Disadvantages: some features behind the ‘Premium’ subscription
Fitbit has climbed the smartwatch chain in recent years. While it used to be known for budget bands that tracked your steps, it now has a range of smartwatches that can do everything from monitoring your sleep to measuring your stress levels.
The new Sense 2 is probably the best example of this. Inexpensive At the same €299 level as Apple’s latest Watch SE, it’s a great all-round health and fitness device, even if it’s not quite as comprehensive a smartwatch as Apple’s and Samsung’s offerings.
Physically, the 40mm screen dimensions are a tiny bit below the smaller Apple Watch on paper.
In any case, it sits more elegantly on slim wrists than many current mainstream touchscreen smartwatches.
This smaller size is probably no coincidence. There’s no doubt that Fitbit designed this with a more feminine aesthetic than competing brands.
Not only does it fit better on smaller wrists; My test model had a light gold color a nd a light gray sports band (elastic band). It could be aptly described as “pretty” or “cute”. It’s quite a far cry from the macho blokeness of the big sporty Garmin Fenix watches or the computer-on-strap look of Apple’s Watch Ultra.
Fitbit designed this with more of a fundamentally feminine aesthetic
The main physical difference between this updated Sense 2 watch and the original Sense is that Fitbit has replaced the “capacitive” button with a physical one. That’s a welcome change, as the previous model required a little too much double-pressing.
It’s very comfortable to wear for long periods of time, which is just as good, as it aims to give you a breakdown of how you’re sleeping, as well as all the sports and fitness features.
In fact, it probably beats all of its competitors when it comes to sleep analysis. My favorite feature is the snore detection, which tells you a little more about how loud you’ve been through the microphone.
Unfortunately, this is a premium feature that, while free for six months, eventually requires a €9 monthly subscription.
The Sense 2 performs general fitness checks fairly well and includes all the sports and activities you would expect from running, hiking and swimming to workouts, toga and weight training. These are very easy to access and control by quickly swiping left on the screen.
But it’s probably the additional sensor-driven activity where Fitbit offers the most value over some rivals.
One of its flagship features remains a stress measurement system based on its skin temperature sensor. Fitbit has improved that particular cEDA (Continuous Electrodermal Activity) sensor and gives you tips on how to lower your stress levels when they get too high again.
One of its flagship features remains a stress measurement system based on its skin temperature sensor
Generally Fitbit’s app – where you analyze and dissect much of this health and fitness data – is pretty good. Things like sleep charts are class-leading, while other health metrics are also easy to track and compare.
This is where a lot of Fitbit’s investments flow, particularly in the “premium” range, which ultimately costs a €9-per-month subscription for advanced health data and access to other resources like workout tutorials.
As with the previous version of the Sense, there are some handy features for those used to smart speakers in the home. It comes with Alexa – although you’ll need to connect it her account .
Because it has a speaker, it speaks answers to you, unlike some Alexa-connected devices that can only listen to you.
You can also choose from a number of different watch faces via the app, which supports third-party watch faces.
You can also choose whether or not you want an always-on display (which is dimmed), although this does affect battery life a bit.
Generally I got five to six days per charge. While this isn’t on par with monotonous non-touchscreen running watches, it’s very respectable for a color screen device. A standard Apple Watch, for example, lasts no more than a day and a half per charge – even the $1,000 Apple Watch Ultra only lasts three to four days.
You can use the Sense 2 to pay for things with its own Fitbit Pay, although support is patchy with major Irish banks. The only major Irish bank that supports it is AIB, and only with Visa cards.
As usual, Bank of Ireland doesn’t support it at all – it was last Apple Pay, years after rivals . There is also no Ulster Bank or Permanent TSB support.
A Post Money supports it with Mastercard. And you have the option to use some of the usual online services like Revolut or bunq (Mastercard) as well as Curve (Mastercard) and Transferwise (Mastercard).
The Sense 2 is said to support Google Wallet soon, which should greatly expand the number of people here who can use it, but that wasn’t included at launch or on my test model.
Opening apps or switching between them may take a second or two
In terms of straps, there is a wide range to choose from. These include the usual “sport” rubber straps through to “vegan leather” and other options.
The Sense 2 has a downside or two. One is that sometimes the engine doesn’t feel as fast. Opening apps or switching between them may take a second or two. This is far from a deal breaker, but I’ve noticed it at times.
Another reason is that some of the really handy features are behind Fitbit’s $9 premium Subscription. To be fair, you get six months free with the purchase of a Sense 2.
And I understand why Fitbit is trying to create and support a decent backup software ecosystem. But as a consumer who primarily wants an affordable smartwatch to help with fitness and health, I’m not sure an extra €9 a month is too appealing.
Otherwise, this is a practical, straight-to-the-point health smartwatch that makes the most of all the sensors it contains.
I’d like to make one last point regarding the Sense 2’s appearance, which I think draws more comments than other gadget types. A watch is something that, for better or for worse, is related to your personality or the impression you want to make.
I’ve always found the aesthetic at Fitbits to be less “smartwatch” and more “health lite.” It’s a statement reminding you (and others) that you care about health and fitness. It’s not quite Garmin-level, which could be defined as “I’m really into my fitness or my sport in a way that partially defines me.”
But it’s far more than the “all-purpose” smartwatch, also offering a lot of the fitness and health vibes of an Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch.
It’s probably no surprise that the motivation to buy a Fitbit – whether it’s a relatively advanced model like this Sense 2 or the more basic bands – is much more geared towards “getting healthy” than most smartwatches would be.
https://www.independent.ie/business/technology/reviews/fitbit-sense-2-is-a-pretty-watch-for-those-on-a-health-kick-42025323.html Fitbit Sense 2 is a “pretty” watch for those on a health rush