Fitbit Charge 4 Review: No Frills and Better Than Ever
Updated: Aug 19, 2021
Written by Claudio Chock (Tech360.tv Community Creator) [@claudio.chock]
Ever since Singapore entered its Circuit Breaker, working out within the confinement of one’s home has been all the rage for many Singaporeans. While staying physically active is great, keeping track of your fitness journey is just as important. That’s where the brand new Fitbit Charge 4 comes in.
The Fitbit Charge 4 has really advanced features for a fitness tracker. It tracks your daily steps, distance travelled, floors climbed, calories burned and even your sleep data. Its newest standout feature, Active Zone Minutes, is a fitness metric aimed at motivating you to stay active and workout more. It measures the amount of time you spend in target heart zones, tracking your goal to 150 Active Zone Minutes each week.
More information on it can be found here.
Having spent the past week or so with the Fitbit Charge 4, I’ve actually grown accustomed to having it on my wrist all day. Here are three things I really like about this brand new offering by Fitbit and three things I think could be improved upon.
1. Built-in GPS
If you are coming from previous editions of the Fitbit Charge, another new standout feature, the built-in GPS, on this edition is probably the game-changer you’ve been waiting for. The Fitbit Charge 4 is the first Fitbit fitness tracker to include built-in GPS, and is now able to map your routes when you are out for a walk, run, jog, ride, etc. without having to rely on your phone’s GPS function anymore!
2. Long battery life
According to users of the last iteration – the Fitbit Charge 3 – the introduction of GPS in the Fitbit Charge 4 has actually resulted in reduced battery life. However, having used smartwatches for the past few years, using the Charge 4 for the past week has been a revelation for me in terms of battery life.
I only needed to charge it after 4.5 days of usage (a little hard to be overly active during this Circuit Breaker, unfortunately) as compared to the daily charging required for my current Apple Watch. The in-built GPS on the Charge 4 is also rather smart and will only activate once an exercise commences. This actually keeps the battery life optimal for multi-day usage without charging.
3. Best in Class Sleep Tracking Experience
The sleep tracking experience with the Charge 4 is really simple and most importantly, comfortable. While the majority of smartwatches are also able to track your sleep, wearing a device on your wrist to sleep may not exactly be the most comfortable experience. However, that’s where the Charge 4 really shines – I went to sleep without even knowing it was still on my wrist!
The companion app also provided detailed yet easy to understand information on my sleep patterns in a dashboard-like format. A sleep quality score is calculated daily and gives you a good overview of your night’s rest. As you can tell from the app screengrabs above, while I don’t sleep much, I actually went into deep sleep for quite a while and managed to get a fair rating of 67 (out of a score of 100) for my sleep quality last Monday!
To me, the sleep tracking function on the Charge 4 is definitely its standout feature. It sets it apart from the Apple Watch and other Android smartwatches, which don’t offer native sleep tracking and require third-party app support to do so.
1. Only able to control Spotify
While the ability to access and control Spotify via the Charge 4 is great, Spotify is not the only music streaming subscription available out there. For folks using other streaming services like Apple Music or Tidal, the Charge 4 will not be able to control your song choice or playlist. You will still need to do that via your smartphone.
2. Inability to download apps directly
If you already own an Apple Watch or Android smartwatch and are used to its functionality, the limited apps on the Charge 4 might be a bummer. I have to admit that being unable to answer calls or Shazam/SoundHound a song’s title like how I could do so on my Apple Watch, left me frustrated at times.
There is no functionality like an app store per se for you to install and add third-party app support. But you’ll be able to look for compatible apps via the Fitbit App. A bit of a longer process, but at least the option is there.
That said, the Charge 4 was never meant to compete in the space of smartwatches. Keeping it simple in terms of functions allows it to shine as the best fitness tracker out there in the market right now.
3. No Integration with Apple Health and Google Fit
If you are already using Apple Health (iOS) or Google Fit (Android), the lack of integration on the Charge 4 and the companion app might frustrate you. As someone who is used to opening just the Health app on my iPhone to access the information integrated from other apps like Nike Run Club, Strava and Sleep Cycle, not having my workout information and stats from the Charge 4 ported over was a bit of a downer for me.
Nonetheless, with Google’s recent acquisition of Fitbit, integration with Google Fit might happen sooner or later. For iOS users (like myself) though, we might have to hold out a little longer? (Fitbit, please don’t forget about us!)
The Fitbit Charge 4 is a solid, no-frills, easy-to-use fitness tracker. If you are purely focused on fitness, this is a must-have device. The modern design coupled with good battery life and in-built GPS makes it a worthy fitness companion. However, if you already own an Apple Watch or Android smartwatch, having a separate fitness tracker like the Charge 4 may not be within your considerations.
The Fitbit Charge 4 (starting from S$248) is available now and you can purchase it here on Lazada.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars