Fitbit Charge Review

Introduction


What a year it’s been, one that was deemed as the year of the wearables. Fitbit, a company heralded by its various fitness trackers, has been seeing stiff competition not only from other companies specializing in fitness trackers, but from the big named companies in the mobile space as well. Its last notable wearable, the Fitbit Force, sought out to usher the company into a new direction, but as we’ve seen, it quickly fizzled due to a massive recall. After laying dormant for almost a year, the company recently announced its new line of wearable trackers – one of them, the Fitbit Charge, is seeking continue where the Force left off.

Packaging contains:

  • Proprietary charger
  • Bluetooth dongle
  • Users manual

Design

The same sporty style is evident here with the Charge, but its water resistance quality isn’t as generous as the Flex.

Going with the same simple, iconic design that makes Fitbit’s wearable trackers so distinct, the Charge honestly is a subtle redesign of the Force before it. In terms of size, it’s similar to the Force, but noticeably thicker than the Fitbit Flex – albeit, that’s due to the actual display it’s packing along. As we’ve mentioned, it has more ties to the Force’s design, with the exception of its textured rubbery band. Going with this textured pattern, as opposed to the smooth finish of the Force, the Charge has a better grip as it’s worn over our wrist.

Offering prospective buyers a small level of personalization, the Fitbit Charge is available in four colors – black, slate, blue, and burgundy. However, you’ll need to size your wrist to know exactly which of the three sizes (small, large, & extra-large) to choose from. It’s worth nothing, however, that the band is adjustable by clipping it on to the appropriate notches. In general, it’s pretty comfortable and it features a sporty design that perfectly matches its function.

After using the Fitbit Flex for a long period of time, we’re a bit surprised to realize that the Charge doesn’t offer the same degree of water resistance as its sibling. Indeed, it’s water-resistant to protect it from being worn while it’s raining, or getting through the sweatiest of workouts, but it’s not meant to be worn in the shower or while swimming. Minor contact with water is okay, but it’s not designed to be submerged.

Comparing it to the Flex, the actual tracking unit of the Charge is incorporated into the band – so there’s no swapping bands here. In the back, we can clearly see the screws holding the thing together, as well as the spot for its proprietary charger. Now, as much as it would’ve been great to find a microUSB port instead, we’re actually not all that surprised by this revelation.


Display


The Fitbit Charge, first and foremost, is meant to be a fitness tracker above all – so it makes sense why the Charge’s OLED display only occupies a small strip on the band. Thankfully, though, the OLED display emits a potent glow, allowing information to be visible in even the brightest of days. Turning it on is done by merely pressing on the physical button on its left side, which allows us to cycle through the time/date, steps tracker, distance covered, calories burned, and floors climbed. Alternatively, we can set it up so that a double tap on the display will turn it on.

Certainly, the display present here isn’t as generous as some other modern trackers, like the Samsung Gear Fit or Huawei TalkBand B1, but for its intended purpose, it’s discrete and simple in what it does. And considering that we’re given access to only a handful of things, as opposed to the comprehensive features set of most smartwatches, the Fitbit Charge’s display helps to give the entire thing a simplified operation.

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2 Comments

1. GoBears

Posts: 456; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

I really wanted the Charge HR until I read that it only does incoming call notifications. I need text notifications as well. When I'm working out or active, knowing who texted me is very important, especially when I have someone watching my little guy. Oh well, I guess I'm sticking to Android wear for now.

2. TBomb

Posts: 1668; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

I own one of these.... they sync with Android as well... not just the iPhone 6 Plus that I read i nthe article. Also, it is prone some phantom steps, but not as bad as you'd think. Typing vigorously on a keyboard doesn't cause any steps. Shaking your hand randomly doesn't. I found that to record the steps, you actually have to try to get the walking/runnign motion in your arms.

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