THE FITBIT CHARGE 4: 8
Design : 7.5/10
Ease of Use: 8.0 out of 10
Use of the Information: 8.0/10
- similar to the Charge 3, but with a better price tag. built-in GPS that works well.
- Functional pedagogical aids:
- NFC as a default functionality
- A reasonably long battery life CONS
- Bland design
- small, monochromatic display
- A limited number of mobile applications
- Neither Apple Health nor Google Fit can be integrated at this time.
The majority of people immediately think of the Fitbit brand whenever the topic of fitness trackers is brought up. There is a compelling justification for this. Since quite some time ago, the company, with its headquarters in San Francisco, has been consistently regarded as one of the most influential players in this industry. The manufacturer is well-known for producing products geared for the average individual who enjoys fitness activities such as running, swimming, and cycling on occasion.
The purchase of YouTube by Google is, of course, the most significant piece of news. The acquisition of Fitbit by the search giant is still waiting for regulatory permission, but if all goes according to plan, it should be completed by the end of the year. Fitbit stands to gain a tidy sum of $250 million in the event that the purchase is abandoned. In any event, it is a valuable source of revenue for the organization.
For the time being, the fashion accessory manufacturer is continuing on with business as usual. The Charge 4 is the most recent iteration of Fitbit’s best-selling activity tracker and the company’s most recent addition to its line of wearable fitness trackers. It comes with a variety of less significant enhancements, one of which is an integrated GPS system. There aren’t very many fitness bands on the market that include built-in GPS.
Since its release more than two years ago, the Fitbit Charge 3 has been the activity band that comes highly recommended by our team. Is the Charge 4 the most popular option now? Continue reading to find out.
The similarities between Design Charge 4 and its predecessor are striking. My expectation was that the aesthetic would be updated in some way, but the new tracker is identical to the one that was used before. The display remains the same, and underneath it is where the Fitbit logo is located; the one physical button is essentially an indentation. The term that immediately comes to mind is “boring.” It seems like we’ll have to hold up until Charge 5 for further significant adjustments. I had high hopes that Fitbit would give its products a more contemporary appearance.
In terms of its actual specifications, the Charge 4’s core unit is a little bit more substantial than its predecessor. To be honest, it’s not going to make that big of a difference anyhow. Very few people will be able to discern that it is really 12.5 millimetres in diameter rather than 11.8 millimetres.
The display continues to be touch-sensitive throughout its whole life and is capable of displaying grayscale colours. The backlight has been modified so that it can now respond more effectively to variations in the available illumination. Both the inside and outdoor visibility are adequate, but the outside visibility is nothing to write home about.
You are able to bring the tracker back to life and return to the main screen by pressing the inductive button. You will be able to tell if it is functioning properly if you feel a vibration. Since its introduction two years ago, this sort of button has helped increase water resistance to a level of 5 ATM, which is sufficient for swimming without concern.
The display may also be roused by flicking your wrist, which is the other method. This choice has a 50/50 chance of being successful, depending on the circumstances.
Swiping your finger over the display will navigate the menus. You can navigate to alerts by pressing down, your fitness statistics by pressing up, and other applications and features by pressing left and right. If you’ve ever used a Fitbit gadget before, you won’t have any trouble getting acclimated to this one. There is no steep learning curve involved.
Alternate clock faces are available for use on the primary display, which may be customized. Simply selecting a clock face inside the application will cause the tracker to be synchronized immediately.
Both a large and a small strap are included in the packaging of the Charge 4, and you may choose which one to use according to the size of your wrist. Because the straps are also backwards compatible, it won’t be an issue even if you already have a favourite Charge 3 band and want to use it instead.
There are two versions of the gadget available. Both the regular model, which comes in Black, Rosewood, and Storm Blue/Black and the Special Edition version of the product are available (SE). The latter one comes with not just a standard black band but also a nicer band made of granite reflecting and black woven material. From a technological standpoint, the two versions are identical.
The whole suite of sensors that are standard for Fitbit devices may be found behind the hood. This consists of an accelerometer with three axes, an optical heart rate monitor, an altimeter, and a vibration motor. You now also have access to NFC by default. In the past, the only Charge 3 model that had NFC for making payments on the go with Fitbit Pay was the special edition.
Another significant improvement is the built-in GPS, which was previously discussed. The Ionic is the only other Fitbit tracker that currently has this capability. The capability enables satellite monitoring of movements without requiring the use of a smartphone, which is something that athletes, in particular runners and bikers, would enjoy. The number of different training modes has been increased to over 20, and there is now an integrated GPS system. This will come in very handy.
The relative SpO2 sensor is also included, and Fitbit began making effective use of it early this year after years of sitting on the technology. It keeps a record of the fluctuations in your blood oxygen levels throughout the night, and in the future, it may be used for the monitoring of disorders such as sleep apnea, allergies, and asthma.
It should come as no surprise that the Charge 4 has a battery life comparable to that of other Fitbit devices. A single charge will last around the same amount of time as its predecessor, which was one week. In the course of my testing, I discovered that the tracker had no trouble getting to this number.
If you turn on your GPS, you can cut this time down to around 5 hours. You may be able to complete a marathon with that amount of preparation, but for other people, it might not be enough. In spite of this, it is a respectable length of time for a fitness band that has an integrated GPS.
In the not-too-distant future, you will also have the opportunity to make use of Connected GPS. Fitbit has said that it will be available in a subsequent software update. Because this uses the satellite signal from your smartphone, it uses far less of the battery life of your device. When it does arrive, having this alternative available will prove to be beneficial.
To refuel, just attach the unique charging cable to your tracker, plug it into a USB port, and check to see that the tracker’s gold pins are in the correct alignment. It takes roughly an hour and a half to bring it up to its maximum capacity from zero.
Features There is little use in digging too deeply into the features that are typical for fitness monitoring since they are not very interesting. This is the main thing that Fitbit is famous for. Everything is included, including information on activity levels, steps taken, calories burned, distance travelled, and floor levels.
The data about sleep is deserving of particular attention. Over the course of its existence, the Fitbit software has benefitted from a number of changes, and as a result, most of the company’s trackers now include data on light, deep, and REM sleep. The numbers are derived by integrating data from the accelerometer with heart rate variability (the amount of time that passes in between beats) and Fitbit’s own algorithmic framework. If you choose to subscribe to the premium plan, you will get access to even more comprehensive data.
Fitbit Premium sleep insights
There is a feature called Sleep Insights that provides personalized advice, and you can set goals for when you want to go to bed and when you want to get up. There are also reminders to help you stick to your plan, and a history of your sleep routine so you can track your improvement. And let’s not overlook the vibrating quiet alarm, which performs a respectable job of rousing you from sleep while preventing your companion from being disturbed. However, when it comes to essential appointments, I would be wary of relying just on the vibrating alarm.
Sleep Mode is one of the features that can be discovered on the Charge 4. This will prevent you from being startled awake by any unexpected SMS alerts by turning off notifications and turning the screen black.
The monitoring of the pulse oxygen level is much more fascinating. The results of this will be available to you the following morning and will indicate how effectively oxygen is being supplied to various sections of your body. Although you do not get the exact figures, you are provided with an attractive graphic that illustrates variations. The idea is to maintain these at a low level. An elevated level of anything might be a symptom of a problem such as sleep apnea. Instead of diagnosing these conditions, Fitbit will provide you with the data and let you draw your own conclusions from it.
Everything that I have said up to this point may also be found on the third charge. Therefore, let’s concentrate on the things that are different.
As was previously noted, the most significant improvement is that the Charge 4 now comes equipped with a GPS chip. Because the GPS is built-in, you can leave your phone at home when you go for a run or ride your bike outside, and you will still be able to collect precise statistics and a map of your path. Some people won’t even be aware that something has occurred, while for others it will have a significant impact. You will welcome the feature if you make frequent use of GPS to monitor the progress of your outdoor activities.
You have a variety of options to pick from when it comes to the kinds of workouts you may do with the fitness band. This includes activities such as cycling, swimming, running, weightlifting, as well as yoga. Each comes with its own metrics, displays, and other components by default. In addition to that, a goal-based workout option has been included. You may measure your progress toward a particular calorie, time, or distance target that you specify before beginning your activity and then monitor it while you are working out.
The gadget is capable of recognizing exercises on its own, but you may also manually initiate a workout if you choose. To do this, though, repeated taps are required. Due to the fact that I have used Charge 3 in the past, I have conditioned myself to always begin exercises manually. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. You have to actively begin an exercise in order for the sensor to begin tracking your progress, and this is true even for activities that include built-in GPS.
Because the display is still quite small, you won’t be able to put nearly as much information on it as you may want. About three pieces of information are shown, and it is not simple to read when you are moving, such as while you are jogging or cycling. Swiping to the left and right will result in different measurements. Following your exercise, a brief analysis of your performance will appear on the screen for you to peruse. There is further information available in the mobile app.
After going on a few different runs, I can say that the GPS performs well in most situations. It does not take too much time to establish a signal—at my house in central London, it takes between 30 and 45 seconds—the signal does not drop, and the distance values are reliable and precise.
In addition to these readings, there are a number of additional software-based capabilities that may be accessed here. The first feature is the capability to display the intensity of an exercise on a map once it has been completed. This may be done in the form of paced zones or heart rate zones that are shaded at certain points throughout your path. In its most basic form, it acts as a heat map.
Then there is a feature that is known as Active Zones on Fitbit. This awards you points based on different heart rate zones, which provides a measurement of the intensity of the activity you are doing. According to the guidelines provided by the World Health Organization, the primary objective is to achieve a weekly total of 150 minutes spent engaging in physical activity (or 75 minutes spent engaging in intense exercise).
Also, what’s more, When you go from one zone to another, Charge 4 will notify you with a buzz. You will hear the one buzz when you are in the fat-burning zone, two when you are in the cardio zone, and three when you are in the peak zone. This information is helpful since it enables you to take appropriate action throughout your exercise without having to glance at your fitness band. However, this indicates that it may vibrate often depending on how frequently you transition between the different zones.
In the same way, as previously, you will be notified when you reach your maximum heart rate. Because of all of these improvements, the Charge 4 is now a more respectable substitute for full-fledged running watches.
As previously stated, Near Field Communication (NFC) is one of the non-fitness functions that is included in each and every Charge 4 watch. Again, this is something that will make a difference for those who use Fitbit Pay, but others won’t even be aware that it’s happening since they don’t use it. More than one hundred banks located in a wide variety of countries are presently compatible with Fitbit Pay. The Wallet part of the Fitbit app is where everything is controlled and handled. You may examine previous purchases, add or delete payment cards, choose a default card, adjust payment methods, and make changes to existing payment methods here.
The capability to use Spotify is one of the new features that have been included. Although Fitbit’s smartwatches already have the feature, this is the first time we’ve seen it implemented on one of the company’s fitness bands. It gives you the ability to take control of the music that is playing in the Spotify app on your mobile device. Therefore, it does not allow the playing of music while offline. In its most basic form, it is only a way for you to choose the music, playlists, and podcasts that you like listening to on your linked phone or any other device that is connected to the internet. There is no music storage built into the device. Maybe the fifth charge will solve that problem.
The remaining intelligent characteristics are exactly the same as they were previously. This comprises alerts received through phone calls, the calendar, texts, and apps on a smartphone. In addition, there are applications like alarms, timers, weather forecasts, and many more.
The final decision
Even though smartwatches are all the rage right now, there is still a market for folks who enjoy wearing fitness bands. Not all of us are interested in wearing anything cumbersome on our wrists.
If you fit into any of these categories, you should know that the Fitbit Charge 4 is now one of the finest alternatives available to you. The Charge 3 has been replaced by the tracker as the fitness band that we suggest. This will remain the case until something better comes along.
The built-in GPS is the most significant distinction between the two. Those who often engage in strenuous physical activity, such as running or cycling, will like this feature since it enables them to leave their smartphones at home. Because of its capabilities, the Charge 4 may serve as a respectable substitute for fully featured sports watches. The Garmin Vivosport is its sole true competitor on the market.
Having said that, the Charge 3 is still an attractive choice even if you don’t use GPS very often because of its improved battery life. Especially considering how its price has been going down recently. You will not be able to take advantage of a number of additional bonuses that are available on Charge 4. This adds Near Field Communication (NFC) for contactless payments (unless you buy the SE version), the ability to use Spotify, and various software-based enhancements to activity monitoring.
When everything is taken into account, Charge 4 comes off as a serviceable product that won’t blow a hole in your wallet. I had high hopes that Fitbit would update the appearance of the tracker, but it hasn’t changed much at all in terms of its aesthetic. Despite this, the most recent generation is still a far superior instrument for players that take their sport seriously. It offers exactly the right amount of facts to be helpful without overwhelming the user with an excessive amount of information.