June 4, 2023

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BERLIN (Pocket-lint) – Although Fitbit didn’t officially launch anything at IFA 2022, the huge European tech event was a great stage to use to show off its latest range of smart fitness trackers. 
With the latest models – like the Sense 2 – the company added more advanced capabilities and some practical design changes, all the while retaining a sensible price point. Perhaps more noticeable was what it didn’t launch: a Wear OS powered device. With Google owning the company, it’s seemed for a while that this would be the natural direction of the brand’s watches, but – for many reasons – its Fitbit interface continues on. 

So what’s the latest top-tier Fitbit like? We got our hands on it during the German trade show to find out what the Sense 2 is all about. 
Fitbit’s Sense 2 is a contintution of a form factor and feature set that’s done well for the company over the past few years. It’s not too expensive, and yet is packed with pretty much any health tracking sensor you could wish for to get thorough, all-day, every day fitness and health tracking. 
It’ll last nearly a week on a full charge, all the while tracking your sleep quality every night, keeping an eye on your stress levels, and providing reports to help you understand your fitness, health and workout readiness. 
It’s a shame that a couple of the more useful features are locked behind a premium subscription, costing you extra every month, but you do still get pretty much all of the most important features as standard. 
On the whole, it’s a decent looking device and one that we can see being very popular with consumers. 
In a lot of ways, the Fitbit Sense 2 is very much a carbon copy of the Versa range. In fact, you wouldn’t bat an eyelid if it was named as part of the Versa series. And yet, it’s not. 
What that means is you have that classic Versa-like ‘squircle’ shaping in the case, so it’s predominantly square, but with very rounded corners, sides and edges. This creates a soft, inoffensive, but arguably quite plain looking device. The advantage perhaps being that it doesn’t have a look that would be considered by many to be overtly masuline or feminine. 
It’s not all that big either with a case measuring 40.5mm across. For our own particular wrist, it did seem a bit too small, but equally, on smaller wrists it looks the perfect size, with the lightweight case and soft silicone band offering a very comfortable all-day fit. You could easily wear it without noticing it on your wrist. 
What’s more, Fitbit has no shortage of strap options to choose from to customise the look to go with whatever outfit you happen to be wearing. It has the typical modern silicone bands, as well as vegan leather, authentic Horween leather and a nylon hook-and-loop style, among others.
One thing that is good: Fitbit has gone back to just having the touchscreen and physical, clickable button for controls. There’s no touch-sensitive panel anymore, which was renowned for being too easy to activate accidentally, or struggled when it came in contact with sweat and water.  
On that note, the watch is water resistant to 50 metres too, so it’ll be absolutely fine if you take it swimming or use it to track any outdoor activity in the rain.
As smartwatch experiences go, it’s safe to say the Fitbit employs quite a stripped down experience. It offers all the key features you’d want, but has an interface that’s a lot simpler and less battery-intensive than you’d find on something like the Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. It’s more like the approach you’d find on a Huawei or Garmin watch. 
That’s no bad thing however, since it also means the watch can offer great battery life, with more than 6 days of use available from a full charge with typical use. 
Fitbit Pay is the default contactless payment system employed by the Fitbit Sense 2 – and it supports a number of banks across the globe – but with Fitbit being a Google company, it will soon feature Google Wallet support as well, which has much wider support from banks and card companies. 
With this, plus the support for using it as a Bluetooth speaker during voice calls, and the watch mirroring your smartphone notifications, it does pretty much everything you’d want a modern smart wearable to do, even if you don’t get the same interactivity and choice of apps that you would get with “proper” smartwatches. 
Fitbit’s Sense 2 has all of the sensors you’d expect to find in a flagship fitness tracking device. The clue, really, is in the ‘Sense’ branding. This is the model with all the top sensing capabilities. 
That means as well as the usual steps, GPS, heart-rate and sleep tracking, you get other things like SpO2 (for tracking your bloody oxygen saturation), ECG and even a skin temperature sensor. It’s a fully-fledged health tracker. And – as is typical – it can monitor your physical efforts to determine how many calories you’ve burned. 
It also does the typical stress monitoring, and offers built-in breathing and mindfulness exercises to help relax and calm your mind. And those are just a couple of tools designed to help you be conscious of your mental health, as well as your physical wellbeing. 
Over the past few years we’ve seen a number of companies not only offering the basic fitness and health tracking data, but also getting better at analysing that data and presenting it in a way which is easy to understand. For Fitbit, that’s presented in form of a ‘Wellness report’ and a ‘Readiness Score’. 
The former of those is a PDF you can download and take to your doctor that shows all your key health stats over the past month. The latter – which is only available with the Fitbit Premium subscription – tells you how well rested you are, and how ready your body is for intense activity. It’s a good metric to keep an eye on if you want to make the most of every workout. 
Having brought back the physical button and loaded the watch with plenty of modern features, the Fitbit Sense 2 will appeal to many. Plus, Fitbit continues to offer its devices without a hefty premium, so it’s not too expensive either.

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