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I Used a Fitbit Charge for 18 Months So You Don’t Have To

fitbit charge

I Used a Fitbit Charge for 18 Months So You Don’t Have To

Key Points

  • The Fitbit Charge is a compact fitness tracker that offers accurate heart rate data, blood oxygen levels, sleep tracking, and exercise tracking.
  • The Fitbit Charge has a long battery life, lasting at least six days on a single charge.
  • The device has a bright screen that is easy to read in any lighting conditions.
  • It offers smartphone integration, allowing users to sync data with their iPhone and track their health metrics.
  • The Fitbit Charge is built for durability, with a waterproof mode and resistance to dust and sweat.

I’ve used a Fitbit Charge for the last year and a half, and it has been a great experience. I fully understand that not everyone is going to get along with a fitness tracker. That said, my overall experience over the last 18 months has been positive. It might not have the bells and whistles you’d see from a dedicated smartwatch, but it fits my needs.

While I do appreciate a good watch, very few are going to give me detailed metrics. If you’d like to see why I’d recommend you purchase your own Fitbit Charge, you’re in the right place.

Fitbit Charge Primer

Best for Fitness Enthusiasts
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.
02/05/2024 12:47 am GMT

So, what is the Fitbit Charge? Mine in particular is a Fitbit Charge 5, which comes with a bevy of features. You’ve got access to accurate heart rate data, blood oxygen levels, and sleep tracking. This fitness tracker also allows you to track exercises, although that is a bit limited in scope.

The Fitbit Charge is one of the more premium fitness trackers on offer from the company. It lacks the more robust smartwatch functionality you might see on something like a Versa 4. However, if you don’t mind losing out on controlling Spotify from your wrist, it is a great device as a whole.

Why I Purchased a Fitbit Charge

I have a history of heart disease and other genetic maladies in my family tree. As such, when I started approaching my mid-30s, I began keeping track of my blood pressure and heart rate. Now, my previous Apple Watch Series 3 handled this well enough on its own. However, one fateful day saw the device just die outright.

It might be a matter of neuroticism on my part, but keeping these things in mind is highly important. My father suffered a catastrophic heart attack eight years ago which nearly claimed his life. My grandfather has had a quadruple bypass in my lifetime. I’d like to avoid those if I can, so I make certain dietary choices and keep an eye on my heart rate where I can.

The Fitbit Charge 5 was a gift from my wife and children for my 35th birthday. I’ve since worn it daily for the last 18 months and it has been a great device overall. It lets me keep track of all useful health metrics, my sleep patterns, and how I’m doing with my daily 10,000 steps.

What Makes a Fitbit Charge Worth Buying?

fitbit charge
The Charge’s compact size makes for a great fitness tracker.

The Compact Size

The overall compact size of the Fitbit Charge is one of its major strong suits. You don’t have to contend with a bulky device on your wrist. Instead, it is quite slim and trim, barely taking up any room at all. This is great for when I’m working out or doing yard work. You’ll notice the extra weight when you’re pushing yourself, but this has been minimal at best.

While I would love for the watch face itself to be just a hair larger, that is a minor complaint at best. If you’re looking for something compact as a whole, the Fitbit Charge is a great solution. It comes with a pair of wrist straps for wearing it, so it should fit most users.

The Long Battery Life

When you get your Fitbit Charge fully charged, you’re getting at least six days of battery life. I charge mine once a week, usually on Fridays. I get an email alert letting me know that it is time, which is helpful. That said, you get a ton of screen time with the device, even if you’re using it for stress metering and the like.

The long battery life is a major selling point for me. You’re already charging a laptop, phone, and other devices daily more than likely. Having to plug your own timepiece just seems like a waste to do daily. Keeping it weekly is far more manageable as a whole and something I greatly appreciate.

Bright Screen

The display on my Charge is easy to read right off the bat. You’ve got a crystal clear screen, which is plenty bright for any lighting conditions. I’ll use it to check the time at night, long after my children are in bed and all the lights are off in the house. When I check the time or my heart rate at midday, it is still just as easy to read.

This might seem an odd sticking point, but I don’t think I would’ve stuck with the Fitbit Charge if the display wasn’t bright enough for all conditions. Being able to glance and see the time immediately is of vital importance to me personally. I have zero complaints about the quality of the screen, just praise.

Smartphone Integration

What good is a smart device if you can’t connect it to something else? Fitbit thankfully has seen to this and allows for fairly deep integration with my own iPhone. I can import all the sync data from the Charge directly into the Health app on my iPhone and keep charts and other necessary info as I need.

It doesn’t fully integrate with all aspects of your smartphone. You can’t control music like Amazon Music or Spotify, for example. However, I use a pair of AirPods daily which allows for that. Simply put, the amount of smartphone integration on the Charge is just enough for my needs. I haven’t felt the urge to upgrade to the newer Charge 6 just yet.

Mobile Payment Support

I use Apple Wallet a fair bit when it comes to making purchases outside the house. I love the ease of use and the immediacy of supported terminals. I don’t always have my phone in my hand, sometimes I’m toting around a cranky five-year-old at Target. Thankfully, the Charge also comes with full support for mobile payments. I can pay for our full order and make sure my youngest isn’t running off.

The mobile payment support on the Charge is very barebones. You aren’t going to have a visually rich user interface. Instead, it’s just set-and-forget, which is fine for my purposes.

Health Metrics

fitbit charge
The EDA scan is a great way to measure your stress levels with the Charge

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The real meat of the Fitbit experience is down to health metrics. The Charge does it all, it’ll monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, skin temperature, and sleep patterns. You can get these delivered to your email inbox on a weekly basis too, so you can see how you’re trending every seven days. After wearing the device for a few months, you should have a good baseline average to measure against.

This is why I wanted a Charge in all honesty. I’d be perfectly content glancing at my phone to see the time or view any notifications. Thankfully, I get the time and peace of mind when it comes to my own health metrics. If that is important to you, then any of the Fitbit lines should be a good fit for some of these functions.

Built for Durability

The Fitbit Charge has a waterproof mode that works quite well. It also stands up to dust, grass clippings, sweat, and every other disgusting bit of detritus I’ve thrown at it for the last year and a half. Parents in the audience know how gross it is just dealing with your kids. Thankfully, the Fitbit Charge keeps up with ease when it comes to resilience.

I’ve knocked the Charge against walls, had it flung against concrete floors by pure negligence, and far more. It has kept on with nary a scratch, which is honestly quite impressive. My old Apple Watch Series 3 looked like I fed it to a wood chipper after wearing it daily for two years.

Should You Choose a Fitbit Charge?

The Charge is a great device if you’re willing to deal with its limitations. It isn’t nearly as robust or featured as something like an Apple Watch. That said, if that isn’t a major concern, it is a cost-effective way to keep track of your health. Sure, there are some additions I would make to increase my overall enjoyment of it.

However, as things sit currently, I wouldn’t trade it for another device. For my wants and needs, it fits the bill perfectly. I love the long battery life and detailed health metrics. It is absolutely fantastic if you want to pay for a coffee but don’t want to dig around in a bag for your phone or wallet. Just get one, you won’t regret it.

  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.

    02/05/2024 12:47 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you sync the Charge?

You need a smartphone and to install the Fitbit app to sync the Charge.

Can I use the Charge on an Android phone?

Absolutely, the entire Fitbit line is compatible with both iPhone and Android smartphones.

Can you use the Charge 5 to control media playback?

You cannot use the Charge 5 to control media playback.

Does the Charge 5 show notifications?

You can get push notifications from texts, phone calls, and social media apps on the Charge 5.

Would you recommend the Charge?

Absolutely, it is a cost-effective device that served me well over the last year and a half.

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