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Fitbit's new Ionic smartwatch is designed in-house and is packed with features

By Ian Chee & Cookie Monster - on 29 Aug 2017, 10:47am

Fitbit's new Ionic smartwatch is designed in-house and is packed with features

Image source: Fitbit

Fitbit just unveiled its latest health and fitness smartwatch, the Ionic which is the company's first device to be designed fully in-house.

The Ionic has a nano-moulded unibody made up of 6000 series aerospace-grade aluminum and is water resistant up to 50 meters. Its touch-screen display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The nano-moulded unibody packs 8 different sensors  such as an integrated GPS antenna, vibration motor, altimeter, optical heart rate sensor, digital compass, ambient light sensor and 3-axis accelerometers. 

In comparison, the Apple Watch Series 2 comes with the 7000 series aluminum which has double the hardness and twice the tensile strength. The Apple Watch Series 2 also has an integrated GPS antenna and is water resistant up to 50 meters. Its display is made up of Ion-X glass.

One of the key features of the Ionic is the new SpO2 sensor which can estimate blood oxygen levels and provide deeper health insights like sleep apnea in the future. The Ionic also has the improved PurePulse heart rate technology for more accurate readings during exercises and tracking resting heart rate 24/7. 

Another important feature of the Ionic is the Fitbit OS, the company's latest platform for smartwatches that will be updated regularly. The Fitbit OS has a Fitbit App Gallery for you to select app and clock faces. At launch, there are several partner apps such as Pandora, StarBucks, Strava and AccuWeather. More popular apps such as Flipboard will be supported later this year. 

Other fitness-centric features include a Run Detect feature that activates GPS tracking when you start running, a new swim exercise mode, sleep tracking and more than four days of battery life on a single charge. The Ionic has 2.5GB of internal storage for playing more than 300 songs on the new Fitbit Flyer wireless headphones or any Bluetooth headphones. 

Similar to Apple Pay on the Apple Watch, the Ionic can function as your mobile wallet. The NFC chip allows you to make mobile payments with a few swipes. Over the next few months, eligible American Express, Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards can be added to the smartwatch. 

Availability and Pricing

In the USA, Fitbit Ionic is available for pre-order on Fitbit.com from today at a retail price of US$299.95 (~RM1,280). It will be available globally from October in three color combinations: silver gray tracker and clasp with blue gray band, smoke gray tracker and clasp with charcoal band, or burnt orange tracker and clasp with slate blue band. 

This pricing puts it only slightly above the Apple Watch Series one which prices start at RM1,199, and quite a bit more affordable than Series 2 which starts at RM1,649. But until we get official local prices, it remains to be seen if the Fitbit Ionic will be priced more attractively than the current top premium smartwatch.

Source: Fitbit