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Review 5 min read No comments

Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition review: A worthy challenger?

The Apple Watch has its Nike version, and now the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch has a special Adidas Edition. After the launch of the Ionic at the end of 2017, the wearable experts at Fitbit decided to team up with the brand with three stripes to bring a new version of the device to the market. What are the differences with the original? Is it worth your money? Here are the answers.

 

 

 

Rating

Good

  • Battery life
  • Adidas Train app
  • Strap better adapted for sports

Bad

  • Price

You get a bit more than the Ionic

Like Apple and its partnership with Nike for the Apple Watch, Fitbit offers an Adidas edition of its Ionic smartwatch. This new version of the device stands out above all with its design and the Adidas Train app which gives users access to special training in addition to the exercises available with Fitbit Coach. Otherwise, it's exactly the same product offering the same features.

The Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition offers a 1.42-inch LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 348 x 250 pixels. There is 2.5 GB of internal storage, NFC, GPS, an optical heart rate sensor, a gyroscope, a barometer and an accelerometer. The smartwatch ensures perfect tracking of your physical activities and benefits via Fitbit Coach. The Ionic Adidas Edition is also waterproof up to 50m and features Fitbit Pay. For more details, I strongly encourage you to read the Ionic review I published at the end of last year, because in this review I will only focus on the differences between the two versions.

To put it simply (without giving too much away), the differences between the original and Adidas versions of the Ionic aren't very significant and scarcely justify any difference in cost, even the minimal jump we see here.

AndroidPIT fitbit ionic adidas edition comparison1
On the left: the Fitbit Ionic. On the right: the Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition. © AndroidPIT

A jump in price

A special edition means a higher price, and the Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition is no exception. Though the asking price of $329 for the Adidas Edition is only $30 higher than the $299 original, it's still hard to imagine why there was any price increase at all. 

 

A new band

Contrary to what you might assume, there's little new in the design of the Adidas Edition compared to the original. The smartwatch comes with an exclusive sports wristband that's two-tone (ink blue and ice gray). The strap is much more practical than that of the classic Ionic because of the secure buckle and perforation that allows for breathability during sports and everyday life. The band also gives it a youthful, sporty look which is appropriate for both men and women. Fitbit also provides a smaller size for those with slender wrists.

AndroidPIT fitbit ionic adidas edition training mode2
Not the most elegant design. © AndroidPIT

Of course, you have to get a proprietary band for the device if you want to change it, but there are several options on the Fitbit store to choose from, including leather. Fortunately, swapping out the strap is easy.

My only complaint about the band is that it is difficult to fasten, but it's also very secure and doesn't slip once it's on. Sometimes it takes several attempts to get the strap to slide in perfectly.

A new watch face

You can't get this on the original Ionic. The Adidas Edition smartwatch also features an exclusive custom dial inspired by Adidas branding, available in four different colors (white, orange, blue and pink). On the home screen it shows the time, steps, calories, heart rate and date.

For the rest, the design of the smartwatch remains unchanged. It's not the prettiest, but as a fitness tracker, it offers an interesting look. The build quality is also very good. 

An Adidas coach

In addition to the new band, the other major difference between the Adidas Edition and the classic Ionic is the exclusive Adidas Train app. Its goal is to improve performance for runners and athletes with Adidas-made training and sessions that were created by a team of performance specialists with years of experience. 

AndroidPIT fitbit ionic adidas edition training mode
The Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition comes with the Adidas Train app. © AndroidPIT

In practice, six training sessions are available directly from your wrist. You benefit from step-by-step coaching that helps you through every series of moves. When starting a program on the watch, you are presented with a short demonstration of what you need to do via a graphic, before the watch cycles through the exercise.

Here are some of the different modes:

  • Dynamic Warm Up: Warming up your body to get ready for some exercise (5 minutes)
  • Power Pace: Training for flexibility, energy and efficiency (5 minutes)
  • Metabolic: Increasing speed and boosting metabolism (15 minutes)
  • Run Activation: Improving the stability of the body, hips and shoulders (5 minutes)
  • Strong Strides: Increasing intensity (10 minutes)
  • Post Run Stretch: Cooling down with a good stretch for recovery (5 minutes)

As I already pointed out for the classic Ionic smartwatch, the 5-second demo you see before each set can be a bit too quick to follow. Adding a speaker to this version might have helped with that. Otherwise the exercises are good for warming up to a full workout session. They are primarily intended for a more amateur set though, as more experienced athletes will already have their own training program.

Final verdict

The Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition has proven itself to be a good companion for tracking sporting activities, and it's an interesting alternative to other devices in the smartwatch market. However, it still suffers from the same flaws as the classic Ionic model: a lack of apps and an underwhelming design. Despite the presence of a new strap and the Adidas Train app (which doesn't clear the bar set by Nike with the Apple Watch), this special Adidas Edition fails to stand out as a real improvement over the original, and so it's difficult to justify the increase in price.

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