Fitbit Charge 3 review
It has been years since Fitbit released its last Charge device, way back in September 2016. When it hit the shelves, the Fitbit Charge 2 added a host of fresh features to the smarts we’d seen before on the Fitbit Charge HR, the Fitbit Alta and the Fitbit Blaze.
But since then, we’ve seen the arrival of some much more innovative Fitbit devices, such as the Fitbit Ionic and the Fitbit Versa, both of which tout some rather impressive tracking features and GPS.
- Bigger touchscreen display: The Charge 3’s responsive screen is 30 percent bigger than the Charge 2’s, which makes viewing information a lot easier.
- 7-day battery life: You can easily sail through a week on a charge, even with daily workouts.
- Swim-tracking arrives: The Charge 3 is water-resistant, unlike its predecessors, so it can track pool workouts.
- Connected GPS: The Charge 3 quickly latches on to your phone’s GPS, but built-in antennas would be more convenient.
- New sensor for sleep insights: An SpO2 sensor will be used to alert users enrolled in the Fitbit Sleep Score Beta program if they experience breathing disturbances. That program starts in November.
Design and display
The Fitbit Charge 3 has the same rectangular screen and band design as seen on its predecessor, the Charge 2, but the design has been refined and tweaked somewhat.
One thing to note however is that there aren’t any pressable buttons on the Charge 3. That’s because this one has a full touchscreen rather than the tap to cycle screen we saw on the Charge 2, meaning you’ll do most of your navigating around its features with your finger on the display.
The Charge 3 has far better battery life. It’s rated up to a week, according to Fitbit, but I found I was sometimes able to squeeze even a bit more out of it. Either way, though, it’s hard to overstate just how much of a difference this makes. One of the reasons I prefer fitness trackers over full-on smartwatches is precisely because having to remember to charge on a daily basis is a huge pain particularly if you like to use your device to track your sleep at night.
Fitness and health still come first
The Charge 3, you can set specific goals for these exercises, like running a certain distance or lifting weights for a specific amount of time. When you reach the goal, the Fitbit vibrates and displays a little animation to celebrate you reaching your goal.
The Charge 3 is also waterproof, so you can use it to record your swims or take it along for a run or bike ride in the rain.
On the health side, the Charge 3 comes with newly improved sleep tracking features. The tracker approximates your bedtime, wake-up time, and the various stages of your sleep cycle based on your heart rate and movement throughout the night. All this is broken down into a graph in the Fitbit app where you can see your sleep cycle over the course of each night.
Like other recent Fitbits, the Charge 3 also tries to incorporate some smartwatch-like features. You’ll get calls, text messages, and some other notifications pushed to your wrist. It’s a convenient way to check your messages at a glance, or quickly accept or reject a call, but most of the notifications aren’t terribly useful because you can’t actually do anything once you receive them, especially if you have an iPhone.
If you have an Android phone, the picture is a little better: You can use quick replies to send brief, preset responses. You can also change up the watch face in the Fitbit app, which is a nice option but still a bit clunky.
|7 day battery life||No automatic run pausing at launch|
|Touchscreen display||No on board GPS|
|SpO2 sensor’s sleep analysis potential||Not the most accurate heart rate|
The Fitbit Charge 3 is quite the improvement over the Charge 2, but you should only upgrade if you’re after a more slick, lightweight design, a slightly larger display and a few new fitness tracking features.