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

Wristband wearables have come a lengthy way, and these times we be expecting them to give GPS, heart level monitoring, alarms and a vary of handset connectivity functions. The £129.99/$149.99 Fitbit Charge four has all of these, plus a blend of other functions, some of which Fitbit calls ‘apps’. You can decide on to clearly show or not clearly show these wristband applications, which contain a contactless payment wallet known as Fitbit Pay out, on the product by building selections in the Fitbit smartphone app (iOS or Android). Pay out £149.99/$169.ninety five for the Particular Version and you get a woven back wristband somewhat than a rubbery just one. I’ve been utilizing the Charge four for quite a few months, and give these observations as a adhere to-up to Matthew Miller’s April assessment.

The Fitbit Charge four (£129.99/$149.99) features heart-level monitoring, built-in GPS, goal-dependent training modes, h2o resistance, snooze monitoring, notifications and on-band applications.


Illustrations or photos: Fitbit

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The common wristband can be replaced with vibrant or woven possibilities.


Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The general style is familiar to any person who has a past Fitbit Charge product: an elongated touch display a solitary side (touch) button on the remaining edge of the Charge four (if worn on the proper wrist) and a removable wristband which is easily replaced with vibrant possibilities. The Charge four comes with two wristbands and I uncovered the smaller just one was good for me. All but the major of wrists must be accommodated.

The grey OLED touchscreen is substantial and you navigate all around it utilizing the side button and a blend of display sweeps and faucets. It is really really easy to get utilised to how items perform. Tapping on the clock experience toggles through metrics like ways, distance, and heart level. A vary of faces can be set showing unique selections of metrics, plus time and date, by means of the Fitbit smartphone app. Sweeping proper to remaining brings up several wristband applications that have been enabled in the smartphone app.

Fundamental action monitoring is effective good. You can notify the smartphone app your regular stride lengths for each functioning and going for walks, and it shares this with the Charge four, which can then change paces into distance. It is really not great, but I have generally uncovered Fitbit products to be really accurate when examined on calculated distances, and that continues to be the case with the Charge four. 

The Charge four will automatically detect when you are functioning, cycling, on a treadmill or going for walks, and it is h2o resistant to the extent that you can swim for up to 50 metres putting on it with no adverse impact. If you happen to be serious about cross-education with these varieties of functions, then you may want a additional sophisticated product that can deliver a better vary of metrics. But if you happen to be just on the lookout to do a certain variety of ways or include a certain distance, then the Fitbit four is effective effectively, which includes issuing alerts when you get to your preset objectives each individual day.

With a heart level check on-board, the Fitibit Charge four can do attention-grabbing items like evaluate your resting heart level, set action zones and report on these, and — new for this product — give a report of Energetic Zone Minutes. This is a calculation dependent on age and resting heart level, and the concept is to get to a goal of a hundred and fifty minutes a 7 days in your Energetic Zone. It is really quite a intelligent concept for those utilizing a Fitbit to melt away calories or shed bodyweight. Just ambling all around is considerably less helpful in this regard than shifting a bit faster, and building your heart perform a bit more challenging. As your resting heart level lowers, the Fitbit modifications its target minutes, so in idea you will find generally a related goal to aim at. Entire reporting complete with graphs is out there in the Fitbit smartphone app.

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Of all these metrics I uncovered the resting heart level info particularly helpful. I have found from past Fitbit use how my heart level fluctuates if I have a chilly or fever, and how it falls as I get fitter, climbing as my health wanes. These metrics can aid men and women monitor their development alongside a health trajectory.

The snooze monitoring is also helpful. I like to preserve an eye on the hours I expend asleep, as effectively as monitoring my snooze quality to make absolutely sure I am not limited-altering myself. The Fitbit app has some nicely presented graphics showing general snooze hours and durations of restlessness. If you really want to weigh in with the metrics, the Fitbit app offers you a snooze score dependent on the quality and length of snooze, with a ranking these types of as ‘fair’ or ‘good’ for each individual night time. 

As for the extra functions, I didn’t trouble with the Spotify controls, Fitbit Pay out (a new element with the Charge four), the weather conditions app, or notifications. My handset is the go-to position for this performance, but I can see how some end users might locate them helpful. What I like a large amount is the silent, vibrating alarm, which is robust plenty of to wake me, but far too subtle to wake a person else.

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The Charge 4’s charge cable is somewhat limited, and fiddly to engage.


Image: Fitbit

The battery is rated to previous for 7 times offered you aren’t utilizing GPS, in which case it can be only excellent for 5 hours. This fundamentally rendered the GPS unusable for me on lengthy weekend walks, even if I commenced with it fully billed. Which is a shame, as GPS is a significant providing place for the Charge four. I uncovered the charge unit to be a bit of a fiddly in good shape, and I had to double-test that it was in position correctly. Also, its cable is quite limited, which meant my usual desktop charge station was just a minimal awkward to use. Lengthy phrase this would most likely be quite an issue.

Total, the Fitbit Charge four has some superb functions and is a excellent stage up from the Charge 3, whilst the Fitbit app displays a large amount of quite advanced info in an accessible way. Eager sports activities men and women will want a lengthier-lasting battery for GPS use and additional granular metrics, but as a health tracker for standard wellbeing the Charge four does quite effectively.

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