Suunto Essential Slate Watch Review

While some of us have been mounting high tech wearables on our wrist since 2004, others are just discovering them. The Fitbit Ionic brings everything I have wanted in a GPS sports watch with essential smart watch functionality in a sleek, attractive form factor.

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Just like there are Apple iPhone or Google Android fans that will only buy those phones every time, there are those dedicated to the Fitbit ecosystem that will only buy Fitbit devices as their preferred wearable. With the new Fitbit Ionic it is clear that Fitbit ecosystem users now have the ultimate GPS sport watch, activity and sleep tracker, and basic smartwatch that they deserve.

Fitbit recently announced its third product in the GPS sport watch category with the Fitbit Ionic, technically its first smartwatch when you use the definition of a smartwatch as one that supports applications. The Ionic is exactly what I was hoping to see after trying out the Fitbit Blaze last year.

The Apple Watch Series 2 and Samsung Gear S3 Frontier have been sharing most of the time on my wrist over the last few months, but the one to one and a half day battery life keeps killing those experiences. I thought the Garmin Fenix 3 HR was the one for me and while it is an excellent GPS sport watch, wearing it at night to track sleep nearly knocks my wife out when I roll over.

After testing many wearables over the years I have learned that getting the core experience right and having a battery that lets you get through at least a weekend are keys to satisfaction. The Fitbit Ionic has a perfect mix of health apps, music playback support, mobile payments, and battery life to provide it with the potential for huge success.


  • Display: 36mm LCD Gorilla Glass 3 curved display with brightness up to 1000 nits

  • Materials: 600 series aluminum and elastomer material with stainless steel buckle

  • Wireless: Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, NFC

  • Water resistance: Up to 50 meters and sweat, rain, and splash proof

  • Storage: About 2.5GB to store an estimated 300 songs

  • Sensors: Altimeter, 3-axis accelerometer, digital compass, GPS/GLONASS, optical heart rate monitor, ambient light sensor, vibration motor

  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours with GPS, 4+ days of standard smartwatch usage

  • Dimensions: 38 mm width and 12.7 mm thickness, 50 grams


When I saw pictures of the Fitbit Ionic I have to say I was not that excited about the device. It looked like a slightly improved Fitbit Blaze with integrated bands. I was wrong on both counts.

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Fitbit sent along the smoke gray watch body with charcoal band in large with an optional midnight blue perforated leather band. The Fitbit Ionic is gorgeous in person with smooth aluminum angular ends transitioning into curved Gorilla Glass 3 that has a slight arc that runs along the length of your wrist. The bands appear to be integrated, but has an interesting mechanism for a seamless appearance on the outside of the watch body.

There is one button on the left side and two on the right that have a pattern for tactile feel and good looks. The buttons protrude just enough to be easily functional without being distracting or pressing accidentally with your wrist rotated while doing pushups.

The back has a rather interesting design that appears to be focused on making sure the very best connection is made to your wrist with the heart rate and new SPO2 sensors. The four sides of the back are angled down to a center sensor area so that sensor area is sure to press securely against the top of your wrist while the rest of the watch sits flat against your wrist, making the Fitbit Ionic effectively one of the thinnest tech watches I have ever tested. The three pins for the charging cable are positioned above the sensors on the back.

The heart rate sensors provide PurePulse technology for one of the most advanced heart rate tracking experiences ever. The sleep stages support measuring and showing light sleep, deep sleep, and REM are very impressive. The Apple Watch doesn't measure sleep natively and this is one of the most important aspects of your health so I am pleased to see Fitbit continuing to improve in this area.

The display is perfectly sized for my wrist and eye sight with crisp clear color and a brightness of 1,000 nits that makes sure you can view it in any lighting condition. The display activates when you rotate your wrist, press the left button, or double tap the display. You can enable an always-on mode while working out, but battery life will suffer.

>Fitbit Ionic review: in pictures SEE FULL GALLERY

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