REVIEW: Fitbit Charge 3 – Superb Simplicity
As wearable sales continue to rise, Fitbit has launched its ‘most advanced’ fitness tracker to date, the Charge 3 (A$229.95), debuting several enhanced features including feminine health.
Fitbit asserts the ‘Charge’ franchise is its best-selling range, with pre-orders surpassing the new Versa smartwatch in the first six weeks.
Despite what the average consumer thinks, Fitbit has made clear the difference between fitness trackers and smartwatches – capability and price.
However, some commentators forecast tracker sales to diminish over time, as more capable smartwatches drop in cost.
The new Charge 3 comes in a variety of colours, with my preference an indigo strap with rose gold metallic accents.
It’s comfortable to wear, and the rose gold accents add a level of style I usually find lacking in fitness trackers.
That being said, I do find it a touch bulky to wear regularly in bed. It’s a notable con, as sleep tracking is amongst my favourite features of the device.
The end of the watch strap is also securely pinned down, ideal for exercise and sleep alike.
As someone who hasn’t used a Fitbit regularly in a while, I’ll summarise the product does exactly as claims – super simple, without being overly complicated.
It’s a great product if you want to dip into the world of modern fitness trackers (e.g. what I’d recommend to my Mum), however, I personally crave some of the more techie features in the Versa/Ionic smartwatch.
Despite this, there’s a good amount of display screen (not too big, or small), and the overall aesthetic nice. Users can toggle through health stats and notifications by scrolling up/down, or peruse exercise modes and settings by scrolling left/right.
The display screen automatically turns on when your wrist is raised (e.g. checking the time), however, I found this to be a touch fiddly. I often had to manually trigger the screen by squeezing the screen edges.
The main screen is super user-friendly, with my favourite display setting showing step count, time and heart rate.
Set-up is like other Fitbit devices – requires a full battery charge before properly syncing with the app. Otherwise, no fuss.
The app is super informative, filled with infographics and graphs, summarising your daily, weekly and month statistics.
On the Charge 3, you can instantly view a day’s worth of stats. Whilst the company’s other smart watches provide more information on the wrist, both products rely on the app to view more information.
There’s several pre-set exercises (e.g. running, swimming etc), enabling users to monitor their workout e.g. measuring time, laps, repetitions and more. A dedicated ‘relax’ section monitors downtime.
An added benefit is the almost week-long battery life.
Overall, there’s a lot of reliance on the app. First time consumers who assume they’ll be able to access most metrics on the actual tracker are misinformed.
I appreciate the customisation options on the Charge 3 – e.g. changing the main display screen, dimming options, and turning off the display at night.
Personally, my favourite two features of the Charge 3 include; sleep tracking/analysis, and goal tracking whilst exercising.
Sleep analysis is pretty vivid on the app, with an outline of REM cycles.
Exercise goal tracking enables the user to set specific targets for working out (e.g. 3km run), with the tracker advising how much further you have to go. It’s intuitive, and subtle encouragement.
A [very] validating vibration informs the users when the exercise goal has been reached, and what a sweet feeling it is.
A new swim mode also enables users to track laps and distance – super convenient.
The Charge 3 offers notifications when you’ve hit 250 steps an hour [you can turn this off], and a nifty ‘celebration’ when exceeding 10,000 steps for the day.
At the end of the week, and sometime month, you are emailed a summary of all your stats, which makes health tracking super simple and non-complicated.
Personally, the techie within me does crave more functionality (e.g. a built-in GPS, and music connectivity), however, the Charge 3 does a superb job of covering all the bare bones of fitness tracking, and then some.
There’s also support for ‘Quick replies’, enabling users to respond to texts straight from their wrist via preset messages. Unfortunately, it’s largely restricted to Android phone users.
As mentioned, the Charge 3 does not feature a built-in GPS. However, NFC is available for Fitbit Pay.
Concerning feminine health, unfortunately the Charge 3 lacks in comparison to more specialised apps. As tracking is largely based off the Fitbit app, I found myself utilising more favourable third-party applications.
Overall, the Fitbit Charge 3 is an excellent fitness tracker which seamlessly, and reliably, records activity and health – daily, weekly and monthly.
I’d highly recommend the device to first time users or the tech-wary, citing a super user friendly interface and visually interactive app.
Personally, I’d be more inclined to pay extra for the more techie Ionic/Versa smartwatch, however, if you’re looking for a no-nonsense option, the Charge 3 is pretty hard to beat.