The big news this week is the launch of a new smartwatch from Fitbit, the overall market leader in the wearables market. The company shipped 4.4 million fitness bands in the second quarter of 2015 alone and they command a 24.3 percent global market share. That’s more than Apple, who for the sake of comparison, shipped 3.6 million smartwatches in Q2 2015 with a 19.9 percent global market share, according to IDC.
Up until now, Fitbit has watched on as the smartwatch market has grown. Their range of fitness trackers, which include the Zip, One, Flex and Charge, outsell all other fitness bands on the market. Today, the Fitbit brand is synonymous with fitness. Indeed, whenever we hear people talk about fitness bands, they invariably mention Fitbit.
However, what was once a state-of-the-art product is no more. Fitness bands are old hat in a world of smartwatches. As a result, Fitbit has this week launched its first smartwatch.
It’s called the Fitbit Blaze, and it’s a smartwatch with fitness in mind.
The company says that the Blaze is “a fitness watch that’s as stylish as it is smart”, and we have no reason to disbelieve that. The Blaze has a chunky octagon-shaped case that houses a 1.25” display offering 16-bit color at a resolution of 240×180 pixels. It comes with either a black, blue or plum silicone strap and offers plenty of technology.
While functional, however, the design is hit and miss. It looks a lot like the Apple Watch and it isn’t as sleek. It doesn’t stand out like the Fossil Q-Founder or Moto 360 Sport.
Sensors and components include a 3-axis accelerometer, ambient light sensor and vibration motor, optical heart rate monitor and altimeter. These power features such as PurePulse Heart Rate, activity and sleep tracking and active alerts. The Blaze also has Connected GPS so you can connect it with your phone to map your runs or walks. The Blaze also offers on-screen workouts courtesy of the FitStar app. You can also cycle through fitness modes like running, biking and cardio, and view your real-time performance on the screen.
When you aren’t using the Fitbit Blaze for fitness, it displays a clock face. There is a range of clock faces to choose from. Crucially, battery life is really rather good – Fitbit claims you will get 5 full days and nights out of it on a single charge. That’s impressive for a smartwatch with a display and active alerts. In addition to all this, the Blaze has the usual Fitbit features, such as Auto Sleep and Silent Alarms.
The Fitbit Blaze is available for pre-order immediately, priced at £159.99 for the silicone-strapped version. It is also available with a metal band, a leather band or a classic band. They add £89.99, £59.99 and £19.99 onto the price respectively.