Former President Barack Obama is a known Fitbit owner having used the Surge for several years before switching and continuing to use the Ionic.

The Ionic was Fitbit’s second smartwatch with a color LCD touchscreen (after the Blaze), three hardware buttons, and interchangeable bands. It was announced in August of 2017 and features built-in (versus phone-based) GPS, notifications from your phone, on-device music (2.5GB for over 300 songs), and NFC for tap-to-pay.

It was the first device to run Fitbit OS, which was built following the Pebble acquisition, with third-party apps, like Starbucks, Pandora, Walgreens, Hue Lights, Nest (to control thermostats), Yelp, Flipboard, The New York Times, Uber, United Airlines, and British Airways.

Battery life was officially rated for more than four days, or up to 10 hours when using GPS or playing music on a single charge. Meant to compete with the Apple Watch Series 3, it came in at $299.95.

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Before the Ionic, Obama previously used the Fitbit Surge, which was announced in October 2014. Billed as a “Fitness Super Watch,” it also featured GPS, a backlit LCD touchscreen, and up to 7 days of battery life.

Obama is on the campaign trail ahead of the midterms, and we see him wearing the Fitbit Ionic a week ago with what appears to be a perforated Sport Bands. The two right buttons are clearly visible, and we see that he uses one of the stock watch faces in another image.

At 3:56

The former president should really switch as the Fitbit Surge Ionic was recalled over burn risks in March of 2022. Owners will get a full $299 refund and a 40% discount off new hardware, as well as a prepaid return label. The voluntary recall applies to all 1 million units sold in the US and 700,000 internationally. Stateside, there have been 100 reports of the battery overheating and 78 burn injury reports.

Customer safety is always Fitbit’s top priority and out of an abundance of caution, we are conducting a voluntary recall of Fitbit Ionic smartwatches.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com