Rob Waugh on the new Fitbit Ionic smartwatch

Fitbit Ionic


I pity previous generations of halfhearted dieters. My mum had to settle for buying mail-order fitness contraptions that looked like they were designed by the Spanish Inquisition, before consigning them to a cupboard, never to be seen again. 

Fast-forward a few decades and I have a bangle that sends me emails congratulating me on climbing the stairs in my house – something I’d actually have to install a stairlift to avoid. 

Wearing a Fitbit has become the easy way to say, ‘I may be fat but I’m doing something about it, OK?’ But this year’s model is a bit of a step up, if you’ll pardon the pun, and may not be ideal for those of us who wear the things just to get rid of the guilt as we wolf down trays of Krispy Kremes. 

The Ionic is half Fitbit, half smartwatch, with a big (and almost unreasonably bright) screen, plus a smattering of apps, including the ability to pay by bumping your watch against credit-card machines. 

I always find this to be a great way to make every single person in Sainsbury’s hate your guts. You can also opt to be pestered with notifications of your emails and texts, smartwatch-style – but that’s about it as far as ‘smart’ features go on the Ionic (which is only £30 cheaper than the Apple Watch). 

You need to be really, really into fitness to make this worthwhile, as the extra features will mainly appeal to those who own Lycra garments and post about their runs on Facebook. 

There’s an impressive array of tech in there, if you are that way inclined: an improved heart-rate monitor, which showed its mettle by informing me that my resting heart rate was far, far worse than I thought. 

There’s built-in GPS to map runs and swim-monitoring (it’s fully waterproof ), and the battery lasts for five whole days. Fitbit’s app is excellent, logging progress automatically and dishing out praise so expertly you feel a bit like Pavlov’s dog. 

It offers the features you’d expect from a high-end fitness watch but it’s easier to use. Basically, it’s for actual fitness people, not wheezing, podgy part-timers. So with that in mind, I’ll just stick to the lower-end Fitbit Charge 2. I know my place.