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Fitbit Ionic review: What forced me to get fit

Their very first smartwatch!

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I had previously reviewed the Fitbit Alta HR (and actually used it as my tracker for a long while) so I was pretty excited when the Ionic was announced. Fitbit, known for its fitness wearables, had finally ventured into the smartwatch category and there were pretty high expectations. With those expectations came questions: Would the watch perform well? Would it look and feel like a Fitbit? What other functions would it have?

I’ve been using the Ionic for around a week now and these are my thoughts on it.

It looks and feels like a Fitbit 

The Ionic has a unibody aluminum case and ships with their classic bands, made with the same elastomer materials as most sport watch bands. It feels sturdy and solid and it isn’t so heavy. The smartwatch comes in three versions: smoke gray face with a charcoal band, silver gray face with a blue-gray band, and the burnt orange face with a slate blue band which I tested out.

The watch face, though pretty big, is something me and my tiny wrists can live with. It’s surprisingly thick, however. Thankfully, you don’t really notice that detail once you’re wearing it.

There are three buttons on the watch: the back button on the left, the upper-right button which brings you to daily statistics, and the lower-right button which directs you to different exercise start screens.

It’s a touchscreen display, too, so navigation isn’t limited to those buttons. Swipe up for notifications, swipe left for quick settings, and swipe right for the main menu. It’s pretty responsive, though the lift to wake function does get slow at times.

My intense I-work-out look

Fitbit devices have a certain look that screams “I work out,” and the Ionic still has that vibe.

Usually perfect when you’re rocking workout clothes, this Fitbit will not match all your outfits, unfortunately.

Grays and minimal accessories, otherwise the look would clash with the Ionic

Fortunately, it does a decent job at trying — which means with a little extra effort (i.e. wearing neutral colors and staying away from dresses), it won’t look as comical with your everyday casual wear.

The screen is amazing

What I like about the Ionic is how the 1.42-inch screen feels so… wide. Now, I know, it’s a teeny thing, but navigation on the square screen with gestures was pretty enjoyable considering it’s still the size of a watch face.

It has four brightness settings: dim, normal, max, and auto. The screen is capable of 10,000 nits which is a number that meant nothing to me — until I tested it against bright outdoor lighting and I saw the light (pun intended); I could still see the display even with the harsh lighting.

Details on the screen are crisp and the display is pretty responsive. It’s also made out of Gorilla Glass so it shouldn’t scratch or break easily.

It’s a smartwatch!

The Ionic allows you to see notifications from your phone, and even read full messages (sans photos) on the screen.

Handy tip: When you read Facebook messages on the Ionic, they are not marked “read” on the Facebook app.

It works in tandem with the Fitbit app, like previous Fitbit wearables. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and syncs your information — steps, heart rate, exercise, sleep — with the app. The software collates all of this and sends you weekly reports via email.

And because it’s a smartwatch, you can install apps on it! App selection is still limited at this point, though there are useful ones out there. Yelp, Philipps Hue, HIIT timer, Pomodoro, and Flipboard are all available for download.

The Ionic also has built-in storage, a trend we’re seeing in recent wearables, so that you can take your music to go. This means you won’t have to bring your phone on that quick run because you can play your music directly from the device.

Battery life is at three to four days, depending on your notification settings.

It has a whole range of fitness features

Of course, the Ionic is designed with fitness in mind. It has built-in personal exercise coaching programs; each one walks you through the whole routine with details on each exercise which basically leaves you with no excuse to not work out.

It also has preset programs for certain activities like running, biking, weightlifting, and interval training. This allows you to properly track each exercise routine.

Aside from the usual Fitbit features like step tracking and calorie counting, this device is equipped with a continuous heart rate monitor.

“But Isa, most trackers have a heart rate monitor!”

Yes, except turning them on totally kills the battery life on other devices. The Ionic’s heart rate monitor is continuously on by default and in my experience, the battery still lasts three to four days.

You can also use the Ionic to track your swimming exercises because it’s waterproof!

But, this isn’t the end of Ionic’s impressive fitness features.

There are also very, very fun functions

Thing is, you can track movement all you want but without the initiative to work out, you have nothing. Despite all modern fitness tracking features, no smartwatch has ever gotten me to actually exercise — until now.

The Fitbit Pets watch face is a total game changer for me. Developed by Fitbit Labs, it almost forces you to go work out… with cuteness. Each pet face lives on in your watch. To feed it, you need a certain number of steps in a day. Otherwise, your pet will leave you a heartbreaking letter asking you to feed it. 💔

One too many times, I’ve gone and exercised because I didn’t want my virtual doggo to starve. Talk about motivation!

The true treasure here is your health, TBH

Treasure Trek is also a Fitbit Labs app that gamifies your activity. It’s a treasure hunt powered by your step count!

Verdict

In the looks department, the Ionic didn’t quite do it for me. To be perfectly honest, I’m not a big fan of its design. Though I do understand that this is Fitbit’s signature look, I still feel like the whole point of a fitness wearable is to have it on all the time. For me to be able to do that, it has to be able to match things other than sports and athleisure wear. I say it again: Like other Fitbit, the Ionic still screams “I work out!” The blue and orange color option (which is the only bright color option) doesn’t help either.

But, looks aren’t all that matters. The more I used this thing, the more I enjoyed the experience. The crisp screen is always enjoyable to tinker with and smartwatch to Fitbit app integration is always seamless. Battery time is pretty good compared to other smartwatches I’ve tried. Fun Fitbit Labs apps like Fitbit Pets and Treasure Trek are also great integrations that set the Ionic apart.

If there’s anything I expected from the brand that acquired Pebble, it’s that they’d do smartwatches right. The Fitbit Ionic might not be fully there yet, but they’re on the way.

SEE ALSO: Fitbit Alta HR review

Accessories

Sony XB Series Speakers: His and Hers

Portable speakers for everyone!

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Speakers may be made for parties and fun gatherings, but that’s not always the case. It can also be your best buddy, even during times when you’re not out socializing.

In the fourth installment of His and Hers, I went through a different route. I wanted to show how instrumental music is in our lives. These are the latest additions to Sony’s Extra Bass Portable Bluetooth speakers: the SRS-XB41 and SRS-XB21.

Both speakers have the same features and the only noticeable differences are in terms of size and, of course, the party lights. The SRS-XB41 comes in red with flashing strobes and a changing line light in multiple colors. It’s perfect for guys who like it flashy but don’t mind having a bulky and heavy speaker.

The SRS-XB21, on the other hand, comes in white with lights of the same color. It’s perfect for girls who like something that will fit in their bags — something they can carry wherever they go.


Let your heart sing with art

It’s not every day you get to wake up with a beautiful view. So, when creativity kicks in, bring out your portable speaker and art kit! Roll up your sleeves and paint something in sync with the beat. Next thing you know, you’ve already created something you can be proud of.


Beating the game

Some game nights can be enjoyed when you have a friend by your side. But sometimes, a speaker can be enough of a buddy. Play loud music that pumps you up, makes you smash those buttons, clear the stages, and win!


Pretty by the pool

There are times when stress gets the best of us, so it’s important to find time to relax. Put those sunglasses on and show off that new swimsuit you just bought. This splash-proof speaker is a good companion when lounging by the pool so you can listen to some great summer tunes. Now, go ahead, take a dip, and enjoy this moment.


Playing the right jam

After playing ball, you’ll find yourself trying to recover from a tiring game. Pull out that speaker and play your relaxing tunes. With the Sony Music Center app, you can select your favorite playlists, change the lighting patterns and sound modes, and be in complete control of your music. Be your own DJ when you turn on the live mode; you’ll get a festival vibe that takes your experience to the next level.


Lost in music and words

When the weather’s all cuddly and gloomy, it becomes ideal to stay indoors and have coffee by the bedside table. Pair it up with a good book, like Eat, Pray, Love, and a speaker to play some mellow music that soothes you. That’s the recipe for a perfect day!


Own the night

These wireless speakers remind us to stay connected. Invite your BF or BFF to come over and light up the night. Hand over some wine and unwind from everyday stress.


This episode of His and Hers proved that music is a necessary companion in our lives. It has the power to change a person or a place’s mood, and with the right speakers like Sony’s SRS-XB21 or the SRS-XB41, the moment can be more enjoyable and memorable.

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Matching Nillkin phone accessory sets makes for great gifts

Gifts for yourself

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Smartphone releases are getting prettier and prettier, so it’s only right that phone accessories catch up to this trend.

I tend to think that phone cases, aside from protecting my phone, should add to the whole aesthetic of my handset. And though there are a number of case options and designs to choose from, there aren’t really a lot that have matching wireless chargers and cords.

Popular phone accessory maker Nillkin has stepped up to the design plate to give users just that. They’ve recently announced their gift sets: a box set with matching items that include a tempered glass case, a wireless charging pad, and a 3-in-1 cord. They’re looking pretty good. 😍

The first box is a pink, flower-themed set and it’s the daintiest-looking thing ever. The case and charging pad sport the same pattern with the cord in a matching color theme to boot.

There’s also a blue box that comes with a colorful pattern with purple and pink hues. (My favorite set!)

The third box is a neutral black set — which I really wasn’t fond of, but it looks great in that box set, nonetheless.

Aside from this, Nillkin has yet to announce anything else about these sets, so there isn’t any news on pricing and availability for now.

One thing’s for sure: Once you get your hands on these, all you’re missing are the outfits to match!

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EQUA smart bottle will glow when you need to drink

Always hydrate!

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An easy way to keep yourself healthy is to make sure you’re hydrated. However, this is easier said than done. It’s pretty normal to forget to drink water throughout a busy day — I know I’ve done this one too many times.

I’ve learned that it does help to have an app remind you of your water intake, but EQUA takes it a step further with their smart water bottles.

This might look like a normal water bottle, but believe me, it does a lot more. The EQUA bottle glows to remind you to take a sip of water.

It also connects to your phone and the EQUA app via Bluetooth so you won’t have to input your drinking habits — it just knows! 👌🏽

Not only that, it tracks and calculates how much more water you need to drink throughout the day.

Even without your phone, you can just tap the side of the water bottle to find out if you’re on track for the day’s water quota. A quick glow means you need to catch up, while a longer glow means you’re all good and are on track.

No need to fuss about charging, either! The bottle is designed to work for as long as around six months, and then you can just replace the batteries. It’s also dishwasher-safe (just take out the cap and the tracker) so you’ll never have to worry about cleaning up.

It comes in a beautiful rose hue, like pictured above. But for those who aren’t such a big fan of pink, it also comes in a clean, crisp white.

There’s a classic black bottle that looks more neutral for men who’d want to rock these bottles.

They also have spill-proof marble or stone covers that make them look even more unique.


Aside from looking good, each 680ml bottle is double-insulated, which means it’ll keep your cold beverages cold, and your hot drinks hot. It starts shipping out in September of this year and each one comes with a one-year warranty.

Check out their Kickstarter page here.

Image credit: MYEQUA.COM

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