The Fitbit Sense replaces the Ionic on the prime finish of the corporate’s household of health and well being smart-watches and exercise trackers. On prime of each Fitbit health metric and a built-in GPS, it measures your stress ranges, pores and skin temperature, blood oxygen, electrodermal exercise, ECG, and heart-rate variations.
Fitbit calls the Sense an “advanced health smartwatch”, and it’s on well being that it beats different Fitbits such because the Versa three, which launched on the identical time however focuses extra on core health options. Learn our Fitbit Versa three evaluation.
It is an ideal smartwatch, solely held again by what I take into account a poor wrist strap and the truth that a couple of too lots of the finest well being monitoring options are reserved for paying Fitbit Premium subscribers.
Fitbit is continuous so as to add new options, corresponding to the power to take hands-free calls by way of the watch, which incorporates each a microphone and audio system, and including Google Assistant alongside the Amazon Alexa voice assistant.
Design & construct
The Fitbit Sense is a handsome watch with a shiny display and a responsive person interface.
The principle physique is fabricated from aluminium with a elegant (medical-grade) chrome steel end. This high-quality chrome steel ring is required to get a few of the extra superior sensor readings. It’s additionally extra sturdy; the medical-grade refers to its corrosion resistance.
It encompasses a huge 1.58in OLED show with a decision of 336 x 336, which is shiny, and simple to learn even in direct daylight.
The bodily button discovered on the Versa 2 has been changed with a brand new haptic sensor on the left edge – so there is no bodily button to push in, however as an alternative a touch-sensitive space that vibrates somewhat to let you already know your contact has been recognised.
A normal button would have been simpler, however actually you may get wherever you want with a swipe.
Additionally new is the included swappable strap referred to as the Infinity Band, and it takes somewhat getting used to. As an alternative of a basic watch strap, there’s a peg you push by means of the most effective gap in your match, and then you definitely shut it by means of a loop.
That is my greatest gripe with the Sense: the band that it ships with simply is not as safe because the previous watch-buckle. I had it fall off my wrist inside 24 hours, and when you think about it is utilized in bodily exercises, that is not ok. I’d critically recommend you buy one of many accent straps that characteristic extra strong buckles.
No less than Fitbit has made swapping the bands a lot, a lot simpler with the Sense. Altering the strap on the previous Versa and Versa 2 was as fiddly as fiddly can get. This time, you simply must push a tab forwards and gently slide the strap off, after which click on a brand new one in.
As for colors, the Sense is accessible in Graphite Stainless Metal with a Carbon band, or Delicate Gold Stainless Metal and Lunar White band.
Well being monitoring
The Ionic, just like the Fitbit Surge that it changed, was marketed as a sports activities smartwatch. Sports activities was considered the head of the health tracker, however with the Sense Fitbit has pivoted away from sports activities to extra of a deal with bodily and psychological well being, in addition to together with all of the anticipated health options.
Medical practitioners are more and more warning that stress might be as harmful as bodily sickness, contributing to hypertension, coronary heart illness, weight problems and diabetes. Fitbit has new instruments within the Sense that may assist determine stress, and subsequently can doubtlessly provide help to recognise and handle it.
Fitbit provides you a Stress Administration Rating that calculates how your physique is responding to emphasize primarily based in your coronary heart price, sleep, and exercise degree information.
It is helped by a brand new Electrodermal Exercise (EDA) sensor that measures adjustments within the resistance of the pores and skin to a small, undetectable electrical present in response to sweat secretion. EDA measures the depth of emotion, not its state, so a rise in conductance might be brought on by each constructive and destructive emotional states. You possibly can log your temper (pressured, calm, and so forth) after the EDA scan.
Customers can then see a graph of their EDA responses within the Fitbit app, which tracks traits over time.
Some methods of managing stress embrace growing bodily exercise and mindfulness – to which finish the Fitbit app features a guided meditation characteristic. After your session is over, prompts within the cellular app allow you to mirror on how you are feeling and see if these have a constructive impact in your stress ranges.
You possibly can set a weekly mindfulness objective, observe every day aware minutes and days, and see traits. The rating ranges from 1-100, with increased scores indicating your physique is displaying fewer bodily indicators of stress. It is paired with suggestions to raised handle stress, corresponding to respiration workout routines.
Fitbit Premium members will get an in depth breakdown on how the rating is calculated, which consists of over 10 biometric inputs, together with exertion steadiness (influence of exercise), responsiveness (coronary heart price, coronary heart price variability and electrodermal exercise from the EDA Scan app), and sleep patterns (sleep high quality). This will likely be a standard theme as we go on, with a few of the finest monitoring options within the Sense held again for subscribers.
Pores and skin temperature
There’s additionally a brand new pores and skin temperature sensor, which can be utilized to point the onset of a fever or sickness (are you able to consider any huge ones going round?), in addition to linking up with Fitbit’s present well being monitoring for menstrual phases. That is finished at evening when the Sense will measure your pores and skin temperature variation to see traits, so it would not show one-off readings.
It takes the Sense three nights to calculate your baseline pores and skin temperature. You then see nightly common variation in comparison with that baseline temperature on the Temperature tile on the At this time display within the Fitbit app.
In case your temperature is spiking or dropping in comparison with regular, this could possibly be an indication of sickness. Few of us use a thermometer on daily basis, so it is going to be attention-grabbing to see if this works – although I will have to attend for an sickness to report again on its worthiness.
SpO2, ECG & extra
Like different Fitbit smartwatches, the Sense can measure your common SpO2 ranges – the quantity of oxygen in your blood. This information can be utilized to detect your respiration price alongside how nicely blood is being transported all through the physique. Low ranges of oxygen can lead to critical signs corresponding to hypoxemia.
Notice that the Sense solely tracks your oxygen saturation ranges whilst you sleep, not like the Apple Watch 6 or Withings ScanWatch, each of which might take a blood O2 studying in simply 15 seconds at any time of day. Try our full comparability between Fitbit and Apple Look ahead to extra on how the 2 manufacturers stack up.
One complication is that the SpO2 clock face should be set as your main clock face when you find yourself sleeping to ensure that it to trace your information, which does not make the service as computerized as we predict it could possibly be. Nevertheless, Fitbit has now corrected this, though for Premium subscribers solely.
A sensor within the Sense’s outer stainless-steel ring detects indicators produced by your coronary heart every time it beats, and a brand new electrocardiogram (ECG) app – authorized the US FDA and EU CE – can assess your coronary heart for atrial fibrillation (AFib) heart-rhythm irregularity that may enhance the chance of getting a stroke, or regular, uniform sinus rhythm.
To take an ECG studying, you place your index finger and thumb on the alternative corners of the steel body for 30 seconds.
There are three doable outcomes: Atrial fibrillation (an irregular coronary heart rhythm, so it is best to speak to your physician for additional exams); Regular sinus rhythm; and Inconclusive (in case your coronary heart price is beneath 50 bpm or above 120 bpm, the ECG app will likely be unable to entry your coronary heart rhythm, so finest to not take an ECG studying straight after having wonderful cardio health).
An improved heart-rate sensor helps to drive one other new characteristic: heart-rate notifications (unique to the Sense) when it detects that your coronary heart price is above or beneath your regular threshold. This may be helpful to detect bradycardia (a coronary heart price that’s too sluggish) or tachycardia (a coronary heart price that’s too quick).
Fitbit Premium subscribers can see their heart-rate variation (HRV), the time between every heartbeat. Once more, this could point out the onset of sickness, in addition to fatigue and stress.
Fitbit new Well being Metrics dashboard (for Premium subscribers solely) goes into extra collective element on variation over time (7- and 30-day traits), monitoring respiration price (common breaths per minute), resting coronary heart price, coronary heart price variability (variation of time between every heartbeat), SpO2 ranges (quantity of oxygen in your blood) and pores and skin temperature variation.
The corporate is eager to level out that customers should not regard this information as medical truth, and may contact their physician for skilled recommendation.
Within the US the corporate has launched a brand new service referred to as Fitbit Premium + Well being Teaching. This provides subscribers digital one-on-one entry to a licensed well being skilled and personalised plan utilizing your Fitbit information, by way of the Fitbit app. The thought is to provide you limitless, appointment-free, actionable steerage that will help you attain objectives corresponding to weight reduction, stress discount, and even managing a power situation.
As I’ve stated, past the brand new health-tracking tech the Sense additionally has a formidable array of health options – certainly no different Fitbit has greater than the Sense.
After all, it tracks actions corresponding to Steps, Distance, Flooring Climbed, Energetic Minutes and Energy Burned.
The Energetic Minutes metric has been improved with the newer Energetic Zone Minutes (AZM) metric, and the Sense buzzes if you enter a brand new Coronary heart-Charge Zone: Fats Burn, Cardio, or Peak. This provides you prompt discover that you’ve got reached a goal zone, and whether or not you could push more durable in your exercise or pull again. AZM was first seen on the Fitbit Cost four, and has now been rolled out on most Fitbits, even the entry-level Fitbit Encourage 2.
The Sense also can offer you real-time stats for over 20 train modes throughout your exercises. These might be set manually, or Fitbit’s SmartTrack tech can mechanically recognise and document workout routines corresponding to working, biking, swimming, treadmill, weights, yoga, and circuit coaching.
The Sense has GPS built-in, so that you don’t have to lug your cellphone round with you on a run or bike experience. It additionally permits you, after outside train, to examine your Exercise Depth Map within the Fitbit app to see your coronary heart price zones all through your mapped route, plus distance and tempo by kilometre or mile.
The watch additionally features a 6-axis gyroscope to trace strokes and laps whereas swimming. In contrast, the Versa three and most different Fitbits do not embrace gyroscope however as an alternative calculate laps for swimming primarily based on distance.
Like all the newest Fitbits, the Sense provides superior sleep monitoring, displaying the sunshine, REM and deep sleep levels and scoring you on the standard of your sleep primarily based in your sleeping coronary heart price, time spent awake, and time in Sleep Levels.
Fitbit continues to be the clear winner on sleep measurement (period and high quality) in its battle with the Apple Watch, which is stymied by its a lot weaker battery life.
It’s also possible to get a sleeping coronary heart price measurement, however that is one more characteristic saved again for Fitbit Premium subscribers solely.
Battery and charging
Fitbit claims the Sense has a battery lifetime of 6+ days, and I bought practically seven days on my first cost, though that was with out utilizing the GPS or At all times-On Show operate.
After all, the battery life is dependent upon your utilization – utilizing the GPS will burn by means of the battery quicker than with out. You possibly can examine the remaining battery life by swiping proper or by way of the Fitbit app.
The Sense encompasses a new charger kind, which connects magnetically to the again of the Sense. I’d hoped it will join any means spherical, however it suits in only one alignment. Whereas I like the truth that it’s smaller than the chunky Versa charger, the truth that it lies awkwardly whereas charging is just not so nice.
It takes about two hours to completely cost from zero, although the corporate says that it takes simply 12 minutes of charging to provide you a day’s battery life utilizing a brand new Quick Charging characteristic.
Software program & apps
Whereas the Fitbit smartwatches aren’t any match for Apple or Samsung in terms of working a variety of apps, they do no less than deal with notifications nicely. Alerts for calls, texts and calendar occasions are supported, together with apps corresponding to WhatsApp, Gmail, and Fb.
Additionally useful are silent alarms that buzz in your wrist, in idea with out waking your mattress companion – though if used with a steel strap I can affirm that the excitement might be audible to others. Good Alarm is a setting that allows you to get up at the most effective time throughout your sleep cycle (throughout mild sleep), as much as half an hour earlier however no later than the time you set.
When it comes to apps you get the plain – timers, climate, and a calendar, but in addition a meditation app and Fitbit Pay for contactless funds.
Spotify, Pandora and Deezer are there for music management, and it’s also possible to obtain apps for providers corresponding to Uber and airways, together with different health and sport apps. There are nonetheless extra apps on an Apple Watch, however the Sense will cowl many of the necessities.
The two.5GB of music storage could be nice should you may use it with Apple Music or Spotify. Are you aware anybody who makes use of Deezer or Pandora?
That stated, the audio controls do work (unofficially) with Apple Music and Audible, for instance.
The identical goes for Fitbit Pay, which has restricted financial institution help within the UK, though extra if the US.
Cellphone calls from the wrist
Sense customers also can take hands-free Bluetooth calls by way of the built-in mic and audio system, and ship incoming calls to voicemail and management quantity with out reaching for a cellphone.
Cellphone calls on the Fitbit Sense work rather well, so long as you are not standing in a gale or close to a pneumatic drill, with audio high quality fairly good each methods, and the controls are straightforward to make use of.
Android customers also can reply to textual content messages with voice-to-text instructions – a characteristic sadly not obtainable to iPhone customers.
These options additionally work on the Fitbit Versa three.
The Fitbit Sense additionally helps Amazon’s Alexa, with Google Assistant out now within the US, UK, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand and another English-speaking international locations.
With Google within the course of of shopping for Fitbit it’s an apparent addition, as are the Android-only options like sending fast replies and voice replies proper out of your wrist when your cellphone is close by.
Fitbit has now added the potential to obtain audible replies from Alexa by way of the Sense’s little speaker.
Worth and availability
The Sense prices £299/$329/A$499. That makes it the most costly Fitbit by a way – even the brand new Versa three is considerably much less at £199/$229. Try our Greatest Fitbit information to see which different fashions we suggest, or discover the newest Fitbit offers if you wish to save somewhat.
Nonetheless, it is pretty typical pricing for a high-end smartwatch, and continues to be lower than the newest Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch.
If you wish to get comparable well being monitoring for much less – at the price of entry to lots of the good options – it is value contemplating the Withings ScanWatch, which provides much more complete well being options in a basic analogue watch design.
In any other case, try our rankings of the most effective smartwatches and finest health trackers to see what else is on the market.
As you’d count on, there’s additionally a spread of straps and bands to go along with the Sense. Accent straps embrace woven and knit bands, silicone sports activities bands, and Horween leather-based bands. There’s even a spread of Pendleton bands comprised of recycled plastic fibres.
And as I’ve already talked about, to get probably the most out of the Fitbit Sense you will actually need a Fitbit Premium subscription – for higher or worse. Should you’re new to Premium you will get six months free with the Sense, however in any other case it’s going to price you £7.99/$9.99 per thirty days.
We might desire Fitbit confirmed all its well being metrics to all Sense customers slightly than proscribing some to Premium subscribers, who would nonetheless get unique options by way of additional onscreen exercises and meditation periods.
The Sense provides a whole lot of new well being options on the top-end of the Fitbit vary. You would name it the hypochondriac’s smartwatch, it’s so stuffed with warning indicators, however there’s rather a lot right here that can assist point out critical well being issues that you should have the prospect to enhance.
Mindfulness may appear somewhat kooky to some and a priority for these with an excessive amount of time on their arms, however there isn’t a denying that stress can have an effect on us all, and managing it’s going to rapidly deliver not simply psychological however long-term bodily well being advantages.
I do marvel how usually you will need to examine your EDA or ECG should you’re not affected by an issue.
If health is all you need an activity-tracking smartwatch for, then the cheaper Fitbit Versa three provides all the pieces you’ll get in that respect with the Sense.
For all-round bodily and psychological well being monitoring, the Sense is the Fitbit with all of it.