September 21, 2023


The Internet Generation

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

The Fitbit Demand 4 ($130 at Best Purchase) has all the things you require in a health tracker for below $200. It last but not least incorporates crafted-in GPS to keep track of out of doors exercise sessions independently, it has greater instruction resources for athletes, and it matches most of the very same smartwatch options into a slimmer package deal than the a lot more high priced Fitbit Versa ($a hundred and seventy at Amazon). It truly is my favourite Fitbit still. If you happen to be looking for a health tracker than behaves a ton like a smartwatch with no the excess bulk, the Fitbit Demand 4 may possibly be the fantastic in good shape. 


  • Sleek, minimalistic design and style
  • Heart level zone notifications
  • Compatibility with iOS and Android
  • Slumber tracking and examination

Don’t Like

  • Small visibility in immediate daylight
  • No brief reply for messages on Apple iphone
  • Shorter battery everyday living than the Fitbit Demand three

Extra options with no the additional bulk 

There are a great deal of wonderful wearables for athletes, like the Garmin Forerunner 945 and Suunto three, that have way a lot more health chops than the Demand 4, but they are not the most fashionable. The $a hundred and fifty Demand 4 (£130, AU$230) is a tracker I will happily put on 24/7 many thanks to its modern, understated design and style (and it really is normally on sale for considerably less). If you happen to be common with the Demand three ($98 at Amazon), the new model would not appear considerably unique — it really is just the tiniest little bit bulkier on your wrist. 

The screen can only screen in black and white, but I like that it really is approximately fifty percent the size of a conventional smartwatch, such as the Apple Look at ($399 at Apple), and it also does away with bodily buttons. Alternatively, you manage the Demand 4 with a blend of the touchscreen and by pressing the left side of the tracker to navigate configurations. The touchscreen isn’t as responsive and it usually takes a number of seconds to gentle up when you increase your arm to wake the screen, but I eventually obtained in which I desired to go. The only time the lag definitely bothered me was even though I was functioning and desired to rapidly glance at my stats with no having my eyes off the road. Like the Demand three, it really is also tricky to see the screen in immediate daylight. 

The frequent Demand 4 comes in 3 unique shades with silicone athletics bands, but the Unique Edition, or SE, model that I examined out also comes with a woven band selection for $20 a lot more. Straps are simple to swap out (not like the Versa two ($180 at Best Purchase), which has tough toggles) and if you happen to be upgrading from the Demand three you are going to be ready to use individuals bands on the more recent tracker. There are also a bunch of 3rd-bash strap choices available to customise your appear. 

The Demand 4 is at ease to put on in the course of the working day and would not dig into my pores and skin when I tighten it up all through a operate. You can also put on it to bed. Like other Fitbits, it also tracks your slumber. I won’t go as far as to say that it really is at ease to put on in bed, but at the very least I failed to want to rip it off in the center of the night like other trackers. 

The Demand 4 pushed me to operate faster

As a primary health tracker, the previous Demand versions currently checked most of the packing containers: measuring measures, calories, floors climbed, coronary heart level and distance (working with your phone’s GPS). But that was not adequate for a lot more significant runners like me. I am by no signifies an elite athlete, but I do operate on a frequent foundation, so possessing a crafted-in GPS is superior on my would like listing. The GPS makes it possible for the Demand 4 to map your route all through an out of doors walk, operate, bicycle journey or hike with no possessing to count on your telephone. 

I have gone on a number of operates and the Demand 4 has supplied dependable distance readings on the very same route with and with no my telephone. You can also see a warmth map of your route on the Fitbit app, which also suggests the depth at which you ended up functioning primarily based on your coronary heart level. 

The only other Fitbit gadget that gives crafted-in GPS attribute is the Ionic ($198 at Amazon) enjoy, but it really is now about two several years outdated and I discovered it much too huge and cumbersome to put on on a frequent foundation. (That will change later this month when the new Fitbit Feeling and Fitbit Versa three are produced, both equally with crafted-in GPS.)


Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

The Demand 4 tracks about 20 unique routines, from cycling to yoga. It truly is also water resistant up to fifty meters like the Demand three, so you can use it for swimming. You can plan up to 6 exercising shortcuts on the Demand 4, but you do have to opt for them and sync from the telephone app. You can also established it to keep track of your operates immediately, and established objectives for items like pace, distance or calories burned just before you get started each and every action. 

GPS is not the only resource for athletes. The Demand 4 has additional a new metric known as Lively Zone Minutes, which works by using your coronary heart level zones to identify the depth of your exercise session. The purpose is to have a hundred and fifty lively minutes logged by the end of each and every week, but you can raise or lower the target primarily based on your health degree. 

A number of several years ago, Fitbit begun breaking out coronary heart level information into instruction zones for each and every action, primarily based on age and excess weight. Just after a exercise session you can log into the cell app and see how long you ended up in fats burn, cardio or peak. The Demand 4 provides actual-time coronary heart level zone notifications so you can consider motion all through your exercise session. 

I experienced to force myself considerably harder than usual to get my peak coronary heart level warn to pop up on the screen (you also get a buzz on your wrist when you achieve each and every zone). I recognized I would been overestimating my hard work and it was beneficial to have the Demand nudging me to get out of my comfort and ease zone. I can see this remaining a very good instruction resource if you happen to be looking to crack your own history in a race.

Battery everyday living usually takes a hit

The only downside about possessing GPS on the Demand is that it will gobble up your battery a ton faster than on the Demand three. Fitbit claims the Demand 4 can past up to seven days on a demand, but I barely produced it to working day 4 just before possessing to plug it in.

I failed to thoughts possessing to recharge following 4 days, but if you happen to be looking to get the most out of your battery everyday living (and are arranging to use it at night) I would propose turning off the GPS when it really is not in use. You may just have to try to remember to do this following your exercise session. You can do this from the exercising shortcuts on the Demand. Just swipe up from an action that works by using GPS, like functioning or cycling, and toggle it off. 

Slumber tracking has some significant benefits 

I have in no way gotten considerably out of tracking my slumber in the past. With a 6-month-outdated toddler and a toddler waking me up at odd hours of the night I was afraid to even see my stats the following early morning, permit alone get graded on my slumber. Each individual early morning, the Fitbit app gives you a Slumber Score primarily based on all the things from slumber period to slumber stages, coronary heart level and variations in blood oxygen ranges, aka SPO2. 

Just after a number of nights of tests, it really is actually delivered some helpful information about my slumber behaviors. For starters, I have gotten a passing quality (over a sixty) just about every single night, in spite of waking up to nurse my very little just one. The app instructed me it really is normal to spend up to forty five minutes awake each and every night, which was comforting. It also gives you advice on how to enhance your score, like preserving your bedtime dependable, no matter of how late (or early) it is. 


Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

Every person can see primary information and facts in the app, like how considerably slumber you get and its excellent, but Fitbit Quality subscribers get obtain to coronary heart level and blood oxygen information. I failed to see nearly anything out of the normal in my chart, but I can see this attribute remaining incredibly beneficial for folks who suspect they may possibly have a a lot more significant slumber-connected condition like slumber apnea. In that situation it may possibly be worth the excess $9.ninety nine (£8.ninety nine, AU$fifteen.49) a month for a premium account. 

There is just one foreseeable downside: With all this slumber information I stress that I may possibly turn out to be dependent on the Slumber Score to truly feel energized all through the working day. That is, a minimal Slumber Score may subconsciously make me truly feel tired, even although I felt like I obtained a very good night’s rest. 

Much more than just a health tracker

The Demand 4 goes further than health and fitness and health tracking with a number of good options up its sleeve. It mirrors just about every notification you can get on your telephone whether or not you have an Apple iphone ($699 at Amazon) or an Android telephone, but only Android buyers will be ready to reply to messages with preprogrammed brief replies. 

You even now won’t be able to retail store music onboard to consider with you on a operate, but if you happen to be a Spotify Quality subscriber, you will be ready to use the Demand 4 as a primary wrist distant to pause and skip tracks. There’s no volume manage although. 

It now also incorporates a new agenda app alongside with the present timer, alarm and weather conditions applications. 

You may be ready to established up Fitbit Pay back on your wrist and use the Demand 4 on any faucet-to-pay back payment terminal as the tracker now comes with crafted-in NFC (formerly, you experienced to acquire the special edition Demand to get Fitbit Pay back). Regrettably it even now would not have as lots of financial institution partners as Google or Apple Pay back and was not suitable with my principal financial institution (US Lender), so I couldn’t check it out. I am also quarantined at house, so most of my payments are produced on the net anyhow, not at brick-and-mortar retailers. 

All the things you require in a very small package deal

The Demand 4 does a ton taking into consideration it really is fundamentally a health tracker. But you never end up conserving that considerably compared to a smartwatch like Fitbit’s possess Versa two (the frequent Demand 4 is $fifty considerably less than the Versa two, which only has connected GPS).

So the selling price alone is not reason adequate to opt for the Demand 4. For me, it really is about acquiring all the things Fitbit gives, including GPS, in a slimmer package deal than the Versa two. The Demand 4 is my favourite Fitbit to day.  

Initially published on May perhaps eighteen.