Technology

Fitbit Charge 4 review: Built-in GPS and better sleep tracking, plus it’s pretty

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Vanessa Hand Orellana/PJDM

The Fitbit Charge 4 ($140 at Walmart) is one of the best throughout health tracker of 2020 and has obtained PJDM’s Editors’ Selection. Its slimmer kind issue, longer battery life and cheaper price level (now on sale for $99) make it an amazing different for anybody seeking to monitor their well being and health, with out the added bulk of a full-blown smartwatch. 

Like

  • Smooth, minimalistic design
  • Coronary heart price zone notifications
  • Compatibility with iOS and Android
  • Sleep monitoring and evaluation

Do not Like

  • Low visibility in direct daylight
  • No fast reply for messages on iPhone
  • Shorter battery life than the Fitbit Cost 3

With the Cost 4, Fitbit has lastly included built-in GPS to trace outside exercises independently and added higher coaching instruments for athletes. It lacks some smartwatch options discovered on the brand new Fitbit Versa ($159 at Amazon) Three like voice assistant and dictation, but additionally provides you entry to Fitbit’s superior sleep monitoring options, textual content replies (Android solely) and contactless funds. It has all the pieces you want for much less and it is my favourite Fitbit up to now. 

Maintain studying for a way precisely this health tracker received me over. 


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The Fitbit Cost Four received me over



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Added options with out the added bulk 

There are many nice wearables for athletes, just like the Garmin Forerunner 945 and Suunto 3, which have far more health chops than the Cost 4, however they are not essentially the most modern. The $150 Cost 4 (£130, AU$230) is a tracker I’ll fortunately put on 24/7 due to its smooth, understated design. Should you’re acquainted with the Charge 3 ($103 at Amazon), the brand new model does not look a lot totally different — it is simply the tiniest bit bulkier in your wrist. 

The display screen can solely show in black and white, however I like that it is practically half the dimensions of a conventional smartwatch, such because the Apple Watch ($399 at Apple), and it additionally does away with bodily buttons. As a substitute, you management the Cost Four with a mix of the touchscreen and by urgent the left aspect of the tracker to navigate settings. The touchscreen is not as responsive and it takes just a few seconds to mild up once you increase your arm to wake the display screen, however I finally acquired the place I needed to go. The one time the lag actually bothered me was whereas I used to be operating and needed to shortly look at my stats with out taking my eyes off the highway. Just like the Cost 3, it is also laborious to see the display screen in direct daylight. 

The common Cost Four is available in three totally different colours with silicone sports activities bands, however the Particular Version, or SE, model that I examined out additionally comes with a woven band choice for $20 extra. Straps are straightforward to swap out (not like the Versa 2 ($174 at Walmart), which has difficult toggles) and should you’re upgrading from the Cost Three you’ll use these bands on the newer tracker. There are additionally a bunch of third-party strap choices out there to customise your look. 

The Cost Four is snug to put on all through the day and does not dig into my pores and skin once I tighten it up throughout a run. You can even put on it to mattress. Like different Fitbits, it additionally tracks your sleep. I will not go so far as to say that it is snug to put on in mattress, however at the least I did not wish to rip it off in the course of the evening like different trackers. 

The Cost Four pushed me to run quicker

As a primary health tracker, the earlier Cost fashions already checked many of the containers: measuring steps, energy, flooring climbed, coronary heart price and distance (utilizing your cellphone’s GPS). However that wasn’t sufficient for extra critical runners like me. I am in no way an elite athlete, however I do run regularly, so having a built-in GPS is excessive on my want record. The GPS permits the Cost Four to map your route throughout an outside stroll, run, bike trip or hike with out having to depend on your cellphone. 

I’ve gone on just a few runs and the Cost Four has given constant distance readings on the identical route with and with out my cellphone. You can even see a warmth map of your route on the Fitbit app, which additionally signifies the depth at which you have been operating based mostly in your coronary heart price. 

The one different Fitbit system that provides built-in GPS characteristic is the Ionic ($195 at Amazon) watch, but it surely’s now over two years outdated and I discovered it too large and hulking to put on regularly.

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Vanessa Hand Orellana/PJDM

The Cost Four tracks over 20 totally different actions, from biking to yoga. It is also water-proof as much as 50 meters just like the Cost 3, so you need to use it for swimming. You’ll be able to program as much as six train shortcuts on the Cost 4, however you do have to decide on them and sync from the cellphone app. You can even set it to trace your runs mechanically, and set objectives for issues like tempo, distance or energy burned earlier than you begin every exercise. 

GPS will not be the one device for athletes. The Cost Four has added a brand new metric referred to as Energetic Zone Minutes, which makes use of your coronary heart price zones to find out the depth of your exercise. The purpose is to have 150 lively minutes logged by the tip of every week, however you’ll be able to improve or lower the goal based mostly in your health degree. 

A number of years in the past, Fitbit began breaking out coronary heart price knowledge into coaching zones for every exercise, based mostly on age and weight. After a exercise you’ll be able to log into the cellular app and see how lengthy you have been in fats burn, cardio or peak. The Cost Four provides real-time coronary heart price zone notifications so you’ll be able to take motion throughout your exercise. 

I needed to push myself a lot tougher than common to get my peak coronary heart price alert to pop up on the display screen (you additionally get a buzz in your wrist once you attain every zone). I spotted I would been overestimating my effort and it was useful to have the Cost nudging me to get out of my consolation zone. I can see this being a superb coaching device should you’re seeking to break your private file in a race.

Battery life takes a success

The one draw back about having GPS on the Cost is that it will gobble up your battery so much quicker than on the Cost 3. Fitbit says the Cost Four can last as long as seven days on a cost, however I barely made it to day 4 earlier than having to plug it in.

I did not thoughts having to recharge after 4 days, however should you’re seeking to get essentially the most out of your battery life (and are planning to make use of it at evening) I’d advocate turning off the GPS when it is not in use. You may simply have to recollect to do that after your exercise. You are able to do this from the train shortcuts on the Cost. Simply swipe up from an exercise that makes use of GPS, like operating or biking, and toggle it off. 

Sleep monitoring has some critical advantages 

I’ve by no means gotten a lot out of monitoring my sleep up to now. With a 6-month-old child and a toddler waking me up at odd hours of the evening I used to be scared to even see my stats the following morning, not to mention get graded on my sleep. Every morning, the Fitbit app provides you a Sleep Rating based mostly on all the pieces from sleep length to sleep levels, coronary heart price and variations in blood oxygen ranges, aka SPO2. 

After just a few nights of testing, it is truly offered some helpful knowledge about my sleep habits. For starters, I’ve gotten a passing grade (above a 60) each single evening, regardless of waking as much as nurse my baby. The app instructed me it is regular to spend as much as 45 minutes awake every evening, which was comforting. It additionally provides you recommendation on the way to enhance your rating, like preserving your bedtime constant, no matter how late (or early) it’s. 

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Vanessa Hand Orellana/PJDM

Everybody can see primary data within the app, like how a lot sleep you get and its high quality, however Fitbit Premium subscribers get entry to coronary heart price and blood oxygen knowledge. I did not see something out of the abnormal in my chart, however I can see this characteristic being extraordinarily useful for individuals who suspect they could have a extra critical sleep-related situation like sleep apnea. In that case it is perhaps value the additional $9.99 (£8.99, AU$15.49) a month for a premium account. 

There may be one foreseeable draw back: With all this sleep knowledge I fear that I’d change into depending on the Sleep Rating to really feel energized throughout the day. That’s, a low Sleep Rating might subconsciously make me really feel drained, regardless that I felt like I acquired a superb evening’s relaxation. 

Greater than only a health tracker

The Cost Four goes past well being and health monitoring with just a few good options up its sleeve. It mirrors each notification you will get in your cellphone whether or not you might have an iPhone ($599 at Apple) or an Android cellphone, however solely Android customers will be capable to reply to messages with preprogrammed fast replies. 

You continue to cannot retailer music onboard to take with you on a run, however should you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber, it is possible for you to to make use of the Cost Four as a primary wrist distant to pause and skip tracks. There is no quantity management although. 

It now additionally features a new agenda app together with the prevailing timer, alarm and climate apps. 

You can arrange Fitbit Pay in your wrist and use the Cost Four on any tap-to-pay fee terminal because the tracker now comes with built-in NFC (beforehand, you had to purchase the particular version Cost to get Fitbit Pay). Sadly it nonetheless does not have as many financial institution companions as Google or Apple Pay and was not appropriate with my major financial institution (US Financial institution), so I could not check it out. I am additionally quarantined at residence, so most of my funds are made on-line in any case, not at brick-and-mortar shops. 

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Author

Vanessa Hand Orellana