Fitbit Charge HR review
The Fitbit Charge HR
The Charge HR is the latest fitness-tracking device from Fitbit that is designed to track your every move. Retailing at $199 and packed full of features like heart rate zone tracking, I think the Charge HR is the perfect everyday fitness companion that is reasonably priced compared to others on the market.
The Charge HR has all the features you would expect, tracking steps taken, distance travelled and stairs climbed. But the Charge HR goes further, allowing continuous monitoring of heart rate using two green LED lights and a sensor on the inside band. You can wear the Charge HR to bed and it will automatically monitor the hours you sleep, the time you wake up and your sleep quality based on how much you stirred in the night. A silent alarm feature is set using the smartphone app or through the web browser and vibrates to wake you up. The unit also allows for caller ID to be displayed on the screen when connected to a smartphone over bluetooth and all syncing is wireless.
It’s all about simplicity. It’s simple to set up and has a sleek low profile on your wrist. Coming in black, purple, blue or orange, the band is made of breathable rubber. The front of the unit is a slim wedge shape that doesn’t protrude too far off your wrist. A single button controls to the left of the screen allows you to cycle through different stats. Double tapping the front face with your finger also displays information such as the current time or steps taken. The design of the unit is appealing but not as durable as I would like due to finding a small bit of plastic peeling from the side of the devices screen.
A small OLED screen displays the time and your current stats at the touch of a button. The screen remains off by default to extend battery life. My first impression of the screen was that it would be too small to display a useful amount of information, but after using the device the screen size is fine. It uses a number of symbols to show which statistic it is about to display as you cycle through using the button. No manual is needed as the symbols are pretty self explanatory – foot prints for steps, stairs for stairs climbed and a beating heart for heart rate.
Battery life is a big plus on the Charge HR. Fitbit reports it lasts up to 5 days on a single charge – taking about 4 hours to fully charge the device – and from my testing this appears accurate. Compared to other smart watches on the market, such as the Apple Watch, the Charge HR is ahead of the pack. According to Apple, the Apple Watch lasts up to 18 hours on a single charge and that hasn’t been verified by users out of Apple’s testing labs.
Easy wireless integration
Wireless integration is important for a wearable device as users don’t want to be constantly reaching for a cable. The Charge HR proves very easy to sync to your smartphone. Using Bluetooth 4.o, the unit syncs your data to your smartphone device with no hassles at the touch of a button. You can also set up automatic all day syncing but this will use more battery life of both devices. When it comes to syncing to your computer, you do have to use a small wireless dongle that plugs into your computers USB port. This dongle is annoying and tiny and could be easily misplaced. However, if you sync to your phone there is no need to sync through a browser as both update your online profile.
The data synced is displayed in an intuitive user interface on both the smartphone app and the web browser version. It shows your progress at a glance and lets you set goals in just a few clicks. The layout is clean and easy to understand.
After using the Charge HR for a week, I’ve decided I need it in my life. It’s perfect if you have the goal of getting fitter without a device dictating your fitness schedule and life – you just set and forget. I found it particularly easy and motivating at the same time to simply wear the Charge HR and see how many steps I walked in a day or how many stairs I climbed. The Charge HR even vibrates when you reach a goal you set, displaying motivational messages like ‘Go you!’ and ‘Get out there!’. Its a tracker that’s an independent unit and doesn’t rely on add-ons, such as a chest strap to track heart rate – a big plus!
Should you buy it?
The Charge HR is best wearable device that I’ve used so far. It one of the first trackers with heart rate tracking without the need for a chest strap and makes fitness tracking a breeze with little user effort. It is a lot cheaper than other wearable devices coming out on the market, such as the Apple Watch, and the battery life won’t leave you strapped to the wall unlike most other wearable devices. Furthermore, the app and web browser that allows you to view and track goals is just as easy to use as the device itself. If you’re after a tracker that’s reasonably priced and will motivate you to get fitter, this is for you.