Fitbit Ionic release date, news and features

Update: Pricing information for the Fitbit Ionic is here, plus there's news that the watch will also be able to monitor glucose levels for people with diabetes.

After a long rumored release, the Fitbit smartwatch is finally here and it's called the Ionic.

It comes with mobile payment technology, a large full color display and a lightweight body designed specifically for working out.

We have all the details down below on what you need to know about the Fitbit Ionic, so read on to find out the release date, specs and everything else we know so far.

Fitbit Ionic release date

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Fitbit announced its new smartwatch ahead of IFA 2017 and will be showing off the wearable officially at the show later this week. The Ionic won't be on sale until October this year though.

The company will be bringing it to all of its major markets in October, with no specific date revealed yet, carrying a price tag of US$299.95/£299.95/AU$449.95.

Fitbit Ionic design and display

The Ionic is the first wearable from the company that has been entirely designed in-house at Fitbit.

The watch is waterproof up to 50 meters, meaning you can take this swimming or you can just wear it in the shower. It's made of aluminum merged with plastic to allow for a waterproof yet premium-feel design.

There are three physical buttons that are slightly raised compared to the rest of the body, making them easy to find mid-workout.

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One sits on the left hand side in the middle while two sit on the right hand side of the watch. There are also a variety of strap designs for the Ionic with leather and plastic options in a range of colors.

It's thinner and lighter than other Fitbit models like the Blaze, so it should be a comfortable fit while you're working out.

The rectangular watch face could be a highlight too, as the shape means it looks different to almost anything on the market right now.

Fitbit hasn't confirmed what size the screen is, but we know it has a resolution of 384 x 250 and Gorilla Glass 3 to stop you scratching it. It should also be as bright as the Apple Watch 2, as the display can reach 1000 nits.

Fitbit Ionic fitness

Fitbit has given its first smartwatch a big focus on fitness features. There's a heart rate sensor on the rear that the company says is more accurate than on other devices, as it sits closer to your wrist and the algorithms are improved.

There's also built-in GPS tech, so you can take this out without having to take your phone to track your run. It'll also automatically track your exercise, so you can just start running and the Ionic will notice.

One new feature for the Ionic is auto-pause during workouts, which means for example that when you get to a traffic light it will pause recording your data until you start to run again on the other side of the road.

There are specifically designed workouts in the Fitbit Coach app as well that will tell you what to do and time your press ups and other exercises.

Audio workouts will also be coming in the future, but you'll need to have a Bluetooth headset connected and it's currently unclear when Fitbit will be rolling them out.

There's also an Sp02 sensor in the Ionic for measuring blood oxygen levels, but it won't be activated at launch and the company has yet to reveal when it will allow use of the sensor.

On top of that, those with diabetes will be able to use the Ionic to monitor glucose levels. You'll need to pair your watch with a Dexcom G5 Mobile sensor that costs $900 (about £690, AU$1,120) but the results will be displayed on the Ionic watch for you to keep an eye on.

Fitbit Ionic battery and software

Fitbit estimates the Ionic will last for four days without needing a recharge, but that will change depending on how much you use the watch. If you're often exercising, it will likely last a lot less time.

When you're tracking with GPS Fitbit also estimates it will only last for 10 or so hours, so you'll want to remember to turn GPS off when you're not using it.

The Ionic is running new software called Fitbit OS. As it's a smartwatch, this allows for lots of other features, apps and watch faces that are unavailable on previous Fitbit products.

You'll be able to download Fitbit and third-party apps and watch faces from its own App Gallery. At launch, everything here is expected to be free, but the company may decide to charge for some services in the future.

The full range of third-party apps are currently unknown, but we do know Strava and AccuWeather will both be offering up their own Fitbit-based applications for you to use.

Plus, notifications will also come through to the watch, so if you get a text to your phone and it's nearby you'll then get the notification through to your wrist.

Fitbit Ionic compatibility and other features

The Ionic will be compatible with most recent iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices. We've yet to see a full list of the products, but usually anything running iOS 9 or Android 4.4 KitKat software is able to be paired with the latest Fitbit products.

Mobile payments will be possible through the Ionic with a new service called Fitbit Pay.

It's based on technology from a firm called Coin and will allow you to pay for things using the watch on contactless terminals. Visa, Mastercard and American Express will all be supported, but your bank will also need to be compatible and we've yet to hear what banks will support it.

You'll also be able to store music directly on the Fitbit Ionic, with 2.5GB of storage included. That's a rather limited amount of space, but should be enough for a couple of audiobooks or albums.

Fitbit Ionic price

The Fitbit Ionic costs £299.95/$299.95 which is a little bit less than the competition of the Apple Watch 2 or most high-end Android Wear watches.

In Australia we expect the price to be around AU$490, but nothing is confirmed for that market yet and we'll be sure to update this when we hear more on the pricing.