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Trail Tested: Fitbit Ionic: adidas edition

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Fitbit Ionic: adidas edition
Price: $330

Last month, Fitbit released their latest and most feature-packed smartwatch, the Fitbit Ionic: adidas edition. Retailing for $329.99, this sleek, low-profile smartwatch comes as direct competition to Apple’s Nike+ smartwatch. Built from their flagship Ionic model, Fitbit partnered with adidas in an effort to enhance the Ionic’s functionality, specifically for runners. This special adidas edition comes with all the same features and functionality as the original Ionic, but adds features like additional watch faces and the adidas training app, with six fully-guided workouts, including a dynamic warm-up and post-run stretch.

From a functionality standpoint, the Ionic: adidas edition is more a techy smartwatch than a trail-oriented GPS watch. Out of the box, the Ionic adidas Edition is user friendly and easy to navigate with a simple touchscreen swipe on its vivid color LCD face. It comes standard with all the basic features needed in a GPS watch; time (lap and elapsed), distance, lap distance, heart rate (wrist-based sensor) and pace; however, navigation is absent. Elevation is tracked by Fitbit Ionic: adidas edition, however at this time, it isn’t viewable in the mobile app. Elevation appears on the Fitbit.com dashboard and when exporting workouts to third-party apps like Strava. Not until users download the Fitbit mobile app (iOS and Android) does the watch reach its full potential. Connected via Bluetooth, Fitbit’s mobile app is the command center for the wrist device. Apps like Strava, Interval Timers, Maps, Pandora, weather and even the New York Times can all be downloaded wirelessly to the smartwatch.

The focus of the Fitbit Ionic adidas Edition is mostly off-the-trail activities, offering full functionally for other activities such as bike, swim, treadmill running and weights and preprogramed workouts with fully animated color step-by-step tutorials.

The biggest difference between a smartwatch style watch, like the Fitbit Ionic adidas Edition and a more mainstream GPS watch like Suunto or Garmin, is that instead of accessing run data in one cohesive manner or setting that’s viewable from the watch, users must rely on app’s like Strava, an altimeter app or maps to get crucial data. Even then it’s best viewed on your smartphone rather than directly on the watch itself.

Fitbit Ionic: adidas edition has a battery life of up to five days, continuous heart rate tracking, run features like Run Detect, Auto-Pause and Auto-Lap, cardio fitness level (estimated VO2 Max), water resistance to 50 meters, automatic activity and sleep tracking.

Bottom-line, while not specifically designed for the hardcore mountain athlete, the Fitbit Ionic adidas Edition is a perfect option for the urban trail runner who wants an attractive everyday watch that’s equality suited for weekday boardroom meetings as well as weekend trail runs. Its buttoned-up attractive look offers users a nice blend of GPS watch capabilities, daily activity tracking and smartwatch functionality in a single wrist device.

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Cory Smith, a former NCAA D1 runner is the owner of Run Your Personal Best, an online coaching business helping runners train for anything from 800 meters to a 100-miler. When Cory isn’t coaching you can find him on the trails around Santa Barbara, California and Mammoth Lakes, California, testing and reviewing running gear.