After two months with the Sense, we have mixed feelings about it. In short, if you want a health device to monitor your daily stats, and you also want an ECG on a Fitbit, this is your watch. . But otherwise, the Fitbit Versa 3 (which has the same general characteristics of the Sense, without ECG nor stress detection) would be sufficient.
Lexy Savvides and Scott de Stein both wore the Fitbit Sense for this test.
The Sense has a similar design to the Versa, except with a stainless steel edge around the square watch face instead of aluminum and a host of new sensors inside, making it a little bit thicker. With the screenTouch, you interact with the Sense via a recessed haptic side button, which can do everything from launching Alexa (or the Google Assistant) to starting a workout. It is more comfortable than the Versa 2 , especially during workouts and at bedtime , thanks to its more rounded finish. Those tedious toggles used to change straps on previous Fitbits are gone, thank goodness. They've been replaced with quick-release buttons to make it easier to replace the bands on the Sense. Lexy Savvides / figcaption>
The Fitbit Sense also has a processor that is faster than data Versa 2 , which makes interactions with the watch faster, but we still noticed a lag when opening apps, increasing the Wake up screen or swipe up to view daily stats. It also takes around 30 seconds to sync the new watch faces, like with previous Fitbits.
What it has improved is its charging station. Instead of the alligator-style clips from previous Fitbits, the Sense uses a new magnetic charger that easily attaches to the back of the watch.
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To take an ECG, you must first take a brief heart rate briefing in the Fitbit app (go to Discover> Assessments & Reports). When finished, the ECG app should appear on the sense. Sit downs and place your thumb and forefinger on the opposite corners of the watch and you will see one of three results after your scan is complete, depending on the heartbeat: normal sinus, signs of atrial fibrillation or inconclusive. You can also view the results in the Fitbit app and share them with your doctor.
Lexy Savvides /
Samsung has received similar permission for the feature on its two most recent Galaxy Watches , while Apple 's ECG application has been active on Apple Watch since the company released Series 4 in 2018. It also informs you of irregular heartbeats indicating Fib, as well as high and low heart rate alerts just like the S teaches. ECG and heart rate notifications work the same between Sense and Apple Watch, although forre an ECG on the Apple Watch, you place one finger on the digital crown rather than two fingers on the edge of the Sense.
Stress tracking is only useful if you already know how to manage it
While the Sense isn't the first portable device to track stress, its method of retrieving this information is unique. Rather than focusing on heart rate like Samsung's Galaxy watches, the Sense also uses sweat data from its new electrodermal activity, or EDA sensor, to determine stress levels. To measure your levels, you place the palm of your opposite hand on the stainless steel rim on the top of the watch. Touching the palm to the l rim of the watch completes a circuit, then uses the EDA sensor to measure any stress markers triggered by sweat. The whole process takes two minutes.
It 's a little weird at first becauseyou cannot see anything on the screen while you perform the scan, but once it is finished you will receive a vibration. You can also record how you feel at the end of the test, view your EDA responses, and check if your heart rate has increased or decreased. Fitbit offers audio guided meditation sessions for Fitbit Premium users to pair with the EDA analysis, although we didn't find them particularly helpful or relaxing.
The results of stress so far have been vague. One of Scott's first reads showed some EDA moments, which are those sweat-triggered incidents. But for the most part, it seemed to be stress free, depending on the sense. Considering he wore the Sense throughout a pandemic with two young children at home and during one of the busiest work weeks of the year, this reading doesn't reflect reality that he lived. The application does notNor does it seem to provide meaningful context as to why he experienced these early incidents or how to improve his results. Lexy had similar difficulties interpreting the EDA moments, whi ch she was 17 during a particularly stressful day at the deadline. The Fitbit gave no indication as to whether this was a normal amount or a cause for concern.
After each EDA Scan you can see your heart rate, how many EDA responses have been measured, then reflect on how you feel, ranging from "very stressed" to "calm". Screenshot by Scott Stein /
Fitbit provides a new management score, however stress at the startof each day which takes into account sleep , physical activity and stress to give you a "how you are " "number. It 's like the daytime equivalent of the sleep score of previous Fitbits. This data can be useful for recovery: for example, if you have a lower score, you you may want to focus on more restful sleep rather than a workout.
The daily stress score in the Fitbit app. Screenshot by Scott Stein /
But stress management reading right now isn't particularly user-friendly and it may take a few days.rs so that they appear after the first boot w listening to the meaning. Lexy's scores ranged from 78 to 92, typically averaging in the 80s. A higher stress management score means things are generally going well. But even on the days when her score managed to switch back into the '90s, it didn't necessarily match the amount of stress she was feeling. The Fitbit app doesn't provide personalized feedback to help you interpret or improve your score, so figuring out what to do with it can be a bit of a mystery. But about a month after launching Sense, we noticed a prompt appearing in the app indicating that the way the stress management score is calculated has been improved. We'll update this review if we notice any significant differences from our initial testing.
You don 't need a Fitbit Premium Account to access most of this data, but you will need it to get the additional meditation features, sensor information stress, additional statistics about your sleep heart rate and minute-by-minute changes in skin temperature while sleeping. Fitbit provides additional health data, such as variability, to all users of a compatible device. heart rate and SpO2 trends over time, in the coming months. But for that other data, you'll have to pay $ 10 per month for a premium subion, which becomes an important part of the Fitbit experience. .
Learn more: Galaxy Watch 3 or Apple Watch Series 6 . Instead, it measures the oxygen levels in the blood while you are sleeping. The Series 6 also measures SpO2 levels at night.
All you need to do to measure your SpO2 while you sleep is wear it to bed. In the morning, you can check your SpO2 level in the Fitbit app. You will also be able to see the graph of your changes in blood oxygen. (There are no specific numbers, just an indication of whether your oxygen variation is high or low.)
Note that at launch, the Sense would force you to select a specific SpO2 watch face before going to bed. fore monitor SpO2. Your level will then appear on the watch face approximately 45 minutes to an hour after waking up. If you prefer to see the blood oxygen level on your wrist rather than through the app, you can always select the SpO2 watch face before you go to bed. Fitbit says seven more SpO2 watch faces will be available in the App Gallery by the end of the year.
As with the stress score, it's hard to know what to do with your SpO2 reading unless you are a healthcare professional. And it is not possible to test the sensor against a pulse oximeter, a device that doctors use to measure the levels of oxygen in the blood with the fingertip, because the SpO2 readings from the Sense are taken at night and averaged.
It's also worth noting that SpO2 is also available on the Versa 2 (with the specific watch face) and the Versa 3 which runs from the same way as on the Sense, so you don 't need to select the SpO2 watch face before you retire.
Sleep tracking is great on the Sense and works pretty much the same as previous Fitbits. It gives you a detailed breakdown of your sleep steps and a sleep score each morning.
Temperature tracking on the Sense is also only nearby
Temperature tracking on the Sense is similar to SpO2 in that it does not provide measurement on demand, but instead indicates whether you have deviated from your baseline in a gradaily phique. Needless to say, it won't be replacing your thermometer anytime soon. You will need to register about three nights of sleep for the Sense to establish a baseline to switch from. As the Oura ring , which we have also been testing for a few months, is a potentially useful way to get a feel for your temperature fluctuations over time and indicate any fevers before you know it.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), we haven't 'not been sick during the time we have been tracking our temperatures and have not experienced any significant variations from baseline to report. Fitbit promises the Sense will reTemperature changes due to menstrual cycles will also wither, and it appeared to show a drop in Lexy's skin temperature before a cycle began. Basal body temperature is often used by women to predict fertility, as ovulation often causes a slight rise in temperature or a drop in temperature before a period. Like other Fitbits, the Sense has a cycle tracker that you can log into the app, or see where you are in your cycle on the watch.
Screenshot of Lexy Savvides /
Fitness tracking: Not much has changed
One of the downsides of Fitbits launched after Ionic in 2017 lacked on-board GPS. Since Charge 4 earlier this year, Fitbit finally brought back GPS so you don't have to take your phone with you on a run or trail. an outdoor run to track your route. It takes about 10 seconds to acquire a lock when you start an outdoor activity, with or without your phone nearby.
The Sense can show you which heart rate zone you are in and encourage you to push harder (or back up). Lexy Savvides /
If you have used another FitbitIn recent years, the rest of the Sense's fitness tracking features will sound familiar. You'll still be able to track your steps, start a goal-based workout, view your heart rate zone, and keep tabs on calories burned. What's new is the addition of Active Zone Minutes, which we first saw in the Invoice 4 . This uses your age and resting heart rate to show you how hard you've worked during an activity. You'll also receive real-time alerts when you've changed zones, which can help you take action during your workout, when it comes to pushing yourself a little harder or relaxing depending on your goals. For Lexy, it was very useful during an outdoor run, so she knew when to go a little further.read quickly (usually it 's all the time).
Although the Sense has the same general fitness characteristics, it does have its benefits in a workout. The screen is brighter than the Versa and older Fitbit trackers, so it's relatively easy to see in the sun as long as you make sure the brightness is set to maximum. It's also comfortable to wear, and thanks to its flat profile, it doesn't get in the way even when you're sweating.
We compared the Sense to a chest strap. to test the accuracy of heart rate tracking. Although it matched the strap fairly consistently for resting heart rate, it took at least 5-10 seconds to catch up with the strap during a workout when the heart rate increased (such as when switching from a gentle jog to a full sprint).
Lexy Savvides /
Battery life is good, but not as strong as other Fitbits
With the display always on, two 30-minute workouts, some stress measurements and a full night of sleep tracking, the Sense has answered the two-day battery life claim. Turning this always-on display off and just using the wake up function to wake up increased the battery to approximately 4.5 days between charges. That said, outdoor workouts seem to be a problem for the battery. Lexy noticed that after a particularly strenuous 2.5-hour outdoor bike ride, the battery dropped by almost 50%.
New smartwatch features are added over time
The Sense works with Android and iOS andthe experience is consistent across all ecosystems except not being able to reply to watch text messages while on iOS. There is a built-in microphone and speaker so you can now take quick calls from your wrist with your phone nearby. You can also switch the call between your phone and the watch which is nice. The speakerphone sounds great for a quick call, but we wouldn't want to use it for long conversations. If you have an Android phone, you can also use dictation or voice-to-text to reply to messages.
Google Assistant on the Sense was rolled out with the Fitbit OS 5.1 update and works on Android and iOS. Once you have linked your Google account and agreed to share information between the Fitbit app and the assistant, you can ask the assistant to do everything, view your s scoresleep or start a specific workout such as a race. It's responsive and much more useful than the slow and limited Alexa feature, also available on the Sense. However, you still cannot text or start a call with your voice using the Google Assistant.
Lexy Savvides /
You can store songs for offline listening from Pandora or Deezer if you have a premium subion, but the Sense will only serve as a remote control for Spotify.
You cannot store your own, however. music on the Sense, which is a big drawback if you like listening to songs during a workout and don't want to take your phone with you.
A good sm but not a great artwatch for the price
The Fitbit Sense hits the mark in many ways: it has solid battery management, great sleep tracking and range of new sensors that may be of use to some people. It feels like trying to do a little too much at once, with features like stress management that seem more confusing than useful. That said, in the months since its launch, Fitbit has added new features including automatic nighttime SpO2 tracking, support for Google Assistant, and the ability to take calls from your wrist, which has improved the overall experience.
But unless you need an ECG and stress monitoring, you might be better off with a more basic, better-performing Fitbit Versa 3, which has many of the same features as the Sense. . This way you will save a few dollars and haveWait for Fitbit to fix issues for the next generation of Sense.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional with any questions you may have about a health problem or health goals.