I consider the Fitbit Charge HR the most practical of fitness tracker, just for its sheer simplicity which doesn’t come at the cost of functionality. For the past week I have been trying the new Fitbit Blaze, which has recently come to the top of the Fitbit range. Blaze too is a fitness tracker, but it has clear ambitions to become a smartwatch.
Fitbit Blaze is being sold as a fitness watch, but with a clear indication that it will do more. So it has a colour touchscreen, multiple watch faces and notification alerts along with the stuff that is now common to Fitbit trackers. It also looks like a watch, though I personally felt the design was too late 1980s for my liking. The watch itself is a core that can be separated from the strap and frame for charging.
Price: Rs 19,490
What is good
Having used a lot of smart watches, the first thing that impressed me about the Fitbit Blaze was its battery life. Despite the colour touchscreen and constant alerts, it lasted a full five days — from Monday to Friday — and that is a great plus for any watch these days.
The fitness tracker works really well and Fitbit still has one of the best apps in the business for people who take the data seriously. The sleep tracking is automatic and the watch recognises when you body starts snoozing.
The interface is easy to understand and gives you a lot in one glance. You don’t need to swipe to see if you are nearing your fitness goals. But once you start swiping there is a lot more to this watch. The exercise tab lets you track a specific routine like running, elliptical or weight training and that is how it should be, instead of clubbing all actions into one. I tried running and the watch used the GPS on the phone to tell me the distance covered, the time taken and the pace at which it was done. This is what Fitbit means by connected GPS.
Then there is FitStar. This new app helps you learn and execute everything from warmups to workouts. It comes with an animated screen that tells you what to do, and then clocks your activity. This is something other fitness bands don’t offer.
The notifications don’t bug you. And you get only the more important stuff here, instead of an alert from every app on your phone. More importantly, they are easy to dismiss.
The sleep tracking works well and I loved the silent alarm that just buzzes you to get up.
What is not that good
The frame of the Fitbit Blaze comes with a home button on the left and two buttons on the right. I have an issue with the latter, for they serve no purpose. I have clicked them a hundred times during the past week, trying to scroll, change screen on just to see if there is something more here. Why add them if they are dead?
I don’t like the entire charging mechanism which involves taking the core out, and inserting it in a small box for it to charge. Is this all FitBit could think off?
The band comes up with some false positives here and there. For instance, it is 10 am and I have not worn the band the entire day. But it is still showing that I have burnt 691 calories without taking a step. That’s confusing and also makes me doubt the figures for when I am actually wearing the band.
Should you buy
This a tough one, primarily because the more affordable bands from Fitbit are so good. Buy this if you need the coaching that comes in FitStar and want a watch-like Fitness band. For me the Fitbit Charge HR does a great job of tracking my activity, and the Blaze does not offer a great incremental feature list.
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