Meet the Fitbit Blaze — the Apple Watch’s worst nightmare

Over the past couple of years, fitness trackers have become all the rage, to the point where even designer brands are making them.

However, Fitbit was the first brand to really bring them to the forefront of fitness fashion. Suddenly everyone seemed to be sporting these sleek step counters and bragging about how far they surpassed their step goal each day on social media.

More: Now your sports bra can measure your heart rate and fitness

Of course, once Apple saw how much success Fitbit’s simple design was seeing, it had to create its own bigger, better version. Enter the Apple iWatch. This baby has a ton of sensors that do everything from count your steps to monitor your heart rate, give you your exact location and route you to another one. Not to mention it syncs with your iPhone, giving you access to your music, calendar, texts, photos, emails, even phone calls. Pretty impressive, right? But wait.

Fitbit just announced its answer to the Apple iWatch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and let’s just say it’s definitely going to give Apple a run for its money. It’s called Fitbit Blaze, and it has smartphone capability comparative to the Apple iWatch, but with a lot more emphasis on fitness. Let’s do a brief comparison so you can see what new features it has to offer.

FitBit Blaze vs. Apple Watch
Image: FitBit, Apple

1. Wearability

Apple Watch

  • Comes in two sizes and has a dozen band styles from which to choose
  • Water resistant
Fitbit Blaze
  • Comes in three sizes — small, large and extra large
  • Several band styles to choose from, but the basic style is made with Fitbit’s classic, durable elastomer
  • Interchangeable bands — you don’t have to commit to one style like with the Apple iWatch

2. Display size and style

Apple Watch

  • 38mm or 48mm, depending on size of watch
  • Square screen
  • Coated with sapphire to protect from scratches
Fitbit Blaze
  • 0.82 x 0.96 inches
  • Octagonal shape

3. Battery life

Apple Watch

  • Approximately 18 hours, depending on frequency of use
  • Uses a MagSafe charger that connects easily to the watch and takes about 2.5 hours to charge fully
Fitbit Blaze
  • Up to five days
  • Takes about two hours to charge fully

4. Connectivity

Apple Watch

  • Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE) — this is how it pairs with your iPhone when you’re not on Wi-Fi
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz (system use only)
Fitbit Blaze
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Wi-Fi
  • Syncs to over 200 leading iOS Android and Windows devices

5. Sensors

Apple Watch

  • Ambient light
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Heart rate
Fitbit Blaze
  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • Optical heart rate monitor
  • Altimeter
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Vibration motor

6. Navigation

Apple Watch

  • Force touch (aka pressing down hard)
  • Scrolling
  • Voice command à la Siri
Fitbit Blaze
  • Touch screen

7. Fitness tracking

Apple Watch

  • Via Companion app
  • You can program it to nudge you to stand more often
  • Can monitor heart rate, speed, distance covered, calories burned
  • Lets you set fitness goals and reminders
Fitbit Blaze
  • Tracks seven days of detailed motion data, minute by minute
  • Comes with the FitStar app, which video demonstrates workouts on your watch
  • Continuous heart rate monitor
  • Workout summaries — when you connect to GPS, you can see your pace rate, distance, number of steps taken, calories burned and active minutes
  • Capable of recording multiple styles of workouts — automatically recognizes select activities and records them accordingly
  • Monitors your sleep

8. Other functions

Apple Watch
  • Weather bug
  • Apple Pay
  • Music
  • Calendar
  • Access to photos, some apps, texts and calls via connection to iPhone
  • Acts as a remote view finder and trigger for your iPhone in case you misplace it
Fitbit Blaze
  • Music
  • Calendar
  • Text and call notifications
  • Syncs with some other apps, but not as extensively as the Apple iWatch

9. Basic cost

  • Apple Watch: $349
  • Fitbit Blaze: $199
After looking at all this, it seems the Fitbit Blaze is a perfect blend of the original Fitbit and the Apple iWatch. It gives you access to the most-used functions on your smartphone, but in a more streamlined, fitness-centric package. The idea is that those who buy wearables are more often looking for the fitness/health component than a smaller version of their phone. In that way, I think it’s safe to say the Blaze bests the Apple Watch in the fitness tracker market, especially because of its flexible wearability and its much lower price tag.

More: There’s a ‘Fitbit for your ladybits,’ and it just might be crucial to your health

However, neither the Blaze nor the Apple Watch comes close to the fitness capabilities of the Garmin Vivoactive. The Vivoactive has a battery life of up to three weeks in activity tracker mode, is super light but still pairs with your smartphone and has a number of built-in sports apps. Not only can it monitor basic workouts, but it can track biking and swimming and even map out golf courses for you. Now that’s a smart fitness band.


Comments are closed.