Fitbit Sense 2: This Smartwatch Needs to Make You Tension Much less

Fitbit is making an attempt to make its stress-tracking tech extra helpful with the $300 Fitbit Sense 2, which has a brand new frame reaction sensor that may scan for attainable indicators of strain passively all the way through the day. It might probably additionally take spot tests on-demand similar to the authentic Fitbit Sense, despite the fact that my colleagues Lexy Savvides and Scott Stein mentioned its stress-tracking functions had been “extra complicated than useful.” Can the Fitbit Sense 2 exchange that? 

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Fitbit Sense 2 First Glance: New Device Makes a Distinction


With the exception of an up to date person interface that feels contemporary and more uncomplicated to navigate, the brand new frame reaction sensor is the most important issue that separates the Sense 2 from its 2-year-old predecessor. I have been the use of the Fitbit Sense 2 for more or less two days, which is simply sufficient time to understand the watch’s extra streamlined device and the go back of the bodily navigation button. I’m going to want extra time with the watch to get a way (no pun meant) of what all-day strain monitoring actually brings to Fitbit’s newest wearable. The Sense 2 may be fairly inexpensive than its predecessor, which was once priced at $330 when it introduced. 

The release comes simply earlier than Google is anticipated to announce extra information about the Pixel Watch’s release on Oct. 6. Since Google owns Fitbit, the quest massive’s first smartwatch will come with a few of Fitbit’s health-tracking options too. We will expectantly have a clearer image of which smartwatch is the simpler general selection after spending extra time with the Sense 2 and finding out extra concerning the Pixel Watch. Within the period in-between, listed below are the most important issues that experience stood out to me up to now whilst the use of the Fitbit Sense 2.

The Fitbit Sense 2’s up to date interface

Fitbit Sense 2 smart watch

The Fitbit Sense 2

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

I usually desire the Apple Watch’s interface over Fitbit’s, however the Sense 2’s new device is a promising step in the suitable route. The Nowadays View, which presentations energy burned, distance, steps and different knowledge issues, now shows those metrics in bubble-shaped tiles that experience a softer glance. 

Most significantly, the interface presentations additional info at a look. On older units, navigating your Fitbit went one thing like this: A swipe up would display widgets to your core stats, swiping down would display notifications, swiping to the left would pull up app icons, and swiping proper would display fast settings.

That is easy sufficient, however the brand new device feels even more uncomplicated and reputedly presentations extra knowledge with no need to faucet into particular apps. Swiping down presentations fast settings, swiping up presentations notifications, after which you’ll be able to get entry to a carousel of widgets for tidbits like your steps, center fee, the elements, sleep, a timer and extra via swiping left or proper. Those widgets really feel richer than earlier than and make allowance me to peer a snapshot of my job for the day, how my center fee has been trending during the last couple of hours, how a lot sleep I were given ultimate night time and extra simply by swiping during the interface. 

The Fitbit Sense 2 showing the weather forecast

The Fitbit Sense 2 has a brand new person interface that feels cleaner and more uncomplicated to navigate.

Bobby Oliver/CNET

Fitbit additionally introduced again the bodily navigation button, ultimate observed at the Versa 2 from 2019. It sits at the facet of the watch and replaces the haptic “button” at the earlier type. I usually to find bodily buttons more uncomplicated to regulate than haptic keys, particularly on units which can be as tiny as smartwatches which can be intended for fast, tappable interactions. I do not wish to must press greater than as soon as as a result of I will be able to’t inform if the sensors registered my faucets. 

The Fitbit Sense 2 showing fitness stats

The Fitbit Sense 2’s new device is a step ahead.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Tapping the facet button will wake the watch if it is asleep, and urgent it once more launches the app menu. You’ll additionally program a shortcut to cause when long-pressing the button (I these days have mine set to release Alexa), and a double press pulls up your favourite apps. Apps at the moment are displayed in an inventory that follows that very same bubble-esque tiled layout I discussed previous when describing the Nowadays view. It replaces the app grid gadget discovered on earlier Fitbits. Now not handiest is that this cleaner and more uncomplicated to learn, however scrolling up or all the way down to cycle thru apps additionally feels extra herbal than swiping between displays.

In relation to efficiency, navigating across the Sense 2 does not really feel reasonably as rapid and easy as at the Apple Watch Sequence 8. But it surely additionally does not appear to lag noticeably like the former Sense.

Fitbit Sense 2 strain monitoring

The Fitbit Sense 2 being worn on the wrist with a stress management notification being shown on the screen.

The Fitbit Sense 2 has a frame reaction sensor that may ship a notification when it detects that your frame is also appearing indicators of strain.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Tension monitoring was once the most important differentiating characteristic at the authentic Sense, and that holds true once more with the Sense 2. Fitbit has a brand new form of sensor that the corporate calls Frame Reaction, which measures “cEDA,” or steady electrodermal job. 

This new dimension, blended with different metrics that experience prior to now existed in Fitbit units like center fee, center fee variability and pores and skin temperature, can flag moments all the way through the day while you may well be stressed out. The former Sense handiest allowed you to test your electrodermal job (EDA) on-demand via launching an app at the watch and putting your palm over the bezel for 2 mins to take a studying. 

I have handiest been dressed in the Fitbit Sense 2 for a few days, so I have never gotten many frame responses but. The primary one got here within the past due afternoon all over a hectic paintings day, which gave the impression logical since I used to be most definitely scrambling to wrap up my initiatives for the day. Then again, I did not recall feeling extra stressed out than standard across the time I won the notification. I additionally did not test the alert till about 20 mins later, after the instant had handed. 

While you get this kind of notifications, Fitbit activates you to log your temper. Even supposing I did not really feel specifically stressed out, I selected the “stressed out” solution to see what would occur subsequent. Fitbit recommended that I replicate on why I felt stressed out and take a stroll or get started a guided respiring consultation. To make use of those options, you will have to opt-in to fret monitoring when putting in the Sense 2 and toggle at the “Frame responses” choice throughout the Fitbit app. 

The Fitbit Sense 2 being worn on the wrist with the mood logging feature on screen

The Fitbit Sense 2 asks you to log your temper if it thinks your frame is also appearing indicators of strain.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

The brand new Fitbit additionally gives a strain control ranking, which may be discovered on many different Fitbits just like the Encourage 3 and Versa 4. The ranking does not require those sensors because it makes use of elements like center fee, sleep and job to evaluate whether or not your frame is also appearing bodily indicators of strain. However if you’re dressed in a Fitbit instrument that has electrodermal job sensors, it is going to use the ones readings too, in line with the reason of the tension control ranking in Fitbit’s app. 

It kind of feels like Fitbit’s function is to supply a set of strain monitoring options with various levels of intensity relying at the instrument. It is very similar to how no longer all health trackers and smartwatches measure fitness and wellness the similar; the dearer the instrument, the extra sensors it is provided with to supply a better have a look at your fitness.

A screenshot showing Fitbit's stress management score feature

Fitbit’s strain control ranking is in keeping with your job, sleep and different elements. 

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

However since I have never been the use of the Sense 2 for extraordinarily lengthy, it is tricky to know the way helpful those metrics are. Like every of the various knowledge issues our health trackers collect, this kind of knowledge is handiest useful if the person is aware of what to do with it and is prepared to take some time. 

The addition of continuing monitoring undoubtedly turns out extra helpful than going from your strategy to take a scan if you find yourself feeling stressed out. However it kind of feels simple to disregard a notification within the second, particularly in case you are already in a hectic state of affairs. I additionally wonder if receiving but every other notification all over a doubtlessly stressful second would make people who find themselves vulnerable to strain much more beaten.

When Scott and Lexy reviewed the former Sense, they mentioned their EDA Scan effects did not at all times correlate with how they felt. I have never had sufficient time to decisively say whether or not that holds true for the Sense 2. However one EDA Scan that I took all over the paintings day mentioned I had 12 responses, which must imply that my frame was once most probably appearing indicators of strain. Then again, I did not really feel very stressed out at that individual second. 

It will take a while to peer how useful the Fitbit Sense 2 strain monitoring really is. However simply because it took the trade years to push past elementary step monitoring and supply deeper insights tied to job and workout, I consider the model of strain monitoring we are seeing nowadays is a ways from Fitbit’s general imaginative and prescient. We will replace this tale at some point with extra main points on strain monitoring, basic fitness and job tracking and extra after we now have had extra time with the Fitbit Sense 2.

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