Fitbit Blaze still has ground to cover in terms of aesthetics and functionality.
Rebecca Paredes --0001-11-30 00:00:00
In today’s world of wearable technology, looks matter. But when the Fitbit Blaze is stacked up against competition like the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear 2, it’s clear that the Blaze still has some ground to cover in terms of aesthetics — and, sadly, functionality. It’s a fitness band with a few halfhearted smartwatch features, and at the end of the day, those features aren’t enough to justify Blaze’s price tag.
First, the good: as a Fitbit tracker, the Blaze holds its own. Its major breakthrough feature is PurePulse Heart Rate, which tracks the user’s heart rate continuously at five-second intervals, which is an industry high; during workouts, that number drops to one second. This is especially commendable given Blaze’s five-day battery life. Its landmark interval tracking makes sense — part of the Blaze’s marketing push is that it’s made for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) athletes who want to be able to check their real-time heart rate to ensure they’re hitting the right level of intensity during workouts.
But while the Blaze can provide an accurate measure of your resting heart rate, its accuracy is questionable once you start working out. While the Blaze might work for casual runners, cyclists, and gym-goers, serious HIIT athletes are better off sticking to chest strap heart rate monitors, long considered the gold standard in heart rate tracking. Of course, this revelation stands in opposition to the way the Blaze has been marketed: as a solution for HIIT athletes who don’t want to deal with chest straps. Awkward.
Mixed messages seems to be the trademark of the Fitbit Blaze. It had smartwatch features — namely, the ability to view calendar, call, and text notifications. And that’s pretty much it. One has to wonder why Fitbit bothered giving the Blaze smartwatch features if they weren’t going to go all the way with it; while the watch itself is just $200, users can spring for something like the Garmin Vivoactive HR for just $50 more and get a full slew of smartwatch features.
When these drawbacks are paired with the Blaze’s lackluster design (why is there such a huge gap between the watch face and the band?), it’s clear that this Fitbit tracker isn’t sure what it wants to be or who it’s intended for. And when there are so many other wearables with better features on the market today, that ambiguity just won’t fly.
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