First look at Fitbit's long-awaited $300 Fitbit Ionic smartwatch

Tuesday, 29 Aug, 2017

Moving onto other features, the Ionic smartwatch also comes with NFC for mobile payments, launching with a new service called Fitbit Pay that will allow you to pay with your Ionic smartwatch anywhere there is a contactless payment terminal.

With a almost 165-foot (50 meter) water-proofing, the Fitbit Ionic is a ideal tool for swimmers. It will sync with the Fitbit app using a Bluetooth connection.

However, there will also be apps that expand the functionality of Ionic.

According to Fitbit, using the Global Positioning System and all the sensors that can be found in the smartwatch, it can last you up to 10 days on a single charge - that's pretty impressive.

The App Gallery offers a range of health and fitness apps from Fitbit like Exercise, Fitbit Coach, Relax, Timer and more, as well as popular apps that are created to make life easier and more convenient when you're on the go. The $130 Aria 2, also scheduled for an October release, has new algorithms for more-accurate results, plus a bigger and brighter display than the last-gen model has.

Fitbit Ionic costs $299.95 and will ship in October. For the smartwatch to be useful, it needs to have battery life long enough that folks aren't constantly taking it off. But that small size may have something to do with the headphones' battery life: Fitbit Flyer gets six hours of playtime (for comparison, Apple's BeatsX Bluetooth headphones get eight hours).

Storage capacity of 2.5GB is available for adding tracks, audiobooks or podcasts to the Ionic, reiterating the phone-free ethos that Fitbit has tried to allow for with the Ionic smartwatch, while smartphone notifications are also available and not just for texts and calls but third party apps too, including Facebook and WhatsApp.

Contactless Fitbit Pay will work eligible American Express, Mastercard and Visa redit and debit cards from top issuing banks in over 10 markets across the globe, including ANZ, Banco Santander, Bank of America, Capital One, HSBC, KBC Bank Ireland, Royal Bank of Canada, and US Bank with "more countries and banks planned soon".

Compared to most Fitbit devices, Ionic's standout feature is its full-colour capacitive touchscreen display. "There is a $300 price point, and it's the most expensive Fitbit device to date", said Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's wearables team. (For example, the orange watch is paired with a blue band to somewhat mimic the intersection of Mars and Matt Damon in The Martian.) For a more personal touch, Fitbit has developed an easy swapping method via a button on the underside of the band that quickly snaps and unsnaps it in place.

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Interoperability is key for the Fitbit Ionic.

The company has also introduced Fitbit Pay with its first smartwatch.

Fitbit Ionic is available for pre-sale on Fitbit.com for $299.95 Dollars and will be available at a number of retail stores in October.

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There is also a two-toned breathable sport band that comes with a priced of tag $29.95.

Fitbit is even partnering with Adidas on a "special edition" version of the Iconic coming next year that will include training programs; Apple similarly partnered with Nike with the Apple Watch Nike+ version of its smartwatch.

Fitbit Flyer, the firm's first pair of wireless headphones, which it says are built for fitness.

"I think for the time being that this will sustain the company a bit more".