I’ve gone back and forth on my feelings on Fitbit’s new fitness tracker/smart watch, the Blaze. My first reaction was “yikes,” but that changed a bit the more I thought about it.
Fitbit dominates the fitness tracker market with its Flex and Force models leading the way. Those damn things sell like hot cakes and show little sign of slowing down. I do have my worries about Fitbit’s continued success as smart watches from Apple and Android manufacturers encroach on the wearable space, but for now Fitbit is winning by focusing on fitness. They just know how to sell fitness trackers, so maybe they know what they’re doing with this one too.
The company ventured close to smart watch territory with last year’s Surge, but it was still a fitness tracker first with a few smart features on top. The Blaze certainly looks more like a watch, but it’s feature set is sparse compared the Apple Watch and Android Wear. Their product page brags about music controls, workout status, call/text/calendar alerts, and most amazingly of all, a color touchscreen(!!!). Outside of the advertised 5 day battery life, the Blaze doesn’t do anything special when stacked up against the competition. That’s a problem when the competition costs very close to the same or even less in some cases.
But the Blaze’s biggest sin is simply how it looks. Fitbit’s have never looked great, but their popular models have been mostly unassuming in their looks. This one just looks terrible. It doesn’t matter how many features they can cram in this thing, I’m not putting that on my wrist.
I’m sticking with my initial reaction, “yikes!”