The Fitbit Ionic is a good wearable, but it’s not the great smartwatch some had expected it to be.

There are lots of positives, including strong battery life, Fitbit Pay and built-in GPS, but there’s also a lot missing, and that leaves this device feeling more like a fitness tracker, rather than a smartwatch in terms of features.

Controversial design is something Fitbit loves as well (remember the Fitbit Blaze?) and this isn’t going to be the most attractive device for everyone.

Who’s it for?

Fitbit has decided to bring a few smaller smartwatch features to a fitness tracker, so you’ve got the added benefits of things like Fitbit Pay, but they’re mostly useful in an exercise capacity – so if you’re looking for a fitness watch that goes the extra mile in terms of features, the Ionic could be for you.

It’s also for you if you like the Fitbit brand and have previously used the app. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial than a Fitbit tracker on your wrist but you don’t want to switch to another platform, this will suit you well.

Should you buy it?

Even if you fall into one of the categories above, however, it’s hard to recommend the Fitbit Ionic when there are so many great options out there for smart wristwear that offer better value.

Fitbit has priced the Ionic at around the same level as the most premium Android Wear and Tizen choices, as well as just below the Apple Watch 3, all of which offer a nicer design and better features.

If you really like the design of the Ionic, and think the fitness features on offer are worth the money, then this will be a good purchase for you, but there are lots of other smartwatches that we prefer.

First reviewed October 2017

The competition

Here we're going to run you through some of the alternative watches you may want to buy instead of the Fitbit Ionic.

Apple Watch 3

The latest wearable from Apple, the Watch 3 is its most accomplished smartwatch yet with LTE connectivity to allow you to use it truly without your phone. 

That's something the Fitbit Ionic can't offer either, so if you want to be able to go running without your phone and still receive phone calls you may want to opt for Apple's watch instead.

Read our full Apple Watch 3 review

Fitbit Blaze

The Fitbit Blaze is much cheaper than the Ionic, but is a little more limited and isn't technically a smartwatch. 

It's closer to a fitness tracker, but with a much lower price and a focus on fitness features it may be a good alternative to the Ionic for you.

Read our full Fitbit Blaze review

Samsung Gear S3

Samsung has a lot of experience making smartwatches now and the Gear S3 is arguably its best device yet. We gave it four stars when we first reviewed it citing an intuitive interface and great activity tracking features as the key highlights.

There are some issues such as a lack of apps - something the Ionic suffers from too - but that's something that's improving all of the time.

Read our Samsung Gear S3 review