1. Mad Cabbie's Avatar
    Before we start, I am NOT an employee or affiliate of Fitbit, and this was not a 'freebie'. I paid for it out of my own pocket.

    After a rough patch with the Band, and Band 2, which Microsoft tried to help me out with, I needed something with minimal contact between skin and metal. After much debate and thought, I went to study the other devices on sale. Garmins, Fitbits et al, all there to try. I liked the look of the Fitbit Blaze.

    In common with most items these days, the box contained the device, the charger, and not a lot else. All the setup is done, apparently, via the Fitbit App. This is where the issues began. I downloaded the Win 10 app and tried to install the update offered when I opened the app. You cannot do anything with the Blaze without this update!! Pairing the device with the phone was very straight forward, so I was a little perturbed when the update wouldn't install! Time after time it failed.
    It seems the only way to update the device is using a PC with the app! This involved 'popping' out the main unit, and placing it in it's strange charging cradle, and connecting the USB. The update is flawless then.

    Right, we are updated and ready to go. Leave the PC app and then re-pair with my 950xl, and back to the mobile app. Fitbit have done a great job with the app. There is all the information you could possibly need including recording fluid intake and what you have eaten, along with the standard things in most 'health' apps. The sync time is roughly the same as Microsoft Health.

    The battery has lasted around four days, which isn't bad for one of these devices. Admittedly, these do not have GPS built in, but use your phones to log routes. The charging cradle is an oddball device. You have to 'pop' the main unit out of the frame of the watch, and place it in the charger then close the lid, which has a large hole for viewing the charge process. I find this an unusual approach, as last year there was talk of all chargers just being a standard USB lead to reduce landfill and wasting resources on a different fitment for different devices. MS also have the different chargers for the Band series, although they don't require dismantling of the device.

    The overall design is quite pleasant apart from the small gap between the device and the frame. One of the USP's of this device is the ability to swap out the strap. There are various replacements available, ranging from stainless steel to leather. The actual frame can also be changed. To aid in switching things up Fitbit include, built in to the strap, a couple of small rods so you can change the strap out yourself. No need for a jeweler or risk the little pins flying off across the room, never to be found again! Neat Idea.

    The functions available are the constant Purepulse HR monitor, Targeted work outs, floor climbs, steps, sleep etc. All the functions the band has bar the notifications. I remember seeing a post on here about Fitbit and MS trying to resolve this. There is also the facility to control music on the 950XL and other compatible Win10 phones, although I haven't toyed with this. The band series are still among the best devices, but those who suffer from skin irritation, these are out there. I don't miss Cortana on my wrist. I could never get it to work properly. The nice thing about the Blaze is the display is in the position a watch should be. Also, bringing your arm up towards you, wakes the screen so you can see things like time, date, steps etc.

    The main interface is obviously via a touch screen. Your main screen is the clock, along with any customisations you add, swipe left and you get Todays figures, Exercise, FitStar, Timer, Alarms and settings. If you have the 'original' clock face, the clock face outer, where your standard clock markings go, will change colour, and make its way around the screen depending who much of a challenge you have acheived. So, if you set steps at 10,000, when you have done 2500, there will be a blue line round to the 3 o'clock position. You can also check your stats by tapping the bottom of the screen. This will scroll the steps, heart rate, date etc. The device is shown on the box to be 'water' proof, although full submersion isn't guaranteed. Noticably, after the Class Action in the US, the box also states 'Contains Nickel'.

    The step counter is pretty accurate as well, although the floors climbed seems to be a bit off. Like the Band, this has a barometer. The heart rate monitor is also fairly accurate, although you have to remember THIS IS FOR INFORMATIONAL purposes only The sleep facility is unnerving. It is very accurate. The silent alarms are OK, but the vibration is a bit weak, especially if you use it to get you up. It's more of a daytime reminder alarm.

    All of the settings, for example, changing the clock face (there are currently four in the app) are in the app. You can, in line with other fitbit devices, set the wrist to dominant or non dominant, number of steps, heart rate goals, alarms (this can be done on device as well) and a host of other settings. The app itself is very self explanatory. The new look UI is rather pleasant to use. Just swiping now to see your stats, and then click on the item to see more detailed information, which includes graphs and charts. There is also Floors, distance,calories, active minutes, average heartbeat (hi - low - resting), hourly movement reminders, amount of exercise over the past 5 days, weight etc. All of these can be tapped for more detailed info.

    When I installed the lastest insider build yesterday, I had difficulty getting the Blaze to stay connected to the 950xl. After a bit of tinkering, there is, in the settings on the watch, the facility to switch the Bluetooth to 'Classic' settings. I did this and it connected straight away. I reverted to the preset Bluetooth and it remained connected! Yay.

    So, there you are. The Blaze. Not a Band by a long shot due to lack of built in GPS, Cortana and no notifcations, but, if you want more of a 'watch' then the Blaze is a worthy opponent. The clock is the right way round. You haven't haven't got to touch the device to turn the screen on, it's a damned sight lighter, interchangeable straps and frames, it's rather comfortable to wear, and the surface is flat so you can get a tempered glass screen protector off of the bay. I bought one for 2.00 delivered. The battery has given me 4 days so far.

    Just beware, the first firmware update has to be done via PC. This is also applicable to iOS and Android. The literature online does not mention this!! There is also a compatability list on Fitbit's website, and they still have many WP on there. These are designed with W10M in mind, so those on 8.1 may not get the new, rather nice app, and may well have to choose the 'classic' bluetooth to get the pairing done.
    Last edited by Mad Cabbie; 06-09-2016 at 12:57 PM.
    06-09-2016 12:46 PM
  2. Penguwin's Avatar
    Awesome review! Thanks for your input... the only thing that still bothers me about this smartwatch is the no notifications bit :( .
    06-09-2016 01:18 PM
  3. Mad Cabbie's Avatar
    Awesome review! Thanks for your input... the only thing that still bothers me about this smartwatch is the no notifications bit :( .
    Thanks dude!! First one, hoping it wasn't to long winded! There was a news item on WC about Fitbit and MS getting it done. Obviously fitbit don't want to produce an OS specific device just for us 'oddballs', so I guess it's getting things to work with the existing OS's. TBH, I don't miss them. I do like the watch being the right way up though, and not speaking into my wrist like the Secret Service!!!
    Penguwin and aximtreo like this.
    06-09-2016 01:29 PM
  4. Penguwin's Avatar
    Thanks dude!! First one, hoping it wasn't to long winded! There was a news item on WC about Fitbit and MS getting it done. Obviously fitbit don't want to produce an OS specific device just for us 'oddballs', so I guess it's getting things to work with the existing OS's. TBH, I don't miss them. I do like the watch being the right way up though, and not speaking into my wrist like the Secret Service!!!
    LOL on the secret agent speaking into your wrist... this is now common place for me :) haha.

    I understand wanting to keep your device cross platform, just wish more "wearables" companies took WP seriously *sigh* .

    Anyways, keep us updated over the weeks / months on how you like the Blaze as you live with it day to day over time! Thanks again & enjoy!
    06-09-2016 01:40 PM
  5. Mad Cabbie's Avatar
    Originally posted by Penguwin
    Originally Posted by Mad Cabbie
    Thanks dude!! First one, hoping it wasn't to long winded! There was a news item on WC about Fitbit and MS getting it done. Obviously fitbit don't want to produce an OS specific device just for us 'oddballs', so I guess it's getting things to work with the existing OS's. TBH, I don't miss them. I do like the watch being the right way up though, and not speaking into my wrist like the Secret Service!!!
    LOL on the secret agent speaking into your wrist... this is now common place for me :) haha.

    I understand wanting to keep your device cross platform, just wish more "wearables" companies took WP seriously *sigh* .

    Anyways, keep us updated over the weeks / months on how you like the Blaze as you live with it day to day over time! Thanks again & enjoy!
    Thank you Sir! I will update sporadically, and keep a track on battery, how it works with the phones GPS, music controls etc. I will also give a report using it in the dark. It has auto brightness so we will see how effective it is.....
    Penguwin and aximtreo like this.
    06-09-2016 03:31 PM
  6. Mad Cabbie's Avatar
    UPDATE....UPDATED


    Well, I've had this a few days now, and I have grown to like it. I still look with some trepidation at it when the wife is sat next to me, her phone rings and she doesn't have to retrieve it, and make a wasted journey as she can then answer using her fab Plantronics bluetooth. God they are good! Great when her phone is on charge in the other room.

    I am now getting just about 5 days on a charge after conditioning the battery. It is still very comfortable to wear, and I now have the knack of moving my arm in the right manner, to get the screen to wake.

    The sleep facility is still spookily accurate. I just wish the app would give you a time when you were awake or restless. It might be there but I haven't found it.

    I have compared the step counter using the device, and the one integrated into my 950xl. They were pretty close. Only 56 steps in 5000 was the difference. The floor count has 'settled' and is comparable to the band 2. I tried the wifes band 2, and the weight difference was quite noticeable, but became less noticeable over a few mins. I wear a Citizen Skyhawk, and they are heavy, but again, commonality means the weight is not noticed.

    The auto screen dim works very well, and at night it is very easy to read. In direct sun light, it can be difficult to see. Apart from that, the screen, for its size, is clear and acceptable, although it isn't a mega million pixel per inch. It's only around an inch x inch.

    Overall, I'm pleased with the Blaze. I've been out in a thunderstorm, it got a good soaking, and performed faultlessly, with the touch screen responding fine.

    I have now begun to see it more as a watch, that has the bonus of fitness logging, whereas the band is more of an all-rounder, and a good one at that.
    aximtreo and Penguwin like this.
    06-17-2016 07:11 PM
  7. Mad Cabbie's Avatar
    Music Controls on Blaze

    I have now got my mix of tunes from Sisters of Mercy to Jungle ( yeah really ), into Groove.

    I can confirm that the Blaze can in fact control the basic functions in Grove. Vol + Vol -, Skip back / forward, play and pause. It works well. But BUT BEWARE, you have to pair the device in the classic pin number fashion, it won't work with the new pairing methods on WP.

    My question is.... If data can be sent back and forth from the Blaze, and the music control works, and displays the track name et, why haven't the notifications been sorted. It's a bit of an oddity that was being worked on, but as yet nothing has come to fruition.

    Lastly, I can stretch a battery to five days. I had to turn of the auto screen off as when driving, which I do for a living, it kept coming on when turning the wheel.
    I have had NO issues with skin irritation with this. It is still very comfortable to wear, looks smart and is surprisingly accurate with all data.

    I hope you find the info on the Blaze, useful.

    Chris
    Penguwin and aximtreo like this.
    06-21-2016 04:22 PM
  8. dbadali's Avatar
    Not sure how you are getting accurate steps. I picked up a Blaze to replace a Fitbit One and found the step count to be very inaccurate. For a quick 20 minutes on the treadmill in the morning with the same programmed walk I've used, the Blaze came up way short of the normal number I would get with the One. I would typically be around 2800 but in 2 days with the Blaze the steps were recorded as 2100 and then 1700. I also had issues with bluetooth connections to my car with the Blaze where it prevented my phone from connecting. Needless to say, I returned the Blaze and am searching for a more accurate tracker.
    06-23-2016 09:33 AM
  9. Mad Cabbie's Avatar
    I only had issues in the car with my bluetooth headset (Planttronics) if I used music controls after turning the bluetooth on. Bluetooth off then on again cured that.

    I havent had any issues with accuracy, and it is still fairly accurate, compared to some. I have compared it to the wife's band 2 and was only a few steps out.
    06-24-2016 08:43 AM
  10. roberts1069's Avatar
    My Fitbit One recently stopped connecting to and/or syncing with my HTC One M8 (for Windows). So I checked Fitbit's website for a Blaze. Website reported the Blaze was compatible with my phone. So I bought a Blaze. Well I cannot get the Blaze to setup. It is not one of the listed devices. Email from Fitbit tech support - only compatible with Windows 10. Wish I had known that before laying out the $$$. Fitbit also told me that was why my One quit synching with my phone as well.
    Not nice to make my previous device stop working as intended.
    So I guess I'll buy a Band 2.
    07-05-2016 07:01 PM
  11. lncLESLIE's Avatar
    Thanks for this review..I have wanted a Fitbit for awhile now.
    08-08-2016 12:18 AM
  12. lncLESLIE's Avatar
    What is the best one for the lowest cost?
    08-21-2016 05:24 PM
  13. 11B1P's Avatar
    08-21-2016 06:09 PM

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