When the Fitbit Charge was released in 2018, it was popular and added new improvements to previous models. The Fitbit Charge may not be as iconic as the Ionic and Versa. But it has helped to change the game for fitness trackers and push development forward.
Fast forward to the release of the Fitbit Charge 4. You have a fitness tracker that has a large waterproof display and polished design. It’s lightweight and packed with all the features you could possibly want while exercising and socialising.
To make the buying process simpler for you, we have picked the Charge range apart from the original to the newest version, the Charge 4.
We can share with you what makes it tick and whether it’s a worthwhile purchase. Read on to find out exactly what we thought when we road-tested it.
The Fitbit Charge 3 and 4 are identical to look at, but only on the surface. In fact, there are a number of developments in comparison to the Charge 2. Firstly, they amended the 3 and 4 to be swim-proof with water-resistance of 50m. Secondly, they removed the stainless steel body on the Charge 2 in place of a lighter aluminium for the later models.
Second to mention, both the Charge 3 and 4 are smooth and sleek compared to the original and Charge 2. Also, the charging mechanism is more refined. Additionally, the Charge 3 and 4 ditched the physical button on the left of the Charge 2 for a more intuitve button.
The 2, 3 and 4 have OLED displays whereas the original is simply digital. More the Charge 2 introduced the tap display and the 3 and 4 took this one further step with touchscreen. Notably, the 3 and 4 have 40% bigger displays than the 2.
Subsequently, the 2, 3 and 4 have buckle-fastening straps. Also, they all have a PurePulse HR monitor, found on the belly of the watch. Finally, the original Charge does not have a heart rate sensor, although there is a HR version which does.
All models will monitor your all-day activities (meaning, steps, calories, floors, distance and active minutes*). Additionally, the 2, 3 and 4 will monitor your sleep stages and give you a sleep score. Also, they all give you daily stats on your display and will deliver smartphone notifications. Of course, these are more sophisticated on the 3 and 4.
*Active Minutes takes your heart rate and produced personalised heart rate zones which monitor your effort during activities. It takes this and gives you credits toward a goal of 150 active minutes a week. Cleverly, it’ll record each minute of moderate activity as being in the fat burning zone and give you double credits for more vigorous activity; noted as cardio and peak zones.
More features you’ll find on the 2, 3 and 4 include SmartTrack, an auto-recognition of the sport you’re doing, multisport mode and they’ll give you a cardio fitness score, which is a personalised number based on your activity. Additionally, you can utilise guided breathing exercises which will be tailored to your heart rate.
In addition to what the 2 has to offer, the 3 and 4 can track your swims, will offer goal-based exercises. More, they’ll automatically detect when you’re running and have stopped. Also, there’s weather information and a timer. As for smart features, Android users can use quick replies to messages and everyone can accept or reject calls.
For 3 and 4 users, there’s Spotify control when connected via your smartphone. Additionally, the 4 has Smart Wake which learns how to wake you at an optimal time in your sleep stages for a less intrusive wake.
In terms of performance, we are impressed with the new notifications on the 2, 3 and 4 allow you to see more of what is going on without having to pick up your phone. The tracking is spot on and you will be impressed with how well it counts your daily steps and activity.
The Fitbit app is clear and easy to use, and the Bluetooth syncing makes it quicker to share your progress. You can link to other apps from the Fitbit app. There is also the option to complete with other Fitbit wearers. This will help motivate you when you are feeling a bit more sluggish!
If you are considering purchasing a Charge, we’d have to tell you to go for it as long as it was for the fitness features. The watch works well as a fitness tracker and Fitbit has dedicated time to improving the fitness features. Here, we really mean the 2, 3 or 4, because the original is essentially a digital pedometer in comparison.
However, if you are looking for a genuine smartwatch then move on to a different model. Fitbit hasn’t yet got the market right for smartwatch owners. With no GPS and too few smart features, it’s not ready to be pitted against other smartwatches.
In terms of design, you get to swap your straps to suit your mood and style so that your fitness tracker can go anywhere with you and not look out of place. It’s a shame that the watch face is monochrome. This is a design flaw that needs to be remedied in the next update if it wants to continue being taken seriously.
The battery life is good and will mean that you don’t need to find time every day to plug in and recharge. This is fantastic as it lets you track everything you do for analysis later. The app is a source of knowledge that will share your fitness and health insights at the click of a button. With user-friendly graphics and competitions galore, this app remains a solid part of the Fitbit family.
It’s an affordable tracker that will look the part on your wrist. You won’t need to sign up for a monthly contract or break the bank trying to finance it in the first place. When you buy a new Charge, it comes with a manufacturer guarantee. If you have any problems, Fitbit will help to solve them – and their customer service is great.
So, if you want a fitness tracker that has some smart features, comes within budget and can withstand everything life throws at you, this might just be the best purchase you make this year!
Last Updated on December 22, 2020