Fitbit launches its first smartwatch, and it looks great

by: Bogdan PetrovanJanuary 6, 2016
973

fitbit blaze (2)

For a brief period in 2015, most of the Android Authority team used Fitbit Charge HR to track our step counts. We had a leaderboard and we tried to out-walk each other every week. It was glorious, until our interest in fitness inevitably fizzled out and most of us returned to our default activity: sitting in front of computers all day long.

But that wasn’t because the Fitbit Charge was lacking – in fact, we all pretty much loved it. And we’re not the only ones: Fitbit’s trackers are the most popular in the market. The company beat out Apple and Xiaomi for the first place in a recent survey of the wearable market.

Now Fitbit is flexing its muscles with something new: a full-blown smartwatch. And a stylish one at that.

fitbit blaze (3)

Fitbit Blaze is a bona fide smartwatch, but it still has a deep focus on tracking fitness activities. You get all the bells and whistles fitness buffs have come to love on the Charge or the Surge, including continuous heart rate monitoring, step counter, multi-sport tracking, automatic detection of activities, and silent alarms. The Blaze also integrates with FitStar, the app that Fitbit acquired in March 2015, which gives users instructions for completing various workouts. A smartphone connection is not required for this function, so you don’t have to worry about carrying it around to your gym.

You will, however, need a phone for tracking your runs of bike rides, because the Blaze doesn’t incorporate its own GPS module, as the Sony Smartwatch 3 and other competitors do.

The Blaze looks like an excellent fitness tracker – and we wouldn’t expect anything else from Fitbit – but the device is stylish enough to be worn as an accessory with most outfits. Plus, you can swap straps, with options including elastomer (rubber), stainless steel, or leather in several colors.

fitbit blaze

The smartwatch runs Fitbit’s proprietary OS, which means the app ecosystem will be rather limited, at least at launch. There are several watchfaces that you can choose from and the Blaze connects via Bluetooth to over 200 Android, iOS, and Windows smartphones. There’s notification support and you can use the watch to reject calls or control the music playing back on your phone.

Fitbit Blaze will cost $200 at launch (which is not bad, seeing that the more basic Charge HR still costs $150), though you’ll have to spring if you crave the fancier leather or metal straps. You can pre-order it right now, with shipping scheduled for March.

Best Android Fitness apps and workout appsNow read: 18 best Android fitness apps and workout apps39

We’ll have a hands-on look at the Fitbit Blaze at CES 2016, so keep it tuned for that and much more. Meanwhile, tell us your thoughts!

  • griddark

    At what point does it look great? For it’s price it looks horrible!

  • Alex

    It looks awful! Especially with that small screen and the huge bezel around it.

  • rattyuk

    It’s generally been accepted that this is an awful design. The share price has plummeted. Basically all Fitbit have done with this device is admit that Apple got it right.

  • Aris Routis

    @Android Authority. I don’t know how you figure that it looks great but it looks awful. Actually it tries to look like Apple Watch and Apple Watch is such a failure that even Apple does not disclose the sales numbers after a year.

  • Kanoosh

    i don’t get it , what part of this looks like an apple watch to you guys?..i didn’t even see a single resemblance other than the fact it’s also a smartwatch..
    I mean, there are only so many shapes you can make a watch into without going out-of-this-world like some have lol.
    personally i think this is a good looking device for a decent price, although i srsly think smart watches are not worth 200+ yet..but we shall see.

  • Craig

    Well I think it looks quite good…

  • sithishs

    I actually like this…or based on the information released so far. I just wished it supported more notifications – I really don’t see what’s so difficult about customizing notifications – after all Pebble seems to do it just fine and their “OS” is also proprietary. If its sensors are as solid as my Charge HR and battery life is what they promise, I’m sold on this. Stick it in a rubber strap for the gym or doing stuff outdoors, check. Stick it in a nice leather or metal strap for more formal occasions? Check.

  • Sherpa

    I disagree. That design looks like crap.

  • nikolas ostropolskiy

    I must not be seeing the same pics as you guys. Looks like a zenwatch that got smacked with an ugly stick. I also hate when they try to put round watch faces and apps on watches with square screens. Uuuuuugly

  • joey crofts

    It looks nice when the screen is off. But when it’s turned on, all I can look at is that bezel

  • cristoux

    What about that ridiculous screen to body ratio? I hope it’s only a render.