Fitbit Blaze: activity at the look of smartwatch tracker

when Fitbit, world leader in the wearables, has announced the release of the Blaze at the CES in Las Vegas in January 2016, she was regularly described as a competitor that is credible to the Apple Watch, with a nice design, a touch screen and connected functions. Just less expensive. Strategically, this new model is the armies of casual athletes, new followers of the running and sports halls.

Fitbit had previously used us to more functional than pretty bracelets and the Blaze seemed to be the watch able to bring the brand into a new dynamic to the conquest of a lucrative market.

after having tested, it takes each in its place. Apple Watch is almost a smartphone barely bigger than a postage stamp, with either an ecosystem of applications. The Blaze is more a Fitbit bracelet with a nice screen color (the first of Fitbit), fitness-oriented functions and all of the Fitbit experience in the follow-up of daily activity.

presentation of the Fitbit Blaze presentation-fitbit-blaze

it cannot be said that the design of the first generation of bracelets Fitbit (Flex, load, load HR, Surge) was very neat. But that changed in 2016, such with the Alta and the Blaze. Finished plastic bracelets black and cubic.

the Blaze is built from a black square, inserted in an octagonal stainless steel frame. This design is unique, with 2 openwork areas at the top and bottom of the case, but I find it quite successful, very modern. Far enough away from the design expected of a watch sports anyway.

the idea behind this particular design is to separate the housing from the rest to change radically in style. I.e. it does not change only the color of the bracelet. Beyond the material and color of the bracelet, customization goes up to change the housing management and change your look completely. I pass quickly over the gold-plated Special Edition. To introduce you to the 4 lines of style that can take the Blaze.

  • luxury: bracelets leather, including 2 versions of thin strap or metal links

  • leisure: bracelets nylon

  • Special Edition: completely black or pink/gold

  • classic: wristband silicone with a ridged texture

A usage, the Blaze is completely forgotten, it’s pretty impressive. It does no more than 1 cm thick and weighs 42g. It is roughly the same size as the Garmin Vívoactive . It is very comfortable to wear and goes briskly under sleeves.

the screen makes it very well. When I say he makes very good, is that with 240 × 180 pixels, it’s a better resolution than on the Fenix 3 ! It’s touch, in color, and still readable all the time, even in the dark, because it’s an LCD screen. The disadvantage is that to save battery power, it is not lit at all times. To activate it, either type 2 times on the screen, or lift the wrist (a little different movement of what we find on other brands to do a rotation of the wrist to get the screen in front of the eyes). The implementation is well made, reactive and the screen turns off as soon as we go down the wrist. Especially (and this is very important), the screen stays on continuously during sports, which is still much more convenient when you want to look at where we are. Finally, if needed, 3 buttons sometimes happen from the touch. But they are not enough to do everything. The touchscreen is essential.

menu consists of 7 main screens:

  • hour

  • today (daily activity monitoring)

  • exercise (throwing a sports session)

  • FitStar (a program of coaching for muscle building sessions)

  • (stopwatch and countdown) timer

  • alarm ()

  • settings

the Blaze does not target the rabid athletes who are preparing for a marathon. So it is not equipped with GPS and offers a little more oriented sports lifestyles fitness room. Nevertheless, there is a jogging mode to use the GPS of a smartphone coupled with the Blaze through the Fitbit app.

on the back is the cardio optical sensor consisting of 2 LEDs and 1 sensor. Here again, we see that it is intended more to leisure sport to performance because it is not possible to use a heart rate belt (which is usually possible on cardio without belt Garmin, TomTom or Polar watches). fitbit-fitstar

FitStart is a particular, specific to Fitbit, mode that helps guide you in muscle building sessions. Easy exercises you can do at home. Each movement is presented in the form of an animation on the screen.

  • warm-up: 8 minute workout to prepare for a meeting of sport

  • Circuit training: 13 exercises

  • ABS: 10 minutes of ABS

once coupled with your smartphone, the Bluetooth connection can be used as well for smart notifications for synchronizing continuous data to the application.

all alerts (smart notifications, alarm, alert during a gym session) are made by vibrations. Care must be taken to not miss them, it’s really quiet. In fact it’s going in every day life, but during a very active sport, it is not uncommon to miss.

the autonomy announced by Fitbit is 5 days. And there is not deception. Even by several sessions of sport a week, I still reached 5 days. It’s pretty impressive. Agree there is no GPS, but given the size of the case of the screen color touchscreen, smart notifications and follow-up cardio 24/24, it’s still a good performance.

she is only splash-resistant, not waterproof. And Fitbit recommend even to remove for a shower. Don’t take any chances.

from the main screen, you can drag down to find the control panel your smartphone music (pause, forward, back, and volume more and less), as many sports watches connected.

for a sport session fitbit-blaze-running

the Blaze supports 6 sports basic modes (jogging, bicycle, bodybuilding, treadmill, elliptical and gym), to which may be added 12 slightly more exotic sport modes: hiking, spinning, yoga, bootcamp, training circuit, golf, kickboxing, martial arts, pilates, stepper, tennis, walking. Don’t ask me how or why Fitbit chose these sports, I know nothing (kickboxing?). You can select one by one from the app to see on the watch.

some profiles can use your smartphone GPS to give the data like distance and speed. You can of course use these profiles without a smartphone, but the Blaze will then use its accelerometer to estimate the distance and speed. But accuracy does not reach that of the GPS. You can see what interests you. For others, it is essentially measure the heart rate and the time trial.

gps-ouvert-blaze-m600 it is not possible to define a goal, whatever it is. It is a shame. Not possible to go for 30 minutes or 5km. I’m not asking to be able to do the split, the Blaze is not at all intended for this use. But I wish I could at least set a goal of time or distance.

the baro altimeter is not used to display the altitude or elevation during an activity. Yet, it works, because there is a graph of altitude in the Fitbit app. But I do not know why this data is not displayed in real time on the watch. And it’s a shame, since it is quite true actually.

altimetre-blaze then there is the FitStar workouts that I have already mentioned. It’s pretty cool and it allows anyone to follow a short home fitness session, simply by following the exercises and instructions on the screen. It’s simple to use and nice enough. It’s a pity that there are only 3, I would have appreciated having a choice of a dozen sessions, and be able to choose the length of the session. This is a recent feature of Fitbit, so hopefully it will develop. Which is a shame, it was that the Blaze did not include the number of repetitions. It is a shame not to use the movement sensors. Because as the number of moves we did 30 seconds is not registered, you can try to do better next time.

pour a good workout, the cardio optical sensor on the Blaze does not reach the accuracy of other sensors of brands more specialized in sport (such as Garmin, TomTom or Polar). We realize Fitbit experience is the tracking of daily activity. Cardio track live is not very accurate, with large stalls. He struggles to follow the same relatively simple variations of heart rate.


you can see that the sensor misses almost all ascents of the ticker above 160 beats per minute. So we know all that there is currently no optical sensor that is as accurate as a belt, but I have known better.

cardio-blaze-2 makes the data difficult to use during a workout. And again, I’m talking of an activity like running, where the sensor is well in place. On a type HIIT session, the movements of the wrist disrupt even more the functioning of the sensor.

can therefore ask the question of the usefulness of this optical sensor cardio. The only value comes from the average heart rate, which is fair enough (errors tend to cancel), to gauge the overall intensity of your workout and of heart rate at rest, which is a good indication of your cardiovascular health. So this isn’t a very accurate tool for training for a triathlon, but which will serve as an indication for casual athletes.

Activity Tracker fitbit-blaze-tracker-dactivite

the Blaze constantly keeps the number of steps, the cardio activity time, distance, calories, the gravis floors and sleep time. The measures are consistent with those of other brands of activity tracker. Coherent, which is about the same. But it must be understood that no activity tracker is perfect. For that, he should wear ankle. But overall, there is not 2000 no difference, just a hundred or two. So it works very well to compare the daily activity of a day to the other. What is surprising is that the minutes of activity are displayed on the app but not on the watch.

24/24 cardio monitoring is fairly reliable. I did not expect what he gives me my heart rate at rest (this is a rather useful data to refine the intensity of workouts with cardio zone). And its measure is consistent with the one measured by the Fenix 3 HR . At the level of monitoring of sleep, Fitbit records night after night the duration, hours of sleep and lift, as well as a few indices to evaluate the quality: number of revivals of turbulent times and time awake/restless. The Blaze records the number of gravis floors, which is not the case of all the trackers of activities. For me it’s really a plus which can encourage them to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

where Fitbit stands, it is my experience that makes the King of motivation! And wahoo is impressive. It’s even a little too much for me (like after 1 run, I had already received 2 emails, 5 notifications and I can’t medal handset). But well, who can do more can do less. In fact we can enable or disable each alert from the app, history of focus on what is important to us.

we begin by defining a goal (steps, distance, calories burned, gravis floors). Then, we activate (or not) the reminders of activity. Every hour, on the basis that you take 250 steps per hour, the Blaze will indicated you by an alert how not you remains to be done by the end of the hour. Fortunately, one defines a time range (hour start and end) for which you want to receive these alerts, history of sleep said also the days where you want to turn them on. Based on your activity, you will receive medals for certain objectives. And also a weekly report by email. You can also set a goal of number of sports a week session.

the Blaze detects a number of activity automatically, even if you have not started the recording of an activity: walking, running, cycling, elliptical, sports (includes sports that require a large number of movements, such as football, basketball or tennis) and type zumba cardio exercises. For each, you can set the threshold (active time) from which the activity will be referenced (like 10 or 15 minutes).

fitbit-aventures new since September 2016, exclusive Fitbit, are the challenges adventures. Basically, these are challenges or virtual tours. You go on a course in functions of your numbers of no. There are currently 6 routes, 3 in New York (5km, 10 miles and the mythical marathon) and 3 in the Yosemite national park (Vernal falls 15000 not, Valley loop 24000 not and not track pohono 42000). You can view your progress on a map like Google Earth and view some great photos along the way. Frankly, I find it nice as idea.

smart notifications blaze-smart-notifications

of the Fitbit app notifications tab to allow or block notifications of incoming calls, SMS and calendar events, as well as a number of applications like Twitter, WhatsApp, emails, etc.

is a complete variety. But it remains ‘that’ smart notifications, there is no external application installed on the watch as it is done on a smartwatch.

the Fitbit application application-fitbit

the Blaze data are sent to the Fitbit application. It’s a great ecosystem, full of challenges, social challenges, medals and everything is intuitive, graphic and well presented. Statistics of the day are available on the dashboard in the form of inserts. Click on it and you go to the detail of the metric.

the app is really complete. In addition to the data of the Blaze, you can enter data to the weight, hydration and what you ate.

conclusion fitbit-blaze-appel-manque

to be realistic, the Fitbit Blaze isn’t a smartwatch, much less a competitor of the Apple Watch. Must see it rather as an activity tracker as Fitbit knows to do the most stylish form.

then of course, the absence of GPS, little specific cardio sensor and unable to pair a belt cardio not intended not to athletes who run after the clock. The Fitbit Blaze is a beautiful watch with smart notifications and a very complete tracker for occasional Sports fitness and all those looking to stay active but who need to be motivated on a regular basis.

waiting to test the load 2 which came out after the Blaze, I think it’s the best Fitbit tracker. If you are looking for a fitness tracker with a design worthy of a smartwatch but easier to use and who do not need to be recharged every day, so the Fitbit Blaze may suit you. Features for the sport her occasional use and in any case are not limited to follow a workout program. On the other hand, Fitbit has a range of tools to motivate you to stay active and move you.

you found this useful test? You want to buy a Fitbit Blaze?

I hope you found this article useful. I’m a sportsman like you who try to have as much detail as possible before you buy a new sports equipment. I spend usually several hours to do these tests, it’s quite a job.

If you are interested in purchasing a Blaze, you can find it on Amazon and enjoy free shipping. At the same time, using one of the links below, Amazon will pay me a commission, which will contribute in the future of this blog (and thank you).

If you still have questions, feel free to ask them in a comment below. I will take the time to respond.


1 comment:

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