Fitbit announced the latest version of its’ most popular fitness trackers this week. The Fitbit Charge has definitely been a top seller for Fitbit and worn by millions. It’s also been a while since it has been updated but are the new features worth the upgrade? We’ll take a look at what’s new and then I’ll let you decide.
There are a few notable differences between the Charge 3 and Charge 2. Maybe the most important to some is that the Charge 3 is now rated for swimming. It is swim proof down to 50 meters which is more than enough for most people. The Charge 2 was splash proof only. Even if you don’t swim that often, it’s always a good idea to get a fitness tracker that has a higher waterproof rating. That’s always nice to have for those trips to the beach or when boating, etc.
Heart Rate Zones
Heart rate zones are also supported on both versions. These are common on a number of other fitness trackers and I’ve always found them to be helpful and motivating. I’ll usually kick it up a gear when I’m working out when I see I’m slacking off in the old lady zone (it’s not really called that…). I’m assuming the zones are based upon your age but I’m not sure on that yet. (Yep, they are!) Most fitness trackers are set up with customizable HR zones which is also helpful to make sure your not getting carried away with too high of a heart rate too.
Automatic Exercise Detection
Automatic exercise recognition is supported on both the Charge 2 and Charge 3 but the Charge 3 will be able to automatically detect swimming.
Female Health Tracking & Fitbit Pay
Female health tracking is also supported as it is on the Versa and Fitbit Pay™ can workout with select banks for the convenience of wireless payments.
Quick Replies for Android
For Android users quick replies to notifications will be made at a later date. I’m not sure why Fitbit rolls out products before all the features are ready but they have a habit of doing that.
The Charge 3 also has an improved battery life of up to 7 days in contrast to the 5 days promised by the Charge 2.
Still a Connected GPS
There’s no onboard GPS though. You’ll still need to bring your phone along to record distance and routes for your outdoor activities.
Improved Interface/Menu System
The Charge 3 shows more information on the tracker itself such as your daily stats. A calendar and weather app is or will be available as well. A variety of clock faces are also available to choose from.
The look of the Charge 3 hasn’t changed drastically. The basic Charge 3 still has very much the same distinctive look that people are accustomed to, although the screen quality has been improved, including automatic screen brightness.
Personally, I prefer the look of the Special Edition Charge 3 (see below). It looks like it would be more comfortable to wear and just a little classier looking.
The standard version is priced at $149.95 and the Special Edition is $20 more at $169.95.
My Take on the Charge 3’s New Features
For those of us that have owned Samsung and Garmin trackers, most of these features are old news. The Samsung Gear Fit 2 and [amazon_textlink asin=’B074G3XCSJ’ text=’Gear Fit 2 Pro’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thejournier-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’98dfbcf8-a806-11e8-9232-edc1c15da767′] on Amazon, similarly priced to the Charge 3, has had nearly all of these features for a couple of years and a built-in GPS to boot. Even some of the budget fitness trackers I enjoy reviewing have many of these features though not always as accurate.
But I know there are lots of loyal Fitbit fans out there so for you it is probably a worthwhile upgrade.
I’ll be doing a comparison between the Charge 3 and the Fitbit Versa because to me that’s the more interesting comparison.
So, look for that comparison soon. I’ll be testing out the sensors of the Charge 3 for accuracy and hopefully it won’t have the syncing issues that my Versa has had.
You can pre-order the Fitbit Charge 3 on Fitbit’s website here.