Fitbit Charge 3 Setup, First Heart Rate and Sleep Tracking Tests

Yesterday I received the Fitbit Charge 3 and the setup went smoothly, much more smoothly than my experience with the Versa.  So far, I haven’t experienced any synching issues or disconnects with my phone’s Bluetooth.  That was my main concern with Fitbit’s newest tracker since I had so much issues with the Versa.

The Charge 3 is lightweight on my wrist and very comfortable.  It’s a little wider than I had anticipated but this is the first Charge that I’ve worn so I’m getting to know it for the first time.

I chose the all black version, although I am fond of the Special Edition Charge 3 that won’t be shipping until next month.  I wanted to get the review out sooner than that so I went with the standard version.  Luckily, there are tons of third-party straps on Amazon to change the look of the Charge 3.  Taking off the straps is easy and I especially like the push button system Fitbit uses.  Everything seems to fit very well and be of good construction.

Charge 3 Update
Charge 3 Update

There was a sizable update to download and install on the tracker during setup but it went smoothly and took about 15-20 minutes.  I have it connected to an iPhone 6 that I purchased to test out the Apple Watch Series 4.  I’ll also try connecting it with my Samsung Galaxy S7 and see if there’s any difference in synching and Bluetooth connectivity.

>>View current price of the Charge 3 on Amazon

For my first workout I tested the Charge 3 on the treadmill against the Apple Watch Series 4.  Both watches performed similarly for heart rate and step count but there will be more tests to come.

The next test I’m really interested in is how well the connected GPS works.  That was another issue I had with the Versa which had regularly underestimated distance.

Sleep tracking seems to be very good on the Charge 3.  You have the option for it to track your sleep normally or on a more sensitive setting.  I’m not sure what the difference is but I will find out more.  I set it on sensitive and seemed to have nailed it.  In my tests, I’ve always found that Fitbit does sleep tracking better than anybody else.

Using the Charge 3 is simple enough.  The entire screen is now touchscreen and a haptic button is located on the left side of the tracker.  Swiping up on the screen will display battery percentage, steps, heart rate, distance, daily calories burned, active minutes, floors, and the amount of time you slept the night before.  It’s nice to have all of that data on the tracker instead of going into the app.

Swiping down on the screen will show your notifications. Swiping left will show the main menus for exercise, relax, timers, alarms, a new weather app and settings.

Exercises that the Charge 3 supports are:

  • bike
  • swim
  • treadmill
  • weights
  • hike
  • spinning
  • run
  • workout
  • walk
  • kickboxing
  • stairclimber
  • yoga
  • tennis
  • elliptical
  • circuit training
  • interval workout
  • pilates
  • martial arts
  • golf
  • bootcamp

I’ll test out as many of these exercises to see how well it does (and how well I do!)

Weather App on the Charge 3
Weather App on the Charge 3

Settings on the Charge 3 will allow you to adjust brightness of the screen, how strong you prefer the vibrations be, if you want your heart rate monitored throughout the day, and if you want notifications to be turned on or off during sleep.

Holding in on the side button will allow you to quickly turn on or off screen wake (screen turns on when you tilt the watch towards you) and notifications. This is a handy feature that I especially like.

Of course, I’ll be wearing it over the next week to make sure there aren’t any syncing issues, see how long the battery last, how well notifications come through, connected GPS, and more.

But so far, so good!

Here are some more photos of the Charge 3 unboxing and first look:

The Charge 3 comes with two different strap sizes, small and large
The Charge 3 comes with two different strap sizes, small and large
Simple packaging but at least it was easy to open!
Simple packaging but at least it was easy to open!
Fitbit Charge 3 Features
Fitbit Charge 3 Features
Taking the Charge 3 out of the box for the first time. I was surprised at how light it felt when picking it up the first time.
Taking the Charge 3 out of the box for the first time. I was surprised at how light it felt when picking it up the first time.  This is thanks to the new aluminum construction.
Charging clip for the Charge 3
Charging clip for the Charge 3
Heart rate test
Heart rate test
Default clockface.  There are 5 to choose from.
Default clockface. There are 5 to choose from.