CNET First Look
Fitbit's smartwatch is finally kinda fun, thanks to PebbleRetro watch faces and weird apps have arrived to make Fitbit Ionic more interesting to wear
I used to love the Pebble watch. Long battery life, waterproof, plenty of weird watch faces. FitBit bought Pebble in 2016 and now, the FitBit Ionic might be the Pebble watch's best replacement. It's not exactly the same thing, but a bunch of watch faces and apps have arrived that have finally put the fun in FitBit. Kind of. Is this a Casio digital watch? No, it's a Fitbit display showing steps, heart rate, and other stats if you look closely. I love the new stat heavy watch faces. And there are some experimental weird ones too. Some of them are actually pebble watch faces that were made before and re-released now. And almost all of them are free. You can only load one watch face at a time which gets annoying And it can take a while. That's the downside. Multiple apps, however, can be loaded onto the Ionic watch at once. Although Fitbit's app doesn't make it all that easy to browse for new apps and watch faces. There's some interesting new apps, too. The New York Times gives headlines. Yelp has local food picks. Phillips Hue controls home lights but I haven't tried that yet in my home. Fitbit has its own experimental apps too, part of something called Fitbit labs. I found some digital fitness pet watch faces that work like tamagotchi. There's a mood logging watch face that asks me to mark down how I feel and how much I feel. A brain game tests response times. A treasure map fitness game turns steps into coins to buy pets and ships to find gold. It's a random bunch of hits and misses. But heck, they're fun. And they make Fitbit Ionic feel like a more interesting fitness watch than it did before. But the core parts of the Ionic remain the same. For $300, you get a waterproof design, always on heart rate, GPS, onboard music and risk gamings. Music though requires side loading from a computer or subscribing the premium Pandora, which I don't. While Fitbit Pay doesn't work with as many banks Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Android Pay, for instance it doesn't work with mine. Ionic shows notifications from your phone, but you can't respond and there's no microphone or speakers for voice assistance or phone calls. Fitbit's phone app though is great, and Ionic is better than before, is it the best Fitbit? At this price, you might be better off with an Apple watch if you have an iPhone. But Fitbit's overall fitness features and extras are giving it a leg up on Android wear. For battery life alone, it's worth considering. And if the price drops a bit more. It might be the best Fitbit of all.