FitBit Charge 3 Review

FitBit Charge 3 Review
Highlights

Smartwatches may be grabbing all the attention these days, but theres still a lot to be said for a devoted fitness tracker The FitBit Charge 3 keeps track of all fitness related information, with a battery that keeps on going

Smartwatches may be grabbing all the attention these days, but there’s still a lot to be said for a devoted fitness tracker. The FitBit Charge 3 keeps track of all fitness related information, with a battery that keeps on going.

It’s modest on the wrist and functional enough to not be excessively judged by watch-lovers, yet it does what we expect from their wearable is to track our activity, steps and sleep included, and get the phone notifications… and not a whole lot more. It weighs around 29 grams.

The Charge 3 from FitBit does just that and does it perfectly – it’s the culmination and refinement of a category that the brand created all those years ago. But is it enough to stave off the challenge of not only the more powerful and feature-rich smart watches but also the surplus of significantly cheaper trackers in the market? We go hands… err, wrists-on to find out.

Display

Fresh out of the box, the Charge 3 looks similar to the Charge 2 that was launched two years back. Look closer and you’ll realize there is a lot of design twist that, to FitBit’s favor—it’s smaller and slimmer, the tracker has a gently curved display and the rounded edges on the back and sides which help it to fit better on the wrist.

Standard edition, regular black rubber sports band and the Special Edition, either a lavender woven band or a white sports band. With the Charge 3’s new 50-meter water resistance capabilities, ponying up the extra two grand for the more breathable Sports band is worth it. Unless you’re a pro scuba diver, you can pretty much wear the Charge 3 throughout the day, splash, bath and dip in the pool.

Function

With the Charge 3, you get all alerts in the fitness and wellness department, right from heart rate monitoring and calorie/step tracking to sleep tracking, and alongside it, all is Fitbit’s excellent companion app for Android and iOS smartphones. There’s workout tracking as well, and the Charge 3 will recognize automatically your selected activities once you’ve crossed the minimum set time threshold or at least minimum time of that activity.

The automatic tracking is pretty good at detecting running or walking activities, though you’d probably be better off activating the exercise modes manually on the tracker to be safe. Tracking includes running, swimming, squats, among others, and since the Charge 3 lacks GPS, you’ll want to carry your phone along for the morning run if you want to map out your location/route.

Swim tracking is also there, albeit a bit basic (laps and times only), and the Charge 3 doesn’t record heart rate while swimming. In my use, the heart sensor was most on point when compared to an Apple Watch on the other wrist and good for amateur use and detection, and the Charge 3 carries on the FitBit legacy of being easy to use and accurate for everyday use.

It can also scan for conditions like atrial fibrillation and sleep apnea. But this is not a serious athlete or medical device territory, so all readings are meant to be read relatively to each other and not in absolute terms.

Battery

Lithium-polymer, two-hour charge cycle
Sleep tracking means you can continue wearing it at night too the good part is that the battery lasts long enough that you’ll just need to charge it for an hour or two per week. There’s one drawback that is proprietary charger.

Fitness Tracker or Smart Watch?

While the Charge 3 isn’t a smartwatch, it does have some smarts in terms of phone notifications and quick replies (when connected to an Android smartphone). The limited apps on offer—a timer, a weather app and an alarm—point rather clearly to the Charge 3 being a fitness tracker first and foremost.

No Uber app, no camera shutter control etc that you’d associate with an app ecosystem, which begs the question for most. Why not spend a little extra and pick up a smartwatch, maybe even a Versa from FitBit’s own catalogue? Don’t misunderstand from a hardware standpoint, FitBit has nearly nailed the brief for a fitness tracker, even if it’s at a premium over the generic tracker that costs half or less.

It does accurately what it is supposed to do, gather lots of fitness data and present it in a meaningful manner, and it does that pretty well… while the battery lasts the better part of a week without having to reach for the charger.

Price

There are two variants available.
A regular Charge 3 at Rs 13,999 and a Special Edition available at Rs 15,999 and the only difference is the bands.

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