Yes, we’ll post a Fitbit Smartwatch Review 2017 ASAP, but here’s what we know now
It has been rumored for quite some time now that Fitbit is developing a proper smartwatch, but with a fitness focus. It seems in the very near future, sometime in 2017, they will do just that. Here’s all of the details, rumors, and specs that we could find as of August 2017. Also, make sure to check out our Wearable Tech Reviews for when we do post our official Fitbit Smartwatch Review. You can also check here on Fitbit’s website for any new announcements.
When is the Fitbit Smartwatch Release Date?
The Fitbit Smartwatch is said to be announced sometime in Q3 2017 and released in either very late Q3 or early Q4 2017. We don’t have an exact release date yet, but with history as our guide, Fitbit will likely announce it in mid-September 2017 and start shipping devices soon after, perhaps even in September.
What is the official name of the Fitbit Smart Watch?
We don’t have an official name for the device yet. We know it is not the Fitbit Blaze 2 Smartwatch or Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Tracker because those devices themselves are rumored to be announced in early 2018. Fitbit also will likely not go with something as generic as ‘Fitbit Smartwatch’. They’ll probably choose something like ‘Fitbit Venture Smartwatch’ or ‘Fitbit Nitro Smartwatch’. It would be great if I guessed the name correctly, but you get the point, it will have some name that sounds good after the word Fitbit.
What’s the Fitbit Smartwatch Price?
This has yet to be made public, but the Fitbit Blaze has an MSRP of $200, as does the Fitbit Surge Running Watch, so we’re expecting either $250 to $350. It will be more affordable than the Apple Watch Series 2 and certainly less expensive than the Apple Watch Series 3, which is also rumored to be announced/release in Q3/4 2017.
Details about Fitbit Smartwatches in 2017
Here’s an exact quote from James Park, Fitbit CEO: “Our upcoming smartwatch device will deliver a combination of features that consumers have not yet seen in a smartwatch, including a health and fitness first focus”. Basically, Fitbit is staying true to its roots, while also expanding its smart capabilities. If you recall, Fitbit acquired Pebble in hopes that Pebble would bolster its engineering staff and improve Fitbit’s position in the smartwatch game. We also know, because of James Park, that the watch will be water resistant down to 50 meters, have built-in GPS (unsure about GLONASS), multi-day battery life up to 4 days perhaps, and a developer kit that will allow 3rd party companies to develop apps for the Fitbit Smartwatch. This last point is where Fitbit will live and die and where the Pebble team will make their mark. The FitStar app will almost certainly be included on the smartwatch, as it is with the Blaze already.
Fitbit is hoping to build a massive ecosystem of apps that people will actually want to use for this new smartwatch. I for one, am hoping to see STRAVA develop an app, but also productivity companies such as Evernote. This all makes complete sense. Fitbit has the #1 most downloaded health and fitness app (US downloads) for both iOS and Android platforms. They are hoping to build on this and the community feature within the app to attract new 3rd party developers to help make the smartwatch even more attractive to consumers. Garmin has something similar in the Connect IQ Store, but Fitbit is surely planning something more ambitious. According to the CEO, there will be a handful or so of third-party apps that will be available within the smartwatch companion app at launch. These will be in the form of an app gallery. Fitbit is also planning deeper integration with the healthcare system, which is a pretty vague description, but I’ve long been saying that healthcare is the logical path for wearables. We’ll see what this ends up looking like.
As you can see from the pictures above, the Fitbit Smartwatch looks eerily similar to the first-generation Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch. I have mixed feelings about the design. It looks slightly clunky and less sporty, but we don’t know exact sizing yet. Here’s what we can discern from the leaked photos. It will have a color display with about 1,000 nits of brightness and an aluminum body. We don’t know if that will be a touchscreen because we can see navigation buttons on the right hand side of the watch face. My guess is that it will feature a touch display, however. Even more, it doesn’t look as though the bands are interchangeable. That would be a departure from Fitbit’s more recent ideology that allows consumers to customize the aesthetics of their watch. I could be wrong, but the bands don’t look like you can swap them out. Also, you can see that the bands are textured and that the body comes in at least two different colors (bronze and grey). The other thing that we know is that the device will probably be able to store music and stream music (but some are claiming that will be for Pandora only). No firm details on this just yet. Even more, we are anticipating NFC payment somewhat like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.
The Watch will also have a built-in wrist heart rate monitor, similar to the Charge 2 and Blaze devices with a layout that is nearly identical to the Blaze. It will also have a watch-style band, which is ideal for any sort of workout activities. You can also see that the device will be able to at least display the weather, which isn’t a shocker to anyone, but nice to have. We are also expecting the same fitness tracker features such as monitoring steps, calories, all-day heart rate, sleep, and more.
Fitbit Bluetooth Earphones / Headphones
Fitbit is supposedly also working on dedicated bluetooth earbuds that will launch alongside the Fit bit smartwatch. We aren’t expecting Fitbit true wireless earphones like the Apple AirPods or Samsung Gear IconX, but rather something similar to the Jaybird X3s. In other words, the Fitbit Earphones will probably have a cable that links the earbuds together and have a sporty, sweat-resistant design. Stay tuned for more details here.
Fitbit Smartwatch Wish List Features
Above is everything we know so far, but here are a few things we’d love to see.
- GLONASS — We probably won’t see this because it adds additional costs and puts further strain on the battery, but GLONASS could help to improve the GPS signal. We’ve seen GLONASS on darn near every modern Garmin wearable, including the Fenix 5 and Forerunner 935.
- Support for swimming — This would be the second device to feature swim support. Fitbit Flex 2 is the only other Fitbit that will work for swimming. We know the smartwatch will be water resistant down to 50 meters, but we’re hoping for full swim support, which seems very likely to happen.
- External heart rate monitor support — Very unlikely, but would be the first Fitbit to be able to pair with an external Bluetooth or ANT+ heart rate monitor.
- Inductive charging — Unlikely again, but would be great.
- LTE chip — Almost certainly not in the cards because it would destroy battery life.
- Smart home support — This will likely come through the developer SDK. We’re hoping that Nest, Ring, etc. will have apps for Fitbit.
Fitbit Smartwatch vs Fitbit Blaze 2
Hard to compare these two at present, but the biggest difference that we can expect is that the Blaze will remain 90% focused on fitness, whereas the smartwatch will be 50/50 in terms of smart vs fitness features. Additionally, expect the Blaze 2 to be very similar to the original blaze, but with a better display and perhaps a few more smart features added in. This will likely be $200 (same price as original Blaze) and be announced in Q1 2018 at CES 2018. We may also see better fitness data such as VO2 Max.
Fitbit Smartwatch vs Fitbit Charge 3
Another very premature comparison, but we are expecting the Charge 3 to be announced in Q3 2018. It will likely be sleeker with more advanced fitness data such as VO2 Max. It will also probably have a better display and actual GPS built in vs. Connected GPS, as was the case with the Charge 2. Price point will still be $150. The Charge 3 will target the same demographic as the 2 does, while the Fitbit Smartwatch is trying to steal away Apple Watch users more so.
Fitbit Smartwatch vs Apple Watch Series 2
This is the real comparison that we’re looking forward to. The biggest difference (and most obvious) between the two is that the Apple Watch will integrate more seamlessly with your iPhone. While we’re expecting the Fitbit Smartwatch to work just fine with iOS, there’s no denying that the Apple Watch will simply work better since it is made by Apple. Fitbit, however, will have its watch be compatible for iOS and Android. Here are some other high level comparisons:
Where Apple gets the edge
- Many more 3rd party applications than Fitbit will.
- Gives you Siri on your wrist and the ability to answer calls, texts, and emails.
- Wrist HRM and supports external Bluetooth HRMs. Fitbit probably will only have the built-in option.
- Native storage for music. Not 100% certain with Fitbit watch, although this is a real possibility.
- Vastly more 3rd-party accessories, docks, cases, chargers, bands, etc. than Fitbit will.
Same for both devices
- Color display.
- Watch-style locking system.
- Square body design.
- Easy to use software.
- Water resistant down to 50 meters. Apple Watch Series 2, however, supports open water swimming and pool swimming, but we don’t have full details about swimming support for Fitbit Smartwatch.
- Built-in GPS for running, cycling, hiking, etc.
- Durability. Neither will be particularly rugged, as compared to the fenix 3 HR, for example.
Where Fitbit Smartwatch gets the edge
- Battery life will likely be ~4 days where AWS2 is ~1 day.
- Deeper integration with healthcare system.
- More robust health and fitness capabilities, including activity and sleep tracking.
- More discount opportunities. When do you see Apple discount products ever? You can check here for deals on health & fitness gear.