Fitbit Charge Review

The Fitbit Charge is an updated version of Fitbits recalled tracker, the Fitbit Force. For the most part, the Charge is identical device. This is not a bad thing, despite its issues the Force was a great fitness tracker. I recently received my Charge and I wanted to see how well it was able to replicate the features of its recalled predecessor. Without further ado, here is my take on the Fitbit Charge wireless activity wristband.

Design

The device itself is fairly wide, measureing almost 3 inches across. The larger size allows for the screen orientation to be more natural when you look at it, which negates the need to have your wrist bent at an odd angle when you need to see important information. It makes up for its increased thickness by being 30% thinner than the Force.​

Fitbit Charge Sizes

The Charge comes with 3 different sized wrist bands: small, medium, and large. Each size is adjustable, so you can find one that fits you best.

Fitbit Charge Wristbands

The Fitbit Charge bands are made of a soft pliable rubber texture. I have always preferd this type of wrist band because it looks much more elgant than normal plastic, and it better protects the device from major scuffs and scratches. The only downside with this type of plastic is that it tends to be a bit of a dirt magnet. Not a big deal as all fitness bands are subject to a lot of wear and tear. Fitbit has also improved the wristband locking mechanism with this new iteration.

Overall, the Charge is also barely noticeable - it is really comfortable on your wrist and it doesn’t get in your way.

Lastly, the charging port and cable are proprietary, so you won’t be able to use any have USB chargers you have lying around.

Fitbit Charge Features

While not as robust as its older cousin, the Fitbit Charge HR, the Charge does pack a number of interesting features. Here's a quick overview.

Fitbit Charge Setup & Tracking

The HUD shows the time of day and date as well as any missed phone calls (if you have it synced with your phone). Unfortunately it only shows missed calls, not texts or voice mails.

The Fitbit Charge activity wristband also tracks steps, calories burned, and distance traveled, floors climbed, and active minutes. All this information is really easy to access: one button to navigate through all of your data. However, even though the device displays the time of day and the date it won't completely replace your watch, chiefly because every time you want to see the time of day you have to click the button on the side of the device. The device also lacks a low power mode, so it will always be using power, especially if you have to check something on the device.

Fitbit Charge Heart Rate​ Tracking

The Charge does not come with a heart rate monitor. If you desire such a function then you may want to look into the Fitbits other offering, the Charge HR.

Battery life

The charge has a rated battery life of one week and in my testing I can say that this is pretty accurate. The charge time is fairly quick too – maybe 2 hours or so.

Is The Fitbit Charge Waterproof?

The charge is water resistant up to 1 ATM or 10 meters. Which means it is only splash resistant and not submersible. Fitbit recommends that you avoid swimming with your fitness tracker or even showering with it, if you can avoid it.

Fitbit Charge Wireless Connectivity

The Charge is compatible with Bluetooth Smart 4.0 and you can also sync your data vita the USB charger. Unfortunately, the Charge does not have ANT+ functionality, which means no pairing with heart rate monitors or bike computers.

Fitbit Charge Sleep Tracking

Fitbit has opted to include an auto sleep function in the Charge. Auto sleep means the device knows when you go to bed and knows when you wake up. The only downside to this is that it does not breakdown your sleep into stages. It only provides a sleep time, duration, and wake up time. All in all, the Fitbit charge sleep tracker is about average - it'l do in a pinch but i would avoid using it as a dedicated sleeping apparatus.

App

The Fitbit app is available on Android or iOS. Fitbit has a fairly robust app and it is simple yet powerful and fun to interact with. The company is added more charts and info graphics to display your fitness information and now has a GPS section called Mobil run which is feature rich and fun to use.

My go to app use to be Strava, but that meant I could only use it when I had my phone with me. With the Fitbit, all of my metrics are in one place so this I no longer necessary. And the Fitbit also has native food, water, and weight tracking system that is on par with standalone apps like myfitnesspal. The app will also lets you start a custom weight loss program takes into account your food intake and overall activity to help you chart your progress and keep you motivated.

That said, there are a few negatives I should address. While the Fitbit connects with other fitness apps it unfortunately only works one way. Meaning you can share your Fitbit data to other apps but you cannot pull the information from those other apps into the Fitbit app. Also although this is really nitpicky the activity section within the app doesn't allow you to see how far you have traveled.

Overall the app is very well rounded. It does much more than just catalog your activity; it tracks your geo location, food intake, weight, and now works with other prominent apps like my fitness pal and IFTTT.

Conclusion

Overall, the Fitbit Charge activity tracker has a lot of things going for it: it packs a whole slew of features, has a solid mobile app, its really comfortable on the wrist, and it can easily be worn to non fitness related events without making you stand out. I have some other fitness bands that are such an eyesore I don’t even want people to know I own them – I wont name names here. But the Charge certainly isn't one of them. At a price tag of around $100, I can easily recommend this device to anyone looking for a good fitness band.charge fitbit

​Want to learn more about Fitbit? Check out our detailed guide here.

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Alex Fischer