Fitbit Charge 4 review: Built-in GPS and better sleep tracking, plus it’s pretty

The Fitbit Charge four ($one hundred fifty at Greatest Purchase) has anything you need to have in a physical fitness tracker for less than $200. It finally consists of developed-in GPS to track out of doors exercises independently, it has superior training instruments for athletes, and it fits most of the same smartwatch functions into a slimmer bundle than the a lot more highly-priced Fitbit Versa ($one hundred forty five at Amazon). It’s my favourite Fitbit nonetheless. If you are hunting for a physical fitness tracker than behaves a great deal like a smartwatch devoid of the excess bulk, the Fitbit Charge four may well be the perfect healthy. 

Like

  • Modern, minimalistic style
  • Heart level zone notifications
  • Compatibility with iOS and Android
  • Snooze monitoring and evaluation

You should not Like

  • Low visibility in immediate sunlight
  • No rapid reply for messages on Apple iphone
  • Shorter battery life than the Fitbit Charge 3

Added functions devoid of the additional bulk 

There are a great deal of terrific wearables for athletes, like the Garmin Forerunner 945 and Suunto 3, that have way a lot more physical fitness chops than the Charge four, but they are not the most stylish. The $one hundred fifty Charge four (£130, AU$230) is a tracker I will happily dress in 24/7 many thanks to its sleek, understated style. If you are acquainted with the Charge 3 ($116 at Amazon), the new version won’t appear a great deal distinct — it really is just the tiniest little bit bulkier on your wrist. 

The monitor can only screen in black and white, but I like that it really is approximately 50 percent the size of a classic smartwatch, these kinds of as the Apple Observe ($399 at Apple), and it also does away with bodily buttons. In its place, you management the Charge four with a mix of the touchscreen and by pressing the remaining facet of the tracker to navigate configurations. The touchscreen is not as responsive and it will take a handful of seconds to light up when you raise your arm to wake the monitor, but I finally bought where by I required to go. The only time the lag seriously bothered me was even though I was running and required to swiftly look at my stats devoid of having my eyes off the street. Like the Charge 3, it really is also difficult to see the monitor in immediate sunlight. 

The regular Charge four comes in 3 distinct colors with silicone sporting activities bands, but the Special Version, or SE, version that I tested out also comes with a woven band possibility for $20 a lot more. Straps are uncomplicated to swap out (as opposed to the Versa two ($200 at Greatest Purchase), which has difficult toggles) and if you are upgrading from the Charge 3 you are going to be able to use all those bands on the newer tracker. There are also a bunch of third-bash strap solutions available to personalize your appear. 

The Charge four is cozy to dress in during the working day and won’t dig into my skin when I tighten it up in the course of a run. You can also dress in it to mattress. Like other Fitbits, it also tracks your rest. I will not likely go as much as to say that it really is cozy to dress in in mattress, but at minimum I did not want to rip it off in the center of the evening like other trackers. 

The Charge four pushed me to run more quickly

As a standard physical fitness tracker, the former Charge types already checked most of the packing containers: measuring actions, calories, flooring climbed, heart level and length (employing your phone’s GPS). But that was not adequate for a lot more critical runners like me. I am by no implies an elite athlete, but I do run on a regular foundation, so obtaining a developed-in GPS is high on my want listing. The GPS allows the Charge four to map your route in the course of an out of doors wander, run, bike journey or hike devoid of obtaining to depend on your telephone. 

I’ve absent on a handful of runs and the Charge four has supplied dependable length readings on the same route with and devoid of my telephone. You can also see a warmth map of your route on the Fitbit application, which also indicates the depth at which you have been running centered on your heart level. 

The only other Fitbit machine that delivers developed-in GPS element is the Ionic ($210 at Amazon) look at, but it really is now more than two decades aged and I found it too major and cumbersome to dress in on a regular foundation.

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Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

The Charge four tracks more than 20 distinct routines, from cycling to yoga. It’s also water resistant up to 50 meters like the Charge 3, so you can use it for swimming. You can plan up to six training shortcuts on the Charge four, but you do have to decide on them and sync from the telephone application. You can also set it to track your runs immediately, and set plans for factors like rate, length or calories burned before you start each individual exercise. 

GPS is not the only software for athletes. The Charge four has additional a new metric named Active Zone Minutes, which takes advantage of your heart level zones to establish the depth of your work out. The objective is to have one hundred fifty energetic minutes logged by the conclude of each individual week, but you can increase or reduce the focus on centered on your physical fitness stage. 

A handful of decades ago, Fitbit began breaking out heart level knowledge into training zones for each individual exercise, centered on age and fat. Right after a work out you can log into the cell application and see how very long you have been in extra fat melt away, cardio or peak. The Charge four provides genuine-time heart level zone notifications so you can consider motion in the course of your work out. 

I experienced to push myself a great deal harder than standard to get my peak heart level alert to pop up on the monitor (you also get a buzz on your wrist when you achieve each individual zone). I understood I would been overestimating my work and it was useful to have the Charge nudging me to get out of my consolation zone. I can see this being a superior training software if you are hunting to split your personalized history in a race.

Battery life will take a strike

The only downside about obtaining GPS on the Charge is that it will gobble up your battery a great deal more quickly than on the Charge 3. Fitbit states the Charge four can very last up to 7 times on a cost, but I scarcely built it to working day 4 before obtaining to plug it in.

I did not intellect obtaining to recharge just after 4 times, but if you are hunting to get the most out of your battery life (and are planning to use it at evening) I would advocate turning off the GPS when it really is not in use. You may just have to try to remember to do this just after your work out. You can do this from the training shortcuts on the Charge. Just swipe up from an exercise that takes advantage of GPS, like running or cycling, and toggle it off. 

Snooze monitoring has some critical benefits 

I’ve in no way gotten a great deal out of monitoring my rest in the past. With a six-month-aged toddler and a toddler waking me up at odd several hours of the evening I was frightened to even see my stats the next morning, let on your own get graded on my rest. Each individual morning, the Fitbit application presents you a Snooze Score centered on anything from rest duration to rest stages, heart level and variations in blood oxygen degrees, aka SPO2. 

Right after a handful of nights of testing, it really is basically furnished some useful knowledge about my rest habits. For starters, I’ve gotten a passing grade (higher than a sixty) every single solitary evening, inspite of waking up to nurse my tiny just one. The application instructed me it really is regular to shell out up to 45 minutes awake each individual evening, which was comforting. It also presents you advice on how to boost your rating, like holding your bedtime dependable, irrespective of how late (or early) it is. 

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Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

Everyone can see standard info in the application, like how a great deal rest you get and its high-quality, but Fitbit High quality subscribers get accessibility to heart level and blood oxygen knowledge. I did not see something out of the common in my chart, but I can see this element being exceptionally useful for people today who suspect they may well have a a lot more critical rest-similar situation like rest apnea. In that scenario it may well be really worth the excess $9.ninety nine (£8.ninety nine, AU$fifteen.49) a month for a quality account. 

There is just one foreseeable downside: With all this rest knowledge I worry that I may well turn out to be dependent on the Snooze Score to sense energized in the course of the working day. That is, a low Snooze Score may well subconsciously make me sense fatigued, even although I felt like I bought a superior night’s rest. 

Much more than just a physical fitness tracker

The Charge four goes further than well being and physical fitness monitoring with a handful of sensible functions up its sleeve. It mirrors every single notification you can get on your telephone no matter if you have an Apple iphone ($699 at Apple) or an Android telephone, but only Android consumers will be able to reply to messages with preprogrammed rapid replies. 

You continue to cannot store new music onboard to consider with you on a run, but if you are a Spotify High quality subscriber, you will be able to use the Charge four as a standard wrist remote to pause and skip tracks. You can find no quantity management although. 

It now also consists of a new agenda application along with the existing timer, alarm and temperature applications. 

You may be able to set up Fitbit Shell out on your wrist and use the Charge four on any tap-to-pay back payment terminal as the tracker now comes with developed-in NFC (formerly, you experienced to get the specific version Charge to get Fitbit Shell out). Sadly it continue to won’t have as lots of financial institution partners as Google or Apple Shell out and was not appropriate with my key financial institution (US Lender), so I couldn’t test it out. I am also quarantined at household, so most of my payments are built online anyways, not at brick-and-mortar stores. 

Anything you need to have in a little bundle

The Charge four does a great deal thinking about it really is in essence a physical fitness tracker. But you will not conclude up conserving that a great deal compared to a smartwatch like Fitbit’s possess Versa two (the regular Charge four is $50 less than the Versa two, which only has connected GPS).

So the value on your own is not cause adequate to decide on the Charge four. For me, it really is about receiving anything Fitbit delivers, together with GPS, in a slimmer bundle than the Versa two. The Charge four is my favourite Fitbit to date.  

First released on May perhaps eighteen.