What’s the Difference Between the Fitbit Charge 2 and Charge 3?

Fitbit just introduced the Fitbit Charge 3 but what are the differences between the Charge 2 and Charge 3?  Well, there’s actually some significant changes depending upon how you plan to use the device.  Probably the most important difference is that the Charge 3 is now waterproof for swimming.

The Charge 3 is now rated as water resistant down to a depth of 50 meters which should be enough for most people.  If I’m deeper than 50 meters (about 164 feet) I have more things to worry about than my Fitbit but this may be important information for those that do go diving.

Of course, with the improved water rating, swimming is also supported as an activity on the Charge 3, so you’ll be able to see an estimate of how many calories you’ve burned while swimming and other data such as laps, distance, etc.

The Charge 3 also has a larger screen that now uses touch screen technology, meaning that the entire screen is response to touch. So, you’ll be able to swipe the screen with your finger to view or select different menu items or your daily stats.

Gone is the physical side button that has been replaced by a haptic button which responds to touch and can be used with gloves or while swimming.  The button will provide a vibration sensation to let you know you’re interacting with it.  This was done to make the Charge 3 waterproof for swimming.

The build quality of the Charge 3 has also improved in that it is now lighter due to an aluminum frame and the screen is now composed of tough Gorilla Glass 3 which should be more resistant to cracks and scratches.

The Special Edition Fitbit Charge 3 also supports Fibit Pay™.  It’s only another $20 and that will also give you the woven strap seen below that’s available in different colors.  With the Special Edition you’ll also get the standard silicon band to swap out since then woven wouldn’t be ideal for swimming or super sweaty workouts.

Product render of Fitbit Charge 3, 3 quarter view, showing exhale.  Special Edition Fitbit Charge 3

Another improvement is that the straps are supposed to be easier to change.  Fitbit sells leather and more premium bands through their site but there are plenty of third party sellers offering a wide variety of styles and colors to suit your mood or outfit for a much cheaper price.

The Charge 3 brings some smartwatch features to the table too, more so for Android users who will be able to respond to text messages with preset quick replies.  iOS users will still get notifications but just won’t be able to respond to them.  A weather app is also included and possibly other apps may be available in the future.

You’ll also be able to view more of your daily stats, including sleep, on the tracker itself which is convenient.  The less I have to open the app on my phone, the better as far as I’m concerned.

Like the Ionic and Versa, a blood oxygen sensor is included with the Charge 3 and in the future may be used for medical purposes, like possibly detecting sleep apnea.  It may be a while before this feature is turned on though.

Charge 3

Overall, it looks like the improvements are welcome changes.  The Fitbit Charge has been Fitbit’s most popular fitness tracker and will likely remain so due to its’ price and features.

The Charge 3 is available for pre-order through Fitbit and on Amazon and according to Amazon will ship October 1st.

This is a fitness tracker I’ll be reviewing for sure so check back as I’ll be comparing it against Garmin, Samsung, and others.

Check out our article comparing the Fitbit Charge 3 against another brand new release from Garmin, the Vivosmart 4.