In the booming field of fitness trackers and smart wearables, is there any more room for innovation or improvement? Fitness giant Fitbit has done a little bit of both for their latest release, the Fitbit Blaze.
Design & Features
The Fitbit Blaze is a “smart fitness watch” that's sure to draw comparisons to the Apple Watch. While the two products look similar, the aims of the Fitbit Blaze are much more targeted.
On the fitness side, there are three specific exercise modes: “Multi-Sport,” “SmartTrack,” and “FitStar.” In “Multi-Sport” mode, you can select from a list of specific exercise types, like running, hiking, biking, weight lifting, etc. and, as you exercise, real-time stats like your heart rate, time elapsed, and distance traveled are displayed on the Corning Gorilla Glass face. With millions of Fitbit users recording billions of data points per day, new exercise types are sure to be added in the future.
“SmartTrack” is the mode that tracks exercise that doesn’t fall into one of the “Multi-Sport” categories. The same statistics described above are recorded, but are not displayed in real-time as you work out. You can view the breakdown of that workout in the companion app, or you can also go online to the Fitbit server, which stores all of your data, and log a specific workout as a certain exercise type.
“FitStar” is a clever new feature that has a library of workouts you can do on the fly, that do not require machines. They're stored within the watch itself, so you don’t have to be synced up with the app to access it. You choose the desired time (7 Minute Workout, 10 Minute Workout, etc.), and off you go! Not only does the watch tell you what exercises you do, but it shows an avatar performing the moves.
At all times, the watch tracks your heart rate, steps, calories burned, and distance covered throughout the day. A sleep tracker also shows you the length and quality of your sleep (determined by your heart rate).
Aside from fitness, the Blaze hits all of the most important bits of smartwatch life. When synced to your phone, the Blaze offers call, text, and calendar notifications, as well as music controls.
And of course the Blaze does, in fact, have a clock face that tells you the time. In fact the entire face is removable, so you can easily swap out bands and frames.
Comfort & Usability
The watch itself is slightly bigger and more noticeable than your average dumb watch, but those already accustomed to smart watches and fitness trackers will have no problem with the larger size. The touchscreen works just as well as a phone or tablet touch screen, and both the watch and the companion app are intuitive and easy to navigate.
The battery life is estimated at 5 days, although that estimate could decrease with intensive use and multiple syncing events per day.
Conveniently, the Blaze can sync with over 200 devices on a range of platforms and operating systems, just like the rest of the Fitbit line.
And there are plenty of customization options built in. From the type of clock face displayed, to the threshold of what the Blaze considers "exercise," the Blaze has options galore for even the pickiest of users.
A Watch to Watch?
The Fitbit Blaze is a fitness tracker first, with just enough smartwatch functionality to justify wearing it all the time. While the existing Fitbit fandom may not appreciate the touchscreen, we think the visual feedback and instant stats should make the Blaze an excellent companion to novices and fitness buffs alike.