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Apple Watch 2 vs FitBit Ionic – Best For Fitness Tracking?

There’s a new Apple Watch competitor on the market and it’s called the FitBit Ionic

Fitbit has long been the leader in the fitness wearables market, but when it comes to true smartwatches, the Apple Watch is considered the best of the best. Until now, Fitbit’s devices and Apple’s wearable couldn’t really be compared: Fitbit was a fitness gadget and the Apple Watch was an all-around smartwatch. But with the release of the Ionic–Fitbit’s first true smartwatch, it pits the company against the iPhone giant in the ever-expanding smartwatch market. Of course, the Ionic’s announcement comes just weeks before Apple is expected to introduce its third-generation Apple Watch. Until then, the Ionic’s main competitor is the Apple Watch Series 2, which has been out since last year. Here’s how the two smartwatches stack up.

Fitbit Ionic vs Apple Watch Series 2: Specs

Fitbit Ionic

  • Processor: unknown
  • Memory: unknown
  • Storage: 2.5 GB
  • OS: Fitbit OS
  • Battery: 10 hours with GPS on, 4 days with GPS off
  • Display: 36mm square display, 348 x 250 resolution
  • Connectivity: GPS, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Waterproofing: water resistant up to 50 meters
  • Sensors: Altimeter, 3-axis accelerometers, Digital compass, Optical heart rate monitor, Ambient Light Sensor, Vibration motor, Sp02 sensor
  • Bands: Interchangeable

Apple Watch Series 2

  • Processor: Dual-core Apple S2P
  • Memory: 512 RAM
  • Storage: 8 GB
  • OS: watchOS 3
  • Battery: 18 hours
  • Display: 38 mm or 42 mm square OLED Retina display with Force Touch, 272 x 340 resolution (38mm) or 312 by 390 pixels (42mm) resolution
  • Connectivity: GPS, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • Waterproofing: water resistant up to 50 meters
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor, Gyroscope, Vibration/Haptics engine, Heart rate sensor, Barometer
  • Bands: Interchangeable

First, lets just say it’s impossible to tell how the Apple Watch 2 and the Fitbit Ionic stacks up against each other when it comes to processing power. That’s because the processor and the amount of RAM in the Ionic isn’t known at this time. We’ll have to wait until it ships in October to see how snappy it is. Where the Apple Watch 2 definitely beats the Ionic is in the storage department. The Ionic only comes with 2.5GB of storage (to hold you music) compared to the Apple Watch 2’s 8GB. While 2.5GB is plenty for music, it may not be enough if you want to add music and a lot of apps to your Ionic. That’s right, the Ionic will have an app store of its own.

Where the Ionic does beat the Apple Watch 2 is in the battery department. The Apple Watch 2 has 18 hours of battery life in mixed usage. It’s true that the Ionic only offers 10 hours of battery life in mixed usage (read: when GPS is active), but the Ionic can also last 4 days without a charge when you aren’t using GPS. The Apple Watch 2 only lasts about 24-36 hours with very light use.

Fitbit Ionic vs Apple Watch Series 2: Display and Design

The Apple Watch 2 comes in two square screen sizes: 38mm and 42mm. Both feature OLED Retina displays with Force Touch. The display is also rated at 1000 nits, so it’s seeable in bright daylight. As for design, the Series 2 Watch gives you options of either an aluminum body with Sport Band or Woven Nylon band, or a Stainless steel body with Sport Band, stainless steel band, or leather band. Bands are swappable.

The Ionic only comes in one screen size: a 36mm square display. Its resolution is just a tab bit lower than the Apple Watch Series 2, but it also has a 1000 nit brightness. Like the Apple Watch Series 2, the Ionic also comes with swappable, customizable bands.

Fitbit Ionic vs Apple Watch Series 2: Connectivity and Sensors

As for as connectivity goes, we already mentioned that only the Apple Watch Series 2 features built-in GPS. Other than that, the connectivity options include NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n. The sensors in the Apple Watch Series 2 include an Accelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor, Gyroscope, Vibration/Haptics engine, Heart rate sensor, Barometer.

The Iconic lacks wi-fi connectivity but includes NFC and Bluetooth. It uses NFC for Fitbit’s Fitbit Pay payment system (the Apple Watch uses Apple Pay). The Bluetooth connection is to let it talk to your smartphone or headphones. While the Ionic has most of the sensors the Apple Watch Series 2 has, it also has one the Apple Watch doesn’t: a Sp02 sensor. Right now this sensor can’t do much besides estimating blood oxygen levels, but in future updates, it could offer sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation tracking.

Fitbit Ionic vs Apple Watch Series 2: Operating System and Apps

The Apple Watch runs watchOS 3–a hearty smartwatch OS made by Apple. It’s also got a wealth of apps thanks to heavy developer support via the App Store. Ionic also runs a proprietary operating system called Fitbit OS. It’s likely this OS grew out of Fitbit’s acquisition of Pebble. Like watchOS, Fitbit OS will allows you to customize clock faces, make payments via NFC, and download third party apps.

Fitbit Ionic vs Apple Watch Series 2: Cost and Verdict

The Fitbit Ionic is £299, while the Apple Watch Series 2 starts at £369.

The Ionic doesn’t ship until October, so it’s hard to give a verdict on it now–but it looks like it could be a serious contender to the Apple Watch, especially for those who want a smartwatch that is more fitness-focused than productivity-focused.

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