The Fitbit Blaze is very sharp looking, and looks a lot like an Apple watch. It’s also one of the top selling fitness trackers of all time. Here’s a complete Fitbit Blaze review.
Table Showing Features of the Fitbit Blaze Fitness Tracker
This table shows you all the key features of the Fitbit Blaze Fitness Tracker.
|Continuous heart rate monitoring?||Yes, with an optical heart rate monitor, so you don't have to wear a chest strap|
|Simplified heart rate zones?||Yes, so you can see at a glance how much of your workout was in peak HR zone, cardio zone, and fat-burning zone|
|Date and time display?||Some of the clock face choices include date and time. All include the time.|
|Automatic sleep monitoring?||Yes - accurate and very helpful. Very useful for anyone with sleep issues.|
|Calories burned||Seems to be accurate. Works with METs (metabolic equivalents) and lets you know all day long how many calories you have burned (even if all you have done is napped!)|
|Built-in GPS?||No, but syncs extremely easily and fast with the GPS in your smart phone|
|How long does the GPS take to pick up satellites?||Connects with the GPS in your phone at lightning speed - very impressive!|
|Can you link it to your Strava account?||Yes, you can link it up, and then it automatically uploads your runs, hikes, or bike rides to your Strava account. Excellent!|
|Does it have a multi-sport feature?||Yes, you can tell it that you are now about to Hike, Bike, Walk, Workout, etc. It then records this time as active minutes, and records the activity in your daily record. You set up your favorite exercises in your dashboard. For activities such as Run and Bike, you can also record the route you took.|
|Sensors and components:||3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, optical heart rate monitor, altimeter, ambient light sensor, and vibration motor.|
|Does it track active minutes?||Yes. The default is that elevated HR does not count as exercise until you have had an elevated HR for 15 minutes. 2 minutes of elevated HR is probably just you trying to update Windows, not a workout. You can change this default. Also, by default it won't track GPS for all active minutes. You have to tell it that you are starting a workout that has a GPS symbol. Once you tell it you are starting a bike ride, for example, it starts trying to connect with the GPS in your connected smart phone. Once it finds it, you press the "Let's Go!" button, and it will record both active minutes and a map of your ride until you press stop. This will use more battery power, of course.|
|Counting steps||I find it to be very accurate.|
|Counting floors||I find it to be very accurate.|
|Tracking sleep||Does this extremely well and automatically. This is extremely useful for people dealing with sleep problems.|
|Can you use it to lose weight?||Yes, you can set up a weight loss plan on the dashboard. Fitbit will calculate how many calories you should eat to lose weight. Then all day long it monitors how many calories you are burning, against how many you are expending. You do of course have to input what you eat. Once you do that, it has an excellent database of calories that it uses for its calculations.|
|Operation||Better - three buttons and touch screen; it is effortless to swipe through to review stats on the go.|
|Display||Big display with choice of four screen formats; very easy to read even in bright light. Full color touchscreen LCD with backlight.|
|What's on the display||Much bigger face. It is able to give you caller ID notifications if synched with your smart phone, daily stats, and of course, time of day. It also gives you previews of your text messages.|
|Resting HR measurement||Seems to be excellent; nice that you can check your heartbeat at any time, plus your stats over time.|
|Distance walked per day||Seems to be consistent and reliable.|
|Can you control music with it?||Yes. Just push the top right button for a second, and a screen pops up where you can stop and start music, fast forward and rewind. Very handy. If you have a compatible iOS mobile device running iOS 8 or above, music control will automatically work after you set up your Blaze. Fitbit Blaze is also compatible with Windows mobile devices for music control but Fitbit Surge is not.|
|What colors does it come in?||A wide range of different colored and different textured watch straps. When you buy it, you choose from black, blue or plum as your starter strap. The actual watch is a good looking matte silver.|
|Does it measure active minutes accurately?||Seems to be accurate - it's fun to look back on the day and see a record of the times when you were active.|
|Automatic synching?||Seems to be accurate - it's fun to look back on the day and see a record of the times when you were active|
|What is it like to wear?||It's larger than the Charge HR but slimmer than the Surge. It has a very nice, quality feel against the skin, though. It is made of an elastomer material that is flexible, durable and lightweight, so it feels comfortable on your wrist.|
|Sizing||Small! Choose a larger size than you might usually do. I am average size and needed a Large|
|Can you swim with it?||Absolutely not! It's splash proof, not water proof.|
|How do you monitor your activities?||On the go, you have a few basic functions you can review on the tracker - such as steps taken, current heart rate, miles walked today, calories burned today, and floors climbed today. You can review an indepth dashboard of all your activities on your smart phone and on your computer. The Fit.com connection is one of the HUGE strengths of Fitbit. It's a great way to monitor your activities and your progress.|
|How long does the battery last?||About 5 days.|
|How do you charge it?||You remove the clock face, put it in a little charging box, and plug the charging box into a power source. It takes about an hour to charge.|
|Challenge features||You can set goals, invite friends to challenges, etc.|
|Does it cause you to make smarter choices?||Absolutely! It's very motivating. It also sometimes sends you an encouraging message when you are close to your goal, or congratulates you when you reach it!|
|Reviewing data||Gives you access to Fitbit.com, on which you can review a comprehensive dashboard of everything - steps, activity minutes, activities over time, heart rate over time, etc.|
|Syncing||No syncing problems experienced - it syncs well and automatically with phone and computer.|
|Dongle required to connect with computer?||No dongle required! So you can pair it with multiple computers, if you want to.|
|What can you see on your wrist?||Home (clock face); Today (Steps/HR/Miles walked/Calories burned/Floors climbed); Exercise (choose your activity to record); Fitstar (choose a built in workout); Timer (Stopwatch, Countdown, Timer, Alarms); Settings|
|Fitstar||The Blaze has Fitstar, which is basically two built-in workouts that you can follow.|
Aesthetics of the Fitbit Blaze
The Fitbit Blaze offers a full color clock face and menus. You can choose from four different clock faces.
You choose your clock face in Settings, and your watch face updates the next time you sync. Also, with the Fitbit Blaze you can change the strap, so there many options as to how your watch looks.
Call and text notifications on the Fitbit Blaze
The Fitbit Blaze will buzz and show you a notification that you are receiving a call or a text. You can also switch this off it bothers you. And you can scroll down to read the text. I find this feature really useful. I like to know if someone important is trying to communicate with me, such as my wife or kids (or if it’s someone I can ignore, like a bank). It also helps to be able to glance at my wrist while cycling and decide I am not going to interrupt my ride to take an unimportant call!
Of course, you cannot respond to texts or phone calls on this fitness tracker. For that you need a smart watch, not a fitness tracker.
Music Control on the Fitbit Blaze
The Fitness Blaze enables you to control your music from your wrist. I know that a lot of people don’t see the point of this, but I find it very useful. I often listen to books on my phone, and find that the controls with most Bluetooth headphones are sometimes a bit clumsy – so for example I will restart a chapter when I didn’t mean to. Also, the buttons on headphones are almost impossible to use with cycling gloves.
I find the music control function on this device really valuable when I am cycling or walking. Especially if my phone is in my bike pannier!
Silent alarms in the Fitbit Blaze
With the Fitbit Blaze, you can set silent alarms on your computer or cell phone. On the watch itself, you can switch these alarms on and off. I like this feature, as I find it a lot less jarring than an audible alarm. To be safe, I set the silent alarm for two minutes before my usual alarm. This usually wakes me up in time to switch off the audible alarm – thus avoiding at least one stressful event before I even get out of bed!
Optical heart rate monitors on the Fitbit Blaze
The Fitbit Blaze offers optical heart rate monitors, so that you can record your heart beat rate continuously without wearing a chest strap. This enables this fitness tracker to automatically track your sleep. This is a great feature. I used it to confirm that I had problems with sleep, and showed my doctor a Fitbit printout of my erratic sleep patterns. On the basis of that, she referred me to a sleep disorders clinic. So I am not surprised to learn that Fitbit trackers are increasingly being used in clinical applications.
Multi Sport Feature in the Fitbit Blaze
The Fitbit Blaze has a multi-sport feature – for example, you can tell it that you are now about to Hike, Bike, Walk, Workout, etc. It then records this time as active minutes, and records this in your daily record.
You set up these activities on your dashboard, and can arrange them in your own order of preference, so that your favorite exercise always shows up first.
GPS in the Fitbit Blaze
For me as a cyclist, tracking rides with GPS is essential. For that reason, I didn’t think I would like the Fitbit Blaze, because it does not have a built-in GPS chip. However, I was in for a surprise. The Fitbit Blaze has an almost flawless and very fast sync with your smart phone, so that it can use the GPS on your phone to track your rides or hikes. Over a period of many years I have used a lot of devices to make GPS records of bike rides. I have to say that the Fitbit Blaze makes a really fast, impressive connection. A lot faster than most Garmin Edge bike computers I have tried (except for the 810, the 520 and the 25 – check out our post comparing these Garmin Edge bike computers here).
The way the GPS works with the Fitbit Blaze is that you swipe to exercise, tap on the exercise icon, and then scroll and tap to select one of the sports that you have set up as exercise shortcuts (see Multi Sport Feature above). If the exercise is compatible with GPS, it will have a little gear symbol on the bottom right. This is just common sense, really. Your Fitbit can only record a route with its GPS if you are actually going somewhere, which happens if you are walking, running or cycling. It does not do GPS recordings for the “Workout” choice because walking from the stationary bike to the bench press machine is really not an event worth recording!
Once you have selected a GPS-compatible activity, one of two things happens. The Fitbit Blaze will look for the GPS in your phone, and tell you when it has found it. You then hit “Let’s go!” and off you go.
All in all, the lack of a GPS chip onboard the Fitbit Blaze is not a problem at all! In fact, it’s a bit of a plus, because it makes the watch slimmer. As long as you have a decent smart phone that is GPS enabled (and all of them are), you don’t really need a GPS chip in your fitness tracker.
And here’s the biggest upside – because with the Fitbit Blaze you are not paying for an extra GPS chip that you don’t actually need, the Fitbit Blaze is a really good price compared to many fitness tracks that come with GPS chips (meaning you have to pay for them).
Strava Connection with the Fitbit Blaze
After your GPS-recorded activity, your Fitbit will quietly and automatically upload your ride to Strava – providing you have a Strava account and have linked it to your Fitbit (read more about Strava here). This is very easy to do. I love this feature. Sometimes I will get a text notification on my Fitbit, and it is a buddy giving me kudos on a ride I have completed just a few minutes ago. I didn’t even know it was uploaded yet, and I am already getting kudos!
Related content: Indepth review of the Fitbit Charge HR
Battery charging with Fitbit Blaze
The Fitbit Blaze will go for 5 days on one charge; longer if you charge them while you are in the shower (a good habit to get into so you don’t accidentally take your Fitbit into the shower).
To charge the Fitbit Blaze, you pop the watch face out of the strap and put it in a little charging box. The charging box has a cable and a plug, to plug it into a power source. It takes about an hour to fully charge, and will send a text notification when the charge is complete (which you will receive on your smart phone).
Related content: Fitbit Charge HR vs Surge
Fitbit Blaze – An Excellent Fitness Tracker!
The Fitbit Blaze is an excellent fitness tracker. I loved reviewing it for several weeks, and I can honestly recommend it. You can get cheaper fitness trackers, but then you do have to give up the built-in optical heart rate monitor – which I am not willing to do. I want to monitor my heart rate, but I am not willing to wear a chest strap 24/7. Monitoring your heart rate is an excellent fitness tool, and also enables you to monitor your sleep patterns.
And note that this fitness tracker measured my heart beat rate just as accurately as any dedicated HR monitor I have tried. In fact, Fitbit trackers are now being used in medical studies and trials. All in all, it is no wonder that Fitbit owns 75% of the activity tracker market. It’s hard to find anything that competes.
Bottom Line on the Fitbit Blaze
I very definitely think that the new Fitbit Blaze is a game changer, and is a big step up on all previous Fitbits. The Fitbit Blaze is a lot better looking, thanks to its full color face and generally very sharp design. I find it is a lot more appealing and just plain fun than, for example, the monochrome face of the Fitbit Surge. The Blaze also has a neat feature: you can pop the watch easily in and out of its strap, which means that you can buy different straps for it and achieve different looks – much like an Apple watch.
Price: The Fitbit Blaze is reasonably priced because it does not have a built-in GPS chip. However, as discussed above, that turns out to be no problem at all. The Fitbit Blaze still records your runs and bike rides perfectly.
The Fitbit Blaze well deserves its best-seller rank. It’s great value for money, and looks great too. I get a lot of compliments on it. Out of all the fitness trackers I have tried, the Fitbit Blaze is definitely my top pick. The Fitbit Blaze is a great choice for anyone who wants a really good looking, multi-sports activity tracker.
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