The Fitbit Ionic isn’t quite the all singing, all dancing mash-up of fitness tracker and smartwatch you might have been hoping for, as our 3.5-star review shows.
It’s not without its merits though, and there’s a lot of potential for improvement, potential that we hope will be met in the likely Fitbit Ionic 2.
We've already seen the second smartwatch from the company in the form of the Fitbit Versa, but that's a separate line of products so we're confident we will one day still see a Fitbit Ionic 2.
With that in mind we’ve created a wish list of the things we want to see, but before that, here’s what we’ve heard and suspect about the Fitbit Ionic 2 so far.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Fitbit's next flagship smartwatch
- When is it out? Possibly September 2018, maybe later
- What will it cost? Maybe around $299.95 / £299.95 / AU$449.95
Fitbit Ionic 2 release date and price
- May land around September 2018
- Likely to cost at least $299.95 / £299.95 / AU$449.95
We don’t know for sure that there will even be a Fitbit Ionic 2, but Wareable reports that the company’s CEO, James Park, has confirmed that it plans to launch a range of new smartwatches, and while the Fitbit Ionic 2 wasn’t named it’s likely to be among them.
We've already seen the company introduce the Fitbit Versa this year, but it may be we see a new iteration of the Ionic later in 2018. Assuming there is a Fitbit Ionic 2 our only real guess at its launch date so far is potentially around a year after the original Fitbit Ionic, which mean a launch in or around September 2018.
The first watch was announced in August and shown off in September 2017, so it may be IFA 2018 will be when we hear about a new watch. We also anticipate we may hear word of the Fitbit Charge 3 at that show too.
However, Fitbit doesn’t always stick to yearly upgrades. For example, the Fitbit Flex landed in 2013, but the Fitbit Flex 2 didn’t arrive until 2016, and many of the company's devices haven’t had a direct successor, so we wouldn’t count on seeing the Fitbit Ionic 2 next year.
We can only go by the original Ionic when guessing at the price for now too. That watch launched for $299.95 / £299.95 / AU$449.95, so the Fitbit Ionic 2 may well have a similar price.
Fitbit Ionic 2 news and rumors
There aren’t any Fitbit Ionic 2 rumors yet, but we’ll fill out this section as soon as we hear anything credible.
For now though we can speculate on some things. For example, it’s likely to keep most if not all of the fitness features from the Fitbit Ionic, such as GPS and a heart rate monitor, and to help it rise above its predecessor the Ionic 2 may well build on them, either by adding new health and fitness features or simply improving those which are already there.
On the other hand, the design may well be changed or at least refined, since that’s one of the more divisive aspects of Fitbit’s smartwatch.
What we want to see
We have lots of ideas for the next Ionic, which you’ll find below. Fitbit, are you listening?
1. A more responsive screen
In our review we found that the Fitbit Ionic’s touchscreen was sometimes slightly slow to respond, which is not what we want or expect from a device that expensive.
It should be smooth and snappy, so we can stay focused on exercise and avoid frustration. Hopefully the Fitbit Ionic 2’s screen will do a better job of this.
2. Smaller bezels
While the Fitbit Ionic is light, comfortable and reasonably premium thanks to its aluminum build, its design is arguably less stylish than most smartwatches.
That’s in large part down to the big bezels around the screen. Shrink them down – and in the process ideally shrink the whole watch down – and the Fitbit Ionic 2 could have a much sleeker, higher-end look.
3. Reliable raise-to-wake
As well as sometimes being unresponsive to the touch, the screen on the Fitbit Ionic also doesn’t reliably turn on when using the raise-to-wake gesture.
This could be especially aggravating if you want to check the time or your progress mid-workout, but wherever you are, having to repeatedly flap your arm around to look at your watch isn’t ideal, so we’d like to see this improved for the Fitbit Ionic 2.
4. Support for streaming music
The Fitbit Ionic has 2.5GB of space that can be used to store music, but that’s only enough for around 300 songs, and it limits you to music you actually own.
Since many people have now switched to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music it would be far more convenient if the Fitbit Ionic supported them, but it doesn’t.
In the US there’s at least Pandora support, but Europe currently has no similar options, so we’d like that to change for the Fitbit Ionic 2.
5. More power
Given its size and price you might expect the Fitbit Ionic to be packing a decent amount of power, yet in our review we found it to be slightly sluggish.
At the very least we want its speed to be comparable to competing devices, which when doing things like setting up workouts it’s not, so we want the Fitbit Ionic 2 to get a power injection.
6. Personalized watch faces
The Fitbit Ionic comes with a bunch of watch faces, but what you see is what you get. You can’t add widgets or tweak the faces in any other way, which puts it at a disadvantage compared to most smartwatches.
A software update could presumably sort this, so we might not even have to wait for the Fitbit Ionic 2, but hopefully personalization is added by the time the next model launches – if it’s also made available for the original Ionic then all the better.
7. A better app offering
Smartwatches, like smartphones, are heavily dependent on apps, and the Fitbit Ionic can’t really compete there.
It has an ‘App Gallery’, but the selection of available apps is currently very limited.
Fortunately, this seems to be something the company is working on, as over 1,400 developers have now signed up to make apps for the wearable, so with any luck the app situation will be a lot better by the time the Fitbit Ionic 2 lands.
- Check out our guide to the best Fitbit fitness trackers and watches