Can Fitbit Survive Apple In The War For Your Wrist?

For some time, the Charge 2 has led Fitbit's line of fitness trackers, showcasing the best of the company's software smarts while still remaining a stylish package.

Recently, though, Fitbit officially entered the smartwatch market with the Ionic. So not only is it competing with the likes of Xiaomi on one front, but now also Apple, Samsung and the plethora of options running Android Wear.

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Charge 2 | Fitbit Ionic

But which of these two devices is best for you? Are you more in need of a fitness tracker or a smartwatch? Well, below we've compared the pair to help guide you along the right path.

Fitbit Charge 2 v Fitbit Ionic: Design

Fitbit Charge 2 v Fitbit Ionic: The Fitbit heavyweights go head-to-head

Naturally, how these two compare will likely be down to whether you prefer the look of a fitness band or a more traditional smartwatch on your wrist. However, let's explore the finer points.

Ever since the first leaks for the Fitbit Ionic filtered onto the web, we've found its design divisive. Since we got our hands on the device, it's grown on us, but it still isn't for everyone. The square 1.42-inch, 348 x 250 pixel Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display is a little on the small side, but there's no doubting its quality. The brightness can be pumped all the way to 1,000 nits, meaning this compares favourably to the best in the business, the Samsung Gear Sport and Apple Watch Series 3. The Charge 2's OLED screen, on the other hand, is built into 0.84-inch wide band, and doesn't give you the same colour or vibrancy.

As this is Fitbit, both do, however, possess the ability to change up the bands. That means you can count your steps and track activity with a more sporty silicon band before switching to a more dressy, leather option, if needed.

Fitbit Charge 2 v Fitbit Ionic: The Fitbit heavyweights go head-to-head

Navigation around each device is also fairly similar. While you can swipe your way between menus, you also have the option to employ the left side-button to go back, while the Ionic possesses two more on the right hand side to, for example, start and pause an activity.

We'll come more onto activity features below, but it's worth pointing out that the design of the Fitbit Charge 2 is only sweat, rain and splash proof, but isn't ready to accompany you on your swim. The Ionic, meanwhile, offers waterproofing up to 50 metres.

All in all, the Charge 2 is bringing you an standard, inoffensive fitness tracker design — it's light, simple and able to be customised on the wrist. It's not as dainty as the Flex 2 or Alta HR, but it's not a burden on the wrist. The Ionic, meanwhile, is giving you the better experience through design, but the square, sporty look won't be to everyone's taste.

Fitbit Charge 2 v Fitbit Ionic: Tracking

Fitbit Charge 2 v Fitbit Ionic: The Fitbit heavyweights go head-to-head

Design is more of a personal preference, but there's nowhere to hide when it comes to tracking smarts, which is often where these battles are won and lost. Thankfully, whichever device you decide to opt with here, you're getting a solid tracking experience, both in general activity and sports.

Read this: Fitbit Ionic tips and tricks

Both cover the basics, tracking your steps, distance, floors climbed, active minutes & calories burned and also automatically track exercises like running, cycling and weight lifting by giving you real-time stats on display. This is better on the Ionic, of course, with its bigger display, but that's to be expected.

It's all backed up by Fitbit's PrePulse heart tech, too, giving you continuous looks at your pulse, as well as simplified heart rate zones and a VO2 Max score.

It's not just on the go you'll have tracking support, either, with automatic sleep monitoring also available through both the Charge 2 and Ionic, allowing a user to keep tabs on how long they spent in light, deep and REM stages. Both devices also provide more wellness support through Guided Breathing, helping you take time for breathing sessions.

Fitbit Charge 2 v Fitbit Ionic: The Fitbit heavyweights go head-to-head

So, they're pretty much the same equation? Well, with one key difference. The omission of in-built GPS in the Charge 2 means that those looking to leave their phone behind on a workout will be left disappointed, since only the tethered Connected GPS option is available. The Ionic, though, gives you free reign on your exercise, and during testing was actually one of the more accurate GPS performers we've seen in the smartwatch category.

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