Since Fitbit’s acquisition of Pebble in 2016, the company has expanded its offering of wearable activity trackers and branched into the smartwatch territory, competing directly with the likes of Samsung and Apple. It may then seem that Fitbit’s first smartwatch, the Ionic, and its latest activity tracker, the Charge 2, both have a clearly defined target audience. In reality, there’s a significant overlap between the two devices, and we have even discovered several compelling reasons why the Ionic is Fitbit’s best sports wearable to date.
Fitbit Ionic vs Charge 2
|ImgAmazon.com Link||Brand||ProductAmazon.com Link||Price on Amazon.com|
|Fitbit||Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch||215.62|
|Fitbit||Fitbit Charge 2||122.13|
Fitbit Charge 2: Outstanding Activity Tracker
The Charge 2 has been designed with activity tracking in mind. It features PurePulse continuous heart rate monitoring technology to help you maximize your workouts and burn more calories in less time. The Charge 2 has several sport-specific tracking modes, and it can connect to your smartphone’s GPS and capture positional information alongside other fitness-related metrics.
Even though the Charge 2 has a clear OLED display, it tries to stay out your way as much as possible, allowing you to immerse yourself in your favorite activity. Activities such as hiking, biking, or running can be recorded automatically thanks to the SmartTrack feature, and the same goes for tracking your sleep duration and consistency.
Besides tracking your daily activity, the Charge 2 can also help you keep track of your appointments and personal meetings through call, text, and calendar alerts. Fitbit is constantly expanding its list of supported devices, and you can easily check whether your smartphone is compatible with the Charge 2 on this page.
The Charge 2 is available in multiple colors, and you can easily customize it to your liking thanks to a wide selection of swappable wristbands. You can also change the clock face from the Fitbit app, which is arguably the most polished and comprehensive fitness hub currently available. It features countless activities and workouts, nutrition and weight guidance, and a strong social component.
Fitbit Ionic: Mediocre Smartwatch, Excellent Activity Tracker
Just like the Charge 2, the Ionic also works with the Fitbit app, and it offers all the fitness-oriented features the Charge 2 does. What’s more, the Ionic is also water resistant up to 50 meters, whereas the Charge 2 isn’t water resistant at all. Of course, the lack of water resistance doesn’t mean that the Charge 2 won’t survive a few drops of rain, but you definitely can’t use it to track swim workouts with stats like lap counting, duration, and calories burned like you can with the Ionic.
The Ionic can also keep you motivated as you exercise because it can download your favorite stations or curated workout stations from Pandora, assuming you’re Pandora’s premium subscriber.
Where the Ionic falls short is where Apple Watch and Samsung Gear excel: smartphone notifications. The operating system feels laggy and is occasionally painfully slow, there’s a significant shortage of exciting and useful apps, and support for many Android smartphones is either lackluster or non-existent.
Considering that the Ionic retails for almost $300 and most Samsung Gear smartwatches go for around $200, we don’t see any reason to purchase it for its smartwatch capabilities.
That said, we wouldn’t hesitate to purchase the Ionic as a premium alternative to the Charge 2. For $150 more, you get water resistance, the ability to listen to music while exercising without your smartphone holding you back from going all in, and access to Fitbit apps, which, while not very useful today, could be great a few months down the road.