Fitbit Charge 4 on long-term test: Good features, but battery life with GPS is an issue

Wristband wearables have appear a long way, and these times we be expecting them to provide GPS, heart rate checking, alarms and a vary of handset connectivity characteristics. The £129.ninety nine/$149.ninety nine Fitbit Charge 4 has all of these, as well as a blend of other characteristics, some of which Fitbit calls ‘apps’. You can pick out to clearly show or not clearly show these wristband applications, which involve a contactless payment wallet identified as Fitbit Shell out, on the product by building selections in the Fitbit smartphone application (iOS or Android). Shell out £149.ninety nine/$169.ninety five for the Specific Edition and you get a woven again wristband somewhat than a rubbery a person. I’ve been applying the Charge 4 for numerous weeks, and provide these observations as a abide by-up to Matthew Miller’s April evaluate.


The Fitbit Charge 4 (£129.ninety nine/$149.ninety nine) gives heart-rate monitoring, constructed-in GPS, intention-dependent training modes, drinking water resistance, snooze checking, notifications and on-band applications.

Images: Fitbit


The standard wristband can be changed with colourful or woven alternate options.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The in general style is familiar to anyone who has a past Fitbit Charge product: an elongated contact monitor a solitary facet (contact) button on the still left edge of the Charge 4 (if worn on the ideal wrist) and a removable wristband that is quickly changed with colourful alternate options. The Charge 4 arrives with two wristbands and I discovered the modest a person was wonderful for me. All but the largest of wrists need to be accommodated.

The gray OLED touchscreen is large and you navigate all over it applying the facet button and a blend of monitor sweeps and taps. It really is fairly uncomplicated to get applied to how items operate. Tapping on the clock facial area toggles through metrics like steps, length, and heart rate. A vary of faces can be established showing different selections of metrics, as well as time and date, by means of the Fitbit smartphone application. Sweeping ideal to still left brings up many wristband applications that have been enabled in the smartphone application.

Basic exercise monitoring works wonderful. You can tell the smartphone application your ordinary stride lengths for equally managing and walking, and it shares this with the Charge 4, which can then change paces into length. It really is not fantastic, but I have usually discovered Fitbit gadgets to be fairly accurate when tested on calculated distances, and that remains the scenario with the Charge 4. 

The Charge 4 will mechanically detect when you are managing, biking, on a treadmill or walking, and it is drinking water resistant to the extent that you can swim for up to 50 metres sporting it with out adverse effect. If you might be serious about cross-teaching with these varieties of actions, then you may want a additional sophisticated product that can deliver a larger vary of metrics. But if you might be just wanting to do a sure range of steps or protect a sure length, then the Fitbit 4 works properly, including issuing alerts when you access your preset objectives every single day.

With a heart rate observe on-board, the Fitibit Charge 4 can do intriguing items like measure your resting heart rate, established exercise zones and report on these, and — new for this design — give a report of Lively Zone Minutes. This is a calculation dependent on age and resting heart rate, and the plan is to access a intention of a hundred and fifty minutes a week in your Lively Zone. It really is pretty a clever plan for people applying a Fitbit to burn up calories or drop body weight. Just ambling all over is less valuable in this regard than moving a little bit more rapidly, and building your heart operate a little bit tougher. As your resting heart rate lowers, the Fitbit variations its target minutes, so in concept there is certainly usually a applicable intention to intention at. Complete reporting entire with graphs is offered in the Fitbit smartphone application.

SEE: 5G smartphones: A cheat sheet (totally free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Of all these metrics I discovered the resting heart rate info specifically useful. I have noticed from past Fitbit use how my heart rate fluctuates if I have a cold or fever, and how it falls as I get fitter, rising as my exercise wanes. These metrics can enable people observe their development alongside a exercise trajectory.

The snooze monitoring is also useful. I like to maintain an eye on the hours I devote asleep, as properly as checking my snooze high-quality to make certain I’m not short-shifting myself. The Fitbit application has some nicely introduced graphics showing in general snooze hours and durations of restlessness. If you actually want to weigh in with the metrics, the Fitbit application offers you a snooze score dependent on the high-quality and length of snooze, with a score these kinds of as ‘fair’ or ‘good’ for every single night time. 

As for the additional characteristics, I didn’t bother with the Spotify controls, Fitbit Shell out (a new attribute with the Charge 4), the temperature application, or notifications. My handset is the go-to area for this functionality, but I can see how some users could find them useful. What I like a great deal is the silent, vibrating alarm, which is sturdy sufficient to wake me, but also refined to wake anyone else.


The Charge 4’s cost cable is somewhat short, and fiddly to engage.

Image: Fitbit

The battery is rated to very last for 7 times furnished you usually are not applying GPS, in which scenario it can be only fantastic for 5 hours. This basically rendered the GPS unusable for me on long weekend walks, even if I started out with it absolutely billed. That’s a disgrace, as GPS is a massive advertising point for the Charge 4. I discovered the cost device to be a little bit of a fiddly healthy, and I experienced to double-test that it was in area correctly. Also, its cable is pretty short, which intended my common desktop cost station was just a tiny uncomfortable to use. Very long expression this would probable be pretty an situation.

All round, the Fitbit Charge 4 has some excellent characteristics and is a fantastic action up from the Charge three, whilst the Fitbit application shows a great deal of pretty complex info in an accessible way. Eager sports people will want a for a longer period-lasting battery for GPS use and additional granular metrics, but as a exercise tracker for typical wellness the Charge 4 does very properly.

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Maria J. Danford

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