Fitbit is well known for its smart health connected bracelets. We have tested many of them in our columns. He had to offer a smart health connected watch to address a wider audience. Available since October 1 at Darty, Fnac or Boulanger, the Fitbit Ionic is the real first smartwatch proposed by the manufacturer. Sold at 349 euros, this sporty and urban knockdown tackles the Samsung Gear Sport directly.
Mark : Fitbit
Category: smart health connected watch
Connection: WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS
Compatibility: Android 5.0+, iOS, Microsoft
Fitbit Ionic Price: $ 349
Availability Fitbit Ionic: release date October 1, 2017
Tested with: Honor 5C / Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
(Embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-i_Fq-S2G8 (/ embed)
Buy Fitbit Ionic:
What you will learn
- Unboxing of the Fitbit Ionic
- Design and ergonomics of the Fitbit Ionic: a view that varies according to taste
- Using the Fitbit Ionic: between complicated installation and intuitive handling
- Features of the Fitbit Ionic: a watch suitable for running and swimming
- Application of the Fitbit Ionic: a simple and intuitive use
- The Fitbit Ionic against the competition
- A new version makes its appearance with the Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition
Unboxing of the Fitbit Ionic
Unlike its competitors, the Fitbit Ionic benefits from a rectangular and not very thick box. This box is covered with a case containing the main information about the watch, as well as visuals. Once removed the operculum, the black and blue case slides to make room for the night blue color box. Simply lift the lid to reveal the Fitbit Ionic with its gray silicone strap on one side and a compartment on the other side. On the latter is placed a small pocket in which we find the documentation of guarantee and security. A foldable invites the user to download the application, illustrates the steps to change the bracelet, and what is in the box.
Then we open the compartment. In this one we find a "Small" bracelet of the same color as that of the Fitbit Ionic. Next to it, a small white bag encloses the charging cable. A power supply would not have been a refusal.
The set is well packaged, easy to store if you want to keep the box. The Fitbit Ionic also benefits from accessory sold separately. The brand has provided us two additional bracelets: the first Cognac leather and the second blue and yellow, more nautical. This time the box illustrated by the bracelet in question opens at the bottom after removing the tab. Just pull the compartment to reveal the split bracelet in two parts. To remove it, you must pull the top of one of the elements to make it out. Attention, it is more difficult to put it back without damaging the mold in which it is placed.
Design and ergonomics of the Fitbit Ionic: a view that varies according to taste
When it comes to the Fitbit Ionic, what catches the eye is its angular aluminum housing. It perfectly matches the edges of the black frame where the Fitbit logo is located under the screen and its angles follow the shape of the wrist. The rectangular screen sports a size of 1.42 inches. It could have been a little bigger, but its dimensions do not hinder use. The preinstalled virtual dial puts the Fitbit Ionic to its advantage. The resolution of 348 x 250 pixels and brightness up to 1000 Nits can display sharp icons and deep blacks.
On the sides of the case, there are three buttons: one on the left and two on the right. These have a notched plastic coating. This makes it easier to manipulate the watch in the dark and not to see your fingers slide due to perspiration.
On the back of the Fitbit Ionic, the rounded corners of the case converge towards the heart rate sensor and the magnetic charge connector.
The Fitbit Ionic in Review displays a graphite color. Two other versions are available: Orange Metallic and Silver Gray. The colors of the associated bracelets acclimate to this aesthetic choice. The Orange Metallic Fitbit Ionic features a slate blue strap, the silver gray version, blue gray bands and the Review pattern, a gray bracelet.
For our part, we prefer the Cognac leather bracelet, sold separately at a price of 59.99 euros. The change of wrist turn proved to be quite simple: just press the plastic tab to unclip the two parts. Then you have to do the opposite operation. The parts of the bracelet are easily clipped.
Finally, the Fitbit Ionic sports an elegant look. While incorporating some aesthetic codes of the Apple Watch, the brand manages to move away to offer an identifiable watch, which can be worn daily and during training sessions. Its weight is also an important argument: the Fitbit Ionic weighs only 47 grams. Accustomed to the mastodon like the Gear S3 or the Tag Heuer smart health connected Watch, it is clearly like wearing a classic watch.
Using the Fitbit Ionic: between complicated installation and intuitive handling
First point to note during this phase of use, Fitbit does not want to close doors. Thanks to its proprietary OS, the Fitbit Ionic is compatible with Android, iOS and Microsoft (!) Smartphones.
A slightly tedious installation
When using the watch for the first time, the battery of the Fitbit Ionic must be charged. To do this, the magnetic charging cable attaches to the back of the case. It is plugged into USB on your computer or a power supply. Once done, download the Fitbit app. The application asks to select the product to configure, switch on the Bluetooth, if it is not already done and follow the instructions.
After creating your Fitbit account, the real first step is to pair the Fitbit Ionic with Bluetooth. It is at this moment that can begin some adventures. As some users who bought this product, we had to go back several times. Indeed, the smartwatch hangs with difficulty Bluetooth issued by the smartphone used for the Review. Fix this problem is fortunately not complicated, just restart the connection or repeat the operation. Second step, the watch displays a code that must be repeated in the application. If the connection does not drop, this procedure goes smoothly. Otherwise, you have to start over from the beginning.
Then comes the update. Our Fitbit Ionic failed to connect in WiFi on the Honor 5C smartphone. We had to make this update in Bluetooth with a much lower transfer rate, which lasted more than an hour. We tested the same procedure on a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and it worked the first time in WiFi. The update was done in less than 30 minutes. Fitbit seems not to be completely compatible with the Honor 5C and some phones.
Features that are well worth the price of the Fitbit Ionic
Once past these difficulties, it is easier to take advantage of the features of the Fitbit Ionic and its application. Moving your finger from top to bottom will bring up the music menu. The opposite gesture gives access to notifications. A swipe from right to left allows you to navigate to the first level of the Fitbit Ionic menu. There are three in total. And the buttons what are they for?
Pressing the left button will put the screen to sleep. Press and hold displays the PIN code menu and access to the Fitbit Pay payment application still unavailable in France. Pressing the top right button will return to the activity menu that summarizes your day's achievements. Pressing and holding returns to the music interface.
Similarly, the lower right button has two pressure modes. Press once to access the sports application menu. By pressing a long time, you can read the notifications. To turn off the Fitbit Ionic, just hold down the left button and the one at the bottom right. Everything is intuitive and is quickly taken in hand. Note that swimmers can use this product: the Fitbit Ionic can be submerged up to 50 meters deep.
Finally, the Fitbit Ionic has a solid autonomy. After three days of classic use, we went below 50% energy. The firm that promised 4 days of consecutive autonomy fills its bet hands down. On the other hand, amateur runners of GPS recorded tracks will have to settle for 10 hours of use. A bad for a good.
Features of the Fitbit Ionic: a watch suitable for running and swimming
Although the brand's intentions to diversify are commendable, the Fitbit Ionic is not the best in the field. The firm's policy of developing its OS internally requires it to let developers offer content on the marketplace.
First, let's look at the dial. By default, it displays time, date, calories burned, and heart rate. The "today" menu summarizes our "highlights" of the day: number of steps, number of active minutes, kilometers traveled, current heart rate and rest, number of steps in the hour and number of floors climbed.
The activity icon allows you to use the watch in five sports: running, cycling, swimming, treadmill, bodybuilding. The last two features are more general: the interval timer for CrossFit or boxing and the exercises tab that measures the movements to establish calories consumed in correlation with the heart rate. Each time, the start of a session starts with a tap on the screen and stops by pressing the button at the top of the right section.
Then the Fitbit Coach tab provided three video programs: 10 minutes of abdominals, 7 minutes of fitness and 20 minutes of "Treasure Chest", a potpourri of exercises to work most muscles including the heart. It is possible to add programs for a fee from the Fitbit Coach application (9.01 euros per month). For now, only one additional program is available. A dozen more should land since the application in 2018.
If the features dedicated to the sport can be more numerous, they work without problem. Note that we have not yet been able to Review swimming with the Fitbit Ionic. According to the first feedback on the web, the length counting system works properly, but the cardio rhythm is not calculated underwater.
The Relax feature, which offers a small exercise of relaxation, the stopwatch and the alarm are small additional assets on this sporting part.
… and Bottoms
On the other hand, we encountered several difficulties regarding certain features of the Fitbit Ionic. Notifications work every other time and can not be answered. Localized weather is not displayed as fast as you would like. The synchronization of music on the smartwatch to the PC is lacking because of a recalcitrant interface: it works, but it is painful to use. Bluetooth also jolts from time to time does not synchronize data in time with the smartphone, either on the Honor 5C or the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Finally Fitbit Pay smart health connected payment functionality is not available in France at the moment, as the brand has not finalized partnerships with banks. Hope this happens soon.
Application of the Fitbit Ionic: a simple and intuitive use
Despite these connectivity issues, the Fitbit app is still easy to use. Easy to use, it allows you to synchronize your data on a dashboard and set daily goals: number of steps, length of walk or run in kilometers, number of liters of water to drink, number of calories ingested or the number of hours of sleep desired. On this last point, the Fitbit Ionic makes it possible to activate a follow-up of the phases of sleep thanks to the cardiac sensor.
One can also share his sporting achievements with his friends using the app or on social networks. Gamification requires, the application of the Fitbit Ionic reward its user through notification of its performance. In short on this side, it is a near-faultless.
It is also through the application that we can customize the display of the dial. Some skins are available, but the prettiest photo of the Grand Canyon does not work.
The Fitbit Ionic against the competition
If in the fitbit sports smart health connected bracelet category, the brand is a challenger when it comes to smartwatch. A direct competitor aligns his pawns right now: Samsung. Indeed, the Samsung Gear Sport is a smart health connected watch for athletes and beginners. Despite its classic look and its lower autonomy, its ease of use, its fluidity of connection make it a more successful product.
The Fitbit Ionic has for it its application that does not require download extensions, but the configuration is ultimately easier with the Korean brand. If cardiac data seem less accurate, the Samsung Gear Sport has all the benefits of a smartwatch. Obviously, an owner of iPhone or smartphone Microsoft will have to go, but Android users will find their perfect account for the same price: 349 euros. The Fitbit Ionic has room for maneuver to catch up with updates.
M-a-J from 09/03/18
A new version makes its appearance with the Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition
On the occasion of a partnership with Adidas, Fitibit announced a new version of its smart health connected watch. If it is not a version 2.0, it still provides some changes.
First of all, it is important to specify that all the features present in the original are back. We thus preserve the follow-up of form, sport and daily life which we talked about above. The special feature of the Fitbit Ionic Adidas version is the integration of the training application of the society. This one proposes sessions to improve its performance, whether in cardio, speed or flexibility.
In terms of design, there is also a small novelty with a waterproof bracelet to let breathe wrist. Navy blue and gray, it may appeal less to fans of discreet watches. However, it should be much better and avoid irritation and discomfort of any kind. Available in March 2018, it is announced at the price of EUR 329.95.
Too much youthful error? Fitbit has been active in the smart health connected wristband market for almost 10 years, but designing a smart health watch seems like a different thing.
Warning. The Fitbit Ionic is not a bad product, the first time we saw it in Berlin everything worked perfectly. It seems that there is simply a need for adjustments. Athletes will find all the features they need. Those whose sport is not the main interest, we advise you to wait for user feedback and monitoring updates before you get it.
- Full of sports applications
- Autonomy of more than 4 days in normal use
- Resistance to water up to 50 meters
- Sync issues, bug pairing with some phones
- Too few applications available at launch
- Fitbit Pay not available in France