As Fitbit’s first premium wearable since 2017’s Fitbit Ionic, the Fitbit Sense has a lot to live up to. Still, Fitbit has learned from past mistakes and included several features that fans have been clamouring for, alongside some new ones – but will it enough? Let’s dive in.
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What we love – new focus on health tracking, built-in GPS and battery life
For whatever reason, Fitbit’s been dragging its heels with built-in GPS. The feature was nowhere to be found on the Fitbit Versa 2, but it’s finally made its way to the company’s higher end wearables with the Fitbit Sense. The GPS performance is fairly solid too, connecting on average in less than 15 seconds.
While the inclusion of GPS might be a highlight for runners everywhere, it’s not the standout of the Fitbit Sense. For 2020 and beyond, Fitbit has made clear that it’s now looking beyond fitness tracking and into the realm of health tracking – something the Fitbit Sense excels at. With a brand new EDA (electrodermal activity) sensor, the Sense can track your stress level based on your skin temperature, perspiration and other factors.
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The Fitbit Sense also comes with six months of Fitbit Premium, so you can make the most of the service’s mindfulness sessions and detailed workout plans. Using the EDA sensor during these meditations, I found that the Fitbit Sense did pick up on moments where my mind was elsewhere, and throughout the testing I did spend more time than usual focusing on my mental health. To that end, the Fitbit Sense is a roaring success.
There’s even an FDA-approved ECG scanner built into the device, alongside the ability to track your blood oxygen level. All of these features go a long way in ensuring that you have a better understanding of your overall health with the Fitbit Sense in tow.
In typical Fitbit fashion, the Sense similarly impresses with a substantial battery life. Fitbit quotes a 6+ day battery life for the Sense, but we managed to get through 5-days on medium usage. With all the key features switched on, the battery only lasted 2 days, but that’s still more impressive than a great deal of Wear OS devices.
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What we didn’t like – limited software and the expense over time
Even though the Fitbit Sense marks a huge shift forward in hardware, it’s still held back by outdated software. Fitbit Pay for instance is still incredibly limited and isn’t available to anywhere near as many banks covered by Apple Pay and Google Pay. Offline music playback is also limited to Deezer in the UK (Pandora in the US), which is bad news for any Spotify fans.
It’s also worth noting that if you want to get the most out of the Fitbit Sense, it’s highly encouraged that you keep your Fitbit Premium subscription running. While this might not be an issue for some, it’s definitely worth considering when weighing up the total cost against other fitness trackers.
With the Fitbit Sense, Fitbit has finally made a premium wearable that can appeal to the health and fitness conscious alike. As there’s no lacking for the amount of sensors included, and the vast amount of information and workout plans provided by Fitbit Premium, the Fitbit Sense is one of the best wearables of 2020.