Deezer, New York Times, Philips Hue and more
The Fitbit Ionic wasn’t just the company’s entry into the world of smartwatches – it also debuted the App Gallery, Fitbit’s home for apps and games.
Some are genuinely worth a look at; others are fun for a few minutes but will probably end up gathering digital dust on the smartwatch home screen. Below, we’ve rounded up our favorite Fitbit Ionic apps right now, the ones that have actually stuck. All of these are free, though some of the service apps will require you to have a connected account, which itself may have a fee. You also have the option of donating to developers in the Fitbit app, if you’re feeling like a good samaritan.
You can also expect a lot more to come, with apps for Nest, Game Gold, TripAdvisor, Lyft, British Airways, and Walgreens all arriving over the next few months. All of the apps below have been approved by Fitbit for publishing, but remember that developers can also share their own directly, so have a look through forums, Reddit and social media to root out more.
The New York Times
The New York Times app puts all the big stories of the day into bite-sized news chunks, useful for a glance at what’s going on in the world, but if you want to read more you’ll need to go find the stories on the app or site; there’s no handover feature on the Ionic. The best news is that you don’t need a Timessubscription to use it.
It might not be a dedicated Spotify app, but Deezer is finally available for you to stream music directly from the wrist – providing you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones at the ready. If you’re a subscriber, you’ll have access to 44 million tracks, while Deezer Flow is a nice way to mix up your old favorites with new recommendations.
There aren’t many games on the store we’d recommend right now, but Think Fast, made by Fitbit Labs, has us hooked. This is a rapid-fire game to test your cognitive reflexes: look at the fruit on the left and select which of the two options on the right match the fruit type, colour or price, depending on what it asks for. It’s harder than it sounds, trust us. Our Highly Commended game is a twist on Tic-Tac-Toe called Fit-Tac-Toe. Get it? Because it’s Fitbit. And because puns.
Perfect for when you inevitably catch tennis fever in the two weeks following Wimbledon, Fitbit Labs’ Tennis analyses your shots and gives you a breakdown by forehand, backhand and serve. And perhaps even more helpful is the score counter, which helps you avoid any unnecessary, McEnroe-esque outbursts when trying to remember the score during a game.
It can be a little hard to get used to actually logging this after every point, but those who don’t mind wearing their Ionic on their racket hand during play will reap some serious benefits with this app.
An Apple Watch app we’re already familiar with, Philips Hue on the Ionic lets you control your Hue smart lights from the wrist. You can turn lights on/off and change scenes pre-set in the smartphone app. It’s not as smooth as its Apple Watch counterpart and the requirement to enter your bridge IP when setting up is a bit of a hassle. Still, it’s a handy way of controlling your lights when your smartphone isn’t to hand.
Whether you’re not getting enough water or getting too much beer, Drink Counter will help you keep track of your intake. It also tracks your level of sobriety with a man-shaped gauge that will become more complete the more you drink. You’ve played Hangman, now play Hangover Man.
The Flipboard app is set out just like the New York Times‘, but here you can choose the types of story you’re shown. Unfortunately there aren’t many to pick from and all of them are focused on health and fitness right now.
We’re not sure anyone wants to exclusively see news about “sleep” but the sports category is sure to be a favourite. Like the Times‘ app, you’ll just get a short summary of each story.
There’s nothing Fitbit likes more than stoking the fires of competition and Leaderboard – AKA the Board of Shame – shows you exactly how you’re faring against friends and loved ones when it comes to step counts. Not only that, but you can send people little emojis to taunt or cheer them on. It’s the same thing you’ll find in the smartphone app, now more conveniently glanceable on the wrist.
You know the score. Yelp is about tracking the best spots in your local area, and the Ionic app is all about food and drink. You’ll get a scrollable list of the top bars and restaurants including opening hours, review scores, and even a little map pinpointing each one’s exact location.
An essential for existing Strava users, but perhaps not enough to entice non-subscribers, the Strava app lets you view your Strava activities on the watch as well as Matched Runs, which benchmark you against your own records. The bad news is that you can’t actually record workouts from the app, but any workouts you do on the Ionic will sync across to Strava and show up here for viewing.
You can get a breakdown of workouts in the Fitbit smartphone app, but there’s no way of seeing them on the watch itself. Enter Run Goal, an app that shows you data about your last run including heart rate data, all of which is synced from your Fitbit profile. The app also lets you set a weekly running goal. Simple but potentially useful.
Switchr is an app that uses IFTTT (If This Then That) Webhooks to control your smart home devices. You’ll need to find these Webhooks and enter their corresponding URLs into the app to assign commands, but once you have you’ll be able to control your smart home gadgets right from the wrist.