fitbit charge hr feature image

Fitbit Charge HR Fitness Band Review: Simply The Best!

8.8
The Best Fitness Band 2015

And the Winner Is…Fitbit Charge HR!

There are dozens of different fitness bands on the market today, but if you’re looking for the one that’s the best combination of form, function, and value, the Fitbit Charge HR is it. This tracker has everything: from full activity and sleep tracking, over to continuous heart rate monitoring, smartphone sync, long battery life and so much more.

The Best All-Around Fitness Band

charge-hr-fitbit-4-coloursAnd of course, the price is right; the Fitbit Charge HR comes in at £119.99. It’s definitely not a budget fitness band, but it’s not a totally tricked out sports watch either. We like the Fitbit Charge HR so much because it’s got wide appeal, with lots of features that most people look for in an activity tracker at a price that most people can afford.

Loads of Data

Let’s start with the Fitbit Charge HR’s activity tracking, since that’s the feature that most people are interested in. It tabulates all of your workout data:

  • steps taken
  • distance travelled
  • minutes active
  • calories burned
  • floors climbed.

Plus, thanks to its continuous heart rate monitoring, the Fitbit Charge HR offers some zone training options that are more than enough for the everyday user.

When it’s time to turn in, the Charge HR automatically starts tracking your sleep info. You won’t be overloaded with data here; what you will get is as follows:

  • time you nodded off
  • time you woke up
  • total minutes asleep
  • total minutes and times awake and restless

It’s just the right amount of information to give you a good picture of your slumber without making you feel inundated with too many numbers.

Other Activity Tracker Niceties

fitbit charge hr women doing a workout using the fitbit charge HR The comfortable wristband sports a small but useful OLED display that can show you the time, your current heart rate, your daily stats, and caller ID smart notifications from your smartphone. The Charge HR’s other useful features include:

  • a five day battery life, which is good for a device that has the power drain that is continuous heart rate monitoring
  • a silent alarm to rouse you in the morning
  • memory to store up to seven days of motion data.

It’s comfortable to wear, with a secure watchband buckle, and it comes in black, blue, plum, and tangerine. The Charge HR is splash proof and sweat proof, and it automatically syncs with the Fitbit app on your smartphone.

And of course, the Fitbit app is where all of your details are tabulated and made visual. The interface is clean and easy to use, and you can quickly find all of your data. In addition to running the numbers, the Fitbit app can log your meals and even has a barcode scanner, can help you set goals and earn badges for achieving them, and let you stay in touch and compete with your Fitbit using friends.

Finally, the Charge HR is compatible with lots of third party fitness apps like Endomondo, My Fitness Pal, MapMyFitness, and others.

Top of the Fitbit Pile

fitbit charge hr with a handbagFitbit makes some great devices, but the Charge HR stands apart from the rest. It’s more comprehensive than the One and the Flex, both of which are decent low-cost fitness bands but lack the Charge HR’s auto sleep detection and display.

With these two Fitbits, you’ve got to go to the app for everything, and there are no smart notifications. And of course, the Charge HR, as the name implies, offers the heart rate monitoring capabilities that the Charge doesn’t.

The beefed-up Surge is Fitbit’s top of the line fitness band. It’s a bit larger than the Charge HR and has text notifications, music control, and onboard GPS tracking.

Essential Reading: All the Best with GPS: The Best GPS Running Watches

That last feature is important if you’re a serious runner, but you pay for it: the Surge retails for £199.99, or £80 more than the Charge HR. The Charge HR is simply a great, all around fitness band — the best, if you ask us — and has the most features at the best price that will appeal to the most people.

Compared to the Pack

Sure, there are other good trackers out there that do some things very well. However, none of them are the total package that is the Fitbit Charge HR. For example, the Jawbone UP3 is a popular choice, but it lacks a display, costs £10 more, and has been plagued with clasp and response issues.

Worth reading: Battle of the Heavyweight Trackers: Jawbone UP3 vs Fitbit Charge HR

The Misfit Shine is a cool option, but again, there’s no readout display, it’s not compatible with other fitness apps, and its app is missing both a social component and food and calorie logging capabilities.

The Garmin Vivosmart is comparably priced, and it’s a good choice too, though it lacks the silent alarm and the ability to track elevation data.

Finally, the Withings Activité Pop looks like a cool wristwatch rather than a fitness tracker, but it can’t track heart rate data or receive notifications about incoming calls. Only the Fitbit Charge HR can do all of these things!

Worth reading: Withings Activité vs. Withings Activité Pop – Which One Will You Wear?

What the Experts Say about the Fitbit Charge HR

Want a second opinion on the Fitbit Charge HR? How about a third and a fourth as well? Here are what three of the top tech sites have to say about this tracker.

1. Gizmodo’s Fitbit Charge HR Review

This Is The One You Want

Gizmodo’s Fitbit Charge HR Review

via Gizmodo

Calling the Charge HR “the one you want” right in the title, Gizmodo’s Brent Rose is highly complimentary of everything this tracker can do.

He praises its accuracy, both in steps taken and in heart rate monitoring, and applauds how easy it is to use. Rose also likes the corresponding Fitbit app, and points out that the Charge HR can work with your phone’s onboard GPS for distance tracking.

Throw in its unassuming look and good battery life, and Rose is definitely a fan, concluding, “I wouldn’t hesitate to call it the best Fitbit yet.”

2. Tech Crunch’s Fitbit Charge HR Review

The Fitbit Charge HR Brings Back The Basics

Tech Crunch’s Fitbit Charge HR Review

via Tech Crunch

Reviewer John Biggs has only good things to say about this “tiny life coach that lives on your wrist.”

While it’s not for serious runners, he admits, it’s perfect for anyone who wants to make sure they’re moving enough.

Plus, he writes, it’s fun to feel the little buzz when you’ve met your goal for the day. Yes, other trackers do that, but the Charge HR has so many other things going for it: “The screen is easy to read, the device itself is light and comfortable, and the heart rate data, while not medical-grade, is just what I was looking for in a wearable,” Biggs says.

3. Tech Advisor’s Fitbit Charge HR Review

The fitness tracker with an always-on heart-rate monitor

Tech Advisor’s Fitbit Charge HR Review

via Tech Advisor

Giving it a total of 4.5 out of 5 stars, reviewer Simon Jary likes the Charge HR’s display, watch-like buckle, and ability to carry out all of the expected tracker functionality well.

He thinks it’s definitely worth the extra £20 over the Fitbit Charge, especially because the heart rate data is so useful for understanding your overall fitness level.

The fact that it can show you your daily stats right there on your wrist, Jary writes, gives it a huge advantage over anything made by rival Jawbone.

Celebrities Dig It Too

Fitbit fitness trackers have been spotted on the wrists of numerous celebrities, including actors Robert Pattinson and Ryan Reynolds, the entire Swansea City AFC, and even US President Barack Obama. But the Fitbit Charge HR recently got some special celeb treatment.

In mid-August, celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, along with American actress Jordana Brewster (of Fast and Furious fame) led a group workout in Los Angeles, and they used Fitbit Charge HR wristbands to help participants keep track of all of the vigorous activity they were put through.

If the Charge HR can stand up to an intense Pasternak workout, it’s certainly a good pick for your own exercise routine!

Of Course, Nothing’s Perfect

So yes, the Fitbit Charge HR does have some drawbacks. While it’s splash and sweat proof, it’s no good for swimming or showering.

Additional Reading: Splish Splash – What is the Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker?

Its sleep tracking is good, but it won’t show you light sleep versus deep sleep information. And while it has a screen, that screen is tiny; if you want a fitness tracker with large, colour, or touchscreen display, the Fitbit Charge HR probably isn’t what you’re looking for.

Additionally, there have been some complaints about the accuracy of the Charge HR’s heart rate monitoring, especially when exercising vigorously. Reviewers from CNET and Wired, as well as some consumer reviews, mention this.

It’s frustrating, because the heart rate monitoring is the feature that pushes the Fitbit Charge HR ahead. Still, there don’t seem to be any complains about resting heart rate data. And of course, these downsides are quibbles compared to the all around excellent value of the Charge HR.

The Bottom Line

There are always pros and cons when buying a device, but with the Charge HR, we think the pros far outweigh the cons. Have a look:

Pros

  • Comprehensive activity and sleep tracking.
  • Continuous heart rate monitoring for more effective workouts.
  • Silent alarm.
  • Five day battery life.
  • Compatible with many third party apps.
  • Comfortable to wear.
  • At £119.99, more affordable than other trackers in its class.

Cons

  • No onboard GPS.
  • Small display.
  • Display is neither colour nor touchscreen.
  • Not fully waterproof.
  • No in-depth sleep data.

The Best Fitness Band to Get

There’s never been a better time to buy a fitness tracker: prices are affordable, features are plenty, and you’ll be motivated to move more. But if you’re looking for the best fitness tracker out there, look no further: you’ve found it in the Fitbit Charge HR.

From full activity data to a total picture of your sleep, from heart rate monitoring to all the little conveniences that make the Charge HR a joy to wear, we believe you can’t go wrong with this one. It’s the best Fitbit yet, and it’s better than what its competitors have available as well.

The Breakdown


Features
8
Design
9
Value
9.5




There are 2 comments

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  1. Anna

    I bought a Fitbit Charge HR about 3 months ago and loved it EXCEPT the strap came undone a couple of times without warning Because it was so light I didn’t immediately notice. Unfortunately, the third time this happened was last week in a busy street.

    I followed all of Fitbit’s instructions for recovering a lost Fitbit but no luck (I expect it was long gone by then).

    I’d heard great things about Fitbit’s customer service, so I was hopeful when I emailed them the next morning. Their only suggestion was a canned answer saying that I could buy a new one. I’ve asked further questions by email, on Facebook and Twitter, but received no response except suggesting I email and asking for my case number, and then no response, yet they’re busy telling others how eager they are to help (and retweeting this review).

    I’m in the UK so there’s no phone number for me to call either.

    Lots of other people have had the same problem as me, you can see some of them here: https://www.facebook.com/fitbit/posts/646860095338178 – and more if you look on review sites, Reddit & Twitter.

    I’m really disappointed that an obvious fault in the product means I’m now £120 out of pocket and even more so that they don’t acknowledge the problem or my messages. A bad product and worse service.

    Simply the worst.


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