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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

JBL decks out new pairs of True Wireless earbuds

Meet the Tune 130NC, Tune 230NC, and Endurance RACE

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Photo by MJ Jucutan | GadgetMatch

JBL is expanding its collection of True Wireless earbuds. After hitting it off with the popular Tune 125 TWS and Tune 225 TWS, the company is bringing the JBL Tune 230NC, Tune 130NC, and the Endurance RACE.

The new pairs of True Wireless earbuds promise an impressive audio experience sans the steep price tag.

JBL Tune 230NC: For those who like the stem design

Photo by MJ Jucutan | GadgetMatch

First on the new collection is the JBL Tune 230NC. It punches with JBL’s pure bass sound, together with its 5.8mm driver delivering splendid sound apt for people who are always on the go. Impressively, it has an active noise cancellation feature.

Also, it has four microphones for crystal-clear calls enabled in the stem design following its predecessor. Moreover, it has new silicone tips for a more secure fit and better bass performance.

The Tune 230NC aims to deliver 40 hours of playtime, and a speed charge feature that enables you an hour of listening after plugging it in for only ten minutes.

JBL Tune 130NC: When you like it in the usual ‘buds’

Photo by MJ Jucutan | GadgetMatch

For those who prefer the in-ear ‘buds’, the JBL Tune 130NC provides style and substance through its design and functions. It carries JBL’s signature pure bass sound of up to 40 hours of combined playtime.

To top it off, it comes with active noise cancellation so you can listen intently to your favorite tunes while on the go. It also has four microphones to ensure crystal clear communication during calls.

JBL Endurance RACE: Ready for action

Photo by MJ Jucutan | GadgetMatch

Fitness freaks and adventure buffs alike might find a new companion through the JBL Endurance RACE. The latest addition to the Endurance series delivers the same durability and comfort found on the JBL Endurance RUN, SPRINT, JUMP, DIVE, and PEAK headphones.

It has an IP67 rating that enables it to come along in your toughest workouts — dust, sweat, and splashes considered. RACE offers ten hours of continuous playback, with 20 hours of backup power through its charging case.

With its Pure Bass Performance audio, athletes can revel in music that accompanies them in pushing past any obstacles. However, too much focus can be a bad thing, which is why RACE’s Ambient Aware technology aids the athletes by helping them stay alert to their surroundings.

Price and availability

The JBL Tune 230NC and the JBL Tune 130NC retail for PhP 5,999 while the JBL Endurance RACE retails for PhP 4,999. The new pair of True Wireless earbuds are available at JBL’s concept stores, official dealers, and online stores nationwide.

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SteelSeries adds world’s lightest gaming mice to Aerox series

The Aerox 5, Aerox 5 Wireless, and Aerox 9 Wireless
g

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Aerox

SteelSeries continues to expanded its award-winning Aerox series, adding three new ultra-lightweight gaming mice to the collection.

The new Aerox 5, Aerox 5 Wireless, and Aerox 9 Wireless mice are now available, offering gamers even better precision, speed, and comfort.

Dubbed as the world’s lightest multi-genre and MMO/MOBA gaming mice, the latest peripherals come with customizable features.

Aerox

These include programmable buttons for instant access to a gamer’s preferred shortcuts, as well as syncing RGB lighting for a more personalized gaming experience.

Pricing, availability

The three new Aerox mice are now available at SteelSeries’ official Lazada and Shopee stores, as well as Challenger, Courts, Endless passion, Tec Drome, Xtreme, and other major channels.

Refer to the table below for the prices and specs.

Model Specs Price
Aerox 5
  • 66g
  • 9 programmable buttons
  • TrueMove Air sensor
  • 100 percent Virgin Grade PTFE feet
  • 3 RGB zones with Brilliant PrismSync Lighting
  • Water-resistant AquaBarrier with IP54 safety rating
SG$ 149
Aerox 5 Wireless
  • 74g
  • Up to 180 hours of battery life
  • 40 hours of use on a 15-minute charge
  • TrueMove Air Sensor
  • Quantum 2.0 Wireless and Bluetooth
SG$ 229
Aerox 9 Wireless
  • 89g
  • 12 programmable buttons
  • Up to 180 hours of battery life
  • 40 hours of use on a 15-minute charge
  • Quantum 2.0 Wireless and Bluetooth
  • Golden Micro IP54 Switches
SG$ 249

In addition, any purchase of SteelSeries entitles customers to a free one-month GeForce NOW cloud gaming subscription.

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Sony WH-1000XM5 is a luxury for your ears

Improve noise cancelation and audio quality

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Sony remains one of the most important players in the noise-canceling realm. While Bose is also a force in the industry, Sony is doing what it can to improve its own audio technology. Following up its impressive flagship lineup of headphones, the company has announced the WH-1000XM5, a new pair for your discerning ears.

Much like its predecessor, the WH-1000XM5 follows the same tradition of design. The sleeker evolution makes way for a softer, more comfortable fit around your skull, bolstered by synthetic leather.

Under the hood, the headphones sports an additional processor to improve noise cancelation, especially in mid to high frequency ranges. It can also adapt to various user scenarios like those who wear glasses or have long hair.

As always, Sony is also focusing on audio quality. The 30mm driver uses a light dome with carbon fiber composite material to deliver natural sound. Plus, with Sony’s LDAC coding technology, users can enjoy Hi-Fi Audio. DSEE Extreme automatically upscales audio files to high quality. Finally, if your audio can support it, the headphones is compatible with 360 Reality Audio.

The WH-1000XM5 also worked on call quality with four beamforming microphones on the device and noise reduction.

Starting May 20, users can buy the WM-1000XM5 for US$ 399.99.

SEE ALSO: Sony introduces 2022 BRAVIA XR TV lineup with latest tech

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