Released in January 2015, the Fitbit Charge was the company’s third wrist-based fitness tracker generation. It was launched along its sibling, the Fitbit Charge HR, which is the version which includes a heart rate monitor. Following the success of the Fitbit Flex and the somewhat failure of the Fitbit Force, the Charge is essentially a rebuild of the now-recalled Force. Just like the Force, it tracks steps, distance, floors, calories, and sleep. Coming in a slightly larger form factor by contrast to Flex, the Charge remains lightweight. By contrast to the Flex, the Charge does not come with a removable or interchangeable wristband.
- Affordable price makes it a good entry-level tracker
- Wrist-based tracker makes it easy for sleep tracking
- Several colors available
- Screen gives daily totals of steps, calories, distance, floors and active minutes.
- Uses the same charger as former Fitbit Force.
- Band lock pin can become loose with time
- Band material can tear open over time
- Charger pins are fragile and often stop working
The Fitbit Charge is great fitness tracker for beginners who want to become more aware of their daily activities and sleep quality. Available at $129.95 USD, the tracking it provides along with the Fitbit mobile app make it a great fitness starter kit.
Unlike the Flex, the Charge does come with its own screen to help you see exactly where you are in your daily step count. This allows you to simply look directly at your device to identify how many steps you have left for your day, rather than having to check the app.
Like any wrist-based tracker, step tracking can become a bit of a challenge when compared to a belt-based tracker. For activities like walking and running, the Charge works as expected. Unfortunately, when walking whilst holding a bag, a box, or even a shopping cart, step tracking can become slightly frustrating to the avid user, as it may lead to it missing steps. In contrast, however, certain activities where your feet remain mostly immobile but your hands are moving a great deal, such as table tennis, your step tracking will go much higher than a belt-based device. The main advantage for Charge users, when compared to Fitbit One users, is that the tracker doesn’t require a change in position between activity and sleep tracking, so users are far less likely to forget to put their device on their wrist when preparing for bed.
The Charge’s battery life is decent, lasting up to 5 days. The charging process can become a bit of a challenge over time, as the fragile charger pins may become bent, and no longer function properly. It is highly recommended to obtain a secondary charger for the device.
After several months of usage, the Charge can become difficult. The once sturdy elastomer band will eventually begin to separate from the tracker. This may cause the tracker to become no longer usable as it becomes far too likely to fall off during activities. The inability to easily replace the wrist band pretty much forces a replacement at a certain point. Additionally, it has become somewhat common that the locking pin becomes loose, and many users have reported that the device just suddenly “fell off”.
Overall, the Fitbit Charge performs very well, and is a great device for beginners and or intermediates wanting to track their activity level. The Fitbit platform adds a very practical backbone to the Charge. When comparing the Charge to the newcomers Surge, Blaze and Alta, it’s fairly low price point makes it remain a popular despite it being on the lower end in terms of features.