Fitbit Charge Review

on Monday, December 8, 2014
Fitbit recently lifted the lid on its duo of new fitness trackers: the Fitbit Charge and its bigger brother, the Fitbit Charge HR.
The new activity wearables are an upgrade to the current Fitbit Flex, and a replacement for the Fitbit Force, which was discontinued earlier this year after it was found to cause a nasty skin irritation for some users.
The verdict is in: Fitbit Charge review
The new trackers have been given a serious overhaul, with a huge array of new sensors, an OLED screen and the power to show notifications from the wrist.
We’ve put together a full run down of everything you need to know. Also, check out our Fitbit Charge official verdict and stay tuned to Wareable, as we’ll soon be bringing you our full Charge HR review.

Fitbit Charge: Design and display

Both new Fitbit Charge models feature a wristband made from a flexible, durable elastomer material similar to that used in many sports watches. The duo boast surgical-grade stainless steel fasteners: a buckle on the HR and a clasp on the regular Charge.
They come in three different sizes; small, large and x-large – with wrist sizes from 5.5 inches right up to 9.1 inches catered for. The Charge band is 21mm wide, the Charge HR measures 34mm.
Both devices will be available in four different colours. The Fitbit Charge comes in black, slate, blue and burgundy and the Fitbit Charge HR’s colour shades are black, plumb, blue and tangerine.
The big design difference from the Fitbit Flex is that the new Charge trackers have a small OLED display to show the time, real-time stats and incoming caller IDs.
The Fitbit Charge HR uses the same form-factor as the Fitbit Charge, but features optical heart rate tracking, for continuous heart rate tracking from the wrist.
As you can see from these two product shots, the design for the new pair is pretty similar:

The Charge HR (below) is obviously a bit bulkier due to the heart rate sensor inclusion, and features a different textured finish and the buckle that we’ve already mentioned:

Fitbit Charge: Hardware and sensors

There’s no GPS on board either of the new Fitbit trackers, which straight away puts them behind the Microsoft Band.
However, the good news is that, like the Microsoft Band you don’t need a chest band for 24/7 heart rate monitoring with the Charge HR.
The optical heart rate sensor uses LEDs to detect the blood racing through your veins. Like the Fitbit Surge, it’s based on the company’s new PurePulse technology.
Essential reading: Microsoft Band ultimate guide
The benefits are more accurate calorie burn tracking and performance logging from nearly every conceivable sport, especially indoor cycling and gym work, which non-heart rate sensing wearables can’t track.
It also means that you can train using heart rate peak zones – check out our guide to heart rate training to see how you can improve your training with wearable tech.

Both Fitbit Charge devices will track all-day activity like steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes.
There’s also sleep monitoring and the sleep tracking kicks in automatically, and there’s a vibration-based silent alarm on offer too.
The OLED display will give you your stats in real-time using the Exercise Mode.
The Fitbit Charge devices sync to your smartphone or tablet app using Bluetooth 4.0, or your PC or Mac using a wireless dongle.
The app is compatible with Windows Phone, iOS and Android and the data will also sync with the info from your Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Scale.
The Fitbit app lets you see progress, record workouts, share and compete with your friends, log your food intake and earn badges based on your activity achievements.
Both Charge bands tracks 7 days of detailed motion data – minute by minute – and keep daily totals for the past 30 days.

Fitbit Charge: Notifications and battery life

The Fitbit Charge OLED display doesn’t extend to smartwatch notifications, as per the Fitbit Surge or the Garmin Vivosmart; its primary (and only) smartphone syncing skill is caller ID for incoming calls.
The band is 1ATM water-resistant, meaning it can be used in the shower but not for swimming, which does put it at a disadvantage to the Misfit Flash when it comes to tracking time in the pool.
Battery life is stated as 7 days for the Charge, 5 for the Charge HR and you’ll get a full charge in 1-2 hours.

Fitbit Charge and Charge HR: Release date and price

The Fitbit Charge costs £99.99 in the UK and $129.95 in the US.
There’s no current release date for the Fitbit Charge HR, simply “early 2015”. But we do know the price – it will be £119.99 in the UK, $149.95 Stateside.


Ortwin said...

Also, check out our Fitbit Charge official verdict and stay tuned to ...

Erwin said...

Essential reading: Fitbit Surge specs, release date, price ...

Dietrich said...

The new trackers have been given a serious overhaul, with a huge array of new ...

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