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Fitbit Ionic vs. Fitbit Charge 2

Editor’s Note: On March 3, 2022 the Fitbit Ionic was recalled due to concerns about the battery. A complete review of other Fitbit models is available here.

Now an older model in the Fitbit lineup, the smartwatch Ionic has recently been recalled due to concerns with its battery. Still, well over a million of them have been on the market for years and customers may be looking to pick up these as used models, all the while comparing them to the bestselling Charge 2. To check out our reviews of all the Fitbits on the market, read our review here.

Historically though, the biggest difference between the Ionic and the Chare 2 has been price – the Ionic is about twice as much as the Charge 2. So what does that extra money get you? Is it worth saving up for? Will you be missing anything big by sticking with the Charge 2? In this guide, we’ll take a look at these two popular Fitbit devices to see how they compare.

Design and Style

The Ionic and Charge 2 look very different, of course. The Ionic has a square face and color screen, and it is only available in three colors. It is much wider and more obvious than the Charge 2, so it’s not the best option if you want a more discreet tracker.


The Charge 2 has more color options and also has a lot more band options currently (though we anticipate more accessories for the Ionic as time passes). It is much slimmer – just 21mm wide versus Ionic’s 29x21mm screen.

The screens are quite different as well, with the Ionic being much easier to interact with because of its additional buttons, larger screen, and extra options. The Charge 2 can be a bit complex to operate in comparison.

Tracking Features

For the most part, the tracking abilities between the Charge 2 and the Ionic are very similar. They both offer constant heart rate monitoring and plenty of metrics related to that and VO2 Max. Both offer step tracking, tell you how many floors you’ve climbed, and let you know how many minutes you’ve been active. The Ionic and the Charge 2 both do a great job with sleep tracking, with excellent metrics and data available on the app. Both devices offer automatic activity tracking, which is useful when you forget to log a workout. And both give you reminders throughout the day to be active and meet your goals.

The Ionic goes far beyond the basics, however. Beginning with the addition of a SpO2 sensor and more advanced technology, the Ionic is the best Fitbit yet. It is also waterproof, so swim tracking is now an option. The Ionic has potential for more tracking in the future, too, thanks to some of the built-in sensors and functions. It’s probable that later updates will enhance the Ionic experience.

The Ionic will support the new Fitbit Coach, an app with guided workouts available on your smart devices now and on the Ionic in early 2018. There are a few preloaded workouts on the Ionic to give you a sense of what that will look like.

Additional Features

What does that extra $150 get you? Here’s where the biggest differences between these two devices come into play. The Ionic is a smartwatch, so it has smartwatch features such as apps, music storage, and contactless payments. It also boasts built-in GPS and water resistance to 50 meters.

Both devices will give you notifications about calls, texts, and calendar events. The Ionic gives you additional notifications from emails and apps you choose.


The Ionic can store music and play synced playlists from Pandora. With contactless NFC payments, this means Fitbit’s smartwatch lets you go phone free on your runs. Plus, the Ionic has a beautiful color touchscreen, and the possibilities for many more apps and features in the future.

Both devices have excellent battery life and the great stuff Fitbit is known for – a fantastic app, extra features like guided breathing, top notch HR tracking, and the best sleep tracking.

Charge 2 Is The One to Choose

Price is usually the deciding factor for the choice between Fitbit’s bestselling fitness tracker and their brand new smartwatch. However, many consumers are looking beyond the price point to figure out which device fits their needs. That said, with the recall, we’d obviously go with the Charge 2.

Choose the Charge 2 if…

  • You want to spend under $200 (or even under $150)
  • You have no need for smartwatch features (NFC payments, apps, etc.)
  • You’re not a swimmer
  • You want a slimmer fit and/or more accessories
  • You don’t need guided workouts
  • You want your data simplified

To read up on the reviews of the full Fitbit line, check out our review here.



No Comments

  • John January 13, 2018 at 7:18 pm
    Why not make an ionic that more woman style
  • Syed M Rehman November 9, 2017 at 8:17 am
    what is the difference with GPS in ionic and no GPS in Fitbiot2?
    • Emery November 9, 2017 at 3:26 pm
      The Fitbit Ionic has built-in GPS, so you can use it even when your phone isn't with you. The Charge 2 only has connected GPS, meaning it has to connect to your phone's GPS to use it for outdoor activities. Hope that helps!

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