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According to Ars Technica (This article and its images were originally posted on Ars Technica October 12, 2018 at 07:34AM.)
Fitbit contracted smartwatch fever last year. And since the debut of its Ionic smartwatch, the company’s signature fitness trackers haven’t made as many waves as they once did. That’s due in part to users embracing the smartwatch more as the technology improves over time.
But fitness trackers aren’t dead—or at least, Fitbit hopes they aren’t—and the company’s new Charge 3 tracker is designed for users who want some smartwatch features in a fitness tracker’s simple-band package.
Even today, fitness trackers have a few advantages over smartwatches: they’re easier to wear since they have slimmer, lighter profiles. They’re less complicated because they’re designed primarily to keep you fit (not necessarily for things like emailing on the go). And, perhaps the most important distinction of all, fitness trackers are generally less expensive than smartwatches.
But smartwatches have the innovation advantage these days as most companies making such devices try to develop features that competitors don’t have. As a result, fitness trackers have become a bit stale. And after wearing the new Charge 3 for nearly two weeks to see how well Fitbit’s gentle marriage of smartwatch and tracker features turned out, it seems the form factor remains radically unchanged—but that’s not a bad thing in practice.
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