The Fitbit Sense Is One Hell of an Ambitious Smartwatch

Picture: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

Fitbits fall occasion was absolutely nothing brief of a guns-blazing wonder and at the center of it was the $330 Fitbit Sense, which now changes the tragic Ionic as the businesss premium, feature-packed smartwatch. With the Sense, Fitbit is rising to the challenge and all however stating, “Hey, Apple.

The Fitbit Sense is a smartwatch that has a lot to prove.
After a pretty uninspired 2019, which ended with Fitbit getting gotten by Google, it looked like the wearables business remained in a rut. It was pumping out model after model of its popular Versa smartwatch like there was no tomorrow, even as competitors began to leave Fitbit in their dust. On the high end, Apple and Samsung keep including advanced health functions and impressive software application updates to their platforms. On the low end, business like Xiaomi and Huami are producing good, incredibly cheap physical fitness bands that damage even one of the most fundamental Fitbits. Among hardcore fitness heads, Garmin and Polar continue to have an edge thanks to their advanced GPS functions and thorough metrics. Spring 2020 brought us the Charge 4, a strong yet iterative update to Fitbits other popular line of trackers. The Charge 4 alone wasnt enough to change Fitbits fortunes.

Fitbit Sense

What is it?
Fitbits premium flagship smartwatch

Best execution of stress-tracking up until now; includes EDA sensing unit and has FDA-cleared ECG; low and high heart rate notices; lengthy battery life plus quickly charging; includes advanced health metrics; improved strap design; accurate tracking

No Like
Real-time heart rate-tracking was laggy on-wrist; side button is quickly triggered accidentally; always-on display screen zaps battery; screen not as responsive as I d like

G/O Media might get a commission
G/O Media may get a commission

G/O Media may get a commission

Prior to I dive into the new functions, however, a quick note: I wasnt able to check Fitbits ECG app, Google Assistant, or taking contact the wrist. The ECG app will not be offered till next month, while the other 2 functions are coming sometime before completion of the year.

It also has a skin temperature sensor and Fitbits updated heart rate algorithm, Pure Pulse 2.0. Like its competitors, Fitbit is also including heart rate variation as a metric within its app, and consisting of low and high heart rate alerts. Oh, and Fitbit has actually been loading SpO2 sensors for blood oxygen-monitoring in their devices since 2017 (though the first feature to utilize them didnt drop till early 2020).
On paper, this is an enormously outstanding update and could signify that Fitbit is back in the video game– if it delivers. Ive been evaluating the Sense for about a week and, while its not a complete win, this is a great smartwatch.

Lets start with the basics. On top of the new stuff I mentioned, the Fitbit Sense likewise has the staples, like built-in GPS, NFC payments, and an always-on screen. Its got all the sensing units you d expect, like an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, altimeter, and optical heart rate sensing unit. Youve also got 2.4 GHz wifi, Bluetooth 5.0, a speaker, and a microphone. The only thing the Sense is missing is cellular ability.

Design-wise, the Sense is less innovative. It, like the Versa, looks like an Apple Watch– and thats supremely dull.
In regards to size, the Sense is a bit larger and more square than the 40mm Apple Watch. The case itself measures 1.6 by 1.6 inches and is half an inch thick. I have tiny bird wrists but I discovered the Sense comfortable for 24/7 wear and throughout exercise.

Image: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

The brand-new sensors! You can see the green PPG sensing unit, the red SpO2 sensors, in addition to markings for the temperature level sensor and ECG.Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

What I like here is that Fitbit provides you a little explainer on each, so you get a relatively excellent sense of why you may want to pay attention to these metrics. The Sense said my baseline dropped by 2.6 degrees Fahrenheit– and yes, I woke up numerous times due to the fact that I was cold and for that reason got a shitty nights rest. For now, this is a Premium feature, however Fitbit says that it will be coming to all users with suitable gadgets in the coming months.

The real star of the Fitbit Sense is the EDA sensing unit and the stress-tracking it makes it possible for. You swipe to the EDA Scan App, place your palm over the Fitbits display screen, and sit still. Throughout that time, the watch will select up on invisible quantities of sweat to evaluate your physical tension.
That stated, in my testing, this function actually worked. Throughout recentlys Apple Watch occasion, I took a few minutes to determine my tension level in real-time throughout a quick 2-minute lull. I obviously was stressed out! My heart rate (which has to do with 65-70 bpm when at rest) went from 99 bpm to 104 bpm in three minutes, and the watch taped 15 EDA responses. The more stressed you are, the more EDA reactions you can anticipate. A couple of days later, after a long run and a relaxing shower, I attempted the quick scan once again. My heart rate went from 82 to 81 bpm, and I had absolutely no EDA responses. Since my deadline composing this review is worrying me out– 17 EDA responses, I just attempted once again with a longer directed meditation. It understands.

I didnt sleep well and Im on deadline. Fitbits stress-tracking and mindfulness features are amongst the most thoughtful out there. Picture: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

This is all really outstanding, but like I stated previously, the Sense isnt best. There were a couple of peculiarities that I didnt enjoy while screening.
This isnt distinct to the Sense, though– its a problem with the Versas too. The Sense likewise introduces yet another proprietary battery charger. I get that this is likely due to the new sensors, but if youre thinking of updating from an older Fitbit, know that your current chargers wont bring over.

In the Fitbit app, you likewise get a Stress Management Score. Is responsiveness, which is a mix of your heart rate variability (HRV), raised resting heart rate (RHR), sleeping heart rate above your RHR, and measurements from the EDA sensing unit. What I think Fitbit does better than everyone else is give you the option to log how you feel mentally, as you can feel quite bad even if your body is in tip-top shape.

All these sophisticated sensors and metrics do hint Fitbit may have huge plans in the future when it comes to illness detection. Initial arise from its covid-19 research study were likewise provided at the Senses launch, and metrics like skin temperature level, breathing rate, and HRV are metrics that several research studies have actually indicated as being potentially helpful in detecting transmittable diseases.
A 30-minute GPS run likewise drained my battery by about 5%, so general provided my heavy usage, it makes sense I got a few days less. Im fine with that since Sense also charges quite quickly. Fitbit says that you can get an entire days worth of charge in just 12 minutes.

Image: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

This lag didnt occur all the time, or perhaps in every kind of exercise. I only encountered it while running outdoors. Upon evaluating my heart rate data after my runs, nevertheless, the graphs from the Fitbit Sense, Apple Watch SE, and Polar H10 corresponded with each other. That leads me to think Fitbits workout app might struggle to keep up with real-time information for specific exercises. For example, I didnt have this problem with strength training, walks, or yoga sessions. This isnt going to be a problem for everybody, however if you are someone who trains according to heart rate zone, its not ideal. Ive asked Fitbit whether this might be an exercise app concern, but have not yet gotten a reaction. Regardless of whether its an algorithm or app issue, its more of a hassle than a sign the Sense is irredeemably inaccurate.
Otherwise, I found Fitbits distance-tracking to be precise and on par with the Apple Watch. I did 5 trial run with the Sense, and for each, it was within 0.05 miles of the Apple Watch SE and 0.1 mile of my running app. A 2.28-mile run recorded on my phone registered as 2.22 miles on the Sense and 2.23 miles on the Apple Watch SE. Another 2.88-mile work on my phone was logged as 2.79 miles on the Sense and 2.8 miles on the Watch SE. Similarly, both the Watch SE and Sense logged a 1.3-mile walk taped by my phone as 1.3 miles.

Fitbits fall event was absolutely nothing brief of a guns-blazing wonder and at the center of it was the $330 Fitbit Sense, which now changes the tragic Ionic as the companys premium, feature-packed smartwatch. The genuine star of the Fitbit Sense is the EDA sensor and the stress-tracking it enables. What I like here is that Fitbit provides you a little explainer on each, so you get a fairly great sense of why you might desire to pay attention to these metrics. Upon evaluating my heart rate information after my runs, nevertheless, the charts from the Fitbit Sense, Apple Watch SE, and Polar H10 corresponded with each other. Apple Watch Series 5 on the left, the Fitbit Sense on the.


At $330, the Fitbit Sense is extremely well priced for what it provides. And quickly the Sense will have Alexa and Google Assistant, which are both better than Bixby and Siri in terms of effectiveness. And while the Sense is much better with Fitbit Premium, which costs $9.99 a month, you get six entire months totally free with purchase.

My “most significant” issue with the Sense, however, was heart rate-tracking throughout exercise. I did see that sometimes the Sense lagged by as much as 10-15 bpm compared to the Watch SE and Polar H10.

Apple Watch Series 5 on the left, the Fitbit Sense on the right. The designs are rather comparable, though the Sense has a more squarish display screen. Picture: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

Precise tracking, though had some laggy heart rate-tracking on wrist in the workout app.

For under $400, the just other comparable options are the Apple Watch SE and the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2. And the Sense sports ECG, exceptional stress-tracking, the finest battery life, and the finest social community. Any way you look at it, the Fitbit Sense must be near the top of your list if youre thinking about a full-featured smartwatch.
At the end of the day, this is a breath of fresh air from Fitbit and its truly fantastic to see them pushing the wearables space forward once again. Ill need to see how the Sense handles upcoming functions like the ECG prior to I can state this an outright win for Fitbit– but based on my experience so far, the Sense is a Hail Mary that might well pay off.

Fitbits the majority of enthusiastic smartwatch in years!
Adds electrodermal activity sensing unit to measure physical stress and skin temperature sensor. Introduces new advanced metrics like HRV and breathing rate, plus high and low heart rate notifications.
Mindfulness and stress-tracking is amongst the best presently available.
Includes Google Assistant and contacts wrist.
Likewise got FDA clearance for ECG! Which comes next month!
Reasonably priced for the function set at $330; just thing its truly missing is cellular capability.

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