Fitbit Sense review: Perfect Apple Watch alternative
Fitbit Sense is a fine smartwatch. An elegant yet comfortable design, tonnes of sensors, a well-lit display and waterproof coating makes it ideal for everyone to use.
Fitbit is a name that needs no introduction. The fitness brand, which is now owned by Google, is known for offering fitness trackers and smartwatches with extensive health tracking features at a pocket-friendly price. I say pocket-friendly because Versa 3, which is packed with features like snore detection, stress management score, menstrual health tracking, and built-in GPS, costs just INR 18,999. in India. This is well below the price point at which a lot of companies such as Garmin and Amazfit are offering their feature-packed smartwatches.
Enter: Fitbit Sense.
Sense is Fitbit's premium smartwatch. It is packed with features like EDA scan app, ECG app, skin temperature sensor, snore detection and SpO2 sensor to name a few and it costs INR 22,999 in India. With Sense, Fitbit is trying to make premium products more affordable. As it is, Sense -- Fitbit's most expensive smartwatch in India -- stands in league with the Apple Watch SE that is priced at INR 29,900 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 that costs INR 26,999 in India.
Now, the question here isn't whether or not you should buy the Fitbit Sense or not. That's a no-brainer. The question is, what are you getting when you pick Sense over others.
Fitbit Sense: Design
Before we get to it, let's talk about the design.
Two words that we can associate with Fitbit's smartwatches are -- stylish and familiar. Now, some might argue that these words don't go together. After all, style or a stylish product would evolve with time and if it is evolving, it won't be familiar. But Fitbit's smartwatches are an exception to this rule. They are gorgeous. In fact, they are some of the most stylish smartwatches in the market right now. And yet it's their familiar features that make loyalists stick to the brand year after year. Sense follows the same golden rule.
It has the same design (well, almost the same design) that we have come to like in Fitbit smartwatches. You get a squarish dial with curved edges boxed inside a metallic chassis -- something that we have also seen in the Versa series. Yet, it is the presence of haptic touch that makes all the difference and distinguishes it from the Versa series.
On top, you get a beautiful and bright coloured OLED display that is visible even in the bright sunlight. The touch-based controls are almost equally efficient and they hardly ever skip a beat. Completing the packing are silicone straps that come in the box. These straps come in Sage Grey, Carbon and Lunar White colour variants and they are coupled with a chassis in Silver Stainless Steel, Graphite Stainless Steel and Soft Gold Stainless Steel colours respectively. If you don't like these straps or if they are a bit boring for your taste, you can always pick one from Fitbit's library of straps for Sense. Of course, you will have to splurge a little extra for that. If not, these straps are comfortable to wear (even at night) and they also remain smudge and sweat-free under all conditions.
Fitbit Sense: Performance
Now, the performance.
Fitbit is putting its best foot forward with Sense. It features top-of-the-line features. It is also the first in line to get new features with OS updates. Sense's feature line up includes an EDA Scan app, that divulges details about your stress levels, an ECG app, that talks about your heart health and alerts you if you show signs of atrial fibrillation, a blood oxygen monitor, an on-wrist skin temperature sensor, PurePulse 2.0, built-in GPS and snore and noise detection functionality to name a few. Then there are features such as menstrual health tracking, active sleep tracking, smart alarms, guided breathing, Always-on-Display and voice assistant support that have become somewhat of a standard now.
Basically, Sense is offering a host of fitness tracking features that are powered by a wide gamut of sensors working together in harmony to make this smartwatch as proficient as it is. Then there is the Fitbit OS that has remained mostly unchanged over the years in terms of the interface. Don't get me wrong here. Fitbit has released tonnes of upgrades to the OS, which has brought in new features such as snore and noise detection to Sense. However, the company has refrained from making any radical changes to the interface that would make Sense look like an entirely different smartwatch. These smart yet sensible changes have made it easier for people to use and identify with Fitbit's smartwatches -- Sense included -- even as it rolls out new features and functionality on them.
Now, what is aiding this process and bringing everything together is the Fitbit app. It not only tells you about the status of your smartwatch but it also helps you make sense of the information that scores of sensors on-board the Fitbit Sense are trying to convey. It has by far one of the most easy-to-use interfaces in fitness trackers.
Lastly, a bit about the battery. Fitbit claims that Sense offers over six days of battery life. During my time with it, Sense offered over five hours of battery life with Always-on-display turned off and sleep health tracking turned on. And if you are worried about charging, Sense comes with fast-charging functionality and it charges completely in an hour.
Fitbit Sense: Conclusion
The Fitbit Sense brings some interesting upgrades to the company's fitness trackers. The EDA Scan app, the ECG app, on-wrist skin temperature sensors and PurePulse 2.0 on-board Sense show us what Fitbit is capable of doing. But of course, there is room for improvement. It would be nice to see Fitbit adding more premium features like fall detection to its mix. It would also be nice to see Fitbit using a similar charger in its smartwatches in order to make it simpler for loyalists to upgrade.
That said, Fitbit Sense is a fine smartwatch. An elegant yet comfortable design, tonnes of sensors, a well-lit display and waterproof coating make it ideal for everyone to use. It certainly helps that it bonds well with both Android and iOS interfaces.
- Premium design
- Long battery life
- Bright display
- Clean interface
- Extensive health tracking
OSFitbit OS 5.1
BatteryOver 6 days of battery life