Fitbit's Ionic smartwatch takes fitness tracking to the next level

27 September 2017

Fitbit Ionic

Unpack your active wear and get ready to work up a sweat: the newest release from wearable pioneers Fitbit is officially here. If you're looking to shed those winter kilos, cut down your 5K time, or just figure out why you're always so damn tired, read on. 

The feature-packed Fitbit Ionic arrives in Aussie stores October 1, with online pre-orders live from today. The wearable aims to be the final word in fitness tracking - both for seasoned pavement-pounders, and couch potatoes looking for a little extra help to get started on the path to better health.

Health and fitness tracking

In terms of sensors, you'll get incredibly accurate heart rate monitoring via PurePulse, plus built-in GPS, step tracking, and all-day activity measurements (such as calories burned, distance travelled, and hourly activity data). The Ionic allows users to track specific workouts - including biking, weight training, or running - through its Multi-Sport modes, and is water-resistant in depths of up to 50 metres.

If you want to personalise your workouts without shelling out for expensive one-on-one training, the Dynamic Personal Coaching feature offers specialised routines, based on your feedback and individual preferences. And thanks to SmartTrack, you can automatically record selected forms of exercise, including running and biking, from the moment you start to move. 

Aside from helping owners get the most from their workouts, the Ionic also aims to deliver long-term health info via the Sleep Stages and Insights app, as well as measuring heart activity with the aforementioned PurePulse. Sleep Stages records a wearer's nightly sleep patterns by tallying time spent in light, deep and REM sleep, and offers personalised insights on how to better catch those Zs. 

Extras: payments, tunes, and more

Need a playlist to get you pumped for a workout? The Fitbit Ionic has you covered: the device can store and play up to 300 songs. Users can pair the Ionic with Fitbit's also newly-announced Flyer wireless headphones (pictured above, and sold separately for $199.95), which are sweat-resistant and designed for maximum comfort, wearability, and sound. 

You'll also be able to make on-the-go payments with the Ionic's built-in NFC chip. Fitbit has already partnered with the Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and ANZ to offer contactless payments via the Ionic, with Westpac likely to jump on board soon. In addition, the Ionic watch delivers on-screen call and text notifications when your smartphone is within range, plus automatic wireless syncing, a 4-day battery life, and easy compatibility with iOS, Android and Windows devices. 

Pricing and alternatives

With a $449.95 price tag, the Fitbit Ionic isn't the most affordable fitness tracker out there. Customers with more limited budgets may prefer less expensive Fitbit options, such as the $149.95 Flex, the $248.85 Charge 2, or even the older Fitbit Blaze smartwatch (priced at $329.95).

If you're not a Fitbit fan, you can pick up Samsung's Gear Fit2 wearable from $149, while Garmin's fitness-focused smartwatches and bands start from $229. If you're looking for a fully-fledged smartwatch, the brand new Apple Watch Series 3 is priced from $459 outright for a GPS-only model, or from $559 for GPS and cellular connectivity.

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