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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

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The Huawei Watch GT is a best seller

Some good news for Huawei

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The Huawei Watch GT has now sold over two million units worldwide — that’s the best number among other Huawei smartwatches.

According to data from analyst firm IDC on global wearable vendors in the first quarter of 2019, Huawei has achieved year-on-year growth of 282.2% against the same quarter in 2018. In that period last year, Huawei shipped five million units in total which puts it among the top three global wearable vendors.


The Huawei Watch GT was first launched in October 2018 alongside the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and other products by the company.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Watch GT: An all-around fitness smartwatch

This is a bit of good news for Huawei who is currently facing perhaps its toughest challenge to date following a ban by the US government over security issues.

The company hasn’t sat idly by as reports indicate it is working on its own operating system should the ban persist. Huawei has also launched a “Special Warranty Program” that promises 100% refund.

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How to wear red: 3 stylish pairings to try

Those red pieces shouldn’t be gathering dust

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It’s easy to think that red is best worn sparingly or just as an accent. It is after all, such a bold, eye-catching color. We normally wear a pair of red heels to add a pop of color to an all-black ensemble, or a cute red top to go with neutral colored bottoms. We rarely buy something red for every day use, whether that’s a purse or a phone, because it just won’t go well with most of our outfits.

This is exactly why we sometimes feel like we have nothing to wear — when we build a wardrobe without considering new color pairings and when we reserve certain colors for special occasions. Here are three new combinations to try with those red pieces that don’t see the light of day (or night) as often as they should:


Red + blush pink: spring to summer

Hybrid smartwatch, Fossil Q Jacqueline; blazer, Stradivarius; slip dress, Fleur du Mal; belt bag, Mango; heels, Mint & Rose.

This color combination will give you an instant flirty, feminine look especially when you do it with a silk slip dress and strappy sandals. Give it a little bit more structure by throwing on a red blazer, and stick to the same tonal colors when accessorizing to look more put together. You can dress it up with taller heels, or down with flats.

Red + tan: end of summer to fall

Smartphone, Honor View 20 Moschino Edition; crop top and pants, Aritzia; bag, J. Crew; mules, Madewell; coin necklace, myartisanstore on Etsy; hair clips, Machete.

Be a wee bit more unpredictable by pairing red with the brown pieces in your closet. A red crop top worn with tan high waist pants and mules is a good departure from the light, breezy looks you’re used to wearing during summer. When temperatures dip, add a coat in similar brown tones to stay warm. I used to be so averse to wearing this color combination but it’s now one of my favorites!

Red + red: winter to early spring

Sunglasses, Spectacles 2 Veronica by Snapchat; sweater, Everlane; shorts, Aritzia; boots, Mango; 3-in-1 laptop tote, Parfois; earrings, Machete.

Tonal dressing is my go-to when I’m in a hurry to get ready in the morning and it doesn’t just apply to neutrals. Try wearing red on red with your thigh-high boots especially during winter when everyone else is sporting the same black coat. If you’re feeling feisty, go all-red even down to your shoes and purse and you’ll be surprised how powerful it will make you feel. Otherwise, you’re welcome to tone it down with the black staples you already have.

From these three looks alone, you can create more: turn the slip dress into a skirt by wearing the red sweater over it, or pair the crop top with the shorts and nude heels when the weather is scorching and unforgiving. The possibilities are endless! As long as you see red to be the versatile color that it actually is, you’ll never run out of looks to try, and that red phone you carry every day will never clash with your look again.

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Xiaomi Mi AirDots Pro: Price and availability in the Philippines

The AirPods competitor from Xiaomi

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Xiaomi‘s awaited Apple AirPods copycat has landed in the Philippines. The AirDots Pro was initially introduced earlier this year and you can finally get your own pair of wireless Bluetooth earphones.

There’s no denying that the Xiaomi’s AirDots Pro strongly resembles Apple’s AirPods. Even their names are quite similar; however, the AirDots Pro doesn’t have the same premium price of Apple’s accessory.


The AirDots Pro is a pair of wireless earphones that has a Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, noise-canceling microphones, and touch controls. According to Xiaomi, battery life is up to four hours, while the charging case offers an extra 10 hours. Both Android and iOS are supported by the AirDots Pro.

Through Mi Authorized Stores in the Philippines, the AirDots Pro retails for PhP 3,490. It’s slightly pricier than its launch price in China, but at least you don’t have to ship it anymore. Also, it’s way cheaper than the AirPods.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: Price and availability in the Philippines

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