning to swim and we spend a lot of time in the pool. The Ionic can sense the pool length and tracks activity whenever I am doing laps. Fitbit Ionic is water-resistant up to 50 meters and is sweat, rain and splash-proof.
It is also helpful to see notifications, messages and emails come in while I’m in the pool and away from my iPhone.
I can’t act on these notifications, which is a limitation of the Fitbit Ionic. I can’t really dig deeper (.i.e. read an email) or send a pre-prepared response which is somewhat frustrating.
The Fibit Ionic really shines in a gym environment or when used for running without an accompanying smartphone. Being able to switch bands easily is a bonus which also makes it all the more personal.
As a smartwatch, the Fitbit Ionic is ideal for user who don’t want to be mired in watch apps replicating what is already on their phone.
It does notifications, but with little option to respond or act on the notifications as they come in. The included apps, like Weather, leave a lot to be desired since they update only when you synch with a smartwatch.
The advantage of this is very good battery life that can last for four days with mixed use, something more sophisticated smartwatches can only dream of right now.
Fitbit Charge 2
The Fitbit Charge 2 improves on the previous model with a more stylish design.
The Charge 2 boasts a 5-day battery life, it has a constant heart rate tracker and has stopwatch functionality, features a Relax function for breathing exercises, a silent alarm and and can also give you call and message notifications.
The Charge 2 inherits some of the Blaze’s fashion sense as well.
While it comes in colourful yet understated bracelets, it is easy to change straps and you can even use sleek leather straps that make the Charge 2 suitable for the gym or the boardroom.
The Charge 2 can automatically recognize activities and tracks them independently. You can, of course, choose from a variety of exercises including Walking, Running, Weights, Elliptical and Treadmill among others.
I would say that the Fitbit Charge 2 is more than a general purpose fitness tracker. I like that it can be used 24/7 and gives you a great overview of you health and fitness picture. It also motivates you to keep going by sending you alerts when you’ve become to sedentary. The only downside is that the Fitbit Charge 2 isn’t water resistant, which would have made more useful to a wider range of users.
Oh, and Fitbit does keep adding updates to their devices. The latest Fitbit Charge 2 update brings a bevy of new features.
Fitbit Flex 2
One Fitbit wearable that is water resistant is the Fitbit Flex 2. The Fitbit Flex 2 is one of the most low-maintenance wearables around. Once you get it out of the box, you simply plug it into its charging cable and wait.
Charging is done in around three hours. Place the Fitbit Flex into the chosen bracelet, pair it with your smartphone and connect it to your Fitbit account and it is good to go.
The bracelet that the Fitbit Flex 2 comes with is lightweight and rugged, It clasps by dual prongs that lock into the rubber holes. Fit is good but without a way to secure the length of the bracelet, the excess length tends to move around a bit.
I found that the Fitbit Flex 2 is good for up to 5 days as promised and is an ideal wearable to just keep on all day and all night. Once you’ve achieved your daily goals such as number of steps, the Fitbit Flex 2 vibrates and goes into a celebratory light show to congratulate you for making your targets.
Understanding that one size does not fit all, there are a variety of bracelets for the Fitbit Flex 2.
Some colours you can choose from in the Classic collection are: black, navy, magenta, lavender, pink, grey and yellow.
The fancier options include Luxe bangles in silver, gold and rose gold . Then there are the pretty little pendants that come in silver and gold, with a one size 17-inch chain. Needless to say, no other fitness tracker has been given these many options.
This is the ideal tracker for users who want a low impact device that doesn’t attract much attention. You can wear a smartwatch or a mechanical watch and the Fitbit Flex 2 and not look awkward. The rugged build and design also makes it a friendly entry-level wearable for new users who may be somewhat overwhelmed by more complex devices.
I can recommend it to novices, older users and anyone who just wants an understated, easy to use and durable introduction into the quantified self.
Fitbit has created a sporty Bluetooth headset to accompany its Fitbit Ionic smartwatch.
Being the first audio product from Fitbit, I had some reservations about the Flyer and wondered about things like fit, finish and sound quality.
I was pleasantly surprised when the Fitbit Flyer fit me right out of the box without me needing to attach any of the included rubber earpieces. Not only did it fit well, I found that I didn’t suffer stress or pain wearing it for a prolonged period of time.
I’ve tested a lot of these Bluetooth headphones and fit has always been a sticking point. So far, the Jabra Coach headphones have been the best I’ve tried in terms of comfort and sound, but the Fitbit Flyer fits better and I can wear them for a longer period of time because they’re comfortable and because they last longer.
I’ve connected the Fitbit Flyer to an iPhone, a Google Pixel and to the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch and found the connectivity to be very good. The Fitbit Flyer stayed connected even when I passed a street known for a lot of interference which trips up all the Bluetooth headphones I’ve tried, even the AirPods.
The robust connectivity and awesome fit alone are enough for me to recommend the Fitbit Flyer which also has very good audio quality and loudness. I’ve had to max out many of my Bluetooth headphones in noisy urban situations but the Flyer is loud enough even at 50 per cent loudness.6-hours of playback time on a full charge and sweat resistance round out an impressive feature set.
This is likely because, unlike the other earphones, Fitbit has included passive noise isolation. Waves technology is also onboard, which somehow enhances sound quality. Using the Fitbit Flyer for calls, Skype and video calling is great thanks to a dual microphone array.
Which Fitbit would you choose
The range of Fitbit wearable devices can satisfy a variety of users. If you like wearing a watch, want a water-resistant wearable and like wearing it in various ways, the Fitbit Flex 2 is a great option.
For an all around fitness-dedicated tracker with some notifications, heart rate monitoring and the 24/7 tracking, the Fitbit Charge 2 should satisfy most user’s needs.
The larger Fitbit Ionic can replace your wristwatch, has a more profound range of straps and materials plus offer heart rate monitor as well as constant fitness tracking, notifications and even the ability to process mobile payments, play back stored music and access a wide range of watchfaces. Bundle it with a Fitbit Flyer and you get a great gym combo of tracker, MP3 player and very robust and sweat resistant headphones that should help you reach your fitness goals.
Still unsure which way to go? Check out our Fitbit comparison chart for more info.