The Fitbit Ionic was released back in September 2017, and was somewhat ahead of its time – a mash-up of smartwatch and fitness tracker that was somewhat rough around the edges. It’s not without its merits though, and there’s a lot of potential for improvement, potential that we hope will be met if Fitbit decides to revisit the brand with a Fitbit Ionic 2.
The Fitbit Versa 3 and Fitbit Sense are two of the best Fitbits currently available, and could both be seen as evolutions of the Ionic, with their square color touchscreens, music streaming capabilities, and NFC for contactless payments. However, there's a possibility that the company may choose to resurrect the Ionic name for a future watch that focuses more on general productivity than just fitness tracking – perhaps even one running Google Wear OS.
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? Unknown, but possibly 2022
- What will it cost? Maybe around $299.95 / £299.95 / AU$449.95
Fitbit Ionic 2 release date and price
- May land at some stage in 2022
- Likely to cost at least $299.95 / £299.95 / AU$449.95
In March 2019, Park told Wareable, “Ionic will get refreshed at some point. It’s still an important part of our portfolio primarily because it caters to higher-end athletes, someone who’s much more active and fit, and the sensors there are specific for that use case whether it’s GPS or other things. So there will always be a place at the high end of our roadmap.”
So while this confirms the watch is coming, there's no clear idea of a release date. The company recently unveiled the Fitbit Inspire HR and Fitbit Versa Lite, so it's unlikely we'll see it until at least the second half of 2019.
The first Ionic was announced in August and shown off in September 2017, so a new watch in the series is well overdue. However, Fitbit doesn’t always stick to the same cycle for its upgrades.
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 be in a similar ballpark.
Fitbit Ionic 2 news and rumors
There aren’t any clear 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 other 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
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.