The currently undisputed but outlook-wary wearable champion of the world is looking to turn the page to a new chapter in the company’s product lineup evolution, with a device that aims to bring the best of smartwatches and fitness bands together.
Billed as a “smart fitness watch” rather than a full-fledged smartwatch or basic activity tracker, the Fitbit Blaze rolled on the Las Vegas stage for a glitzy CES introduction back in January, being available for pre-orders ever since.
But now it’s time for shipping and actual sales to start, with the US price tag still set at $200. The thing is the Blaze isn’t stylish enough to take on the Apple Watch, Samsung Gear S2 or second-gen Moto 360, and it’s not packed with as many sensors as, say, the slightly cheaper Microsoft Band 2.
Nonetheless, the color LCD touchscreen is a standout feature, and you do get a 3-axis accelerometer, optical heart rate monitor, altimeter, ambient light sensor, and vibration motor. No built-in GPS, unfortunately, so you need to stay connected to an Android handheld, iPhone or Windows Phone if you want your runs accurately tracked.
Sweat, rain and splash proof, the Fitbit Blaze is not also swim proof, and its manufacturers even recommend you take it off before showering. On the bright side, the battery should last up to five days, and Fitbit’s proprietary athletic-friendly software remains a tough act to follow for Android Wear.
Fashionistas will be happy to hear the flexible, durable elastomer band is available in your choice of black, blue and plum colors, while backup leather straps and metal links cost $100 and $130 respectively with matching frames.