Reviews

FitBit Charge: Simple, Subtle and Easy to Use

by On Jun 3, 2015
FitBit Charge: Simple, Subtle and Easy to Use

Your mum couldn't keep better track of your life even if she tried, but wearing a FitBit Charge doesn’t require you to explain why you got home so late last night nor why you've chosen to date someone she doesn't feel "is good enough for you"! On the other hand, the FitBit Charge doesn't love you—but you could fall in love with it once you review some of the benefits this technological device offers in a handy, wrist-friendly way.

History

Frankly, the FitBit Charge entered this competitive market on the heels of a catastrophic user experience that runners complained about in droves. The technology wasn't the problem: The precursor to the Charge was the Force which generated so many skin reaction and rash reports, it was removed from the FitBit product line. The Charge has come along promising less potential for skin reactions, and while the manufacturer was making that improvement, FitBit added features to sweeten the deal, so disappointed Force owners could get an opportunity to re-evaluate their opinions by trying the Charge.

FitBit Charge: Simple, Subtle and Easy to Use

Features

It won't make a cup of tea, but the FitBit Charge will track your steps plus the stairs you climb, the distance you travel, the calories you burn and it will tally up the number of minutes you're active throughout a day. The battery life is astonishing: no competitor wrist device offers seven to 10 days use without recharging, though FitBit recommends a regular schedule to keep it perpetually ready for action. When you're not running, the Charge will monitor your sleep, wake you up and track and record daily stats on the much-heralded OLED display. Users enjoy wireless synching to Windows- and Mac-based computers and tablets. Smartphones? You're covered. The FitBit Charge is compatible with over 120 leading smartphones, and the addition of caller ID has added to this gadget's cachet. Memory? You bet. This device tracks a week of minute-by-minute data plus 30 days' worth of daily totals.

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Specs

Unlike some comparable devices, the FitBit Charge comes in three sizes—small, large and X-large—so you'll have no complaints about slipping, sliding or a too-tight band. The slate-colored device is sleek and fashionable so it goes with everything but the glitziest formalwear. Water-resistant to 1 ATM, the Charge operates at temperatures ranging between -4 degrees F and 113-degrees F and at an altitude of 9,144 metres, so unless you're climbing Mt. Everest, it will do it's job efficiently. The FitBit Charge comes with a wireless sync dongle and charging cable. FitBit claims that one can even clean this watch without worrying about it malfunctioning using soap-free cleanser to return the flexible elastomer material to its original glory.

FitBit Charge: Simple, Subtle and Easy to Use

Runner's Boon

  • The OLED displays the epitome of sharpness and has a nice design as well as the comprehensive web interface and mobile apps.
  • The tiny USB syncing device that automatically transfers a wearer's FitBit data to the nearest Windows or Mac-based computer state is a great feature.
  • The Charge's re-design is exciting. I love the tracker inside the wristband that pops out for charging after having "wrestled" with the old Flex. While this means band-changing isn't possible, the one-piece design is hailed as a super improvement.
  • Little changes can mean a lot, which is why FitBit Charge wearers love the fact that a caller ID feature has been added to the device. This is the first time FitBit has dipped its toe into smartwatch functionality!

Runner's Bane

  • Given the brouhaha that erupted over skin reactions thus causing FitBit to jettison the Force, the Charge was expected to solve those problems, but band complaints remain. The snap-fast clasp has a propensity for unfastening spontaneously, which is how users may lose them.
  • Publicising the Charge's water-resistance features has caused purchasers to believe that this device rebuffs water, but the Charge has been tested repeatedly and it won't stand up to showers or swimming, as a number of disappointed buyers have discovered the hard way.
  • Distance accuracy isn't always exact when it comes to the monitoring of "active" exercise like running and jogging. In one instance, the FitBit Charge displayed a full km reading while other devices reported totals of only .91-km.
  • Skin irritation continues to plague the FitBit Charge. It's apparent that not every person with sensitive skin is going to be able to tolerate wearing the Charge.
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Professionals and consumers aren't shy about expressing their opinions on the FitBit Charge, but as you can see, there's still plenty of controversy on this topic. We'd like your opinion: When a product receives both complimentary and disappointing reviews, do these opinions affect your willingness to buy one to see for yourself whether it's suited to your lifestyle?

Priscelia adores beautiful visuals and has a keen eye for detail. As a smart shopper and avid runner, she assists in the creative direction of RunSociety as well as occasionally conjuring thought provoking articles. Never shy to give constructive feedback, she also manages the product reviews section.

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