A few weeks ago I received a FitBit Blaze as part of a project I’m working on with Sport Chek. This post is NOT part of that project. Because I have been asked many times both in person and on social media how I am liking the Blaze, I decided to write this post.
When I first started talking with Sport Chek, they offered me either the FitBit Blaze or the Alta. Despite the fact that the Blaze is now on my wrist, I initially requested the Alta. You see, I already have my Polar M400 and the TomTom Spark I got only a few months back so it seemed foolish to get yet another fitness watch. Especially since my Polar is still my preferred running training computer, and my TomTom is great for both teaching and long walks (since it has a built-in music player and fits a bit more comfortably on my wrist). And then there is my regular non-fitness watch that I wear on the weekends and when I’m out. I just didn’t make sense to get another watch. Whereas the Alta was simply an upgrade from my FitBit Flex which I’ve been wearing for years regardless of which watch I had on the other wrist.
Why The FItbit Blaze?
So why do I now have the Blaze? Because they sent it to me by mistake. When I opened the package and saw the Blaze I realized they had made a mistake, but seeing it in person I was also a bit like, “Ohhhhhhh, it looks so nice!!” So I did what any logical person in 2016 with an iPhone would do. I asked Google if I could have more than one FitBit attached to the same account. And the answer was yes. Not only that but once you have two FitBit devices on your account it will detect which one you are using so you can switch from one to the other without having to do anything within the app or the website.
That sealed the deal. I emailed them and said that I had received the Blaze, but now that I wanted to keep it. This way, those times when I wanted to wear a different watch I could pop my Fitbit Flex back on without losing any of those precious FitBit steps. 😉
So I set it up and put it on, and took my Flex off. One thing you should know is that I wear my watch on my left wrist, and my FitBit was always on my right wrist, so moving to the Blaze meant for the first time in years I had a naked right wrist. That might not seem like a big deal, but in the past few years, my fibromyalgia has started bothering my arm joints more than anything else so I regularly have wrist pain. That pain is often worse on my right side than my left (which is odd since I’m left-handed), so having a bare right arm was immediately enjoyable.
I feel bad saying this, but since putting the Blaze on my wrist, I haven’t worn any other watches – including my Michael Kors watch, or put my FitBit Flex back on.
How It Feels
The band is so comfortable, and it’s sporty while being stylish so I don’t feel like I’m wearing a clunky sports watch if I’m wearing it on the weekend. I’m sure as time goes on I’ll start incorporating the others back into a rotation, but right now I’m pretty smitten.
The strap is flexible and comfortable. The size small on my tiny wrist fits snug without me putting it on the smallest setting.
What I like
After using the FitBit Flex for so long (which only has 5 lights that light up as your step count increases during the day) it was nice to be able to see exactly how many steps I have without having to open the website or the app on my phone. It’s also cool to have a constant heart rate reading. In the past, I’ve pooh-pooh wrist heart rate watches because they made you stop and put your fingers on a sensor to read your heart rate. I should have known technology had moved past that, and instead, this uses LED lights to read your heart rate automatically. I’m sure they’ve been doing that for a while since I know the Force also tracks your heart rate.
It also explains what that flashing light I use to see when I took my TomTom off was, I guess I’m a bit slow to pick up on the LED heart rate tracking game. Anyway, if you have been wondering how these devices track your heart rate, that’s how.
The Blaze has some other fun features like FitStar which has pre-programmed workouts you can follow, a stopwatch and timer, alarms, workout tracking (which it really does automatically so I have yet to track an actual workout since mine have all been classes – but this would come in really handy during runs, bike rides, walks and whatnot).
Additionally, you can receive your text messages and accept or decline phone calls right from your watch face which is fun – but remember your phone’s Bluetooth must be left on in order for that to work.
I have yet to try controlling your iPhone music right from the Blaze. Another instructor on Facebook mentioned that is how she starts and stops (or skips) songs in Zumba and I think that is GENIUS. I don’t use my phone for my music in classes so that sweet idea won’t work for me, but it might for you!
What I don’t like…
As I mentioned Bluetooth above, this is where I’ll put my one negative comment about the Blaze. In general, I’m not a fan of leaving my Bluetooth on 24/7. It drains my phone battery and I really don’t need to be updated on my wrist anytime I get a text message (which is pretty often). However, in the first week of using the Blaze, there were at least two times I turned my Bluetooth on to sync my data and my phone couldn’t connect to the Blaze. In both those instances, I ended up having to delete it from my account and re-adding it. Not a huge deal, but a bit of a pain in the butt. But that is a software issue, not a problem with the Blaze itself, and a couple of days ago there was an update to the software so it’s possible this issue has already been addressed. In the meantime, I’ve been leaving my Bluetooth on because it’s not very often that I am in a place where I cannot charge my phone throughout the day if needed.
So yeah, I’m pretty smitten with this little gadget. The battery lasts about 5 days on a charge, takes about 2 hours to recharge so I usually do it when I’m sitting at the computer working anyway. I’ve heard others complain that they found popping it in and out of the strap set to charge seemed “flimsy” and that they were afraid they were going to break it, but I’ve not felt that at all. The watch frame is metal and it snaps in and out securely but not difficulty.
One of the reasons such a full-featured unit can last so long in one charge (in comparison, my Flex lasts about 7 days) is partly because the screen goes to sleep when you aren’t looking at it. To turn the screen on you can tap the button on the side of the unit, but it will also automatically turn on when it senses you lift your arm or turn your wrist to look at it. It’s not perfect, but that works most of the time. That’s also why I don’t mind wearing it to bed since it doesn’t have a light shining all night long, plus it is easy for me to wake up and quickly look at the time without having to turn to my nightstand.
Is It Worth The Price?
That is going to be an individual decision based on your needs. If all you need/want is a tracker to see how many steps you are taking then one of the less expensive models will suit you just fine. If you want more functionality like the built-in heart rate monitor, FitStar and some of the other features in a sleek watch styled unit – then yeah I’d say it’s worth $250.
I recently read this article where a man went to the ER and it was because they were able to look back at his heart rate reading via the FitBit app on his phone that they were able to quickly determine how to best treat him. Knowing that my husband has had heart issues in the past (he had to have an extra pathway in his heart ablated 1 1/2 years ago), this article really made me think about upgrading him to the FitBit Force or Blaze so that he could have that 24/7 heart info too in case he was to start having problems again.
And though I thought I didn’t think I cared about the heart rate monitor feature for myself, I’ve since changed my tune. As someone who has suffered from over-training syndrome and is still finding her way back to a fully healthy state from it, being able to keep a watch on my heart rate to make sure my resting heart rate doesn’t do anything weird is important and I find myself checking in once a week to see whether my average resting heart rate is going up or down.
But if heart rate tracking really isn’t something that you feel you need to worry about, I’d go with the Alta because that aqua sure is beautiful! 😀
There you go – my FitBit Blaze review! I hope it answered some of the questions you might have about this cool new gadget.
Update October 4, 2017:
Here we are almost a year and a half later and you’ll still find the Fitbit blaze on my wrist 95% of the time. I’ve had no problems with it and am still on the same strap (though I did by a rose gold metal band for “fancier” occasions). I’m totally smitten.