TECH REVIEW: Fitbit Charge 4 — charging ahead
The Charge 4 is its first device with built-in GPS tracking, which was previously available only on select smartwatches
Fitbit Charge 4
Cool factor 4/5
Value for money 5/5
Fitbit’s latest fitness tracker will please its fans. The Charge 4 is its first device with built-in GPS tracking, which was previously available only on select smartwatches. The feature has been long awaited on what is its top-selling model, and yet it is still extremely competitively priced.
Standard features include Fitbit Pay, Spotify controls, Active Zone Minutes (an activity target) and a Smart Wake feature that wakes you up half an hour before your alarm, based on your sleep cycle.
It tracks heart rate 24/7, female health and sleep cycles with a complete breakdown of zones, and supports smartphone notifications.
The design of the Charge has evolved over the years and the 4 is almost identical to the big jump seen on its predecessor, with a 1-inch greyscale touchscreen. It supports taps, swipes in most directions, and a haptic button to the left. The band looks like a regular analogue watchstrap, which I found comfortable to wear, but I do prefer the strap on my Versa 2.
The tracker supports seven built-in GPS-specific exercise modes.
The GPS was accurate, and heart rate data is displayed with a heat map over it to see which "zones" you were in — fat burn, cardio or peak. Fitbit says continuous GPS tracking will give the battery a lifespan of five hours.
The Active Zone Minutes feature suggests 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, as per World Health Organisation guidelines. The new tracking system means you earn twice as many minutes when you are in cardio or peak zones. It also picked up activity from doing household chores, which counts towards those minutes. This feature will come to the Versa and Ionic.
While the GPS tracking is excellent, if you don’t take your phone with you the Spotify controls become impractical as it works with a paired device.
Fitbit Pay on the Charge 4 is no longer tied to a special edition, and the pandemic has proved how invaluable contactless payments are.
The Charge 4 is an excellent all-round fitness tracker, despite still having a monochrome display. It has a six-day battery life and user-friendly app, and is recommended for the GPS tracking. It is well-priced at R2,999.
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