Fitbit Blaze vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2 vs Garmin Fenix 3 HR

Alex Kidman 6 January 2016

FBBlaze_450

Fitbit’s latest activity tracker looks more like a smartwatch than anything else. How does it compare?

The Fitbit Blaze, announced this week at CES in Las Vegas, is the company’s latest activity tracker, and only its second watch-style tracker after the Fitbit Surge. The Blaze rather looks like a smartwatch such as Apple's Watch or Samsung's Gear S2, but activity tracking still sits at the heart of the Blaze’s proposition. Smartwatch functions are something of a secondary aspect, primarily focused around simple notifications.

FBBlaze_Purple

The Fitbit Blaze handle music playback and basic email and text notifications, but against a "full" smartwatch it’s not going to be as capable. Maybe that’s the point, however, as full smartwatch platforms have yet to really hit that killer app position where they present a compelling proposition beyond their style offering.

Fitbit instead is positioning the Blaze as a fitness device that can automatically detect your exercise type as well as offering exchangeable bands and frames. These won't come cheap, with the standard elastomer bands costing $49.95 each, the leather bands costing $169.95 each and at the top of the range, a stainless steel band option which will cost $219.95. That's on top of the outright asking price of the Fitbit Blaze itself, which will come with a single elastomer band

FBBlaze_Metal

The Fitbit Blaze will be available in Australia in March and is available to pre-order from Fitbit’s web site for $329.95.

That puts it in an interesting position against the wider fitness tracking and smartwatch markets. In the pure fitness tracking space, there are plenty of cheaper options if all you want is basic tracking, including plenty of models from Fitbit itself.

Against the wider smartwatch category, there are cheaper options such as any of Pebble's offerings and some of the older Android wear watches, although not quite all. The Fitbit Blaze more fairly fits in the sports watch tracking category, where it's cheaper than some rival devices, but somewhat more limited in scope.

Here is how it compares against the Apple Watch, Samsung Gear S2 and Garmin Fenix 3, to give it a position against both sports tracking watches and pure smartwatch options.

ModelFitbit BlazeApple WatchSamsung Gear S2Garmin Fenix 3 HR
Screen size31.75mm38mm/42mm30.2mm30.4mm
Band optionsRubber, leather, metalRubber, leather, metalRubber, leatherRubber, leather, metal
Battery5 days18 hours2-3 days3 weeks (watch mode), 40 hours fitness tracking
GPSvia connected phonevia iPhoneOnly in 3G modelYes
Heart rate sensorYesYesYesYes
Apps?NoYesYesNo
Calling abilityNoYes, when paired with iPhoneNoNo
Price$329.95$499-$24,000$499-$598.99$949-$1249

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6 Responses to Fitbit Blaze vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2 vs Garmin Fenix 3 HR

  1. Default Gravatar
    Belinda | October 4, 2016

    I am trying to find the right fit for me. Can you help me with that? This is what I need it for:
    - I like to run and would want my technology to have GPS – track my run (miles, min/mile)
    - I run with music/headphones
    - I also do crossfit and would like to track that as well.
    - Apple seems to be expensive but I like it.
    The Blaze – I’m not sure if the it have GPS or not – does it??

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    • Staff
      Alex | November 3, 2016

      Hi Belinda,

      The Fitbit Blaze doesn’t have GPS; instead it uses the GPS on a smartphone to track your movement, so it might be an option if you’re happy to train with your phone in an armband or similar. The Apple Watch (especially the series 2 watch, which includes embedded GPS) might be your best option there, although the Fenix is a good option as a multi-sport-capable watch.

      Regards,

      Alex

  2. Default Gravatar
    AO | May 16, 2016

    My boss told me that with FitBit Blaze we need to be connected on wifi/ internet to even change the alarm whereas this is possible to do on Samsung Gear S2 even without internet.

    • Staff
      Alex | May 31, 2016

      Hi AO,

      The FitBit Blaze pairs via Bluetooth (which strictly speaking isn’t an Internet connection) and controls much of what it does via the FitBit app, so if you’ve got your phone handy you can manage alarms and other features.

      Regards,

      Alex.

  3. Default Gravatar
    Ashlynn | April 15, 2016

    Can you text in the Fitbit blaze?

    • Staff
      Brodie | April 26, 2016

      Hi Ashlynn,

      You can view text and other notifications on the Fitbit Blaze. However, you can’t send an SMS reply from the Fitbit Blaze.

      Thanks,
      Brodie

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