Fitbit Charge 2 vs. Alta HR (Review Comparison) Which is the Best Fitness Tracker?
MH Review: Fitbit Charge 3 - Should You Level Up?
What’s new with the Fitbit Charge 3?
If you’re deliberating over whether to invest in an activity tracker or fully pimped smartwatch, the Charge 3 is an easy compromise. It retains all the basic functions of previous models – activity and sleep tracking; heart-rate monitoring; workout modes; guided breathing; and so on – but the interactivity is dialled up a notch. A new goal-setting function, for example, allows you to set personalised targets for distance or calorie-burn directly through the watch face (nifty, if not game-changing), while the Special Edition Charge 3 also incorporates Fitbit Pay, so you can leave your wallet in your gymbag when picking up your post-training lunch.
Perhaps most impressively, a few design tweaks mean it’s now water-resistant to 50m, allowing you to track your swims – a step up from the merely splashproof Charge 2. The screen is 40% bigger, too, though its ultra lightweight aluminium casing means you won’t feel the difference, even if you can see it.
Finally, there’s SpO2: a sensor which monitors blood oxygen, previously only present in the Ionic and Versa smartwatches. This detects patterns and disruptions in your breathing for a better overall picture of your sleep quality.
Next month sees the launch of Fitbit’s new Sleep Score, which will be available to Charge 3 users. By using metrics such as nightly movement, heart-rate variability, time spent in different sleep stages and the aforementioned oxygen monitoring, Fitbit will soon be able to rate your sleep quality out of 100, allowing you to set PBs for your slumber, as you do for your training.
The science might sound a bit sketchy, but having logged about 7.5 billion sleeps worldwide, Fitbit is now in a rare position to be able to offer truly useful coaching tips (here’s one: sleep-trackers who stick to a very regular schedule log almost an hour’s extra kip compared to the average Fitbit man). With further updates, we’d anticipate seeing more personalised insights into your behaviour and – crucially – a bit of course-correction, something that’s currently not too present on the Fitbit app.
Fitbit Charge 3: The Men's Health verdict
In short? We’re sold. Throughout HIIT and, erm, hitting the showers, MH found the Charge 3 worked as promised… though we’re yet to do a deep-dive on its swim functions. For data geeks, it offers a simpler, more affordable alternative to high-spec smartwatches such as the Fitbit Ionic or the Apple Watch (though, really, it’s not exactly competing with the latter). Hardcore trail-runners may be disappointed that the watch itself doesn’t have a GPS display, though it can log routes and sync with your phone on return from your outdoor excursions. Battery life is estimated at seven days, but it can run out of juice a little sooner if you’re using the device's functions regularly. Which you'll want to. Still, these are all very minor points. It’s sturdy, stylish… and certainly smart enough.
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