There’s Nothing Ironic about the Fitbit Ionic

    EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog post originally appeared on the Huffington Post’s Contributor’s site on Oct. 4, 2018.

    It had to happen.

    When the folks at Fitbit purchased Pebble and Vector (both smartwatch companies), all of us anxiously awaited the company’s first “real” smartwatch.

    Enter, stage left, the Ionic smartwatch ($299.95) that combines all of the features we’ve become addicted to from Fitbit fitness bands and many features we expect from most smart watches.

    We’ve been playing with the Ionic for a few weeks and, although it isn’t feature-rich enough to replace our Huawei watch, it’s outstanding ability to give us the functionality of a basic smartwatch and access to all of the fitness apps Fitbit is famous for, makes us reluctant to remove it from our wrist. The result? We’re now wearing TWO watches!

    First the good stuff:

    The Ionic doesn’t discriminate between Apple and Android devices, which means it will sync with 99.9 percent of all the mobile devices available today.

    Like the traditional Fitbit, it gives us access to all of the apps to track steps, heartbeat, exercise, calories, weight, liquid consumption and sleep patterns. Our Huawei watch only tracks steps and heartbeat,

    Of course it gives us the correct time and is able to deliver notifications from our phones, etc. It also has apps for music (which we’ll go into in more detail later) and a built-in smart wallet, which uses NFC technology to pay for that double mocha Starbucks coffee you may need while out for your daily trot.

    In addition:

    • It offers what Fitbit calls Dynamic Personal Coaching that offers on-screen workouts based on your personal fitness data.
    • Built-in GPS gives you real-time pace and distance data during outdoor runs and rides
    • It’s water resistant.
    • You only have to recharge it every four days, unless the GPS is active. Then the battery only lasts 10 hours.
    • Bands can be changed in a snap. Really, just push a button and the old band is released so you can snap a new one in its place.
    • You can store and play up to 300 songs or link to your favorite Pandora playlist.
    • It links to the Fitbit Aria 2 scales, the new Fitbit Flyer headset and water bottles equipped with Fitbit sensors to measure liquid intake.
     There’s only one missing feature that would make it irreplaceable on my wrist – – – you can’t make or answer phone calls. There’s no microphone, which, to us, was a huge oversight on their part. Hence, I am now wearing one watch on my left wrist and the other on my right wrist.

    Also, since the Ionic is the new boy on the block (it hit store shelves on Oct. 1), it’s selection of watch faces and other apps is severely limited, but we expect that will change as it grows in popularity.

    We also got to test the Fitbit Flyer ($129.95), which is a wireless headset that connects to the watch via Bluetooth.

    We get to play with tons of headsets, but this one ranks among the best wireless headsets we’ve used to date.

    Most wireless headsets tend to fail miserably when put to the stress test of reliability while exercising. Connections tend to fade in and out, you lose connectivity and you get static – – – TONS of static.

    Since the Flyer was built to be used with your Fitbit, all of those irritants disappear. Plus we were able to connect to our smartphone to answer calls, etc.

    Additional features include:

    • They’re rain, splash and sweatproof
    • You get six hours of battery life plus an extra hour using a 15-minute quick charge
    • You can connect to two devices at once (possibly your phone and an Ionic smartwatch) using Bluetooth 4.2
    • There are two sound settings that let you amplify bass, etc.

    Attention Facebook users: Check out Michael Berman’s Jocgeek fan page or follow him on Twitter @jocgeek. You can also contact him via email or through his website. Beginning Feb. 6, you can hear Mike waxing on and off about tech trends on Tina on Tech.

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    • Michael L. Berman has more than 40 years' experience writing and editing for The Hartford Courant, The Norwich (CT) Bulletin, The Journal of Commerce and The Middletown (CT) Press. Mike's Techtalk column was syndicated by the Scripps Howard News Service from 1995 to 2000 and appeared as a computer and technology blog on www.shns.com until No. 19, 2013. You can also visit Mike's consumer technology website at www.jocgeek.com.

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