Wearables

Fitbit has launched its Fall 2020 collection

Available in late September 2020

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After the pandemic finally blows over, the world will find new ways to care about health and disease. Even now, it’s extremely important to start detecting the onset of a new sickness before it can materialize. With health awareness on the rise, health-oriented industries — like the smartwatch industry — are stepping up. For example, Fitbit has launched its Fall 2020 collection, touting new and improved functionalities like stress detection and skin temperature sensing.

Fitbit Sense

First of all, Fitbit has debuted its most advanced smartwatch to date. Besides the usual gallery of health sensors, the Fitbit Sense is armed with new features for stress management, heart health, and COVID-19 detection.

The new stress management system can detect both the psychological and physiological symptoms of stress. The device uses an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor to analyze physical effects of stress. With the new sensor, the Fitbit Sense can detect the small body changes caused by stressors. Users can also perform a quick stress check by placing their palms on the watch’s face. It can then calculate how stressed you are, based on the sensor’s data, heart rate, and sleep activity.

The Fitbit Sense also has a new PurePulse 2.0 technology, allowing for an advanced way to analyze heart rates. For one, it scans a user’s heart rate 24/7. It can send notifications when heart rate dips below or peaks above normal.  Further, the Fitbit Sense is the first Fitbit device to detect atrial fibrillation, a condition affecting more than 33.5 million people. Fitbit also says that you can share their data to your doctor for medical purposes.

Besides the new features, the Fitbit Sense comes with what you’d expect from a Fitbit watch. It comes with on-board GPS, more than 20 exercise modes, automatic activity tracking, and advanced sleep tools. The watch can also now detect skin temperature, allowing it to notify you of potential fevers, illnesses (like COVID-19), or a new menstrual phase.

It is compatible with voice assistants and contactless payments. The device can last for more than six days on a single battery life. Finally, buying the watch comes with six free months of Fitbit Premium.

Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit is also launching an upgraded version of its iconic watch line, the Fitbit Versa 3. The Fitbit Versa 3 comes with the same upgraded functionalities such as on-device GPS, in-app workout intensity maps, PurePulse 2.0, and Active Zone minutes.

Further, the new Fitbit Versa 3 can manage a connected smartphone just as well with built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. It comes with Fitbit Pay to ease online payments. It also comes with more than six days of battery life and fast charging.

Finally, the Fitbit Versa 3 has partnered with global designers Pendleton and Victor Glemaud for stylish and comfortable watch straps.

Fitbit Inspire 2

For a lighter experience, the Fitbit Inspire 2 packs in a lot of features in a smaller package. For one, the device’s battery can last a whopping ten days. It packs in more than 20 goal-based exercise modes, advanced sleep tools, 24/7 heart rate tracking, menstrual tracking, and food intake tracking. Finally, it comes one free year of Fitbit Premium.

Pricing and availability

All three devices are now available for pre-order and will ship out starting in late September.

The Fitbit Sense will retail for US$ 329.95 and will come in carbon/graphite stainless steel and lunar white/soft gold stainless steel.

Meanwhile, the Fitbit Versa 3 will retail for US$ 229.95 in black/black aluminum, pink clay/soft gold aluminum, and midnight/soft gold aluminum.

The Fitbit Inspire 2 will retail for US$ 99.95 in black, lunar white, and desert rose.

Finally, Fitbit Premium will sell for US$ 9.99 per month.

Features

5 features to look for before buying wireless earbuds for your workouts

The needs are different for your athletic activities

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True Wireless Flash X

Not all wireless earbuds are created equal. While there are plenty of options to choose from, most wireless earbuds serve a particular user.

For instance, there’s the everyday listener that requires the basic (or sometimes the best) wireless earbuds experience. Some are audiophiles who are specific about sound quality.

Also, there are fashionistas who care more about how a device looks and how it will fit their ensemble. Then, there are athletes and fitness enthusiasts, whose needs are a little bit different than the average consumer.

If you’re a casual or serious athlete, a sports and fitness enthusiast, or just someone who’s serious about a fitness journey, here are some of the features to look for before buying a pair of wireless earbuds.

IP Rating

IP rating, or ingress protection rating, determines the level of protection that any electrical device has against elements, like dust and water. It’s often overlooked by most consumers, working out with whatever wireless earbuds they have claiming it can handle their sweat.

I did this before with my Galaxy Buds, with an IPX2 rating, and it can only handle a little sweat. It started to malfunction a few months after use on heavy workouts, and I regret not taking care of it.

As a fitness enthusiast, I’m usually insanely drenched, heavily sweating over the course of an hour’s workout. If you’re in for intense, heavy workouts, look for wireless earbuds that have IPX7 ratings.

Wireless earbuds with this protection aren’t just water-resistant anymore — they’re waterproof. You can submerge them up to a meter for up to 30 minutes, or get drenched in sweat when you’re working out.

Some examples would be the Galaxy Buds Pro, Jabra’s Elite Active 75t, Jaybird Vista, and my trusty companion — the JBL Under Armour True Wireless Flash X, which I’ll be using as a point of comparison for the rest of the list.

Style, size, and fit

Physical activities require a lot of movements, so some of the things to consider are your wireless earbuds’ style, size, and fit. The style and size will depend on your preferences and how you feel about it.

Meanwhile, the fit needs to be secure and comfortable. Finding the right tip can help to ensure the earbuds won’t fall off your ears. That is if you like working out with in-ear earbuds like me.

True Wireless Flash X

My JBL UA True Wireless Flash X is quite bulky for an in-ear, but I enjoy having it plugged in so I don’t have to worry about touching it on some of my workouts. It also has a wingtip to keep it in place! On another note, my friend uses PowerBeats Pro for his workouts, since he feels safe when an earbud is hooked in his ear.

Gesture controls and navigation

What I love about wireless earbuds — whether they’re for everyday use or for my workouts — is the vibe it gives whenever I use its gesture controls. I feel like a secret agent from a sci-fi movie.

Anyhoo, accessibility is important when you’re working out to keep you focused and of course, to make your life easy. It’s an inconvenience if you have to pick up your phone every now and then just for music playback, right?

For every brand, the gesture controls are different. My everyday pair of wireless earbuds, the Galaxy Buds Live, is sensitive enough that even a light tap can pause the music, except I can’t touch it when I’m drenched in sweat.

Meanwhile, my JBL UA True Wireless Flash X requires pressing the button on the right earbud to play and pause my music. On the left earbud, it adjusts the isolation of background noise, which I’ll be talking about later.

Nonetheless, when looking for your pair of wireless earbuds, make sure you check its gesture controls and navigation, and how easy it is for you to adapt. Your lifestyle and behavior will also be a factor here!

Battery life and charging case

Another thing to consider is the wireless earbuds’ battery life and their charging cases. Can it last for a day? How many times can you charge your wireless earbuds in the charging case? And does it charge fast? These are the questions you need to ask when you’re out for a pair of wireless earbuds to accompany you in your workouts.

True Wireless Flash X

The JBL UA True Wireless Flash X lasts for nine hours — enough to last you one day at work if you use it for that purpose. But if you’re using it specifically for workouts. If you work out one hour every day, this can last for a week. Which happened in my case, since I have a different pair of wireless earbuds for my calls and listening sessions.

The case, on the other hand, lets you charge the earbuds up to four times. It doesn’t support fast charging though, so it will take at least two hours to fully charge the aluminum case.

Active noise cancellation

A pair of wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC), or at least the ability to isolate background noise like the JBL UA True Wireless Flash X, is extremely helpful during workouts.

It helps you keep your focus on what you’re doing. Sometimes, it feels like I’m lost in my own world — lifting weights while listening to Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” or “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark”.

Some may argue that you don’t really need ANC, but I beg to differ. Some people can easily get distracted and lose their focus, and the amount of mental bandwidth needed to perform a workout requires intense concentration. ANC can help you focus on reaching your fitness goals.

Other things to consider, depending on your needs

Sound quality and connectivity aren’t the top-of-mind features people look for when buying a pair of wireless earbuds for their workouts. After all, most wireless earbuds nowadays focus on that — but don’t have the necessary features I mentioned above that are essential for physical activities.

True Wireless Flash X

If you’re a bit of an audiophile or you’re someone who’s connected 24/7, you might want to check several alternatives like the Jabra Elite 75t, Jaybird Vista, and the Powerbeats Pro.

True Wireless Flash X

The JBL Under Armour True Wireless Flash X retails for PhP 9,999. In the Philippines, it’s available for purchase at Onward PH.


For more great products and accessories like the JBL UA True Wireless Flash X, visit OnWardPH or follow them through their Facebook and Instagram accounts (@OnWardPH) for you to keep posted.

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Health

Huawei Band 6: Best of both worlds for the right price

Big splash in the smart band segment

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Huawei Band 6

The wearable market has been rapidly growing and Huawei has remained competitive by releasing a large suite of devices. However, it can be argued that the Chinese company hasn’t made its mark just yet in the smart band market.

Enter the Huawei Band 6, the company’s latest attempt at disrupting the game. With a display that’s eye-catching and a price that can only be described as tempting, can the Band 6 finally be Huawei’s big splash in the smart band segment? Can this hybrid serve as the casual athlete’s GadgetMatch?

Sized like a watch, feels like a band

On my first impressions of the Band 6, I immediately mentioned its screen as one of its highlights. Amazing software can be derailed by hardware that’s weak and Huawei didn’t fail on this end. Its bigger screen is capable of making a big difference.

The thing with most smart bands is they’re valuable not as a one-stop hub for information, but as a tracker. More often than not, you go to your phone to check your progress on certain exercises or sleep patterns.

Huawei Band 6

That’s not the case with Huawei’s newest wearable. Viewing time and other important information is a delight, even when faced directly under sunlight. Screen size is incredibly important in bridging that gap between smart band and smart watch. The Band 6 does that extremely well.

Even better is how despite its size, it doesn’t feel heavy when worn. It’s named Huawei Band 6 after all, not Huawei Watch. It’s light, but sturdy. Wearing it while sleeping was far from a burden.

It’s versatile and stylish. Very few products can offer that from this price point and from the smart band segment.

Battery life is respectable

While the Band 6 didn’t live up to the two-week battery life Huawei boasted, it’s no slouch. The battery went from 100 to 10 percent in a matter of a week, which isn’t bad considering it’s housing a large screen, automatic tracking was turned on for heart rate and stress, and workout modes were used five times a week. Using the Band’s full suite of features requires power, and all things considered, its battery holds up well.

Huawei Band 6

Charging was also a breeze thanks to its straightforward setup. It only took the band one hour and 30 minutes to top up to 100 percent, which was quite respectable.

Big screen, big-time features for a band

The problem with most smart bands is how it skimps on features so it’s able to maintain a cheaper price point. Improving hardware can be expensive and it wouldn’t have been surprising if Huawei cut down certain features to keep the Band 6 affordable.

In that case, it depends on which wearable segment you’re comparing. Versus other smartwatches, it cuts down on features. You can’t play music straight from the watch and you can’t reply to texts despite its larger screen size.

But smartwatches are expensive for that exact reason. The Band 6 is best compared to smart bands and against its competition; it shines. It has all the features you’d expect out of a modern smart band.

Huawei Band 6

Casual athletes will be glad to find that the Band 6 houses 96 workout modes such as Strength, HIIT, Jump Rope, and Indoor Run. Having a suite of workouts that wide is extremely helpful if tracking your exercises is important to you.

Assistance over accuracy

SPO2 monitoring is also an awesome feature to have especially given the current pandemic. However, accuracy isn’t this Band’s strongest suit, and it shows with the numbers that come up during workouts and with your oxygen levels. In fact, there was one instance during a HIIT session that the heart rate the Band was showing was lower than what I was experiencing. That’s something to consider when using the device as a measuring tool.

With that being said, it’s important to note that the Huawei Band 6 is best used for guidance and assistance rather than accuracy. Nothing beats medical-grade tools such as a pulse oximeter or coaching from a trainer. However, its wide suite of features is a great jumping point for someone who wants to live a healthier and active lifestyle. Considering that’s the value Huawei wants to promote with this new device, that’s a big win for them.

Huawei Health App provides the basics and some insight

The same statement above applies to the Huawei Health App as well. The app is best used for guidance and not accuracy.

The Health App is straightforward but filled with the right amount of information. Insight regarding weight tracking, exercises, and stress is limited, but useful, nonetheless.

There is one thing the Huawei Health App is very good at: sleep tracking. While insight from its tracking can feel repetitive at times, there’s a lot of substance to the data you’ll get. Aside from the basic Deep sleep-light sleep-REM sleep, the Health App also tracks Deep sleep continuity, breathing quality, and how many times you wake up during your cycle.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Pricing it at PhP 2,599 may be considered as a risk given the cheaper price points of other smart bands. But the price increase is warranted. The Huawei Band 6 is undoubtedly an upgrade from cheaper smart bands, and it makes the right compromises, so the price doesn’t increase dramatically.

Huawei Band 6

The Band 6 can serve as the bridge between the smart band and smartwatch segments. It’s sized and featured like a smartwatch, while being priced like a smart band. That’s a big win for Huawei and for the consumer.

Buy now: Lazada | Shopee

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News

Fitbit launches a new style-focused fitness tracker called the Luxe

It looks like jewelry

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Fitbit has launched its thinnest and undoubtedly most fashionable fitness tracker to date called the Luxe. It can be camouflaged to look like jewelry with a wide range of band options.

It has a stainless steel case made using a design process called metal injection moulding to give it a feel of handcrafted jewellery. Fitbit partnered with Laguna Beach-based jewellery brand gorjana to design the Luxe.

Fitbit Luxe has a similar form factor to the Inspire 2, which was launched year. Unlike the Inspire 2, the case of the Luxe is made from smart stainless steel rather than polymer, giving it a more premium look.

On the fitness front, the Luxe offers heart rate tracking, 20 exercise modes like golf, pilates, spinning, tennis, hiking, and biking, and there’s also a stress calculator. However, it skips GPS connectivity so your phone will always have to be around for full functionality.

The tracker is water resistant up to 5ATM, making it ideal to track your swims. The Luxe introduces deeper insights into this with seven-day trends that were previously reserved for Fitbit Premium members, and subscribers will still get longer 30-day trend reports.

These members also have access to over 200 mindfulness sessions from popular brands like Aaptiv, Aura, Breethe, and Deepak Chopra’s Mindful Method. Lastly, also offers sleep score that helps you better understand your sleep quality, and bedtime reminders can help you establish a more consistent sleep routine.

Price and availability

The new Fitbit Luxe is priced at US$ 149. It will come in varied silicone band colour options and even a woven style that wraps around your hand twice. Fitbit will bundle six-months of Fitbit Premium for free for new buyers. The gorjana-designed Special Edition costs US$ 200. It’s available for purchase via Fitbit’s website in most markets.

In the Philippines, the Fitbit Luxe will retail for PhP 8,490 while the gorjana-designed Special Edition will cost PhP 12,990. Both variants will be available from June onwards.

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