It’s been a while since I’ve worn a Fitbit regularly. As an Apple Watch owner, I admit I’ve been using that exclusively for a while. So this opportunity to review the newest Fitbit Charge 4 has been a great chance to get reacquainted with Fitbit and it’s also made me realize that while the Apple Watch is great for a lot of things, it’s health, fitness and activity tracking is lacking when it comes to Fitbit. I’ll get into why coming up.
Review: Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit Inspire Charge 4 is Fitbit’s newest activity and sleep tracker that you wear on your wrist. What’s new from the Charge 3? Primarily the addition of GPS tracking. This tracker also has 24/7 heart rate tracking and it’s swimproof.
The Fitbit Charge 4 tracker comes with a basic silicone band and a simplified monochromatic touchscreen display, but you can also customize the different bands to add just the colours and styles you want to match either your workout or your wardrobe.
Fitbit Charge 4: what’s in the box?
In the box, your Fitbit Charge 4 includes:
- The Tracker with two sizes of wristband (color and material vary)
- Charging cable
Setting up Fitbit Charge 4
Usually, set up will be a simple process. Before you do it, make sure your Fitbit app is up to date, or download it fresh from the Apple store or Google Play.
If you already have a Fitbit tracker installed on your account, that could complicate your set up. The last couple of times I’ve added a new tracker, the app won’t ‘see’ the new device- the old one stick in there. You may want to unlink or remove it from your account, and in fact the Fitbit app will now prompt you to do this.
To begin setup, plug your tracker in. Go to Settings> Add Device> and then choose your Charge 4. The app will walk you through the rest of the process.
When it’s all ready, the app will tell you and you’ll see the current time displayed. Strap it on and get moving!
You can turn on ‘move reminders’ that will nudge you if you’ve been sitting too long, and you can also set silent alarms that will buzz you at certain times too. There’s so many ways to get you moving.
What can Fitbit do?
Using either the touchscreen you can swipe through the screens on the device, or use the app to see your progress at any time.
Fitbit Charge 4 will:
- Track runs with GPS: See your real-time pace and distance without a phone, then get a map of your route in the Fitbit app.
- Track Activity/Steps, Track Sleep, and help you set and meet goals and give you extra motivation.
Calibrate your Fitbit
A really important feature of Fitbit is the ability to calibrate your device to your stride, and this can make it hyper accurate for you. This means you’re not getting a universal average step size, as many other fitness trackers do.
This is one of the features that makes it better than an Apple Watch for tracking fitness:
To calibrate your steps and adjust stride length go to Settings> Advanced Settings> Stride Length. You can choose to have it configured automatically or to input your specific stride length. I’ve found doing this makes Fitbit wildly accurate.
It’s swimproof and it will give you call, text and calendar alerts direct to your wrist, but you can’t reply to them or respond; you’ll need to go to your phone for that.
To get alerts you’ll need to make sure your Bluetooth is on on your phone, and you’ll need to turn on ‘All Day Sync’ in settings.
You can also change the clock face in Settings as well, choosing simple displays and fonts or the option of showing more data.
What does the Fitbit app do? Tracks activity, sleep, movement
The Fitbit app is your command centre for all your metrics. You can check your step count, sleep hours, and exercise at a glance. You can also sync it to a Fitbit scale like the Aria Air (read my review of Fitbit Aria 2 here) and have it automatically track your weight.
The Fitbit app offers female health tracking too. It can track your periods and fertile days as well as other things like mood and any symptoms. Once you start adding your cycle, the app can give you an idea when your period will fall in the future.
In the app you can also add goals like how much sleep you want to get, and choose if you want your Fitbit to remind you it’s getting close to bed time.
Battery life of Fitbit Charge 4
A fully-charged Fitbit Charge 4 has a battery life of up to about 7 days, which is huge. The battery is definitely long lasting and doesn’t need as much attention as something like a smart watch, (my Apple Watch really only lasts one day) which is nice. It charges up by clipping into a small cradle and plugging into a USB port. Charging fully takes about 1-2 hours. While the tracker charges, you can press the button to check the battery level.
While the screen on the Charge 4 is small, it’s easy enough to read. Plus you can change the font size somewhat to make it easier if you need to.
So Who is Fitbit Charge 4 for?
Fitbit Charge 4 has fewer bells and whistles than Fitbit’s smart watches, and so it costs less too. There’s no colour display like on some more expensive models. This version is definitely for those looking for something unobtrusive and not obvious to wear so they can keep tabs on runs and heart rate in particular.
How accurate is Fitbit?
How accurate is Fitbit? Over my years of testing nearly every Fitbit out there, I’ve found Fitbits to be wildly accurate.
You can easily test it by counting your steps in your head and comparing that against the readout. If it’s off at all, just adjust your stride length inside the Fitbit app.
As for sleep, I found it also very accurate, calculating my sleep stages to match when I might have woken up in the night.
With Heart Rate, I guess it’s hard to tell how accurate it is on it’s own, since I don’t have an EKG or anything to check it against.
Overall review: Fitbit Charge 4
Overall Fitbit Charge 4 gives you most of the smart features you want and all of the heart rate monitoring and fitness and activity tracking you need. I’ve recommended Fitbits for a long time, because they’re easy to set up and use and they work well, have a long battery life and they’re accurate as can be, so I can recommend this one too.
If there’s any downsides, it’s just what this one is missing because it’s a smaller, cheaper option; it is missing some Fitbit features like built-in guided workouts and premium sleep tracking features, and it also doesn’t have things like an always on display or Alexa voice assistance, which can be found on the more expensive Fitbit models. The screen is also pretty small, but again, these are all things you can get as you step up the Fitbit device ladder; this one is more about the fitness focus and budget.
It sells for about $199 CAD from places like Best Buy or Amazon.
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