This is the Fitbit Sense, a smartwatch that promises to do everything from track your steps, your heart rate, your sleep, your blood oxygen and even help manage your stress.
But as I found out, a lot of this data can be pretty puzzling.
I’ve been wearing this Sense for over a week.
If you want the top of the line Fitbit smartwatch, and there’s no doubt the Fitbit sense is it.
And you probably won’t be disappointed, but $330.
It’s also priced pretty competitively against some of the other top smartwatches that are currently out there on the market.
But it doesn’t get everything quite right At least not just yet.
If you’re coming from a previous Fitbit like the original Bertha or the Versa two, then the Fitbit sense won’t present too much of a surprise.
It has a pretty similar overall design from that square watch face to interchangeable straps.
Now the watch face itself is now surrounded in a stainless steel frame which does elevate the look a little bit and it feels out [INAUDIBLE] pretty comfortable on the wrist.
I’ve been wearing it pretty much non stop I’ve only taken off to shower and to also make sure that I could keep it charged and it’s been pretty comfortable even to sleep with.
The touchscreen itself is bright and fairly easy to see in broad daylight which is great when you’re outside doing a workout.
For example, There isn’t a physical button anymore like there was on the vs series.
Instead, there’s now an indented side button that gives you some vibrations or haptic feedback to let you know when you’ve pressed it.
The display itself also has the ability to turn into a color always on display.
Which also does eat into the battery life, which we’ll talk about in just a little bit.
There is a little bit of lag when you do raise to wake so do keep that in mind and overall the responsiveness of the interface, even though there is a faster processor inside than earlier fitbits is still not as fast as I would like.
And you’ll really notice that when you’re scrolling through menu options or even swiping up.
To see your daily stats from the today menu.
And finally I’m so happy to report that Fitbit has changed the straps mechanism on the Fitbit sense.
No more of those crazy fiddly toggles like you saw on earlier Fitbits.
Now it’s just a quick release button.
So much better and so much easier.
So like many other smart watches released in the crazy year that we called 2020.
The sense has a lot of sensors on board.
That do promise to be able to give you a lot more insight into what’s going on in your body.
It’s very important to note that these are for the most part not medically cleared senses.
The only one of these the FTA cleared ECG or electrocardiogram on the Fitbit sense, and that hasn’t been rolled out at the time that I’ve been recording this review.
It’s due to be released in the US at least in October.
One of the many senses within the Fitbit sense is what’s called an ETA or electrodermal activity sensor.
Now this is to help with stress tracking.
So to take the stress rating, you’ll need to go into the EDS and app and then place your palm over the watch for two minutes.
And it will take an ETA reading from what’s going on or your palm basically detecting changes in sweat and it will also take your heart rate at the same time.
After the scan is done, you’ll be able to reflect on how you felt during the process.
Whether that’s really calm and blissed out, all the way to being very stressed with an angry or really grumpy and moody face.
Now this stress management school is rated out of 100.
And it’s supposed to give you an idea of overall how your stress looks to the app.
To me it’s a little bit counterintuitive because I would expect a lowest score to be less.
Stress is actually the opposite.
I’m the sort of person that I actually kind of feel when I’m really stressed and I’m really able to identify it, and then take steps to be able to resolve that on my own.
So having the stress factor, telling me that I’m particularly stressed Wasn’t that useful, especially because it didn’t say, say for example, maybe I needed to get a better night’s sleep, or maybe I should go a little less hard on my run on the next day, that might be coming.
But I think for now, unless you’re someone that doesn’t automatically identify this stress really well, I don’t know how helpful This is going to be.
One of the other sensors on the Fitbit sense is for reading blood oxygen levels or SpO2.
Now ,unlike other smart watches, such as the Apple Watch Series 6, well the Galaxy Watch 3, this is not an on demand reading that you can take at any time of the day.
Instead, the SpO2 on the Fitbit sense only takes readings At night while you sleep, and when you wake up in the morning, you’ll be able to see a percentage on the watch face itself, which is an average of all of the SP or two readings gathered at night.
There are some things to bear in mind.
Number one, you do need to have the sphere to watch face active.
Before you go to bed in order to get that reading, it also takes around 45 minutes or two an hour even to get that average to appear on your screen as an sp or to percentage after you wake up.
The goobefore you go to bed in order to get that reading, it also takes around 45 minutes or two an hour even to get that average to appear on your screen as an sp or to percentage after you wake up.
The good thing is Fitbit knows that this is an issue so they are working on ways to not necessarily need to have the SP or to watch face actived thing is Fitbit knows that this is an issue so they are working on ways to not necessarily need to have the SP or to watch face active.
And also bringing SpO2 readings to other trackers such as the Charge 3 and the Charge 4. There’s also a skin temperature sensor on board.
That doesn’t give you an exact number, per se, like 98 degrees Fahrenheit or 36 degrees Celsius.
It just gives you a baseline, and that takes around three nights to show up in the app.
So don’t panic if you’re wearing it and it doesn’t show up anything for a little while it does take some time.
It will show you if you’re higher or lower than what your baseline temperature is.
Now I have not been sick fortunately, unfortunately, since wearing the sense, so I can’t tell you if it does indicate dramatic variances in temperature due to things like fever.
But it might be something that gives you some extra peace of mind.
The sense can also be monitoring for signs of high or low heart rate readings.
You can change those thresholds within the app although they can be set to defaults based on factors like your age, and your gender.
Sleep tracking on the Fitbit sense is good.
It works pretty much the same as previous Fitbit.
Especially if you have Fitbit premium, that subscription service that costs $10 a month, you’ll be able to get some pretty deep insights into things like your heart rate variability.
How restless you were during the night, and it also gives you a sleep score.
Now, for me, the sleep tracking is probably the most fully-fledged health feature in the Fitbit sense app at the moment, it makes the most sense, and I think it is the most well thought out.
I expect the other things like the stress tracking to get there eventually.
But right now it doesn’t feel fully fledged.
All right, with the bulk of the health stuff out of the way, let’s talk about some fitness tracking stuff just quickly.
There isn’t too much to talk about here because the sense works in pretty much the same way.
As barely a Fitbit smartwatches.
What you need to know is that the sense has pretty much all of the workout types that you could probably want everything from elliptical polities yoga, weight training and biking, running, walking, things like that.
You can also set some goal based exercises too.
And now the sense comes with a built in GPS.
The first time since the Fitbit ionic from 2017.
So you don’t need to take your phone with you when you go out to track your route for a walk or run or a bike ride.
I tested the sense alongside a dedicated heart rate tracker or a chest strap.
To see how accurate it was now, overall, the sense did a fairly good job of staying within the bounds although it did take a lot longer for the sense to catch up when there were big spikes in my heart rate.
The Fitbit app has always been really good at helping give a good breakdown of your fitness metrics after your workout.
There is no change in that with the Fitbit sense, you can still see an overlay of your heart rate data over your workout route, for example, as well as your splits and segments, your heart rate charts and all of that.
It’s really nice and easy to understand, even though now with the addition of all that health data that I talked about earlier, the app itself Starting to get a little bit bloated and a little bit complicated to find things.
So please stop thinking, so I can’t find like certain metrics that I’m interested in.
I just hope that they keep it as simple as it has been, because that’s always been the strength of Fitbit over any other wearable that I’ve tested.
But the big advantage that the sense has is that it works pretty much the same across Android and IOS.
The one thing that you do miss out on if you pay with IOS is that you won’t be able to respond to notifications from the watch face itself.
That’s only on Android.
You can see notifications from your phone, see calls, text messages, and so on as well as choose which notifications get pushed to your watch.
Now unfortunately, there is no onboard music storage for songs that you own like previous favorites, you could very slowly bring across songs from your computer.
You can’t do that on the sense, it’s only if you have a Pandora plus subscription a days a premium subscription, that you can store songs for offline listening.
You can also use the Spotify app.
However, that’s only gonna act as a remote control to control playback on your phone or another Spotify Connect device.
There’s also the ability to talk to a smart assistant like Alexa or the Google Assistant.
Even though the google assistant is coming later on, we don’t have an exact timeframe yet but hopefully before the end of the year Alexa is fine, but it’s a little bit slow and it doesn’t always respond to the things that you might be used to talking to your smart speaker about.
It’s really only for more basic tasks like starting a workout or checking the weather.
Battery life is always super important for me and I do a lot of testing to make sure that I get some really good real world numbers to give you.
Fitbit has always been really good with battery management and they really do a lot better than watches such as the Apple Watch for example, or the Samsung watches In order to prolong gating that time between charges, if you have the always on display turned off, if you have the always on display turned on, you’re only going to get around two days out of the Fitbit sense and but that includes pretty much like some outdoor workouts Without your phone and also sleep tracking so that was pretty good.
But I generally found that I turned off the always on display and I was getting around four and a half days before I needed to charge the watch.
Now this is a little bit less than the Fitbit claim, but I was doing a fair amount of workouts, probably one out to a workout or one yoga workout a day.
And I was really trying to make sure that I got the most out of the watch.
So four and a half days was a decent compromise including some stress tracking, and of course with sleep tracking as well.
So overall, the Fitbit sense has been a little bit of a mixed bag.
It’s a good smartwatch, it just feels like it tries to do a little bit too much.
And it’s not quite polished enough yet.
Now Fitbit has a really good track record of constantly adding new features to its product, unlocking senses that we didn’t even know was there.
So I think there’s a lot more potential inside the sense but right now, it is hard to fully recommend this unless you are willing to wait it out a little bit.
Because for my money, if you want a Fitbit and you don’t need things like the ECG and you know stress tracking might not be that helpful for you, then maybe you should just look at something like the Fitbit Versa three, which does pretty much everything like this does, but without all of those extra senses that you might not need,
Thanks for watching.
If you have any questions that I didn’t answer, leave me a comment down below.
As I say, next time