Fitbit Sense Review 2022: Our Take on the Apple Watch Rival

fitbit sense


There's a fitness tracker for every activity level and lifestyle, but the Fitbit Sense smartwatch really ups the ante in the fitness tracker category. It has the same features as most fitness trackers on the market (think heart rate tracking, physical activity monitoring, etc.), helping you keep tabs on your workouts and stay on track with those New Year's Goals. But the Fitbit Sense smartwatch is more than a personal trainer on your wrist. It also monitors your sleep cycles and helps you stay in tune with your mental health by measuring your stress levels.

You might be thinking, "Do I even need a fitness tracker?", but this next-level smartwatch could be one of the tools in your wellness toolbox that you didn't know you needed. That's why the ACTIVE Reviews Team took the time to review the Fitbit Sense's features and stats, so you can determine if this tracker is right for you.

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Fitbit Sense Smartwatch – The Breakdown

Fitbit's first device entered the scene in 2009 with a clip-on device that used an internal motion detector to track the wearer's movement and calorie burn. Then came the Fitbit Flex, its first watch-like wearable, Bluetooth Smart-enabled activity tracker. Since then, the company has been monitoring (no pun intended) the wellness scene and continues to stay up to date on the latest fitness tracker technology.

Likened to the sought-after Apple Watch, the Fitbit Sense is currently the brand's most sophisticated (and most expensive) smartwatch. In addition to the typical fitness tracker features, innovative sensors can help you manage stress and capture crucial heart-rate data.

fitbit sense smartwatch

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Here's a Quick Look at the Fitbit Sense's Specs:

Materials

Made from a stainless-steel frame, Gorilla Glass 3 display, and innovative bisensor core, the Fitbit Sense is built to last. The underside of the watch (that sits on your wrist) is made of aluminum.

Dimensions

The watch screen measures 1.59-inches (3.8 cm.) across and .49-inches (1.24 cm.) thick. The small band fits wrists 5.5-inches to 7.1-inches (14-18 cm.) in circumference. The large band fits wrist sizes ranging from 7.1- to 8.7-inches (18-22.1 cm) in circumference.

Design

The rounded-square touchscreen is similar to a smartphone where you can swipe intuitively to access apps, metrics, and tools. The left side of the watch has an indent that functions as a haptic button, which means it uses vibrations to communicate. One press turns the watch screen on and a double press brings up shortcuts. You can customize a long-press to invoke Alexa, timers, tools, and other functions.

The watch comes in three color and style options: Sage grey band with a silver stainless steel frame; Carbon/graphite band with a stainless-steel frame; and a Lunar white band with a soft gold stainless steel frame. Additional bands can be purchased separately, including vegan leather, silicone, nylon, steel, and sports options.

Metrics

The Fitbit Sense is equipped to track a multitude of metrics, providing you with detailed insight on your overall well-being. Some metrics like your heart rate will track automatically, while others you can enter manually. A few standout metrics include: All four sleep stages (awake, light sleep, deep sleep, and REM) with a subsequent sleep score, breathing rate, steps taken, floors climbed, menstrual cycle tracker, food and water intake, oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring, skin temperature sensor, stress management, active zone minutes and calories burned.

Now that we've gotten some of the basics out of the way, let's break down the details and see if this fitness tracker makes sense for you.

PROS

  • It's the first model to offer electrocardiogram (ECG) heart rate monitoring so you can record your heart's rhythm. You can use the compatible ECG app (Charge 5) to assess your heart for atrial fibrillation (Afib) and share the results with your doctor.
  • This device is also the only Fitbit to monitor stress through a sensor that calculates heart rate and electrodermal (EDA) data to see if your body is showing a "fight or flight" response.
  • The temperature tracker keeps tabs on your skin's temps while you sleep—data that can indicate if you're getting sick.
  • The Smart Wake feature senses the optimal wake time of your sleep cycle and wakes you within 30 minutes of your alarm.
  • Bluetooth smartphone notifications can be customized to alert you when a text message or phone call comes through, or silenced if you don't want to be distracted.

CONS

  • The buffet of features and higher price point can be overwhelming if you're just looking for a basic, budget-friendly fitness tracker.
  • Bluetooth connection with your phone can be delayed.
  • The haptic indent on the left side can be a learning curve to get used to.
  • There's room for improvement in the GPS functionality. It can be slow to connect and spotty in some areas.
  • May not be a "con" for some, but this device is a wellness tool, not a smartphone replacement. To send and receive messages from the Fitbit Sense, your phone must be nearby with Bluetooth activated and the Fitbit app running in the background. Images don't download on the watch, and Android users can only respond with quick replies.

In Use: What is it like to use the Fitbit Sense Smartwatch?

Set-Up and Use

Out-of-the-box set-up is pretty similar to other fitness watches. It doesn't take long to get your Fitbit Sense up and running, but might take some time to research additional features and customize your tracking and notification options to your liking.

First, you'll need to download the Fitbit app to your phone, then charge the watch, and pair it with your WiFi network (have your WiFi password handy for this step). Also set aside some time to download your apps of choice (like Weather and Spotify), and input your info into the user profile.

Battery Use

If you're using GPS actively and have the screen set to "always-on", you'll get about 12 hours of battery life. If you deactivate GPS and set the screen to "auto-wake," the battery could last you up to six days. The watch comes with a proprietary magnetic USB charging disc, which snaps onto the back of the device to power up. It takes less than two hours to fully charge the watch.

Fitbit Sense Smartwatch Specs

 Contents  1 Fitbit Sense™
 1 Classic wristband (small and large)
 1 Magnetic USB charging cable
 Screen size and resolution  1.59" (3.8 cm.) across and .49" (1.24 cm.) thick
 Display  336 x 336 pixels color AMOLED touch screen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3
 Weight  1.62 oz. w/ small band; 1.7 oz. w/ large band
 Battery  Lithium polymer battery
 Fitbit magnetic charging cable
 Up to 6 days on 1 charge (12 hrs if health monitoring features are on, GPS is activated, and screen is set to "always-on")
 About 1 hr for full-use charge. About 15 min. for 1 day of battery life
 Operating system  Fitbit OS 5.1
 Compatibility  iOS 12.2 or higher and Android 7.0 and higher
 Connectivity  Bluetooth 5, WiFi, NFC

Buy Now or Skip It?

Buy It If…

You're looking for a device to help you gather detailed health information and track your metrics. The data you monitor and collect can help you build overall reports of your health and see correlations over time, which can be useful in helping you better understand your mind and body. The Fitbit Sense is also a good fit if you want more support in improving your mental well-being.

BUY: Fitbit Sense

Skip It If…

You're wanting a smartwatch with some fitness tracking features. The Bluetooth pairing functionality can be delayed, so it's definitely more of a fitness tracker and less of a smartwatch.

Fitbit Sense vs Garmin Venu® Sq

Garmin Venu Sq smartwatch

Garmin Venu® Sq Stats

  • Price: $199.99
  • Measurements: 40.6 x 37.0 x 11.5 mm. Wrist circumference of 125-190 mm.
  • Weight: 1.33 oz.
  • Display: Rounded square, 1.3" color LCD screen, 240 x 240 pixels display resolution
  • Materials: Aluminum bezel with fiber-reinforced polymer case
  • Battery: Up to 6 days or 14 hrs if GPS and fitness tracking are running constantly
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth. Android users can decline calls and respond to text messages quickly. There is no speaker or mic onboard, so no hands-free voice control.
  • Sensors: SpO2. Built-in GPS, wrist-based heart rate

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Garmin Venu® Sq Takeaways

The Garmin Venu Sq is lightweight, but that doesn't mean it skimps on features. While it doesn't have an ECG, you can receive high and low heart rate notifications so you know if your heart rate spikes or drops within a healthy threshold. If you want music storage on the device (and WiFi connectivity), you'll need to opt for the Venu Sq Music, which will cost you about $50 more.

BUY IT: Garmin Venu Sq

Which is a Better Fit?

Compared with the Venu Sq, the Fitbit Sense is a better option if you're interested in advanced health data since it includes the ECG and EDA scans, as well as the temperature sensor.

If you're primarily interested in tracking workout performance metrics, the Venu Sq could be a better choice if you don't care as much about smartphone accessibility.

Customer Experience

Your initial purchase of the Fitbit Sense includes a free 6-month trial of Fitbit Premium, which offers access to personalized data insights plus workout videos, wellness tips, and recipes. You can also download a wellness report with your data in 1-year, 6-month, 3-month, and 30-day increments. After six months, you can opt to purchase Premium for $9.99 per month.

Your initial purchase of the Fitbit Sense includes a free 6-month trial of Fitbit Premium, which offers access to personalized data insights plus workout videos, wellness tips, and recipes. You can also download a wellness report with your data in 1-year, 6-month, 3-month, and 30-day increments. After six months, you can opt to purchase Premium for $9.99 per month.

Your Fitbit Sense includes a 1-year limited warranty. You can purchase a 2-year protection plan for $59.99 that covers accidental damage. (A good idea if you're prone to dropping things.

If you want to return your Fitbit device, you'll need to request a return authorization within 45 days of your shipment date.

Final Thoughts

The Fitbit Sense is a good fit if you're looking for a full suite of health monitoring offerings. With Fitbit Premium, the health reports and pattern tracking can be beneficial to optimize your sleep cycles, monitoring your oxygen levels, and honing in on your heart rate. Overall, the Fitbit Sense helps you stay more in tune with your body while still looking sleek and stylish on your wrist. If you're looking to take your fitness game to the next level, or are simply getting more serious about your health and total body wellness, the Fitbit Sense may be right for you.

To sum it up:

  • The innovative health tracking features make this device a step up from a basic fitness tracker.
  • The clear display, lightweight case, and modern design make this sleek device easy on the eyes and wrist.
  • You will likely want to upgrade to the Fitbit Premium to maximize the health reports and workout options.
  • There are still a few bugs to work out, notably streamlining software hiccups and GPS connectivity.

Like any device, it's all about what you personally intend on using it for and what you wish to gain from a tracker. If you want cutting-edge features, you'll be happy with the Fitbit Sense. If you don't need all the bells and whistles, you might want to pass.

Fitbit Sense Smartwatch FAQs


Is it worth getting Fitbit Sense?

The Fitbit Sense is an innovative smartwatch that hits the mark in many ways. If you can see yourself using its array of features daily, then it's worth the money. If not, then you might want to opt for more of a basic, less expensive tracker.

How accurate is Fitbit Sense ECG?

According to a clinical study of 440 users, Fitbit says the ECG app software algorithm was able to correctly identify people with AFib 98.7-percent of the time and correctly identify people with a normal sinus rhythm 100-percent of the time.

Can you answer calls on Fitbit Sense?

You can answer calls on this device. Use the built-in speaker and microphone to take calls from your wrist.

How do you measure Sp02 on Fitbit Sense?

The Fitbit Sense monitors Sp02 while you sleep. To get started, download a clock face with SpO2 tracking or download the SpO2 Tracker app.

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