Fitbit’s newest wearable is a smart fitness watch they’ve crowned the “Blaze.” Unveiled at this morning’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) event, this would seem to be Fitbit’s answer to the Apple Watch, but the Blaze does not include GPS. For all your runners out there, you’ll have to wait for the next generation. While the Blaze does offer “connected GPS,” you will still need your phone with you in order for it to work.
Fitbit has been offering personal trackers for nine years, and according to Fitbit CEO James Park, the Fitbit Charge HR is the number one selling fitness tracker, while the Fitbit Surge is the number one GPS watch. While so far Fitbit has successfully fought off Apple in the watch category, I’m not sure this specific watch sets itself apart enough, especially with the lack of GPS.
The Fitbit Blaze comes preloaded with Fitstar workouts, a platform that Fitbit bought last year. The watch can give you a continuous wrist-based heart rate without the clunky chest strap, workout summaries, and activity and sleep activity. You have full control over your music playlist and can receive call and text notifications, as well as calendar alerts.
The Blaze can last up to five days on a single charge, and considering it has a high resolution screen, tracking, and notifications, that’s no small feat. However, the Blaze is only water resistant, so don’t take it with you to swim laps in the pool or even while showering. (That’s another advantage Garmin trackers have.)
I wasn’t exactly expecting another watch from Fitbit this morning. I had visions of smart fashion, tights that can compress if I’m, say, training for a marathon or a jacket that becomes reflective as it approaches darkness. I’ll hold my breath until the Wearable Technology Marketplace & Fashion Show on Thursday.
The Blaze will be available in March for $199.95 and will come with a black, blue or plum sport band. The watch is modular, so you can swap out with accessory leather or metal bands and frames, but they will cost more. Metal links and the frame in stainless steel are $129.95, while leather bands and the frame (in black, camel or mist grey) are $99.95. Preorders are live now.
Will you upgrade to the Fitbit Blaze or look for another wearable?