Review: My Time With the Fitbit Ionic

December 6, 2017         By: Michael Millington

Recently, Fitbit reached out to PaymentWeek and asked that we critique one of their latest pieces of equipment, the Ionic. While I had known the Fitbit brand to produce health and exercise trackers in the past, I was wholly unaware that they also created smartwatches as well. The Fitbit Ionic is Fitbit’s bite into the increasingly congested world of intelligent wristwear. Most people (like myself, admittedly) are more familiar with Fitbit in certain aspects. Now we get to see the company tackle a new function: mobile payments.

As a direct competitor to the smattering of Android wearables and the current standard bearer for all smartwatches in the Apple Watch, the Fitbit Ionic makes a sizeable splash. Already known for fitness wearables, the Ionic is a comfortable smartwatch that effortlessly blends into your accessories without being cumbersome or obtrusive. The fitness aspects of the smartwatch are exceedingly useful and it even made me want to exercise more in order to utilize the Ionic more efficiently.

But this is PaymentWeek and we’re concerned with how mobile payments work. I’m glad to say that the Fitbit Ionic handles payments on the go very well. Fitbit Ionic allows the user the ability to preload a Fitbit card with funds to use for mobile payments. This effectively circumvents many potential issues that mobile wallets run into, mainly whether a card is compatible with the wallet in question. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Wallet and other similar services won’t work with every type of pay card available (I’m still waiting for Apple to add Merrill Lynch cards). While there is a wide variety of cards you can use with your watch, I found that the prepaid card was the best option with the ease of use handled hands down.

While the mobile payment scene is in a bit of disarray right now, where it was accepted the Ionic performed exceptionally. The only hiccup I ever experienced was in one particular setting where the store reader didn’t work properly. However, after a second go at making a purchase the reader recognized the Ionic and completed the transaction. Having your plastic payment methods on your wrist grows to become an invaluable part of your purchases.

To sum up, the Fitbit Ionic is a wonderful device for those who are on the go. It can easily handle your fitness routine and keep track of what you’ve done with the use of a few simple apps. Surprisingly, the Ionic holds its own in the mobile payment department, boasting a more than competent mobile wallet with compatibility for both Android and iPhone models. More convenient than pulling plastic out of your pockets, the Fitbit Ionic can help you pay for a quick lunch before your jog back to work. I would definitely recommend this smartwatch for anyone looking for an alternative to the Apple products available.