Fitbit’s polarising Blaze fitness watch – we hesitate to use the term smartwatch – had just launched in South Africa, kicking off at a (very) early morning event that involved yoga, and stretching and headphones and exercise. Stuff as, as is customary, present but abstaining from the workouts. Trick knee, you know?
The Blaze follows Fitbit’s formula by being a central unit which can be swapped in and out of a series of wristbands. The difference is that the heart-tracking Blaze is a lot more watch-like, with customisable electronic faces, new features like FitStar and Connected GPS, and automatic workout tracking, and more, on a square face. The Blaze being be inserted into TPU, leather or a metal link band, so it suits a range of style applications.
The Blaze has launched in South Africa, being available in retail stores and online for R4,000. Additional bands will set you back between R500 (for the black, blue or plum TPU options) and R1,800 for leather (grey, black, or camel). The metal band will cost R2,000 on its own.
Launching soon, but previewed at today’s event, was the Fitbit Alta, an evolution of the Flex that everyone absolutely loved (and still do). The Alta lacks an HR monitor but incorporates a lot of the new features seen in the Blaze. Features like calendar and SMS notifications, workout recognition (SmartTrack), movement reminders and all of the other features you’ve come to expect from Fitbit’s bands, like sleep-tracking and the like.
A launch for the Alta is expected to take place in April this year, with 11 April being the date we were given. The wristwear will come with similar band options to the Blaze, so TPU and leather are on the cards and there’s a silver bangle option available – which will be rather pricey. Right up until the gold version launches later this year.
It almost goes without saying: Expect a review for both the Fitbit Blaze and the Fitbit Alto once we’ve had time to get properly sweaty.