Fitbit Flex vs Fitbit Charge 2017 – A Bit of A Surprise
Choosing to get a Fitbit Flex or Charge is a case of personal preference, sure. But here is how the two Fitbit activity trackers stack up head-to-head. Check out our Fitbit Flex vs Fitbit Charge comparison.
Fitbit Flex price when reviewed: $69.95
Fitbit Flex or Charge?
The world of fitness and activity wristbands is quite extensive now, and can be rather baffling and out-and-out nerve-racking to a good number of us.
What’s newer, though, is having to choose among a galaxy of health bands from one maker. Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin, you name them, each of these health band makers has a couple of differing fitness trackers to choose from with different features, price tags, customisation options, and so on. And that’s where things can start to get tricky.
On that note, we have two titans here that are also stablemates — the Fitbit Flex vs Fitbit Charge fitness wristbands. I will compare the difference between Fitbit Flex and Fitbit Charge. Then you can decide whether the newer Charge is better or if the earlier Flex takes the top spot for best Fitbit fitness tracker on the market today.
So, what is different between Fitbit Flex and Fitbit Charge activity trackers, and which Fitbit is right for you?
Fitbit Charge price when reviewed: $99.95
1. Fitbit Flex vs Fitbit Charge – Build and Design
The first thing that meets your anticipation off a Fitbit Flex shipping box is that so slim, lightweight strap. At first glance, the Flex comes off as a contemporary wristwatch, primarily because of the watch-like strap. So you can easily strap it to your wrist and forget it there to record health basics as it should.
If you are a minimalist when it comes to accessories, then the Fitbit Flex will no doubt appeal to you right out the box. I also can’t help but find the Flex a tad masculine-appealing than the Charge – design-wise, that is.
However, the minimalist design of the Flex is ideal for those of you with a small wrist. Fitbit also made sure to include an additional strap for those with larger wrist circumferences. That is, each Fitbit Flex comes with two 15.2 mm long straps. But the larger band fits wrists between 16.51 cm to 20.07 cm, and if you have a smaller wrist (13.97 cm to 16.51 cm), there is one that fits you too in the box.
The 80.83 GBP (Amazon.co.uk) Charge wireless activity, calories and sleep tracking wristband, on the other hand, appears chunkier and rocks a larger OLED display for showing activity tracking stats. And while that should concern the minimalists, it should straightforwardly mean something under that large frame should be able to pack more goodies—and there are quite a few on there.
For times when you need to accessorise something that reflects your mood, occasion, dress, shirt, or what have you, both the Fitbit Flex and Charge are spot on, and offer options as far as colours are a concern. Just choose your favourite package from them.
2. Display – Flex vs Charge
Fitbit Flex Display
First off, are the different displays. Both size and function differ here. The Flex sports a smaller display. In fact, it is more of an LED lights stripe than I’d call a display, really. From this display you can swiftly monitor and get up to speed on your health goals progress –how close or far you are to hitting your day’s target steps or stair climbs. You can do that by double-tapping the little display. Then the LED lights will come alive.
There are five LED indicators, and each stands for 20% gain on your pre-set fitness goal. That further means if only two LED light indicators come on after you’ve tapped the Flex brain, you’d have made 40% progress on your goal, and you’d have 60% to go to fulfill your activity goal for the set period.
However, you have to either tap the Flex brain twice to light those LED lights or reside to pulling your smartphone out of the pocket and viewing progress on the Fitbit mobile app. Is this is a nagging issue to you? If yes, then the Charge may be the best bet for your money between the two.
Fitbit Charge Display
The Fitbit Charge most conspicuous feature, is the larger, more dynamic display against the Flex—apart from the newly designed, textured rubber that should fit well on the wrist. But size is not the only thing that matters here, the new display shows distance travelled, steps taken, calories burned, and distinctively, floors climbed and what time it is. I really like the comprehensiveness of this feature, and feel that the Charge gets the meaning of “wrist-wearable”.
You probably don’t want to wear a health wristband and still have to slide into your pocket and check the time on your smartphone. Worse, I don’t like the idea of sporting a Fitbit Flex and, say, an Apple Watch to tell the time as I track how long I’ve been biking, hiking, running, and what else you have on your fitness roster. So the time-telling function is a welcome addition to the Fitbit Charge.
However, the Charge comes with two more contemporary features you will not find on the Flex, or Jawbone Up24 and Up2. With the Fitbit Charge, you can connect to your Android, iOS and Windows Phone smartphone wirelessly from your wrist, and see who is calling (caller ID). Cool, although some people can do without the additional incoming call notification feature. I would certainly want it working on our wrists, though.
Furthermore, you can use the larger OLED display of the Charge to check on progress stats on your Main Goal. That could be steps you moved throughout the day or stairs/floors you have climbed to that time. The physical button on the left of the device’s body is what to press to browse through those stats. This is not how the Flex plays out things.
3. Fitbit Clasp and Fastener
The best thing about having a device that is available for quite some time is that you can tell from other’s user experiences how the particular model and make can work out for you too. I have done just that on your behalf, and from what I heard, the fastener on the Flex sucks. Most feedback I combed revealed that you might need to replace your Flex band as soon as six months.
That is especially the case if you have a small wrist and have to use the 3rd and 4th holes of the band to secure the band to your wrist. The pressure that mounts at the fastener holes may make your Flex activity tracker to snap or crack. That is also likely because you have to loosen the Fitbit Flex head from those points every time you want to charge it via the proprietary USB charging method.
From experience, the band on the Charge is firmer and likely to hold on better. This time around Fitbit sunk nine prongs to fasten the clasps — better than last time but still needs work. It grips fairly well, though, and holds steady — they are not as faulty as the ones on the Flex. So you don’t have to worry about losing your spanking new Fitbit Charge. The newer Fitbit Charge HR and Surge have introduced buckle-like clasps that are quite fool-proof—though more costly.
However, Fitbit does offer a rather considerate 45-day return policy, and you can use those days to test whether either band fits your wrist comfortably and clasps securely enough.
4. Sleep Tracking
Fitbit Flex as a Sleep Tracker
One of the reasons I still like the Fitbit Flex is that I can leave it on overnight to track my sleep quality and duration. It handles this with ease and pretty accurately too despite being one of the earlier basic activity trackers to have come out of Fitbit coffers. What I don’t like, compared to Fitbit Charge, is having to always double-tap on the head to switch from active mode to Sleep Mode.
Fitbit Charge as a Sleep Tracker
I like that the Charge immediately switches to Sleep Mode automatically when I lie to catch a good night’s sleep. But when it comes down to keeping track of your quality of sleep, the Charge works in pretty much the same way the Flex does. So if your Fitbit Flex or Charge question is pegged on sleep tracking capability, the main difference is that the newer Charge auto-tracks sleep and the Flex needs manual engaging.
5. Are Fitbits waterproof?
What you shouldn’t do, however, is use the grace period to swim with either your Fitbit Charge or Flex. The company says both are “sweat, rain and splash proof”, and has tested both to work at 1 ATM under water. Therefore, they encourage against using either Fitbit for a swim. I second that, so you don’t have to test that yourself as you’d have a basic-but-pricey and dead Fitbit activity tracker to contend with in minutes—probably in less time. Both Fitbit’s are not shower-friendly (or vice versa), and the maker says it is best for you not to wear wet plastic against your skin.
Although they won’t admit it, Fitbit may be asking you not to do shower with their wristband after that Fitbit Force recall after some users found out it caused allergy attacks. The Force came right before the Charge was released, so the problem may not be entirely solved though I haven’t had any allergy cases yet.
Relevant: The Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker
6. Battery Life
The other advantage the Charge has over the Flex is battery capacity—and ultimately, battery life. The broader, 21.08 mm band of the Charge, holds more room for the power plant than the slim band for the Flex. That means two more days of activity tracking when using the Charge over the five days you’d siphon out of the Flex. With average use, you’ll find that you can hit up to ten days on a single charge, and about seven for moderate use—but moderate is subjective, so it all depends on your activities.
7. Fitbit Price Vs Features
However, if your greatest concern is finding a reliable (and now cheaper) fitness tracker to motivate you to move and make more steps, the Flex is good enough without the bells and whistles—which ramp up the price of Fitbit Charge, anyway. Furthermore, I’ve noticed that if for some time you aren’t moving your wrist an inch, say, when nursing your baby, the accelerometer on the Charge may decide that you are asleep—which you literally aren’t—and that could be the deal breaker as far as accurate sleep tracking goes.
Fitbit Charge and Flex Similarities – Customer Support
Whichever of the two Fitbit activity trackers you buy: Fitbit Flex or Bitbit Charge, its customer support is right on point in case you need some remote expert assistance to configure or figure things out: e.g. get some Fitbit Flex instructions. It is a Fitbit thing, and it definitely won’t change whether you choose to go the Charge way or the Flex avenue.
Next, Fitbit is quite generous, and if your Fitbit device gets lost because the clasp went loose, I’ve heard numerous cases where Fitbit replaced the wristbands for the owners. But, I’ve also noted that the company will do this only if you bought your health wristband directly from them. If you go on and get a Fitbit Charge or Flex from Amazon, for example, and the unfortunate happens, you might not be so lucky. I’m not sure if this will still be the case going forward, but that is how things stand.
Difference Between Fitbit Flex and Fitbit Charge
If you are out looking for a slim, and lightweight fitness tracker that accomplishes the basics pretty solidly, then, Fitbit Flex avenue is the way to go. But choose the Flex only if you can somehow secure the activity tracker to your wrist without having to spend more money on that couple of quid custom clasp on eBay to swap the ones pre-loaded with your tracker.
The Charge does not solve the faulty clasps issue too well either, but at least, you get a larger and bright OLED display to read your stats off of your wrist while you run, for example. I like the longer lasting battery life on the Charge too, and also the time-teller function, floors climbed reader and the wider colour options for the Charge bands. The Flex is still popular with a lot of fitness-conscious enthusiasts, but the Charge looks, feels and works a bit better.
So which one sounds, looks and feels more appealing, ladies and gentlemen? At the end of the day, though, you are the one to decide what Fitbit better syncs to your lifestyle. And on that note, I hope this comparison between the Fitbit Charge and Flex helps you decide which Fitbit is right for you.
See recommended fitness trackers on Amazon
Fitbit Charge 2
Garmin Vivosmart HR+
Misfit Shine 2
Xiaomi Mi Band 2