Fitbit launches Ionic: Here's how it compares with the Apple Watch

Similar to what Apple is highlighting in its Watch, Fitbit is offering a list of fitness-focused features with the Ionic.


After dabbling in fitness-focused watches, Fitbit has officially entered the business of smartwatches and unveiled its first model called the Fitbit Ionic. With the new device, the San Francisco-based company is not just aiming to bring back its profitability, but is also hoping to take on the Apple Watch, which is presently leading the smartwatch market.

Similar to what Apple is highlighting in its Watch, Fitbit is offering a list of fitness-focused features with the Ionic. The smartwatch has a built-in GPS tracking as well as functions such as on-device dynamic workouts and an improved heart-rate tracking through an all new array of sensors that deliver a complete package to fitness geeks right on their wrists. Also, there is a SpO2 sensor to track sleep apnea, and a NFC chip to make contactless payments right from the wrist.

Fitbit has provided its proprietary experience on the Ionic, which comes with a wide range of app support and clock faces to give a competitive feel to Apple Watch users. The smartwatch is also capable of providing real-time notifications on calls, text messages and calendar schedules. Besides, one can receive alerts from third-party apps such as Facebook, Gmail and Instagram among others.

The Fitbit Ionic sports a lightweight aluminium build that has been made through a nano-molding technique. This has so far been deployed for constructing unibody smartphones. On top, there is an LCD panel that supports multi-touch inputs and offers an amplified brightness of up to 1,000 nits. The smartwatch additionally is water resistant up to 50 metres.

Differences over Apple's model

Despite many similarities, the Fitbit Ionic has some major differences from the Apple Watch. The smartwatch, firstly, packs with a battery life that is claiming to deliver up to four days of power on a single charge. This is nearly four times better than what any Apple Watch model delivers.

Secondly, Fitbit's model has 2.5GB of onboard storage to let you store up to 300 songs natively. So there is no need to carry an iPhone or an Android device along with the Ionic smartwatch to listen to favourite music tracks. Plus, one can download any of the available Pandora stations and enjoy music while on the go.

The Fitbit Ionic also has a Fitbit Coach integration that will help connect with a personal trainer and enhance daily workouts. This is something that Apple is expected to adopt while designing the next Apple Watch.

Resources in the background

In the recent past, Fitbit acquired startups like Pebble and Vector that had both developed some unique smartwatch offerings. That acquisition spree is clearly visible through the Ionic. The smartwatch has power-efficient technologies that were originally available only on Pebble models, while its minimal design is likely to be influenced by Vector watches that were launched with a 30-day battery life.

Fitbit has also partnered with Adidas to launch a Fitbit Ionic special edition device. The partnership will enable the company to start offering training programmes targeted specifically at athletes, to accomplish the ecosystem. Notably, Apple also has Nike as a partner for the Watch.

According to a recent report by analyst firm Strategy Analytics, Apple is leading the entire wearable market with a share of 15.9 percent. Fitbit, on the other hand, claimed the second position and captured 13.2 percent of market share in the first three months of 2017.