Fitbit Charge HR Review
The Fitbit Charge HR is inarguably one of the best activity trackers in the market today for several reasons. For starters, the Charge HR is an all around activity tracker that offers on the wrist non-stop heart rate monitoring, tracks your sleep, tracks your active heart rate levels while you sleep or workout or rest, and syncs this vital data with virtually any major tablet or smartphone.
The Fitbit Charge HR is basically a back device with a miniscule LED screen, but its rich in features, and much more than other expensive fitness devices in its segment. It also doubles as a watch and boasts class leading battery life, and that’s with continuous heart rate monitoring. The web based interface of the Fitbit Charge HR offers a clean layout and is simple to use and integrates seamlessly with popular workout apps such as Strava, Endomondo, RunKeeper, Runtastic among others.
Highlights of the Fitbit Charge HR
- Caller ID + Watch
- Exercise tracking
- Wireless syncing
- Continuous heart rate monitoring
- Auto sleep + alarms
- Long battery life
- Available in several different color variants
- Sleek modern design
What’s in the Box?
- USB sync dongle
- USB cable
- Fitbit Charge HR
- User guide
Fitbit Charge HR Design
The Fitbit Charge HR can be ordered in a wide range of colors including blue, plum, tangerine and black. Regardless of the color variant you choose, the color of the band matches that of the screen so it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. The Fitbit HR is appointed with an OLED screen, which despite being ridiculously small is impeccably clear, and is configured to switch off automatically after a couple seconds.
Pressing the button on the screen will allow you to scroll through the time, distance travelled, flights climbed, calories, daily steps total and of course your heart rate. Unlike its predecessor, the Fitbit Charge HR features a traditional watch clasp, making it much easier and secure to clamp on your wrist just like a traditional watch with a small buckle everyone’s familiar with.
The band fits snugly, and is crafted of soft black rubber that is upholstered with a diagonal pattern, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the Charge HR fitness watch. Apart from scrolling through screens, pressing the button on the left of the Fitbit Charge HR will also let you record a specific activity or exercise. The screen is always off, but can be easily woken up by pressing the button, gently tapping the screen or configure the watch to show the time when you raise your wrist.
The heart rate sensor combined with a green light is located at the bottom of the bottom of the Charge HR, and Fitbit recommends wearing the watch an inch apart from the wrist bone for optimal heart rate readings. Although the Charge HR fitness watch is water resistant in that it is splash and rain proof, it should not be worn when swimming or showering.
When fully charged, the battery life of the Fitbit Charge HR rings in at 5 days and that’s with the heart monitor constantly on. To charge this Fitbit activity tracker, simply connect the included proprietary USB dongle into the bottom of the watch. Although the Charge HR fitness watch doesn’t provide text or email notifications, it does provide call notifications in the form of name and number across the screen as long as the contact is in your address book.
Apart from the heart rate sensor, the Fitbit Charge HR is suited with a vibration motor for silent alarms, altimeter and even a 3-axis accelerometer. Another significant difference between the Charge HR and its previous iterations is that you don’t have to tell it when you’re planning on going to bed thanks to the sleep tracker that automatically kicks in based on your movements and heart rate data.
Fitbit HR Features
Heart Rate Tracking
Possibly the best features of the Fitbit Charge HR, the heart rate sensor of this watch renders accurate reading of your pulse both during physical activities and while resting. The watch is engineered to calculate your maximum heart rate based on the formula of 220 subtracted by your age.
It then divides your heart rate to several different zones, where fat burn is between 50-69 percent, lower than 50 percent is considered out of zone and 85 percent of your max is considered as your peak zone. That’s not all – the smart heart rate sensor of the Charge HR even calculates your resting rate by determining your pulse when you’re most relaxed, where the average resting heart rate recommended by the American is between 60-80 bpm.
The heart rate sensor is always on and flashes its green LED lights to indicate it is gathering data. That combined with the onsite barometer and accelerometer gather data on heart rate, steps, intensity of exercise (running or walking) and elevation (steps climbed). You can access your heart rate quickly by pressing the side button or tapping the display of the Fitbit Charge HR.
Pressing and holding down on the side button of the Fitbit Charge GR also allows you to track individual training sessions but thanks to a software update senses and performs this task automatically. You might want to track a session yourself if you’re a gym enthusiast or active runner, but average folks may prefer the automatic session tracking mode in order to get credit for everyday activities.
The recent software update has also enabled an improved Quick View, enhanced heart rate technology for better heart rate tracking during certain intense workouts such as bootcamp classes and Zumba. Another significant improvement after the Charge HR software update is step data is considered towards challenges even in the event of low battery.
The app of the Fitbit Charge HR is neatly designed and displays heart rate data via multiple charts, where the heart rate is color coded to represent different intensity zones. The app is compatible with Windows, IOS and Android based tablets and smartphones and can even be synced with a Windows or MAC computer. If for some reason you aren’t able to make sense of your heart data, the Charge HR app even provides a link to an FAQ page that explains it in layman’s terms.
Pros of the Charge HR
- Automatic sleep tracking
- Comfortable to wear
- Excellent price
- Clear display
- Impressive battery life
- Intuitive app
Cons of the Charge HR
- Water resistant up to 1 meter
- Uses a proprietary charging cable (no biggie really, just don’t lose it)
- Only caller ID notifications
If you’re wondering if the Charge HR is worth the investment, the answer is undoubtedly YES. It is rich in features and its battery lasts for a whopping 5 days with the heart monitor constantly on. Add to this, the Fitbit app for Charge HR displays all kinds of vital data including heart rate data and even links to an FAQ page to help you better understand the information. If you’re looking for a fitness tracker especially if you’re on a budget, there truly isn’t any better fitness tracker than the Fitbit Charge HR.