With an ever-increasing number of models now saturating the wearable market, it’s becoming harder and harder to discern the good from the bad and everything else in-between. You now have a lot to consider when purchasing a fitness tracker.
After an unfortunate recall of its best product last year, Fitbit is back in a big way. Three new products are hitting the market, and they’re the best that the company has come out with in a long time. The Charge is the first, and it’s the best fitness tracker We’ve seen so far. Fitbit Charge is a wristband that tracks steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes, monitors sleep, and has Caller ID
A better version of the Fitbit Force that was pulled off the shelves last year. It’s encased in the similarly sized black or slate-colored elastic band are sensors that keep tabs on steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned and, uniquely — thanks to an altimeter — floors climbed. Keep in mind, however, that while the Charge is good, it’s missing one key piece of functionality that it’s big brother, the Charge HR, will have: heart rate tracking.
It has a 0.8-inch display that shows you all this data, and a single button on the left of the band to scroll through the time and date, as well as the gathered fitness information. Available in black, slate, blue and burgundy, the Fitbit Charge features a sleek all-round design that makes it the perfect 24/7 accessory for both the sports field and the workplace and it costs $129.95
On the surface the new version is almost identical: a comfortably stretchy rubberized strap, a small but legible white-on-black screen and a single button to scroll through the various features.
More desirable, is caller ID when connected to your phone, an accurate step counter and automatic sleep tracking. We tested the Charge alongside some competing products from other companies and found the numbers to be close – there will always be some variance, but it was just a few per cent. There’s also an altimeter which tracks the height you’ve climbed in the unusual metric of flights of stairs.
Fitbit claims water resistance down to ten meters. It is not swim proof. Fitbit recommend that you Keep it Dry and sure your skin is dry before you put your band back on. If your band gets wet—like after sweating or showering—rinse and dry it thoroughly before putting it back on your wrist. While Fitbit devices are water resistant, it’s not good to keep a wet band on your skin for long periods of time.
Fitbit provide an app that is compatible with 120 leading smartphones, and access to the Fitbit Dashboard is available on laptop, PC and Macs.
Create an account in the app, or you can also go to the fitbits’s website to create a username and password there, and set up a profile. Once you have an account, you can link the tracker to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, or you can use the dongle that comes with the tracker to sync the tracker with your computer. Fitbit Charge is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows devices and syncs via Bluetooth.
The Charge is similar to many other fitness bands in what information it tracks. However, unlike some other devices, it also provides information on how long you’ve exercised and your pace, if you use it while running. The only standout feature one that few trackers have is the”floors climbed” stat, which kept you informed of how many times you climbed up and down the stairs each day.
If you let the app access your contacts, you can find friends with Fitbit accounts and invite them to participate in workout challenges with you. The “Workweek Hustle” challenge, for example, is a friendly competition to see who can walk the most steps between Monday and Friday. You can also send messages to your Fitbit friends from within the app, and share your stats with them. When you reach your fitness goals for the day, you’ll get goal progress notifications & celebrate fitness milestones with badges via an email or text alert that congratulates you on your progress. However, Fitbit didn’t send me any notification when you aren’t meeting your goals.
- If you have eczema, allergies, or asthma you may be more likely to experience a skin irritation or allergy from a wearable device.
- Whether you have the conditions above or not, if you start to experience redness or skin irritation on your wrist, remove your device. If symptoms persist longer than 2-3 days of not using your device, contact a dermatologist.
- If you sweat for more than two hours while wearing your Fitbit band, be sure to wash your band and your wrist using the directions above to avoid skin irritation.
- Make sure your band isn’t too tight. Wear the band loosely enough that it can move back and forth on your wrist.
- Prolonged rubbing and pressure may irritate the skin, so give your wrist a break by removing the band for an hour after extended wear.
If you’re looking for a fitness tracker that will monitor your daily activity and sleep patterns, then the Charge might be a good choice. This comfortable band is easy to use and also has a few convenient features, like a silent alarm and caller ID.
However, the Charge doesn’t have a heart rate monitor or GPS, making it a poor substitute for more feature-packed (and expensive) fitness trackers or sport watches. And although the Fitbit app is easy to use, it’s also a bit lackluster in the quality of information it provides. If you want an in-depth analysis of your data, you’ll have to shell out more money for the company’s premium service.
- Size small fits wrists 5.5” – 6.7”
- Size large fits wrists 6.3” – 7.9”
- Size x-large fits wrists 7.6” – 9.1”
- Wireless sync dongle
- Charging Cable
|Water resistance||Water-resistant to 1 ATM|
|Operating temperature||-4° to 113° F|
|Max operating altitude||30,000 feet|
Battery and Power
We recommend charging your device every few days to ensure you are always tracking.
- Battery life: up to 7 days
- Battery type: Lithium-polymer
- Charge time: One to two hours
- Radio transceiver: Bluetooth 4.0
Clean your band and wrist regularly with a soap free cleanser. If it gets wet, remove and dry thoroughly. Leave enough room for a finger to fit between the band and your wrist. Learn more.
Charge’s wristband is made of a flexible, durable elastomer material similar to that used in many sports watches. Charge also has a surgical-grade stainless steel clasp.
Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology allows automatic and wireless syncing to over 120 leading smartphones. It also syncs to computers and tablets.
- Syncing range: 20 feet
- Tracks 7 days of detailed motion data – minute by minute.
- Tracks daily totals for past 30 days
PC & Mac Requirements
- Windows: Windows Vista and later
- Mac: Mac OS X 10.6 and up
- Internet connection
- USB port