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I Own a Fitbit Charge: Here Are 6 Pros and Cons to Know Before Buying One

fitbit charge

I Own a Fitbit Charge: Here Are 6 Pros and Cons to Know Before Buying One

I own a Fitbit Charge 5, and it has been my daily driver for the last year and a half. I have had a wealth of experience with the device itself at this point. Most functions you’d use a watch for — that’s where I enjoy using my Fitbit Charge.

I’m not your usual user of smartwatches or fitness trackers. However, with a family history of heart disease and other cardiovascular maladies, I started wearing one. I have a gorgeous Bulova watch that sits in a case, which really isn’t good for much else aside from telling time. My smart watch journey started with the venerable Apple Watch Series 3, which served me well for years.

The battery eventually wore out, so now I have a Fitbit. It has been an overall positive experience, but not universally so. Join me and discover the pros and cons of owning a Fitbit, and whether or not you should get one for yourself.

Which Fitbit Do I Own?

Awesome Tracking Features
Fitbit Charge 5 Advanced Health & Fitness Tracker
$137.98
  • Built-in GPS
  • Stress management tools
  • Sleep tracking
  • 24/7 heart rate monitor
  • Platinum, Mineral Blue
  • One size S & L bands included
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/10/2024 05:41 pm GMT
The
Fitbit Charge 6
$139.95
  • Water-resistant up to 50m
  • 40+ exercise modes
  • 1.04-inch screen
  • ECG and irregular heart rhythm notifications
  • 7 days of battery life
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/11/2024 01:41 pm GMT

I have a Fitbit Charge 5, which isn’t the latest model. At the time of purchase, it was the latest around, however. It was a birthday present from my wife and kids for my 35th birthday, as my Apple Watch had died just a few months prior.

I’ve worn it pretty much daily since getting it. I use it for tracking my runs and exercise bike usage. I also use it for tracking my oxygen saturation while I sleep, as I do have a history of sleep apnea thanks to some hereditary issues.

Initial Setup

Setting up the Fitbit for the first time was an absolute breeze. You download the Fitbit app on your smartphone, like my personal iPhone. From there the software guides you through the pairing and syncing process. The initial setup took around 15 minutes in total, which is a process I had to repeat recently due to upgrading my phone.

The overall process of installing, setting up, and syncing your Fitbit is relatively streamlined as a whole. I feel confident in saying this is one of the strong suits of the ecosystem. My wife also has a Versa 2, which has been her daily driver for years at this point. She had to go through the same process to get it synced to her new phone.

Day-to-Day Use

Daily use of the Fitbit Charge 5 has been good as a whole. There are some issues I would point out, which will be explored a little further on. However, if you’re just using it for fitness tracking purposes, it is great. The Fitbit app readily syncs together with Apple Health to keep track of things like your resting and active heart rate.

I also like keeping track of my zone minutes, which is when you’re doing active exercise. I ride an exercise bike, run, or lift weights daily, so having that data on hand is great. You also get a weekly progress report, where my wife and I compete to see who is more fit. She is currently winning, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

The Pros and Cons of Owning a Fitbit

So, here’s the real meat and potatoes. You can typically look at any professional reviewer and see their experience with a product in a limited timeframe. I’ve had the Fitbit Charge 5 on my wrist for 18 months now, and don’t plan to stop unless the battery just ups and dies on me in the near future.

Here are six pros and cons that I have noticed with my Fitbit Charge 5, which you may or may not agree with.

Pros

fitbit charge
The Fitbit app gives some fun goals for your daily exercise goals. I’ve apparently walked the length of Italy since owning it.

There are a lot of things to like about the Fitbit Charge 5. Here is a semi-exhaustive list along with reasons for my pros with owning the device itself.

The Bright OLED Screen

The bright display is quick and easy to see under any circumstance. Like I’ve said, I don’t take this off my wrist unless I’m bathing. As such, having an easy way to see how many steps I’ve got in or my current heart rate is fantastic.

It doesn’t matter the time of day, I know I can glance at my wrist and see clearly what time it is. If you’re going to buy one of these as a timepiece of its own, it is a waste. However, if you’re looking for a device that combines a plethora of functions into a compact watch, it is fantastic.

Dependable Performance

I’ve had exactly one issue, which was caused by my not securing the charging cable for the device. Aside from that, my Fitbit Charge 5 has run like a top for 18 months straight. I charge it once a week, and it just functions without any input from me.

GPS Tracking

I can get detailed route maps for my runs or just an overall idea of where I am with the Fitbit Charge 5. It actually will work in conjunction with my phone’s navigation as well, which can be helpful for sending alerts to my wrist when I’m driving in traffic.

As a whole, GPS tracking might not be wholly necessary for a fitness tracker and my needs. However, it is a great addition as a whole to have.

Overnight Health Tracking

I have a genetic cocktail of absolute doom thanks to my family. I do my best to eat right, exercise regularly, and so on, but I still have to keep an eye on things. Overnight health tracking is a massive help in this regard. I can see if there are irregular heart patterns if I’m having trouble breathing, and so on.

The Fitbit Charge 5 even keeps track of your ambient body temperature and establishes a baseline from regular use. It will let you know if something is going wrong, which can readily help you catch potential issues before they develop into something more severe.

Active Use Health Tracking

Here is the real reason to buy a Fitbit Charge 5. Being able to set the form of exercise and how long I plan on doing it is absolutely wonderful. Out of the many functions of the Charge 5, I wouldn’t change this one.

Simply put, if you’re planning on buying one of these devices, this is why you buy one. The other smart functions are great, don’t get me wrong. However, those are icing on the cake compared to how tightly this can integrate with your smartphone’s health-tracking apps.

Mobile Payment Support

I will be real with all of our dear readers. I don’t particularly enjoy pulling out my debit card to make a transaction at Target or somewhere like that. Having the ability to make NFC payments with a linked debit or credit card is great.

It might not replace Apple Wallet for my use all the time. However, just having the option of holding my wrist up to a payment terminal without digging through my wallet for the right card is worth its weight in gold.

Cons

fitbit charge
Running, walking, and cycling are just a handful of the exercise options available for the Fitbit.

No device is perfect, and I’ve got some major gripes about the Fitbit Charge 5. These aren’t necessarily dealbreakers. They have colored my perception and use of the device as a whole, unfortunately.

No Music Control

I easily put in hundreds of hours listening to music a month. If I’m in my car, exercising, or just in my office working, music is playing. The Fitbit Charge 5 doesn’t really let you do much in the way of controlling music playback. I find myself upping the screen time on my phone, laptop, or tablet just to switch up what is playing on Spotify.

Now, this isn’t a dealbreaker for most users I’d wager. However, for me, personally speaking, it does very much affect the way I use the Fitbit Charge 5.

Set Clock Faces

One thing I sorely miss from my Apple Watch was being able to define what showed on the clock face. I don’t always need to see my heart rate, but the time and weather might be nice. With the Fitbit Charge 5, you download a face and that’s it. You don’t tweak it, that’s just the way it is now.

No Physical Buttons

My Charge 5 has frozen exactly once, while I was out at the park with my kids. When I looked up guides on my phone on how to restart things, the only way to do so was by using a physical button on the charging cable. Who puts a reset button on the charging cable you see every seven to ten days?

Some Key Features Are Locked to Premium

Your daily readiness scores and a few other key features are locked away behind a Fitbit Premium subscription. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the subscription itself is fairly affordable. Fitbit is rather insidious in that it gives you six months for free, so you get accustomed to the extra functionality and metrics. It is still a sore spot a year after canceling my sub if you couldn’t tell.

Limited Exercise Options

You don’t really have a ton of options for exercise types that the Fitbit Charge 5 monitors. It would be great to have the ability to monitor things like strength training, calisthenics, and so forth. This isn’t my biggest gripe with the Fitbit Charge 5. I do wonder if it thinks I’m just having a hard time in my living room when I’m really slinging kettlebells around.

No Altimeter

The Fitbit Charge 5 doesn’t really have an altimeter. If you’re doing any sort of hiking or mountain biking, it’ll just treat it like a normal walk or bike ride. You and I both know there is a very key difference between taking a leisurely jog around a level track and trying not to fall off a mountain on a steep trail.

Would I Purchase a Fitbit Again?

If I had my druthers, I’d probably get another Fitbit Charge. The Charge 5 has served me well, despite my own misgivings with the platform as a whole. I definitely think it is worth getting a Fitbit Charge 5 or 6, provided you understand its capabilities as a whole.

  1. Fitbit Charge 6
    $139.95
    • Water-resistant up to 50m
    • 40+ exercise modes
    • 1.04-inch screen
    • ECG and irregular heart rhythm notifications
    • 7 days of battery life
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/11/2024 01:41 pm GMT
  2. Fitbit Charge 5 Advanced Health & Fitness Tracker
    $137.98
    • Built-in GPS
    • Stress management tools
    • Sleep tracking
    • 24/7 heart rate monitor
    • Platinum, Mineral Blue
    • One size S & L bands included
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/10/2024 05:41 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Fitbit have changeable watch faces?

Yes, you can swap out your watch face as needed.

Can I use a Fitbit with an Android phone?

You absolutely can use an Android together with a Fitbit.

Does the Charge have buttons to reset it?

No, you’ll have to use the charging cable to reset it if it freezes.

Do you still have your old watch?

I do, it’s in a box covered in dust. Probably needs a new battery at this point. It is a sentimental thing at this point so I won’t get rid of it yet.

Would you recommend a Charge?

Sure, it is a handy little device. I hear the Charge 6 line is even better than the 5, so that might be the one to get.

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