The best Review of the new Fitbit Sense
Fitbit Sense: is it worth your purchase?
- Stress tracking
- Great design and display
- The Fitbit app
- Insecure wrist strap
- Some metrics to pay only for Premium subscribers
For complete physical and mental health tracking, the Sense is the “Fitbit” with everything.
Retail price (RRP)
The Best Review of the new Fitbit Sense
The Fitbit Sense replaces the Ionic model at the higher end of the company’s family of smartwatches and activity trackers. In addition to each Fitbit fitness metric and a built-in GPS, it measures your stress levels, skin temperature, blood oxygen, electrodermal activity, ECG, and heart rate variations.
Called Fitbit refers to the Sense as “advanced health smartwatch,” and it’s about health that outperforms other Fitbits like the Versa 3, which launched at the same time but focuses more on core fitness features.
Design and build quality
The Fitbit Sense is a good-looking watch with a bright screen and a responsive user interface.
The main body is aluminum with a polished stainless steel finish (medical grade). This high quality stainless steel ring is necessary to get some of the most advanced sensor readings. It is also more durable; medical grade refers to its resistance to corrosion.
It features a large 1.58-inch OLED screen with a 336 x 336 resolution, which is bright and easy to read even in direct sunlight.
The physical button found on the Versa 2 has been replaced by a new haptic sensor on the left edge – so there is no physical button to push, but rather a touch sensitive area that vibrates a bit to let you know that your touch It has been recognized.
Also new is the included interchangeable strap, called the Infinity Band, it takes a little getting used to. Instead of the classic watch strap, there is a pin that is pushed through the best hole for adjustment, and then closed via a loop.
This is my biggest complaint about the Sense: the strap is not as secure as the classic watch buckle. It fell from my wrist in 24 hours, and if you consider that it is used in physical exercises, it is not enough. I seriously suggest you buy one of the sturdiest buckle accessory straps.
At the very least, Fitbit has made changing bands much, much easier with the Sense. Changing the strap on the old Versa and Versa 2 was the hardest to come by. This time, you just have to push one tab forward and gently slide the strap, and then click a new one.
In terms of colors, the Sense is available in graphite stainless steel with a carbon band, or in mild gold stainless steel and lunar white band.
The Ionic, like the Fitbit Surge it replaced, was marketed as a sports watch. Sports were considered the pinnacle of the fitness tracker, but with the Sense Fitbit it has moved away from sports to focus more on physical and mental health, as well as including all the expected fitness features.
Doctors are increasingly warning that stress can be as dangerous as physical illness, contributing to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Fitbit has new tools in Sense that can help identify stress, and therefore can potentially help you recognize and manage it.
Fitbit gives you a stress management score that calculates how your body is responding to stress based on data from your heart rate, sleep, and activity level.
It achieves this thanks to a new Electrodermal Activity (EDA) sensor that measures changes in the skin’s resistance to a small, undetectable electrical current in response to the secretion of sweat.
The EDA measures the intensity of the emotion, not its state, so an increase in conductance can be caused by both positive and negative emotional states. You can record your mood (stressed, calm, etc.) after the EDA scan.
Users can then view a graph of their EDA responses in the Fitbit app, which tracks trends over time.
Some ways to manage stress include increased physical activity and attention, for which the Fitbit app includes a guided meditation feature. After the session is over, the mobile app prompts allow you to reflect on how you are feeling and see if they have a positive effect on your stress levels.
You can set a weekly mindfulness goal , track mindfulness minutes and days daily, and see trends. The score ranges from 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating that your body shows fewer physical signs of stress. It is paired with recommendations to better manage stress, such as breathing exercises.
Fitbit Premium members will get a detailed breakdown of how the score is calculated, consisting of more than 10 biometric inputs, including effort balance (activity impact), responsiveness (heart rate, heart rate variability and electrodermal activity from the EDA Scan app), and sleep patterns (sleep quality). This will be a common theme as we move forward, with some of Sense’s best tracking features retained for subscribers.
There’s also a new skin temperature sensor, which can be used to indicate the onset of a fever or illness (can you think of a big one out there?), As well as link to Fitbit’s current health tracking for phases. menstrual. This is done at night, when the Sense will measure the variation in your skin temperature to see trends, so it does not show specific readings.
The Sense takes three nights to calculate the base temperature of the skin. You will then see the mean nighttime variation compared to that reference temperature on the temperature tile on the Today screen of the Fitbit app.
If your temperature is rising or falling compared to normal, this could be a sign of illness. Few of us use a thermometer every day so it will be interesting to see if this works, although I will have to wait for an illness to report its value.
SpO2, ECG and more
Like other Fitbit smartwatches, the Sense can measure your average SpO2 levels, the amount of oxygen in your blood. This data can be used to detect your respiratory rate along with the quality of blood transport through the body. Low oxygen levels can lead to serious symptoms such as hypoxemia.
Note that the Sense only records your oxygen saturation levels while you sleep, unlike the Apple Watch 6 or the Withings ScanWatch, which can take a blood O2 reading in just 15 seconds at any time of the day. Check out our full Fitbit vs. Apple Watch comparison for more on how the two brands stack up.
An ECG sensor can test your heart for atrial fibrillation (AFib), to detect common heart rhythm irregularities, but the ECG is not active yet – Fitbit says it will be added via an update in October, at which time you will be able to Get a reading by opening the ECG app and placing your index finger and thumb on opposite corners of the metal frame for 30 seconds.
An improved heart rate sensor helps drive another new feature: heart rate notifications when it detects that your heart rate is above or below your normal threshold. This can be helpful in detecting bradycardia (too slow a heart rate) or tachycardia (too fast a heart rate).
Fitbit Premium subscribers can see their Heart Rate Variation (HRV), the time between each heartbeat. Again, this can indicate the onset of illness, as well as fatigue and stress.
Premium subscribers also get a new Health Metrics dashboard that tracks their 7-day and 30-day trends for metrics like heart rate variation, respiratory rate per minute, oxygen saturation, and skin temperature variation.
As I’ve said, beyond the new health-tracking technology, the Sense also has an impressive range of fitness features – in fact, no other Fitbit has more than the Sense.
Of course, it tracks activities like steps, distance, floors climbed, active minutes, and calories burned.
The Active Minutes metric has been improved with the new Active Zone Minutes (AZM) metric, and the Sense buzzes when entering a new Heart Zone: Fat Burn, Cardio or Peak. This alerts you instantly that you have reached a target zone, and if you need to push harder in your training or back off. AZM was first seen on Fitbit Charge 4, and has now been deployed on most Fitbits.
Sense can also give you real-time statistics for more than 20 exercise modes during your workouts. These can be set manually, or Fitbit’s SmartTrack technology can automatically recognize and record exercises like running, cycling, swimming, treadmill, weights, yoga, and circuit training.
The Sense has built-in GPS, so you don’t need to carry your phone with you when you run or bike. It also allows you, after exercising outdoors, to consult the training intensity map in the Fitbit app to see the heart rate zones for the entire route, as well as the distance and pace per kilometer or mile.
The watch also includes a 6-axis gyroscope to record strokes and turns while swimming. In contrast, the Versa 3 and most other Fitbits do not include a gyroscope, instead calculating swimming laps based on distance.
The Sense, like the latest Fitbits, offers advanced sleep tracking, displaying light, REM, and deep sleep stages and scoring sleep quality based on sleep heart rate, time spent awake, and time in the sleep stages.
You can also get a sleep heart rate measurement, but this is another feature that is kept only for Fitbit Premium subscribers.
Battery and charging
Fitbit claims that the Sense has a battery life of more than 6 days. I haven’t had the Sense that long, and will update this review after a week of testing has passed.
Of course, the battery life depends on its use. Using GPS will burn through the battery faster than without it. It’s frustrating that you can’t find an on-screen battery indicator on the watch, although it can be easily seen in the mobile app.
The Sense has a new type of charger, which is magnetically attached to the back of the Sense. I was hoping it would connect either way, but it only fits in one lineup. Although I like the fact that it is smaller than the beefy Versa charger, the fact that it is uncomfortable while charging is not that great.
It takes about two hours to fully charge from scratch, although the company says it only takes 12 minutes to charge to give you a day of battery life.
Software and applications
Although Fitbit smartwatches are no match for Apple or Samsung when it comes to running a wide range of apps, they at least handle notifications well. Call, text and calendar event alerts are supported, along with apps like WhatsApp, Gmail and Facebook.
Silent alarms that buzz on your wrist are also helpful, in theory without waking up your bed partner, although if used with a metal strap I can confirm that the buzzing may be audible to others. The smart alarm is a setting that allows you to wake up at the best time of the sleep cycle (during light sleep), up to half an hour before but no later than the set time.
As for the apps, you have the obvious: timers, weather, and a calendar, but also a meditation app and Fitbit Pay for contactless payments.
Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer are there for your music control, and you can also download apps for services like Uber, Spotify, and airlines, along with other fitness and sports apps. There are still more apps on an Apple Watch, but the Sense will cover most of the essentials.
Fitbit Sense also supports Amazon’s Alexa, with the Google Assistant coming in late 2020. With Google in the Fitbit checkout process it’s an obvious addition, as are Android-only features like sending quick responses and Voice responses directly from the wrist when the phone is close.
Price and availability
The Sense costs 329 euros . That makes it the most expensive Fitbit in some ways – even the new Versa 3 is significantly less at 229. we recommend, or find the latest Fitbit deals if you want to save a bit. .
Still, it’s the typical price of a high-end smartwatch, and it’s still less than the latest Apple watch or the Samsung Galaxy.
If you want to get similar health tracking for less, at the cost of accessing many of the smart features, the Withings ScanWatch is worth considering , which offers even more comprehensive health features in a classic analog watch design.
Otherwise, take a look at our rankings of the best smartwatches and best health trackers to see what else is out there.
As you would expect, there is also a range of straps and bands that go with the Sense. Accessory straps include knit and woven bands, silicone sport bands, and Horween leather bands. There is even a range of Pendleton bands made from recycled plastic fibers.
And as I’ve already mentioned, to get the most out of Fitbit Sense, you’ll need a subscription to Fitbit Premium, for better or for worse. If they know you Premium, you will get six months free with the Sense, but if not, it will cost you 9.99 euros per month.
Fitbit Sense adds a ton of new health features to the top of the Fitbit range. You could call it the hypochondriac’s smart watch, it’s so full of warning signs, but there are plenty that will help indicate serious health issues that you’ll have a chance to improve.
Attention may seem a bit crazy to some and a concern for those with too much free time, but there is no denying that stress can affect us all, and managing it quickly will bring not only long-term mental but physical health benefits.
If all you want is an activity-tracking smartwatch, then the cheaper Fitbit Versa 3 offers everything you can get in that regard with the Sense.
For complete physical and mental health tracking, Sense is the Fitbit with everything.