Fitbit Blaze: User Experience

Fitbit Blaze
[USER EXPERIENCE] I bought Fitbit Blaze (without retail packaging) from Qoo10 about 1 month ago. Here are some thoughts on my second ever smart wearable.

Heart rate sensor: the green lights will blink non-stop
Good looking and fun!

I really like the looks of Fitbit Blaze. It is a personal preference, I asked a dozen of people if they think the same, the opinion is split. But I like it!

For me Fitbit Blaze stood out from the fitness bands and smartwatch market; it is made up of 3 parts, the tracker, frame and strap. A gentle push on the screen and the tracker will pop out. There are plenty of third-party frames and straps that you can get from Lazda or Qoo10 at around S$7+ for the frame S$10+ for the strap.

I think that is what makes Fitbit Blaze fun because for as little as S$50 you can get at least 3 sets of strap and frames. Straps can come in metal, leather, rubber (the default black) or Milanese. Surely a style for any occasion and the frame really adds a differentiator to competition.

The Blaze features a larger 1.25-colour touchscreen with a 240x180 resolution while not as high resolution as I would have like, is a bright display and some smart graphic design of the clock face makes the pixelation much less noticeable.

The only I didn't like the thick bezel at first but well, some things are possible to get used to. This is one of them.

The silver bumper and watch strap are of genuine quality
It's sufficiently useful but not as smart

As much as it looks like a watch, Fitbit Blaze is not the typical definition of a smartwatch. It is a fitness band with smartphone notifications (via Bluetooth) that looks like a watch. For one, there is no app store. Fitbit Blaze also does not allow replies to the messaging notifications like Whatsapp or SMS and only phone calls notifications for iOS devices, not for Android.

Software, it is really dull and there is little interaction. Here is a list of most common interactions with the Blaze;
  1. Hold up to check the time and step count
  2. Hold up to check notifications or when I get a phone call
  3. Startup exercise tracker, for example, Walk or Run to activate connected GPS
  4. Set alarm clock
  5. Turn on/off heart rate sensor occasionally
That said, Fitbit Blaze offers a comparatively excellent battery life to even the most premium smart watches out there. I consistently get 3 days or 72 hours of battery life before I get the low battery notification.

Some glaring limitations are a lack of built-in GPS, not waterproof and depending on whether you like them, eight clock displays might be too little. It is not possible to put up a wallpaper, which I really believe will make Fitbit Blaze a much more attractive proposition.

Fitbit fitness trackers track more than 17 different exercises but for a rather soft man like me, all I have tried are walking and running.

Tracker with rather chick clock display
My only wearable for two months

The only issues I have got so far, are the synchronization with the phone. The Bluetooth connection is great while connected. But once in a while, it doesn't reconnect and I have to reset Bluetooth on the phone. Well at least keeping Bluetooth always on the phone does not suck more battery life than I thought.

Then there is also this problem where the Blaze doesn't show Chinese characters unless Chinese is the menu language.

All said, Fitbit Blaze is very lightweight and for me, I almost don't feel like I am wearing a watch so it seems that I am more willing to wear for the day and to bed. Which of course is not everyone's preference. But it is for me and coupled with the excellent battery life and a design that I dig, it has effectively replaced my daily watch.

So S$148 for a Fitbit Blaze? It's excellent value. Despite being released more than 1 year ago, Fitbit Blaze is still available in retail stores for S$218, a recent price drop of S$100.

For a non-smart watch that looks great, with an array of cheap straps, decent phone notifications, comfortability and decent battery life, it's excellent value.
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