Activity trackers are everywhere these days, and FitBit is the arguably the leader when it comes to devices that track what you do. There’s a reason for it – they’re the best at combining hardware and software into a package that most of us just wear and forget about for the rest of the day. But with more companies starting to get into the whole activity tracking trend and with many smartwatches stuffing similar features into their offerings, FitBit needed a new device to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Enter the Charge 2. The new wearable is the company’s replacement for their Charge HR, and sports new features alongside longtime staples that put FitBit on the map.
Bigger display, better performance
So what’s changed with the Charge 2? Well, the new wearable gets a way bigger display than the one line-screen on the original Charge. Like, four times larger: it’s an OLED, tap-sensitive display that gives you the lowdown on several metrics but the tradeoff is that the Charge 2 is now far thicker and bulkier, something that fans of the original charge may not like.
There’s a button on the side of the Charge 2 that cycles through the available options for the wearable. On the underside of the Charge 2 sits the always-on heart tracker, which constantly keeps an eye on your heart rate. The entire thing rests on your wrists via a rubber band that you can change out for other colors or even a leather option if you desire.
The bigger display of the Charge 2 allows you glean more information from the tracker compared to the Charge HR. You can get more metrics from your run, for example, including distance travelled, calories burned, etc. It’s one of the biggest features that was missing from the Charge HR, since you previously had to go through the FitBit app on your phone to get detailed statistics.
The Charge 2 felt quite comfortable while we wore it during our review. Unfortunately, the Charge 2 isn’t water proof, so you’ll have to take it off when you take a dip in the pool or when you shower. It is water resistant though, so a bit of water splashed onto it shouldn’t be a problem.
Automatically tracks your activities, and helps you to relax
While other wearables can track your exercise routine many of them don’t do this automatically. The Charge 2 is different – want to go for a run? Then start running – the Charge 2 will automatically detect that you’re exercising, though we’re still going to recommend that you select the correct activity on it so the readings are accurate. Speaking of activities, the Charge 2 can track a number of workouts, which include biking, running (including running on a treadmill), weightlifting, elliptical and interval workouts as well. The Charge 2 is also capable of tracking stair climbing as well, something that not all activity trackers or smartwatches (Apple Watch, we’re looking at you) can do.
Unfortunately though, the Charge 2 doesn’t have built-in GPS, so if you want an accurate location track of where you went during your workout, you’ll have to take your phone along with you. On the upside, the Charge 2 keeps an accurate count of exactly how far you’ve gone by pulling the aforementioned GPS data from your phone.
The Charge 2 has FitBit’s PurePulse heart tracking tech that keeps an eye out on your heart rate in real time. This allows the Charge 2 to guide you through breathing exercise designed to lower your heart rate – if you’re feeling particularly stressed or panicked for some reason (for example you just read Facebook comments about a story on our president) you can turn on the Guided Breathing to help you calm down. FitBit’s also included a new metric into the mix – Cardio Fitness. It’s supposed to be a more accurate measure of where you’re at in terms of overall heart health that you can improve on, extrapolated from your heart rate and your overall fitness data.
The Charge 2 also keeps an eye on you when you’re not doing anything at the moment. If it feels that you’ve been sitting on your butt for too long doing nothing, it’ll vibrate softly on your wrist, asking you politely to stand up and move around, for your sake. On the other end of the spectrum, it’ll congratulate you when you manage to achieve and exceed goals that you’ve set yourself, providing motivational fuel for your weight-loss goals.
It’ll also keep an eye on your sleeping patterns for you, reminding you to start preparing for dreamland at the end of the working day so you achieve your target number of zzz’s. It’ll also vibrate when it’s time to get up in the morning, but heavy sleepers (like us) tend to sleep through the gentle vibration of the Charge 2.
The companion app on the Charge 2 gives you a good breakdown of what you’ve been doing while wearing the it, and allows you to set fitness and weight goals for you to achieve. For more complicated things like water intake and weight goals, you’ll have to manually enter the information yourself.
For all it does the Charge 2 only needs to be topped off every five days, and it’ll send you an email as well as give you prompt on the screen letting you know it’s running low on juice.
Verdict: one of the best wearables FitBit has made so far
FitBit’s been consistently outing simple, dead easy to use activity trackers, and the Charge 2 is their best yet. While serious athletes may look elsewhere because of the missing GPS module and water resistance, the rest of us probably won’t mind those missing features. It’s a dead-easy to use activity tracker that gives you a wealth of information about what you care about, and for most people, that’s more than enough.
The FitBit Charge 2 is priced at Php 7,699. The different colored rubber bands can be had for Php 1,399 each, while the more premium leather straps are Php 3,299 each.