Fitbit goes for style with new $199 Blaze smartwatch and accessories

Who says a fitness-focused watch has to look like a gadget? The new Fitbit Blaze can be accessorized with a range of bands while also monitoring your steps, sleep, heart rate and more.

Fitbit Blaze.jpg

Following a holiday season that reportedly boosted sales, Fitbit is debuting the Fitbit Blaze for 2016: A $199 smart fitness watch that brings more style to the product line.

Whether you'll like that style is another question. Personally, I don't mind the mostly square Blaze with its cut corners.

And the device itself can be mixed and matched with various wrist bands such as those with metal links or made with leather. Expect to pay $130 for the former, and $100 for the latter in your choice of three colors. Fitbit is also offering a trio of classic bands for $30 each.

Like the entire Fitbit product line, the Blaze is first focused on health tracking; you won't find third-party apps on this watch although you can see incoming messages and calls from your phone.

Blaze has an integrated heart rate sensor for continuous, automatic tracking, for example and monitors daily steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes.

It also automatically monitors sleep and can wake you with a silent alarm. And if you forget to start a workout in a fitness app or on the Blaze, the watch can recognize specific activities on its own and then record them for you in the companion app.

The watch itself is water resistant, but I wouldn't go running in the rain with a leather strap. Battery life sounds solid as Fitbit says Blaze will run for up to five days between charges.

From a health perspective, there's not too much here that can't be had from other Fitbit products. In fact, the Blaze doesn't have its own GPS radio; something the $250 Fitbit Surge does have. Instead, Blaze can work with the GPS in a connected smartphone.

But if you can live without a dedicated GPS radio and want something that looks more like a watch, the Blaze might worth the look; particularly priced at $50 less than the Fitbit Surge.

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