By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
While dressed up to look very much like a premium smartwatch, Fitbit's new Blaze fitness tracker is actually a fashion-focused personal fitness and motivational gadget that brings elegance and versatility to a device that can easily tap the powerful Fitbit cloud and app ecosystem.
Fitbit is the the first name that comes to mind when considering fitness trackers. The company has been at it for a number of years and has expanded and iterated its wireless pedometers and fitness devices into a ful-blown line of products catering to various user needs.
At the very top of Fitbit's product line is the Fitbit Blaze which takes the look, feel and functionality of a smartwatch in a device with a large colour display and a variety of accessory bands that can be quickly switched as needed.
Fitbit's system really needs no introduction.
The trackers are one part of the equation and the rest of the experience takes place on their apps as well as the web-based software.
With the Fitbit Blaze, which is compatible with PC's, iPhones, Android devices and even Windows 10 mobile devices, the device is designed to be worn 24/7 for up to five days between charges. Aside from the usual tracking features and constant hear rate as well as sleep tracking, the Fitbit Blaze also integrates a bevy of exercises via its FitStar systme which can be downloaded and run directly from the device.
What I like about the Fitbit Blaze is that it can be the only device you need to wear. It functions like a watch (although the selection of watch faces is limited out of the box), plus it tracks your fitness including activity, steps, floors climbed and even takes GPS information from a connected device.
Changing the accessory bands is incredibly easy, simply pop out the small watch from the frame and pop it into another frame and you can have a sporty rubber band turn into a dressier leather or even metal band in mere seconds. The rubber on the sporty band irritated my skin overnight so I eventually used my Fitibit Blaze exclusively with the brown leather band.
In terms of smart functionality, the Fitbit Blaze offers some basic alerts including incoming calls, calendars and text messages.
There's also limited music control right from the device, which is convenient when you're working out with your tunes and your smartphone is out of reach.
Best of all, Fitbit has managed to make the Fitbit Blaze light and unobtrusive.
It's a bit annoying that you need to pop out the Blaze to charge it (with yet another proprietary charger, which you'd better not misplace), but the Fitbit Blaze is extremely easy to live with and delivers on the promise of all day fitness tracking without looking too geeky.
Overall design is slick, understated and well balanced and people generally gravitate towards it in public and want to know what kind of smart watch it is.
Some caveats, the Fitbit Blaze is splashproof but you shouldn't bathe with it.
Also the Fitbit Blaze has a screen size of 31.75mm diagonally, with a display area of 25.38x19.04mm. The display offers 16-bit color at a resolution of 240x180 pixels. The screen is scratch resistant and is made of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It looks clear and bright under most but the brightest lighting conditions.
The Fitbit Blaze is a step up for users who have used simpler fitness trackers since it looks like a watch and integrates some smart features such as notifications and music control. Smart watch users might see it as a step back because it doesn't run or even mirror apps but this is a good trade off for 24/7 monitoring and a 5-day battery life. If the outstanding Fitbit app isn't to your liking, the Fitbit Blaze can be used with MyFitnessPal as well.
If you want one of the best fitness tracking systems on a device that looks like a digital watch and which can easily switch from sporty to casual or formal, then the Fitbit Blaze is a good fit. Sleep tracking happens automatically and there are various exercises and options for fitness targets of all levels.
Rating: 4 out of 5