First impressions

For my birthday, I received a Fitbit Charge 3 SE. It’s been on my wish list ever since I got the wife one for Christmas to replace her aging and flaking Charge, and I was immediately taken with it for several reasons:

* It was under $200, in a world where a current Apple Watch will set you back at least twice the price of a Charge 3.

* It features NFC payment, so I have the same caliber of easy pay that I would get from Apple Pay on the watch.

* It can get notifications from apps, unlike most previous non-smartwatch Fitbits, so messages from Slack or Signal show up as readily as texts. This is huge, you have no idea. Now if only it supported Duo Push for 2FA…

* It’s waterproof, so no need to remove it to shower, and the battery life is supposed to be seven days. Which means it only has to come off once a week for a couple hours.

* It gives me everything my Alta HR did in a package not much larger and with a far more reliable touch-button instead of relying on a million taps that don’t actually turn the vibrating alarm off in the morning.

In short: everything I need and nothing I don’t, other than the 2FA bit for work. Problem is, on my Series 0 Apple Watch, the differentiating features like Siri never actually worked that well. Remote control for the audio, whether iTunes or Downcast or whatever, was always kind of iffy. And you had to take the damned thing off every night to charge, which meant sleep tracking – the thing I need more than almost any other health feature – was off the cards. 

I think there may still be a future for me with the Apple Watch, as we move toward a more verbal call-and-response model of mobility computing. If I could reliably get conversational information from Siri (especially reading back messages from Slack or Signal) and count on the watch lasting three or four days between charges, that would be interesting. If it were an LTE model and could do all this while the phone sits at home a couple train stops away, even better. But for now, it is again possible for me to leave my main phone upstairs as soon as I get home and putter around on a stripped-down device knowing that the stuff I really need to see will come to my arm.

Which is a pretty good present.

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