The Fitbit Functions You Know Love
Frankly speaking, I’m docking the Blaze a few points for its looks, but there’s no denying that the watch is a perfect example of what Fitbit does best: unobtrusive and incredibly accurate activity tracking.
Like any other fitness band worth its salt, the Blaze tracks steps and sleep accurately and without any fuss. But Fitbit also took some of the best features from its most expensive activity tracker, the $250 Surge, and baked them into the Blaze.
The Blaze’s touchscreen lets you swipe left to view the day’s activity, choose an exercise, do a quick FitStar workout right from the screen, set a timer, view your alarms, and change your settings. You can program which exercise shortcuts are available on your wrist using the Fitbit app on your phone. I chose running and Pilates because those are the activities I track most often, but you can add kickboxing, tennis, yoga, circuit training, golf, and many more. The Blaze also has automatic exercise recognition, which is an incredibly useful—and accurate—activity-tracking function that the Fitbit Surge also offers. Sometimes I forget to start a run on the Blaze before I hit the pavement, but the watch tracks runs that are longer than 15 minutes and syncs them to the Fitbit app without any effort on my part. It also automatically tracks long walks, bike rides, elliptical sessions, aerobic workouts, and sports.
Two other solid Surge features that Fitbit brought to the Blaze are continuous heart-rate monitoring, so you can see your heart rate just below the time whenever you glance at your wrist, and smartphone notifications. The Blaze will buzz your wrist when you receive messages that you can check on the colorful display (Fitbit’s first), though you can’t interact with them at all. However I didn’t mind this. The Blaze was useful for reading messages while working out, when I wouldn’t have answered them anyway.
The Blaze has some of the Surge’s best features, and it’s also more versatile in terms of style. The Surge looks like it belongs in the gym, not in public, and the Blaze at least attempts to be a more flexible fitness band. Yes, it looks like a second-rate Apple Watch, but it’s far better at tracking activity than Apple’s band is, with an app that offers a much richer look at your workout data. The Fitbit app is also one of the best activity-tracking apps around, with an established community for social challenges, a food log, GPS data from outdoor activity, and more. Unluckily, Fitbit still isn’t HealthKit-compatible, so you won’t see Fitbit data in the Health dashboard on iOS unless you install a third-party app to sync that information. But the Blaze is $100 cheaper than a full-priced Apple Watch Sport, a not-so-minor detail that might make your decision an easy one.