More About Fitness Than Smartness
Popular name in fitness wearables, Fitbit has launched a smartwatch, Blaze. But can this new watch compete against popular ones such as Apple Watch, Samsung Gear S2 or Motorola Moto 360?
UNINSPIRING DESIGN: Smartwatches look good. At least, the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear 2 with broad, rectangular designs. To charge the watch, you need to take the square plastic panel out of the stainless steel frame and plug into the separate square casing to charge. There are buttons on the sides – one on the left and two on the right. The left one is the back key, whereas the two on the right come handy during workout sessions. I showed the Fitbit Blaze to many and no one really liked the design. Someone had a comment: "my Casio calculator watch looked much better than the Fitbit Blaze". While the Blaze is light, I wasn’t really excited about wearing this smartwatch. It has a responsive touch screen display, but it isn’t as good as the one on Apple Watch or Gear S2. It has a 1.25-inch, 16-colour display.
PAIRING TAKES TIME: Just like any other smartwatch, even Fitbit Blaze has to be paired with a compatible app. Available for iPhone and Android OS, it took close to 20 minutes to set up this smartwatch, which is unusually long compared to other smartwatches.
MORE FITNESS, LESS SMART: Most of the functionality of the Fitbit Blaze is similar to its earlier fitness bands. The Blaze is good at keeping track of footsteps, active exercise calories burnt, quality of sleep, resting time and more. Tracking fitness activity is Fitbit’s forte and Blaze does a good job. It managed to track my sleep and middle-of-the-night wake up sessions with accuracy. It even has an inbuilt heart rate sensor that measures the heart beats. Most of the time, the heart rate monitor works well, but sometimes it is iffy. Under exercise tracking, it has options for running, cycling, weights, treadmill and elliptical. It doesn’t come with inbuilt GPS; for using Fitbit’s Connected GPS feature, you will have to carry your smartphone along.
It fetches incoming call notifications, shows text alerts and calendar reminders. There is also an option to control music from the watch. But the list of smartwatch features ends here. There are no apps that you can connect it with or any WhatsApp or Facebook notifications, as you get on most other smartwatches today. This makes it more of a fitness watch and not a smartwatch capable of handling communication. The Fitbit app is well designed. It offers a lot of details about the workout sessions and daily activities.
BATTERY: The most impressive feature of the Blaze is the battery. Unlike other smartwatches, you need not charge it every day. On one charge, it lasted me over five days during the testing period.