It’s been nearly two years since the last Fitbit Charge release, so I’m really excited to get my hands on the latest Fitbit Charge 4, a huge bump up in capabilities to this category of devices at a price point of $248 available on the Fitbit Lazada store.

WHAT’S NEW 

  • Added GPS: Previously it would use your phone’s GPS, but now it actually has GPS built-in, meaning no phone is required for an outside GPS workout
  • Added Fitbit Pay contactless payments: You can add your credit card if you own a card from OCBC or UOB Bank in Singapore (more details on Fitbit Pay support in Singapore here). Previously only the ‘Special Edition’ units had this in most markets.
  • Added Sleep Mode: Ability to turn-off notifications and other annoying middle of night things (some of this you can do via Android/iOS anyway)
  • Added Spotify Control: This allows you to control Spotify from your wrist (playing on another device like your phone or computer). However, there is still no ability to store music or stream directly on the Fitbit Charge 4
  • Added Agenda: You can now see planned calendar appointments for the day
  • Added Workout Intensity Map: This will show HR & pace zones coloring on the GPS map post-workout
  • Added more clock faces: They’ve added more clock/watch faces to the Charge 4, with more than 20 different clock faces available
  • Added Sleep Score: Essentially gives you a nightly score (0-100) on how your sleep was. You can trend this over time. This wasn’t initially in the Charge 3, however it was added more recently in a firmware update.

Design

The Fitbit Charge 4 looks almost identical to the Fitbit Charge 3 — it is small enough to look good on wrists of all sizes, plus it’s easily customisable thanks to the huge range of bands out there. There are 2 variants of the Fitbit Charge 4. Though, the actual unit itself is identical. It’s merely a difference of whether or not you get a fancy strap with it. Both editions include all the same features and functions. It’s only the straps that differ. In the ‘Special Edition’ you’ll get a more fancy strap, whereas in the base edition you’ll get the standard strap. Both editions include two normal straps: A smaller one, and a larger one. The smaller one fits me just fine.

The 1-inch monochrome OLED display has a resolution of 160 x 100 pixels. Maybe I’m used to the vibrant colour displays on my Versa 2 so I found it can sometimes be difficult to read in sunlight. The plus side is that the clock face will show various metrics, depending on which one you’ve selected. The default one shows the date/time in large font, and then down along the bottom you’ve got a single metric which you can tap to rotate through the core metrics of distance walked, stairs, Active Zone minutes, steps, heart rate, and calories.

On the side of the Charge 4, there’s a haptic button, which wakes the display and serves as a home button in the device’s software, among other things. It works fine, though sometimes you have to press harder for it to work. You’ll get used to it, though. On the bottom of the device you’ll find the charging pins and a heart rate monitor. The device is water-resistant to up to 50 meters and supports swim tracking.

Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit Charge 4

Tracking fitness

Before you actually start tracking your fitness, I’ll suggest taking a look at your Fitbit app to familiarise with the functions so you can decide which activities you think you’ll use most, as the device only actually holds six shortcuts at a time. The Charge 4 can track a whole range of activities — you just have to specify which ones are most important to you. By default the shortcuts include running, biking, swimming, treadmill, outdoor workout, and walk.

The fact that the device has GPS built into it puts it ahead of the vast majority of other trackers, especially in this price range. The workouts that use the GPS track things like pace, speed, distance, time, and heart rate. Other workouts track time, calories burned, and heart rate. It’s a good selection of metrics, and those things can all be easily seen straight from the Fitbit app.

The Fitbit Charge 4 can track your sleep, too. While wearing a device to bed took some getting used to, it tracks a ton of data — and if you get Fitbit Premium, you’ll see how Fitbit breaks down your score. It’s pretty fascinating to see that my sleep score is decent even though I don’t sleep for very long hours.

Battery life

The battery life on the Fitbit Charge 4 is rated at up to an impressive week of use — but that will largely depend on how often you use GPS. Fitbit says that with GPS on, you’ll only end up getting five hours of use. In real-world use, you’ll end up getting a few days out of the battery if you use the device to track workouts.

While battery life is good, the fact that you may end up using this device to track your sleep means that you’ll actively have to think about when to charge your Charge. For some, it will be in the shower, or when you’re sitting at your desk.

Conclusion

Overall, the Fitbit Charge 4 may actually be the best activity tracker they’ve made in a long while.  The Charge 4’s addition of GPS and contactless payments not only makes it more appealing, but makes it incredibly competitive price-wise.

The Charge 4’s GPS accuracy is more than adequate, and largely speaking doesn’t have any issues keeping up with GPS units that cost 5-7x the price of the Charge 4. And the HR sensor in running seems to be pretty solid too. The new zone features while minor, are nice touches that give the sport and exercise realm of Fitbit a bit more attention. My only complaints with the Charge 4 would be the GPS-on battery burn rate is a bit high (and only gets 4-5hrs of life there). When not using GPS, the battery is quite nice however and seems to track towards their battery life claims of 7 days. Coupled with Fitbit’s vast platform which has some of the best social focused features to try and encourage you or your friends to keep active, you’d be hard pressed to find a better all-around activity tracker with GPS at this price point and

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *