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Hands on: Fitbit Sense Review

With a whole new approach geared towards health and wellbeing tracking, the Fitbit Sense is a turning point for the Fitbit brand.

First Impressions

The Fitbit Sense has definitely impressed us so far, with the new EDA sensor, improved battery life and built-in GPS making a good case for upgrading. With a greater emphasis placed on using Fitbit Premium with the new wearable, there's still a lot more ground to cover before our final verdict but the Fitbit Sense is shaping up to be a far better option than the Fitbit Versa 2.

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £299.99
  • 6-day battery life
  • EDA sensor
  • SpO2 tracking
  • 6-months Fitbit Premium included

Fitbit is back with another premium wearable in the form of the Fitbit Sense, which could be seen as another attempt by the fitness brand to lure folks away from the Apple Watch.

It’s been a while since Fitbit has properly had its hand in the premium wearable arena. The company’s last attempt, the Fitbit Ionic, debuted roughly three years ago and unfortunately didn’t command quite as much attention as the far more affordable Fitbit Versa series. The Fitbit Sense is here to turn things around, offering a wider feature set than this year’s Fitbit Versa 3.

At £299.99, the Fitbit Sense doesn’t come cheap, but it’s certainly cheaper than the Apple Watch Series 6 and Fitbit’s crammed in a ton of features to warrant the expense.

At the forefront of the Fitbit Sense’s feature set is the new EDA sensor. Billed as the first electrodermal activity sensor on a wearable, this new piece of tech allows the Fitbit Sense to delve into new territory: stress tracking.

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Fitbit Sense

Having been launched in one of the most stressful years in recent history, there’s no shortage of opportunity to put the EDA sensor to the test, but Fitbit is hoping that by gaining a greater insight into what causes stress, users can begin to counteract the effects with targeted meditation and relaxation techniques.

In the official unveiling of the Sense, Fitbit was keen to point out that by its own merit, the company is moving beyond fitness tracking and into the realm of health and wellbeing tracking. As a recent convert to the benefits of daily meditation, the move makes a lot of sense to me, as a good bill of mental health is vitally important if you plan on being physically fit as well.

Of course, in order to use any of the mindfulness sessions that make use of the Sense’s tech, a subscription to Fitbit Premium is a must. Luckily, anyone who buys a Fitbit Sense will get six months of the Premium service on the house, giving you ample time to get accustomed with its benefits.

In keeping with its new approach to health, the Fitbit Sense can also keep an eye on your body temperature for any fluctuations that might signal an oncoming illness. The value of such a feature during a global pandemic shouldn’t be lost on anyone.

Fitbit Sense

The only major feature that the Fitbit Sense doesn’t have from the get-go is an ECG scanner, but it is coming. In vogue since the Apple Watch 4, an ECG scanner can detect signs of atrial fibrillation – a heart condition that causes irregularities in blood flow and can be dangerous if left unchecked. Fans won’t have to wait too long however, with Fitbit slating the feature for a debut sometime in October.

Outside of the health features, the Fitbit Sense brings several major updates, one of which fans have been clamouring for for some time. In-built GPS tracking, which has made a sporadic appearance on Fitbit devices, is now here to stay in the Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Versa 3.

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The Fitbit Sense also boasts a six-day battery life, a noticeable uptick on the four-days offered by the Fitbit Versa 2. While further testing is needed to see how this battery stands up under various conditions, I’m impressed with the longevity that I’ve seen thus far.

Amazon’s Alexa returns as the default smart assistant of choice, but the Google Assistant is on its way in a later update for the Fitbit Sense. The same applies for audible responses, a feature that was sorely lacking on the Versa 2 and really should have been present on the Sense from launch.

Early verdict

The Fitbit Sense still has a way to go to become the best of the best. Fitbit Pay just isn’t a solid alternative to Google or Apple Pay, and the lack of offline Spotify support is a sticking point.

At this point in testing however, I am impressed with the EDA sensor, the battery life and overall design of the Fitbit Sense. If the Sense can keep this trajectory going, then Fitbit might have landed itself a winner.

A ’hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

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