Fitbit Blaze Review Facts
Watches were – and are – a handy little gadget that can tell you the time with just a glance at your wrist, and they have been a hit ever since they generally replaced the pocket-watch for convenience. With every technological advancement, however, we’ve come to expect more from our watches, and everyone can have different needs and desires. Some just want a watch; some want a simple step-counter as they go about their day to day activities. Some want to be able to check the weather. Some want more. For those folks, the Fitbit Blaze exists in an array of face and band colors and styles.
Similarly, to other Fitbit smart watches and fitness trackers, the Fitbit Blaze can track your runs, walks, and bicycle rides from step count to heart rate. Unlike some of its predecessors, however, can also track you accurately on an elliptical or during certain specific sporting activities
, as well as gym-style workouts. While there is a waterproof option of Fitbit Blaze, if you don’t specify that when you purchase, you’re getting a smart watch
that cannot go in the shower or in water, so you cannot take it swimming.
Like most Fitbits, the Blaze can track active minutes, steps, overall distances, calories burned, floors climbed, and offers a clock display with silent alarm options.
It also has goal sets, lets you know when you’ve reached them, and can remind you to move if you enable that setting, to be sure you gain some movement without large gaps of stagnation. Additionally, it connects to your phone and is able to offer call, text, and calendar alerts. There are also notification options from certain common apps like Gmail and Facebook as long as your phone is nearby but get too far away and those features will not work. The exact distance and range are unclear and will vary based on your surroundings – for example, if you’re free-running in an industrial or urban area and leave your phone a rooftop or two away, you might still have a clear signal because of open air. If you leave your phone at camp and hike down to the lake, however, you might have no reach. Try not to count on the signal and these features without testing the distance first.
With the “PurePulse” heart rate system, you can see a simplified zone version of your heart rate on screen during a workout, as well as the actual beats per minute (bpm) number.
The zones as designated by Fitbit are fat burn, cardio, and peak zone, and they all represent different intensities and ranges of an increased heart rate. At rest, you are considered “out of zone”. Along with the heart rate monitoring system, the Blaze sports on-screen workouts via the FitStar program, which gives step-by-step instructions and graphics right on your smart-watch screen to be sure you’re doing them correctly. If you head out on a run, the Connected GPS will be there at your fingertips to map your routes and, once completed, tell you your total distance, pace, and duration as long as you bring your phone with you on the run. The GPS is not within the smart watch; the watch is utilizing the GPS in your smart phone via the connection between the two items. If you want to see where your run, bike, or walk has taken you, you will need to bring your cell phone along for connectivity purposes.
Anyone who has ever owned an app-connected device
before will not be shocked to learn that the Blaze connects via Bluetooth to your cell phone. From your phone, once connected, it draws information from your GPS
, your calendar, your email accounts, texts, and phone calls. It can also connect to Facebook – but all of that depends on the Bluetooth link maintaining connection. If your phone loses connection with your Fitbit Blaze, you are now wearing a fancy fitness tracker with 3 buttons on the sides of the face. As previously stated, test the distance to see how far you can go before you lose your connection if you think it might be something that comes up. Otherwise, keep your phone in your pocket like you normally do and go about your day.
The standard app that is vital for all Fitbit products is unsurprisingly the Fitbit app, available for free in the app store or play store, depending on the kind of phone you have. It was already mentioned that certain common apps like Facebook, GPS, and your email accounts will read out onto your smart watch but bear in mind these are not built into the watch; they all come from the phone connection. Certain aspects of the watch are built into the watch, such as the tracker and heart rate, step counter and silent alarms. Most of your extras come from connection.
The standard band that comes with the Fitbit Blaze is made of the same elastomer material that Fitbit fitness trackers are known for: flexible but sturdy, with a notch-hole closure in the back. This makes it a water resistant, comfortable band that hugs your tracker to your wrist for the purposes of a more accurate heart rate reading. It was also compared to other smart watches that users had owned in the past – or at times subsequently – and there were reports that the Fitbit Blaze was more lightweight, less bulky, and generally offered a ‘barely there’ sort of existence.
Since it was released a few years ago, not all of the options for the Fitbit Blaze are available from the manufacturer, and some may be closer to impossible to find than others. At peak, however, there were quite a few options for a different look. The original appearance came standard in black, purple, or blue bands. There was also a special edition Black band with gunmetal-tone stainless steel frame. Another design family was the “slim” collection, wherein the band would connect to the frame at the same width as a standard band before tapering off to a slimmer width the rest of the way around the arm. The most notable appearance for the slim collection was a pink band with 22k gold plated frame.
The standard Fitbit Blaze, akin to most others in the Fitbit family, boasted being splash-proof, water resistant, and sweat-proof.
There was a supposed waterproof version of the Fitbit Blaze, that lasted to 25ft in depth via a design called the PlatinumX system, but availability is questionable, and information is somewhat limited. With that in mind, please consider the standard Blaze to be your point of reference for the warnings about cleaning it (regularly with a non-soap cleanser), drying it if it gets wet (even if it might just be a splash from washing your hands), and taking it off from time to time to give the skin beneath the watch and band a chance to breathe.
The face of this model of smart watch is 1.58 inches wide, has a hi-res color touchscreen, and customizable home-screen readouts. You can scroll through various menus, tap them to open them, and read out all sorts of information at the poke of a multifaceted screen. The frame offers some protection as well as three buttons to use for further shortcut or menu-related selections, and there are options for aftermarket screen protectors that can be applied in order to avoid scratches or permanent damage to your watch face. Just remember that, at only 1.58” wide, this screen might not be ideal for someone who needs reading glasses and intends to check text messages on their watch. The face is small as compared to a smartphone screen; words are going to be tiny. It is the nature of the beast.
The same elastomer as most Fitbit models
is the kind that comes standard with the watch. There are three sizes: small, which measures a wrist with a circumference range of 5.5 to 6.7 inches; large, which fits a wrist measurement of 6.7 to 8.1 inches in circumference; and extra-large, which fits a wrist of 8.1 to 9.3 inches in circumference. There are also plenty of aftermarket bands available including leather or metal. The standard band width is the same for all of them except the slim collection, which taper down to slightly less in width for a daintier wrist.
Ease of Use
General understanding is this: if you can use a smartphone, a smartwatch is going to be about the same basic functions, just on a smaller screen. Touchscreens that involve menu icons, swiping between them and swiping between menu subcategories, and a few side buttons for special selections or shortcuts. The face readout can be customized to output what you want to see when you check your watch, and you can access the rest with the swipe of a fingertip. All of these things are very easily done for anyone who has been even moderately keeping up with electronics in the last five or so years. As for the menu and options layouts, there is something of a learning curve because it is not quite as simple as looking at a smaller version of your smartphone screen. You will have to become accustomed to the format, especially if you have only had a small-face fitness tracker in the past, such as the original Charge HR or a simple heart rate reader with no other information read out. Always have patience with yourself as you learn and remember that more often than not if something exists, there are probably internet videos about how to set up and use the item.
Most electronic devices are wise enough to phrase their battery lifespan as “up to” a certain number of hours or days, because of the variables that factor into such a calculation. The more you use something, the faster the battery is going to wear down. If you flick your wrist to check the time or look at a notification and little else, you might get closer to the “up to five days” maximum that Fitbit boasts. If you’re semi-constantly checking your notifications, the time, your heart rate, your step count, your distance calculator, or looking at workout examples via the FitStar feature, your battery is going to last a lot less time between charges. Try to keep your expectations objective in the grand scheme of things when you judge the battery life of your Blaze and remember that it only takes two hours to charge right back up to full.
The Blaze is not widely available directly from Fitbit’s website any longer, but when it was it retailed around the two-hundred-dollar mark, with some wiggle room based on your appearance selections and any accessories purchased. Now that it is only available through other retailers and more smart watches are on the market
, however, the price has dropped to about half of the original price. Again, any special edition or customization might affect that number, but you won’t be paying as much as you once were for this smartwatch. Just weigh all of your options carefully beforehand; many online shopping sites have comparison features where you can select a few different items and compare them side by side on basic stats, options, special features, and so on. It is also worth considering that you might want to buy a warranty when you buy this tech; this is not a twenty-dollar timepiece you can acquire in an average department store and replace without blinking if it stops working in a year. Be sure you put the proper amount of thought into your purchase.
The most common accessory for any electronic is the charger. If you obtain one the standard base-level Blazes you will receive a charge that involves pulling the screen box from the band frame, docking it, and then replacing it once charged. This is a more prudent way to charge the Fitbit Blaze if you intend to change frames and/or bands fairly often, especially if you charge your Fitbit overnight and select your band color and style for the following day based on what you’re going to wear. If you plan on keeping just one frame and band for your Fitbit, or simply don’t want to be bothered removing it from the frame every time it needs to charge, you can also purchase a dock station that charges the Fitbit while it remains assembled with the frame and band. Additionally, to keep your screen safe from most common scratches or cracks, the Fitbit Blaze has optional aftermarket screen protectors that can be applied. There is also, of course, the wide variety of band colors and options that are out there for the Fitbit Blaze, though with the product being discontinued by Fitbit it is unclear whether or not every band option might be available anymore. If the color of the band matters more to you than the specific advanced features of your tech, be sure to shop that option first.
-FitStar on-screen workout help
-more sports recognized
-GPS and social media notification capable
The Bottom Line
The long and short of things is the fact that the Fitbit Blaze is a competent smart watch with more fitness tracking and help than quite a few other options out there. The concept of on-screen workout aid is helpful if you are trying out a new workout and worry you might not be doing the motion or stance correctly. The text, call, and calendar alerts are handy if your phone is buried in the bottom of your bag or in your coat pocket in the other room when a notification comes through. It also tracks a wider variety of activities than previous iterations of a Fitbit, which could only sense a walk, run, or bike ride but not yoga, sports, or elliptical workouts. There are still some questions of step-counter accuracy, which can be frustrating if the step count is your main goal, but for the most part if you are on the go often enough to need a smart watch fitness tracker, you are also probably moving enough to make up for the loss of a step or two every so often. The multi-day battery life is an expectation in the field of smart watch or fitness tracker tech, and the Blaze falls right into that norm. Any special appearances such as an aftermarket band or frame will set you back more than a standard edition, but not every option that was released is available anymore, since Fitbit has stopped selling this model directly. Users said it was comparatively less bulky and more comfortable than other options on the market, but there was also some negative feedback about the lifespan of the product, so if you are purchasing an option with a warranty available, it is recommended that you seriously consider it.