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Fitbit Ionic review

7.2/10 AVG.
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Fitbit Ionic

If you don't care about smartwatch features and are looking for a high-end Fitbit device, buy the Ionic.

- Jimmy Westenberg, Android Authority 

The Fitbit Ionic is a good wearable, but it’s not the great smartwatch some had expected it to be.

- James Peckham, TechRadar 

Specs / Features

Warranty (Months) 12 months
Release date 1-October-2017
Weight N/A
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Reviews summary section

What's good

  • Great battery life
  • Bright, sharp display
  • Accurate heart rate and sleep tracking
  • Precise GPS
  • NFC for mobile payments
  • Water resistance up to one meter

What's bad

  • Proprietary charger
  • Lack of app options
  • Blood oxygen sensors not working yet

FitBit is one of the biggest names in consumer and prosumer-grade fitness trackers. With their latest release, they’re diving into uncharted territory -- smartwatches.

The watch is 38.59mm wide and 12.2mm thick with a weight of 30g. The included 258mm band is a rubberized band that most reviewers found comfortable but some questioned if it would fit the bill for more formal events.

Fortunately, you can swap out the band. But you’re limited to Fitbit’s own offerings as the connectors are not compatible with standard watch bands.

The watch itself has an aluminum chassis and is water resistant for 30 minutes at a depth of up to 1 meter. This means it should survive a quick swim, the random rainstorm, or a shower with no problems.

On the face, you’ll find a 1.42-inch touchscreen LCD running at 348-by-250 pixel resolution with a gorilla glass coating. Reviewers had no issues with screen visibility in bright lighting. They were also impressed with the bright colors and crisp text.

If you don’t like the stock face, there’s a range of options on the Fitbit App Store or you can design your own using the included software.

The watch includes an optical heart rate monitor and dual blood oxygen sensors. Reviewers found the heart rate monitor accurate as long as the band was snug -- this is particularly important for sleep tracking. Unfortunately, the dual blood oxygen sensors were not active at the time of writing. Fitbit says they will be activated with a future firmware update.

The watch also includes WiFi, GPS, and NFC. This means you can make mobile payments, or log the details of your run with no need to pair up with your phone.

Reviews show the watch has excellent battery life. Most noted four to seven days of battery life on a single charge. However, if you use the GPS, battery life drops. Still, Fitbit states that the battery provides 10 hours of life on a single charge. That’s plenty for a workout or hike.

Recharges are snappy with a full top-off taking approximately 2 hours. But you must carry a cable around for on-the-go top-offs. The charger is only compatible with the Ionic.

The biggest crutch reviewers noted about the Ionic is the lack of app selection. Since it doesn’t run Android or Apple, there’s little drive for developers to port their apps over to FitBitOS unless the Ionic is a huge success. Yet, without apps, the changes of mainstream adoption are hindered. It’s a self-defeating cycle.

Still, reviewers noted a solid selection of basic apps -- such as calculators, news readers, and fitness apps. So, if you’re not looking for the tight integration of other smartwatches, but simply some added convenience in your fitness tracker, it’s a good option.

GearBurn sums up opinions well, saying, “The Ionic is a stellar device, marred by a few software and support issues, but its price is remarkably steep for what you’re really getting.” But if the price isn’t an issue, the watch appears to offer a solid mix of smartwatch features and top-notch fitness tracking. Android and Me say, “The Fitbit Ionic is a good fitness tracker for those looking for a new device to help them on their fitness goals in 2018 as well as the seasoned fitness guru looking for an upgrade to their current fitness tracker.”

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