• Sensors: Altimeter, 3-axis accelerometer & gyroscope, GPS, Optical Heart Rate Monitor
  • Usage Time: 5 days (Depending on usage)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
  • Display: 1.42-inch LCD
  • Materials: Stainless steel tracker, elastomer band
  • Dimensions: 38.59 x 12.2 mm
  • Pros:
  • Looks
  • New functions are great
  • Built-in storage for music
  • Cons:
  • Very finicky step counter
  • Prevailing Bluetooth issues

Add Some Ionic To Your Life

Having used Pebble over the years, we looked and wondered with sceptical eyes when Pebble was acquired by Fitbit. However, Fitbit is out to prove us wrong, and to improve on what Pebble smartwatches had done in the past: to be a strong player in the smartwatch market, fighting against the other giants such as Samsung, Apple and so on.

At first glance, the Ionic bears a rectangular face with its 1.42-inch display on tracker, which is fitted with Gorilla Glass 3 for that extra touch of toughness. It does indeed stand out when compared to regular round-faced watches. The tracker comes in three colour variants of Burnt Orange, Smoke Grey and Silver Grey. However, similar to other Fitbit products, you can easily swap the bands to either a Leather one for classy occasions, or Sport when you are running. Like other smartwatches, you can also change up the watch face from a plethora of them available within the Fitbit app from your smartphone.

As a smartwatch, it comes with various capabilities that regular watches can’t do. First up, it can track your heart rate and sleep stages, similar to their previous product, the Alta HR. However, it has a few tricks up its sleeve that the Alta HR can’t do. You can have a personal coach built into the device and it can plan your workout for you. It can even up the ante when it feels that it has been working you too easily.

Another addition that they’ve added to the Ionic is with its Music capabilities. You can store music on the Ionic with the provided cable, and you can even connect your Bluetooth headset to the smartwatch, and listen to music totally hands-free! Now when running, you don’t even have to bring a smartphone – it is as easy as that. Sadly, for streaming platforms, only Pandora is working for now, so we hope that they bring Spotify to the Ionic in the near future. The same goes to the Wallet function. You can pay for your purchases with the Ionic, but this function is yet to be active in Malaysia, as Fitbit is still trying to work it out with local banks.

Fitbit-600x500During our time with the Ionic, we ran into a few issues. When sleeping, it will sometimes rake up step counts for no reason and you will wake up to a fully completed step count for the day. We then tested it by simply laying it on the tabletop, but even the slightest vibration will add to the step count. If you’re not someone who sleeps with the Ionic, we would advise you to set it on top of a clothed surface, and free from vibrations. Fitbit is still struggling with some sync issues, but it can be fixed simply by restarting the Bluetooth on your mobile device.
With the device at this stage of infancy, we could only hope that Fitbit adds more features to the Ionic. As it stands, it is leaning towards being just a fitness band, rather than a full-fledged smartwatch.

CHIP CONCLUDE: A gigantic first step towards the smartwatch market from Fitbit, but is also plagued with some issues and missing features.

(previously published in issue March)