Fitness trackers and smartwatches have been around for years now. And although they've definitely helped get more people moving (shout out to everyone who's done laps around the dining room table before bed just to hit 10,000 steps), there isn't a whole lot these wrist pieces can do to help you reach your personal goals.
But Fitbit is about to change that with the launch of its new Ionic smartwatch—the company’s first “true” smartwatch. Here's everything you need to know.
1. It was designed as a health and fitness watch first.
The company prioritized the health and fitness features and functionality, which sets it apart from some of the competition. That said, it also works with Android, iPhone, and Windows smartphones, so you can still stay connected with notifications at your wrist.
2. The features are next level.
The Ionic has all the features you expect: steps and activity tracking, GPS, continuous heart rate, and water resistance up to 50 meters. Like the Blaze, it offers on-screen workouts, but instead of a small stick figure, you can see an actual model on the full-color display—crucial for good form. It also has algorithms for specific sport modes such as running, cycling, swimming, yoga, and even high-intensity interval training. And the automatic exercise detection makes accurate tracking of stop-and-go activities like running (hello, stoplights!) completely effortless.
3. It runs on a new operating system, Fitbit OS.
This means the watch can support your favorite third-party apps, so you have access to information like weather or news updates and can use your favorites like Strava or Starbucks. Plus, it allows developers to easily create new apps and custom faces specifically for this watch and its multiple sensors.
4. You'll be able to personalize training and nutrition programs that work for you and your goals.
The brand is also launching a new app called Fitbit Coach (a rebranded version of the current Fitstar personal trainer app). This new version features personalized training and evolving plans that adapt based on your feedback (think: too easy, too hard, just right). With Ionic, you'll also be able to access audio-only coaching paired with your favorite music, so you can head out for a run and have a virtual coach in your ear all the way.
5. The battery lasts longer than the competition.
You'll get four-plus days of battery life (or up to 10 hours with GPS use), so you don't have to take it off every night to charge it. By sleeping with the watch, you can benefit from the sleep stages and insights feature, which tracks light, deep, and REM sleep (a future application might be something like detecting sleep apnea in users).
6. It holds all your favorite music.
Sure, there are other watches that store music (this one will hold around 300 songs with 2.5 GB of storage), but Fitbit partnered with Pandora to let you load your three favorite radio stations straight onto the watch. You'll have access to about two hours of preloaded content per station, so you can take Pandora offline and go phone-free during your workouts. To listen, you'll need wireless headphones (there's no headphone jack on the watch), which is why Fitbit is also launching new Flyer wireless headphones ($129.99, fitbit.com), with fully customizable parts (tips, wings, and fins in multiple sizes) that let you go for a run without them falling out—a miracle! The Flyer has noticeably crisp sound quality and two settings: Signature and Power Boost, so you can get extra pumped during workouts.
7. It doubles as a wallet.
You'll no longer have to awkwardly find a pocket for that single credit card on your next run. Fitbit Pay allows you to make payments via Visa, Mastercard, and American Express (bank partnerships may come in the future) with a quick scan of the watch.
8. It'll be available October 2017.
But you can preorder it now it at fitbit.com for $299.95.
9. There are even more exciting things to come in 2018.
Next year Fitbit is adding subscription-based guided health programs to Fitbit Coach, such as a four-week guide to reducing sugar and a six-week program for running beginners. And Ionic will be updated with new training plans thanks to a multiyear partnership with adidas.