For Those Who Hate Smartwatches, Fitbit Has a Fancy New Fitness Tracker

Illustration for article titled For Those Who Hate Smartwatches, Fitbit Has a Fancy New Fitness Tracker
Image: Fitbit

The Fitbit Luxe, the company’s newest and most expensive band, can best be described as: fitness tracker, but make it fashion.

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The $150 Luxe, which Fitbit announced today, is the first of Fitbit’s fitness bands to sport a color touchscreen. It offers 24/7 heart rate-monitoring, as you might expect, and comes with a six-month free trial of Fitbit Premium, meaning you’ll get access to the Health Metrics dashboard for more advanced heart rate stats, sleep tracking, stress management scores, and the Deepak Chopra mindfulness sessions. It will track SpO2 and skin temperature variation via the Health Metrics dashboard, but surprisingly these features are “coming soon” and may not be available at launch.

But the Luxe is the first new Fitbit to launch with blood glucose logging, which the company rolled out a few months ago via a software update. As far as notifications go, the Luxe will have customizable call, text, and app notifications. It’ll also have some features that you more typically see on smartwatches, like clock faces, bedtime reminders, and do not disturb modes. Android users also get to benefit from Google Fast Pair for speedier setup.

The Luxe relies solely on swipes and taps—no buttons to see here. Unfortunately, its GPS is tethered to your phone and not built in, which is a little disappointing but makes sense considering the fashion focus. Fitbit said the Luxe will last up to five days on a charge, which is fairly standard for a Fitbit, but much less than the 10 days Fitbit’s other main fitness tracker, the Inspire 2, delivers. To be fair, the Luxe is adding a color touchscreen, which is more energy-hungry than the Inspire 2's monochrome LED screen.

Fitness trackers tend to be affordable and utilitarian wristbands with the same tired design. So even though a fancy fitness tracker is a paradox, it’s neat Fitbit that is trying to do something different in this space. The Luxe isn’t too different—after all, it still looks like a fitness tracker—but its subtle rounded shape, metal finishes, and color screen go a long way. Fitbit said its inspiration is handcrafted jewelry, and it used metal injection molding to mimic that feel. The band definitely looks chic compared to your average fitness tracker, but that bar is lower than my hope for universal healthcare in the U.S. this century. The last “pretty” Fitbit tracker was the Alta HR. Its latest, the Inspire 2, was so bland I almost forgot it existed.

The Gorjana bracelet for the Fitbit Luxe Special Edition is distinctly jewelry-like.
The Gorjana bracelet for the Fitbit Luxe Special Edition is distinctly jewelry-like.
Image: Fitbit

You feel the fashion element a bit more in the accessories. For $30-$100 extra, you can cop leather double-wrap straps, woven straps, stainless steel mesh bands, and platinum or gold link bracelets. A pricier $200 Luxe Special Edition, comes with a gold stainless steel Parker link bracelet designed by Gorjana, a Laguna Beach-based jewelry brand, and a peony-colored silicone band.

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Fitbit is already pushing it with the regular Luxe at $150, so barreling ahead with a $200 Special Edition is certainly A Choice. Fitbit’s $230 Versa 3 is a full-fledged smartwatch, and its $150 Charge 4 has better battery life and built-in GPS. By comparison, the Luxe’s price tag is borderline madness. Though, to be fair, Fitbit did warn us by calling this thing Luxe.

You can preorder the Fitbit Luxe and the Luxe Special Edition starting today at Fitbit’s website or at major retailers. Accessories are sold separately and range from $30 to $100. The regular Luxe is expected to ship sometime this spring, and the Special Edition will ship in June.

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Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.

DISCUSSION

It’s attractive. The long, rounded rectangle face gives it a sleeker look that is stylish without looking gimmicky. I can definitely see the appeal for women, especially if they can swap out the bands easily.