Fitbit announced the Fitbit Blaze, the company’s latest and most powerful wearable, during CES 2016 on Tuesday. It’s already available for pre-order, though you won’t get it until March. We had a chance to check it out briefly, so here are a few thoughts.
First – it’s super light, which is good, because that’s what you want from a fitness band. It’s also modular, in the sense that you can pop out the unit inside the band and move it to other wristbands, whether you want a leather one for going out at night, a metal one for the office, or a rubber one for your workout.
The problem, as I see it right now, is it doesn’t provide a true “smartwatch” experience, so while you can get notifications for text messages and calls, it’s not as robust as something like an Apple Watch or Android Wear, which offers fully baked smartphone support in addition to apps, health tracking information and more.
Still, Fitbit has made its name among fitness folks, and there’s a lot of features that look compelling. You’ll find SmartTrack that can auto-detect your workout, Connected GPS, PurePulse for accurate heart rate tracking, and FitStar, which provides instructions for workouts such as 10 Minute abs, Warm It Up and more.
I’m a bit worried that consumers who have smartwatches, while maybe interested in the fitness features of the Fitbit Blaze, might look elsewhere simply because wearing two watches would look… weird. And while the Fitbit offers some smartwatch features, they aren’t as robust as a real one.
We’ll try to spend more time with the Fitbit Blaze when it launches in March for $199.