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The Fitbit Blaze doesn't feel nice enough to wear every day

The fitness features are nice, but the style and materials let it down.

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The Fitbit Blaze is a new type of device for the company. It's the first hardware Fitbit has made that could be classified as a smartwatch, albeit one with a major focus on fitness rather than the more flexible and relatively feature-packed approach that characterizes Android Wear and the Apple Watch. But just as with other smartwatches, the Fitbit Blaze aspires to be something you'll want to wear on your wrist: Beyond the fluoroelastomer bands that resemble those found in other Fitbit devices, the company is also selling more-premium leather and metal straps. The question is whether the whole package is desirable enough to want to wear on your wrist every day.

Gallery: FItbit Blaze hands-on | 8 Photos

After spending some time with the Blaze on the CES show floor, I'm unconvinced that it's a watch I'd want to wear every day. The whole package felt light, which is good for something you'll wear while exercising, but it also felt cheap. I tried a model with a leather band that was too small for me, but my problem was more with the quality of the band than the fit.

Beyond the band, the odd metallic casing that fits around the main tracker unit similarly felt rather uninspired and kind of flimsy. When you put the whole package together, it's just not a very compelling thing to wear from a looks and comfort perspective.

That's a shame, because Fitbit has long been successful at building solid fitness-tracking products, and the Blaze appears to be no exception. The home screen of the watch shows the time and lets you quickly flip through different stats like steps, distance walked, calories burned and so forth. You can then swipe left and right to go into the Blaze's other features, like starting workouts, viewing more-detailed fitness stats and so on. For more on the Blaze's feature set, click here.

The screen itself looks fine; it's not exceptional, but it does the job. It must not suck down much power, because Fitbit says the Blaze should last "up to" five days on one battery charge. It's also not quite as responsive as I'd have hoped for, but at least it's acceptable.

For $200, the Fitbit Blaze makes sense in terms of its feature set: If you're into fitness-tracking, it's a solid option that throws in a few handy smartwatch features like music controls and some basic notifications. Unfortunately, the combo of the hardware's look and feel makes it something I would not recommend for most people. If you want a fitness-focused, wrist-worn tracker, there are more advanced options, and if you want a smartwatch, you're better off with Android Wear or the Apple Watch.

Nathan is a senior editor at Engadget and was formerly an editor at The Verge. A semi-recent San Francisco resident by way of Boston, Nathan covers Google, gaming, apps and services (especially music), weird internet culture and much more. He'll review just about any odd piece of hardware that comes his way. In his spare time, Nathan enjoys the awesome food SF has to offer and loves taking photos around northern California.

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