Fitbit Blaze smart fitness watch
Fitbit has been a leader in wearables almost for as long as wearables have existed. In fact, before Apple brought smartwatches into the general public’s sphere of attention, fitness trackers and bracelets were the only mainstream wearables that actually enjoyed success.
However, after seemingly every tech and watch brand released their own smartwatch offering, which not only looked cooler, but also offered many more possibilities – including a number of fitness and health features – fitness trackers and bracelets seemed to be obsolete, and a lot of people thought this might be the end of the road for Fitbit.
This is where the new Fitbit Blaze comes into play. The Blaze is Fitbit’s bid to compete with the Apple Watch and all its other Android competitors like the Samsung Gear and regain some of its original loyalists. The question is whether it really is a step up from FitBit’s more traditional products, and what it could possibly give users that all of the smartwatches that came before it didn’t.
Fitbit Blaze isn’t a regular smartwatch, as it becomes obvious from the main features available and the brand’s own promotional material. It looks like a smartwatch, mainly because this is the first time that Fitbit includes a big, full color touch screen, which is quite compact and features rounded corners, which give it a sports-oriented, yet stylish look. It is also detachable from the band, which not only means users can exchange bands but also use the screen itself as an independent monitor.
The Fitbit Blaze does tell time, and it displays the date on its home screen. On top of that, it can be connected to smartphones to display smart notifications. But that’s all it has in common with smartwatches.
Fitbit Blaze only supports Fitbit apps, which means that, while it is compatible with other devices, it is restricted to FitBit’s sports-oriented apps. So while it may have been updated to compete with other wearables, the Blaze is still more of a traditional fitness tracker than a smartwatch. It is, however, a very powerful wearable, and a valid alternative for a smartwatch, if one’s using it mainly for fitness tracking and activities.
Fitbit Blaze may not have embedded GPS, but it has connected GPS, which means it can track the signal from a different device. It can track users’ activity all day, including sleep, and still hold a 5 day battery – much more impressive than any smartwatch. It can track exercises automatically, for the user’s convenience, and it also monitors the heart rate continuously, without the need for a chest strap.
The Blaze also features a number of different sport modes, for more accurate tracking, as well as Fitbit Star, which displays workouts on-screen. Finally, it gives users a summary of their workouts and allows them to track their progress towards achieving their goals through the Fitbit app.
Fitbit Blaze is on pre-sale for roughly $230, but it should hit stores in March; it comes in three basic colors and two sizes. This makes it a lot more affordable than most smartwatches, but not necessarily a good alternative.
While the Apple Watch, for instance, is largely limited to what is compatible with iOS, the Blaze is more limited still, since it won’t work with any third-party apps, whether Android or iOS-based. Also, while it does receive alerts and notifications, it won’t let you actually make calls, text or use social media, unlike the Apple Watch or any of its Android Wear competitors, which allow for third-party, OS compatible apps.
To sum it up, both the Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatches can perform a number of fitness-related tasks, even if perhaps not as well. The Fitbit Blaze, on the other hand, can only perform those tasks. The choice between a traditional smartwatch and the Blaze depends on what the user wants it for.