Fitbit announced the Fitbit Charge 3. I took a closer look at it.
Fitbit is a vendor of high-quality sport and activity hardware. The Charge series is their main product. An activity tracker with a compact format, a descend battery life and a high wearing comfort.
The next addition to the series is the charge 3. It will look like this:
The design is almost identical to its older brother. The main changes are “under the hood”.
The display is still not colored. But this time it will have a real (and hopefully working) touchscreen. The Charge 2 screen often did not react to taps.
The battery life time is reported with 7 days. That would be huge increase from the 5 days of the Charge 2.
Please remember: The more features you use and the more often the screen is on, the less your battery life will be.
On the feature side, Fitbit added some interesting stuff. All features from the Charge 2 are -of course- available for the Charge 3.
The Charge 3 is (finally) water proof up to 50 meters. It also can recognize you swim sessions. If it can track your swim styles (Breast, freestyle, etc), is not stated.
Instead of 7 sport profiles, it will come with 15 on board.
An interesting new feature is the Sp02 sensor. It allows the Charge to detect the oxygen level in your blood. Similar sensors are built into Garmin’s Fenix 5 and also Polar is reported to put them into their new Vantage V. The metric will not be visible on the device and the app will get it later this year via update.
Additionally it now calculates a cardio fitness level. This is a metric, representing your fitness level, so you can compare to others and keep track of your development.
The new Charge improves the features concerning your mobile phone. It can display more and better notifications and event display messages from apps. Additionally you can now answer calls with canned text messages.
If you are away and forgot your purse, your Fitbit can save your day. Fitbit Pay is the new solution with which Fitbit is entering the mobile payment market. This feature is available in the special editions only. Depending on your country, the list of compatible banks is pretty short. But look for yourself.
The Charge 3 still does not offer GPS. You still need a mobile phone to make GPS available to your charge. So if you want to run and log your track, you need an additional device with you.
The armband system seems to stay the same. I hope they did improve that as my armbands did not last longer than 6 months.
The new device will be available in 2 colors per edition: Black/grey and blue grey/rose gold for the standard edition and lavender/rose or white/graphite for the special edition.
It will cost you 150€ for the standard and 170€ for the special edition. It is available as of October 1st for the standard and November 12th for the special edition:
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If you want to purchase the Charge 2, it is a good time to do as the prices are currently dropping:
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Conclusion: If you want a solid activity tracker without any fancy additional feature, this is the product to buy. The tracker is pretty small, so you most likely won’t recognize it when wearing 24/7. The collected data are very accurate and presented in an understandable and pretty way in the app. The Charge 3 takes its older brother and improves it in the right way. Especially the missing water resistance was a huge disappointment for me. With the Charge 3 this is no longer an issue.
But, as always, you have to take a closer look on the features: 15 sport profiles are giving you which benefit exactly? Are they just a text next to the sport session or do they really make any difference? Do you really want to be informed about incoming messages?
The new cardio level -if it works like advertised- is a good thing. Especially if you are beginning with let’s say running, this can show you if and how much you are improving. Polar has something similar called Running index and I like it very much. But for me the Charge is no sport watch, therefore I won’t really use that metric and take the one from more “real” sport watch.
A big plus is the price: 150€ is almost the price of the Charge 2 when it was released. So Fitbit improved the device, but did not add much to the price. That more than fair.
So, as always, it is up to you to decide: If you are searching for an activity tracker without sport function (or you want to track a run now and then) and you can afford the 150€, then you will a very good and solid device.
If you own a Charge 2 and are not in need of a new device or you do not need the swimming functions, can skip the upgrade.
For those searching for a sport watch to track running, swimming or other sport sessions, the Charge is most probably not the device for you. There are tons of other watches on the market fitting more your needs.
What do you think? Do you have a Charge 2 and will buy the Charge 3? Are you searching for a new activity tracker? Let me known in the comments.