Good Comfortable design; a large, readable display; good-looking accessories; solid four-day-plus battery life; works with iPhones and Android phones.
The Bad It's wide; pop-out design for band-swapping and charging feels clunky.
The Bottom Line Fitbit's first real smartwatch gets a lot of things right, including comfort, features and price, but it's not a slam-dunk design for everyone.
Fitbit is well known in the activity tracking field. In fact, with claims of almost 80 per cent of this market, it is probably the company most people will have at least heard of when it comes to devices for monitoring how much you move. Despite this, however, one of its newest devices - the Fitbit Blaze - arrived to a very mixed reaction.
The Blaze moves in a different direction compared to previous Fitbit devices, bringing a coloured display and smart notifications to the activity tracking party in a much larger, more prominent format. When we first briefly saw the device at the beginning of 2016, we weren't sold.
Did Fitbit get it wrong, or is the Blaze and its apparent aesthetic simply misunderstood? Having lived with the Blaze "smart fitness watch" for the last few weeks, it's come some way to changing our minds. Here's why.
The Fitbit Blaze is a tricky one to place. It sets out to be a stylish and smart fitness watch and, for the most part, it achieves this.
A slim silver frame houses the small, square black tracker and its colour LCD display, making the Blaze much more watch than a rubber band typical of this area of the market. The frame appears and feels plasticky despite being stainless steel, but there are various straps available for extra cash to help the Blaze smarten up, including three leather options at £60 each or a metal link option at £90.
The Blaze is very light, weighing just 44g, resulting in a comfortable device to wear - here with the blue classic band finish. This particular model sports the same elastomer material as the Fitbit Charge and Charge HR and is also secured with the same standard buckle as those devices, made from the same stainless steel used for the Blaze's frame. A plastic Fitbit-branded loop secures the strap in place and as per the Charge HR, so the Blaze feels very secure during any kind of activity.
It does take some getting used to, even if it offers a slim design that is significantly less bulky than the Fitbit Surge. The Blaze sits nice and low to the wrist so despite being bigger than many of the other Fitbit devices, it doesn't feel chunky. The only bulk comes from the bump at the bottom of the tracker where the built-in optical heart-rate monitor lives.
It is a device that will replace a watch rather than accompany it. However, like other Fitbit devices it still isn't waterproof - the Blaze is water resistant up to 1ATM, though, so while rain and sweat are fine, it's not recommended to shower while wearing it, with swimming or a bath both absolute no-nos.
Fitbit Blaze review: Display
The Fitbit Blaze's colour LCD touchscreen display is stunning. The colours are rich, vibrant and they really pop, making it a pleasure to view. Which is fairly unusual for a fitness tracker. Images are also lovely and crisp and bright conditions don't pose a problem to viewing at all.
It isn't an always-on display so it remains black until one of the buttons is pushed or the wrist is raised. The lifting of the wrist activation is a little temperamental but it works fine most of the time and it can be turned off in the settings menu on the watch if you wish.
Brightness control can also be found in these settings too, with options comprising auto, dim and max. Unlike some smartwatches, however, the Blaze's display can't be turned off by covering it with a hand, for example. Instead it's a waiting game until it turns off on its own. This isn't a huge problem but the display is bright so if worn at night, it will glow with no means to turn it off and even dim mode is too bright in such a situation.
My conclusion I love it, I wear it everyday!!!!
Including the XSR