Today at CES 2016, Fitbit has unveiled the latest generation of its smart fitness watch in the Fitbit Blaze.
With the Blaze, the company is looking to be competitive with products like the Apple Watch, which offer less by the way of fitness but far more when it comes to customization and style.
The Blaze include customizable accessory options for the bands and casing, a color touchscreen, and smart notifications from the user’s smartphone for text, calls, and calendar notifications. The folks at Fitbit even updated the music controls to allow for volume control and front/backwards skipping directly on the device.
You might notice that, out of the box, the $199 Blaze with a color touchscreen is actually less expensive than the Surge fitness watch, which goes for $249. That’s likely because Fitbit expects you to customize the Blaze with various bands, which tips the overall cost beyond that of the Surge. The Blaze also lacks the GPS built into the Surge though the watch can still track GPS data provided from a connected smartphone.
The Blaze will also include three on-board workouts from FitStar, a company Fitbit acquired back in March, right out of the box, with the option to sync more workouts to the device via the Fitbit smartphone app.
Like the Surge fitness watch, the next-gen wearable is coming with standard features like five-day battery life, MultiSport Mode, and PurePulse, which constantly tracks your heart rate without taking a break, making sure that information around your sleep habits, workout habits, and more are as accurate as possible.
MultiSport Mode, on the other hand, lets you designate what type of exercise you’re participating in, from running to cycling to basketball, and the device will make sure that you get the right credit for all of your activity.
That said, the Blaze also comes with SmartTrack, which recognizes the type of exercise you’re doing and starts recording your activity accordingly. Still, Fitbit recommends using MultiSport mode for the most accurate tracking, but wants to have the user’s back in case they forget.
The new Fitbit Blaze also comes with Connected GPS, which is a fancy way of saying that it syncs up with the GPS from your smartphone via Bluetooth.
In other words, when on a run, users must have their phone with them to track pace and steps, and when the workout is completed, the watch will push the user’s route to the Blaze to be reviewed. That said, the user will be able to see information around their steps and pace directly on the Blaze, even though that info is technically coming from the smartphone in their pocket.
Because Fitbit is including its first-ever color touchscreen to the device, users will now be able to customize the clockface of the Blaze to fit their style or mood.
Of course, to make Fitbit’s new Blaze fitness watch compatible with the same 200+ devices as other Fitbit wearables, the company created their own OS for the device, meaning that you won’t be able to download third-party apps to the watch.
The Blaze will come with a number of customization options, starting with the casing itself, which pops in and out of various bands for ultimate customization control. However, the Blaze will only be available with stainless steel casing at launch, with more premium options coming at a later date.
As far as bands go, the company is offering its classic elastomer bands in black, blue and plum for $29.95, one of which is included in the box for free with the original purchase of the device. From there, Fitbit is offering Luxe leather bands in black, grey and camel ($99.95) and a stainless steel link band in silver ($129.95).
You can pre-order the Fitbit Blaze today for $199.95 on the Fitbit website.