New out this year the Fitbit Charge 4 is an upgrade of the already impressive Charge 3 with the biggest improvements being the built-in GPS and personalised heart rate features.
The device itself is modelled around the same design as the Charge 3 with both small and large size wrist bands included (Small fits wrist 140 mm – 180 mm and Large fits 180 mm – 220 mm). The screen measures up at 39.83 mm diagonally and slightly disappointingly still only features a monochrome display, however the display is bright, clear and easy to read even in direct sunlight. The 24/7 heart rate is used to track calorie burn, optimise workouts and discover health trends, it will monitor and report back your resting heart rate and track heart rate trends over time.
The heart rate is tracked with an optical sensor, so the accuracy is sometimes questionable at higher rates, resting and lower rates were accurate when tested and even at higher rates it still gives you a good basic understanding of your energy output. The Heart Rate Zones give real time feedback on whether you have hit the Fat Burn, Cardio or Peak zone, giving encouragement to push harder when you need it whilst keeping you from over doing it. The Workout Intensity Map provides an understanding of your efforts during outdoor workouts with a map in the Fitbit app which shows when and how long you were in each heart rate zone. That built-in GPS mentioned earlier will show your pace and distance as well as the map of your workout whether running, hiking, cycling or more, you can finally step out without your smartphone in tow and get accurate data. The downside is the battery will take a hammering, so Fitbit recommend having 80% battery before setting out, this is ok if you only want to track the weekend run but if you are looking to use the GPS daily it isn’t ideal but it only takes 2hours for a full charge. You can select six exercises to quickly choose your most common workout, the Active Zone Minutes shows which heart rate zone you’re in and the Goal-Based Exercises set personal goals for each workout, then see your real-time progress on screen.
If you enjoy tunes whilst working out you can sync up with your Spotify and control music, like songs and browse playlists and podcasts from the Charge 4 (Spotify Premium subscription required). Other features include the Guided Breathing Sessions which give you a moment of mindfulness on screen, check your calls, calendar, smartphone app alerts and text notifications with a glance at your wrist and even send quick replies to messages (Android only). There are also helpful apps like weather and timer (stopwatch and countdown), Sleep Stages and Scores, Fitbit Pay, All-Day Activity Tracking (steps, distance, floors climbed, Active Zone Minutes and calories burned), Menstrual Health tracking and Reminders to Move. The battery can last up to 7days depending on use (up to 5 hours when using GPS) we were getting about 6 days with low-medium use. You can switch out the clock face and chose which details are displayed on the main screen, the screen will automatically link up with the time when you turn your wrist over to look at it, this happens successfully about 80% of the time.
The water-resistant body can be taken up to 50m underwater making it suitable for tracking swimming and means you can leave it on in the shower, bath and when washing up. If you are new to the Fitbit app know that it has a reputation of being extremely user friendly, you can personalise your dashboard, link up with community and get the full break down of all your results. The Fitbit Charge 4 has some great updates but we cannot help but feel this was a missed opportunity to rework the design, slim things down a little and add a dash of colour to the screen, however this can all be forgiven for finally being able to leave the phone at home when you exercise. The Charge 4 is just as intuitive as its previous models, best suited for those looking to focus on all aspects of their health with a few handy features to make daily life easier, we also appreciate that price hasn’t been increased either. RRP £129.99
- Built in GPS
- Comfortable day and night wear
- Heart Rate Zones
- Waterproof up to 50m
- Heaps of features
- Price remains the same
- Sync to Spotify
- Accurate data
- Monochrome screen
- GPS quickly drains battery
- Screen can be difficult to navigate with larger hands