Fitbit Charge 4 review: One step closer to the ideal fitness tracker

Mashable 13 Apr 2020 01:00
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Fitbit Charge 4
Lightweight and comfortable • Built-in GPS • Long battery life • Affordable • Spotify integration • Helpful new fitness metric • Workout intensity map • Fitbit Pay
No on-board music storage • Thick bezels on the display • Can't control music in Exercise mode
The Bottom Line
The Fitbit Charge 4 is an excellent fitness tracker that packs all the features you need to track and improve your performance over time. It's just missing one thing: on-board music storage.
⚡ Mashable Score 4.25
😎 Cool Factor 4.0
📘Learning Curve 4.0
💪Performance 4.5
💵Bang for the Buck 4.0

When Fitbit announced its new Charge 4 fitness tracker in the middle of a pandemic, it felt ... a little weird. 

I mean, sure, some of us have plenty of time on our hands to work out now-a-days. But we might not want to. Because things are tense right now. And that's OK.

It's been two years since Fitbit expanded its lineup of Charge fitness trackers. But the Charge 4's design remains the same.

Personally, the Charge 4 looks a little too chunky for my taste, especially after having reviewed Fitbit's Inspire HR last year. 

In the past, the Special Editions were labeled as such because they came with Fitbit Pay, but since the standard Charge 4 comes with that feature, you're just paying for the unique strap. 

For those who are more into things like floor workouts, circuit training, or lifting weights, this feature might not be that exciting to you. 

However, it's a little slow. Some days I'd wait a few seconds while other days it felt like an entire minute. I recommend maybe hitting start while you're doing some quick stretches so by the time you're ready to go, the GPS will be fully connected.

One of the best parts about having GPS on a fitness tracker is that you can leave your phone at home and sync your workouts afterwards. 

Unfortunately, it's sort of a useless feature considering you can't even access it from Exercise mode. With the Versa, I could slide down the Notifications menu and access the controls from there.

It uses heart rate zones to track your effort during energizing workouts, like running or HIIT (high-intensity interval training), and awards you with credits.

Even though it's already possible to see the zone you're in under the heart rate section on the Fitbit while working out, the Charge 4 vibrates to let you know when you've switched. That way, you don't have to constantly check the display.

I also used it to track my sleep each night, which leverages the SPO2 sensor (to measure oxygen levels for signs of disorders like sleep apnea) and heart rate monitor to provide me with a sleep score in the morning. The number is based on factors like duration of sleep, and sleep stages (REM, deep, and light sleep). 

For most people investing in a fitness tracker, built-in GPS is a crucial feature. Fitbit finally added it without sacrificing size or battery life. 

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