Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition Review: A True And Stylish Fitness Smartwatch
Vinu Varughese Oommen
While we know that Fitbit is known for their impressive range of fitness trackers of different prices, their smartwatch category wasn’t really good enough to keep up with the likes of Apple, Samsung or Android Wear watches. But that was vastly reduced when Fitbit had announced the Ionic fitness smartwatch last year. There is also a special edition of the Ionic that was made in collaboration with leading sports brand Adidas. And the device is simply called as the Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition with better color schemes and loaded with dozens of training options and guides.
While most smartwatches have embraced the traditional watch styles, Fitbit went ahead for a light and simple form factor and the display is square in shape. The size of the touchscreen LCD is 1.42-inch and operates with a screen resolution of 348 x 250 resolution. The screen comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection and water resistance up to 50 meters. I’ve always looked for a smartwatch that can keep up with fitness activities and occasional needs, the current series of smartwatches available in the market doesn’t make you feel to wear the watch always. But that wasn’t the case with the Fitbit Ionic. The wearing comfort is so great with its blue-colored sports band, I had it worn most of the time. It didn’t cause the usual irritation if the day is very hot and due to any excess sweat. Since the weight of the device is hardly 30g, you won’t feel like you’re wearing something heavy around your wrist.
There are three buttons on this device. One is located on the left and the other two on the right side. An aluminum shell takes up most of the outer portion of the watch face and the buttons are rigid and don’t feel cheap or squishy to use. The left button is mainly used to wake the device or to return to the home screen (basically the time) and the third button on the right side (bottom one) is used as a shortcut key, to access the alarm for example. Upon waking the device with the left key, you can swipe left of the clock to access the menu, that gives options for the music app, alarm, a Relax app, Weather app, a timer, a wallet, the Deezer, the Exercise app and the Adidas Training app. The Relax app is quite an interesting application and is good for all those who go through a great deal of stress at work or elsewhere. It basically asks you to start breathing at a slow pace and there is a visual in the form of a circle that is meant to sync while you breathe in and out. The further u breathe in and out deeper, the circular animation grows in and out.
The Ionic has a core of a fitness gadget and that is where its qualities lie. It comes with Fitbit’s PurePulse heart rate tracking which is always on while you wear it. The software inside calculates the heart rate using a specialized software. Because of the inbuilt GPS, you don't have to tie the Ionic to a smartphone to get precise information of your time, distance, and speed. But when you sync the Ionic with the smartphone, the Fitbit app collects all the information done for the day and keeps it as a record. You can access all the information of your progress via the Fitbit App. Additionally, Fitbit's Coach application will manage you through a few distinct exercises on the screen - like having a fitness coach stuck inside your watch.
The image above doesn't really do enough justice as there are more than these workout profiles that are available on the device. These profiles showcase how the workout should be done with the help of an animation. When you start a particular workout, the watch records the heart rate and calculates the calories burned. There is also a timer for every workout and you can pause the workout at any time. We wouldn't say these workout profiles and the Coach app will replace the need of a real gym, but it does a decent job on educating you on the different type of workouts used.
Because the Ionic has 2.5GB of built-in storage, you can load it up with songs or podcasts to keep you entertained while you pound the pavement. You'll need to hook it up to a pair of wireless headphones and I found this feature to be very helpful. This way, you don't need to carry around your smartphone. While the smartwatch also comes with its own wireless payment feature, there is no support yet to make purchases with the Fitbit in the UAE.
You have to install Fitbit software in order to store music into the watch. In spite of the fact that the Ionic has the fitness part under control. The Ionic can display messages from your phone, however, you cannot reply to it making the experience limited. You also get incoming call notifications and the user can view all the notifications by doing the pull-down screen gesture to see all the missed notifications or dismiss all of them. Moreover, the app store comes preloaded with and Strava and Weather.
Considering the tremendous measure of usefulness that Apple and Samsung have put into Watch OS and Tizen over the most recent few years, Fitbit has a great deal of getting up to speed. That said, the Ionic has its own app store with loads of applications to chose from. There are a set of applications, which is basically a virtual pet. Whether you choose a cat or a dog, the only way to feed them is to make sure that you walk a certain amount throughout the day to feed it over five times. If you miss out to feed it even once, the cat seems to run away with an envelope showing its sad. Yeah, kind of childish, but it's one way of keeping you on the move if you want to feed it. For a few days, it seems fun to do that, but when there were days you don't even have time to go for a walk, and when the virtual cat runs away, it gets quite annoying to handle it. There is another feature of the Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition that impressed me, and that is its battery life. It could easily stay and go on for almost a weak on a single charge, even when the heart rate sensor is always on. If it's connected to a smartphone, the number of days it can stay does get shorter, but by no means does the Ionic's battery dries off within a day. And that's something I've never seen on any other smartwatch. Charging the Ionic is simple as you only need to connect the charger wire magnetically from the rear side. Of all the smartwatches that I've tried in the past, I never needed to worry about the charging the device daily and that's a huge relief.
While the Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition performs and feels almost the same as the original Fitbit Ionic, the extra set of features related to training does add a lot of value for those who are series about their fitness goals. The watch gives out a feeling that this is a serious device to consider for fitness, rather than worry about the number of things it can do and how smooth is the operating system when you use an Apple Watch, a Samsung Tizen smartwatch or an Android wearable. The Ionic is the perfect blend of a real fitness tracker and some of the goodness of a smartwatch. While the OS may not be as smooth as the competition, the fitness features, the accuracy, and its battery life is definitely one of the best in the market.