In April of this year Fitbit announced a new smartband in the form of the Fitbit Luxe. The device came after the company joined Google, so it lands in South Africa during a rather interesting time in terms of what Fitbit may evolve into down the line.
For now, we have not seen Google encroach and the Fitbit experience we have come to know over the past few years is still the same.
The Luxe also comes at an interesting time as it feels like a sleek version of the Sense smartwatch that Fitbit launched late last year. That particular device added a number of wellbeing-focused features to the mix, which was easy to see why given the chaos that the pandemic brought, but they did not stand out in a compelling way.
Added to this was a price tag that was hard to justify given slightly older Fitbit smartwatches offering all the key features for less.
So where does the Luxe fit in?
Well the name is certainly apt, with the Luxe definitely looking far sleeker and more sophisticated than some of the Fitbit smartbands we have encountered to date.
That’s not to say the past iterations felt cheap or clunky, there is simply something more premium feeling about this new offering.
In fact, it feels a bit like a piece of jewellery. We’ve reviewed Fitbit smartwatches in the past and this is the first one to garner significant interest from the women in our lives, who are smitten with its design.
We’re not ones to put pieces of technology into gendered boxes, but the sleekness of the Luxe definitely lends itself to a female consumer. This is outside of our review unit being the Lunar White/Soft Gold (stainless steel) colourway, with the Luxe almost feeling a little dainty.
That said, the Luxe does not feel overly delicate and appears to be solidly constructed and capable of handling a few knocks, should they arise.
Lots of swiping
Looking a bit closer at the design elements, the screen is not particularly large, being rather narrow at 1.75cm wide, which means there is not a lot of content you can glance on the display at any one time.
While that is simply something you will have to get use to, Fitbit has opted for an OLED screen, which means content does look sharp if a little small.
In terms of the main watch face, tapping brings up different metrics below the time, but swiping from left to right brings up a more complete view of what you have done in a day should your phone and the Fitibit app not be on hand.
The usual array of swiping gestures takes care of the navigation and access to workout modes and specifically the wellbeing applications, such as stress management and guided breathing.
As such, all the swiping involved with navigating on the Luxe can become a bit of a chore, especially if you aim to do things sans smartphone and app.
Again, this is simply one of the limitations of a smartband versus a smartwatch, and especially so for one that is as feature rich as the Luxe is.
A full week
One area the Luxe is not limited, however, is battery life. Fitbit lists it at up to five days, and in our use, that estimation bore out.
A couple of things to consider though, are that battery life drops to around four days depending on how many workouts you’re recording outside of the general tracking metrics, with the same going for sleep monitoring and frequent use of the wellbeing applications.
Should you fall down to the three day mark, which is certainly possible, the two hour recharge time is manageable enough so that there is not a lot of downtime on the unit and it’s doing the job it was designed to.
Yes, some smartwatches could go a full two weeks, but as far as smartbands with a colour OLED screen go, the Luxe is definitely up there in terms of battery life.
One final element to note is that the device stores up to seven days of fitness metrics, so if you want to keep your time on the Fitbit app to a minimum, that is something to be cognisant of.
At R3 399 (RRP), the Fitbit Luxe is one of the pricier smartbands on the market. You can pick one up from the likes of Takealot for R2 999 or lower depending on what deals are on, but in general, this premium device carries a price tag to match.
That said, it does feel warranted, with the Luxe expertly constructed, solidly built and definitely delivering a premium feel, living up to the name.
If there are downsides, it feels like this smartband is aimed at a more female audience, given how svelte and slight it is. As such, it may not appeal to as wide an audience as some of the other Fitbit smartbands.
Should it appeal to you though, you’re getting a great tracker that looks the business and will likely get many admiring glances and queries, should that be your thing.
If you’re wanting to invest in a smartband that will stand the test of time, you’ll be hard pressed to find something like the Fitbit Luxe.
FULL DISCLOSURE: THE FITBIT LUXE WAS SEEDED TO HYPERTEXT TO KEEP AFTER THE REVIEW PROCESS.