Fitbit Charge 3 HR

8.0
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Fitbit Charge 3 HR Review Facts
Watch Video Review

The Fitbit Charge 3 is an activity tracker aimed at improving your health and fitness, in that order. However, while it has great intentions, the device isn’t quite there yet. It’s still a solid activity tracker with great battery life and a whimsical heart rate monitor.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Bigger screen
  • Lighter design
  • Completely waterproof up to 50 meters
  • Smartphone notifications and quick replies for Android
  • Great 7-day battery life
  • Touchscreen display
  • Interchangeable watch straps
  • Durable materials
  • Good sleep tracking
  • Activity auto-recognition
Cons
  • No onboard GPS again
  • Monochrome screen, slightly unresponsive
  • No music storage or remote music controls
  • Sometimes doesn’t recognize basic activities such as walking
  • Not fully compatible with iOS
  • Unintuitive software
Activities
Activities

Activities

The Fitbit Charge HR is a fitness tracker that is able to track over 15 exercise modes such as running, biking, swimming (only pool swimming though, no open water swimming tracking available), yoga, and circuit training, with the ability for you to set a custom goal and see real-time stats of your workout’s efficiency in order to keep you motivated to improve your results. This watch also tracks activities such as steps, distance, floors climbed and calories burned during the entire day. There are certain activities such as elliptical, running and biking, that this fitness tracker can recognize automatically, which comes in handy if you tend to forget to click start at the beginning of your workout. There is also the Auto-stop feature, which recognizes when you’ve stopped exercising until you continue with your activity again. This is designed to increase the accuracy of the workout, as well as calories burned and steps taken throughout the day.
Basic Features
Basic Features

Basic Features

The biggest change from the Charge 2 is the smartphone notifications feature that the Fitbit Charge 3 HR now has. These notifications will allow you to connect the device to your phone and receive a notification when you receive a text, an e-mail, as well as stay up to speed with various alarms and calendar alert. There is also the quick reply option, which is only available for Android users at the moment when their phone is somewhere nearby. The quick reply function allows you to send up to five pre-drafted messages that are up to 60 characters in length. iOS users only have the option of reading incoming texts.

The Fitbit Charge 3 also measures your Cardio Fitness level and allows you to grasp your progress and gain better insight into your level of fitness, as well as keep track of your improvements with the help of the personalized Cardio Fitness Score.

Another big change from the previous version is that the Charge 3 is completely water-resistant up to 50 meters. The Charge 2 was only able to sustain a few splashes of water, but the new Fitbit flagship allows you to wear your device in the shower, the pool as well as open water – although you won’t be able to track anything in that situation.
Advanced Features
Advanced Features

Advanced Features

The Fitbit Charge 3 HR features a wrist-only PurePulse heart rate monitor seen in the previous version, only this time it’s reinforced with the SpO2 Pulse oximetry sensor. This HRM configuration allows you to monitor your heart rate 24/7 in order to track the calories you’ve burned better, and it allows you to keep a watch on your heart rate tendencies during the day and improve your overall health as a consequence. The HRM also enables you to track what heart-rate zone you’re in currently, so as to get a better comprehension of whether you’re in the cardio, fat burning, or peak zone and whether you should try harder during your workouts, or go a little bit slower. All of this is very useful for people with heart conditions, or it would be if the heart rate monitor was accurate – more on that later.

There is still no on-board GPS in the Charge 3, so you’ll have to rely on your phone’s GPS in order to track your pace and distance during your outdoor activities in real-time.

Naturally, the Charge 3 is able to measure your resting heart rate all through the night, allowing you to see how much time you’ve spent in light, deep and REM sleep each night. With the help of the SpO2 sensor, the watch will be able to keep track of your blood oxygenation levels and recognize if you’re experiencing any breathing disruptions while you sleep. This sensor could also be used in the future to diagnose sleep apnea, once and if the Charge 3 gets clearance from the FDA, although there is no clear indication of how long this process will last. As you can notice, the Fitbit Charge 3 is very heavily health-oriented and is actively trying to offer a fitness and health-monitoring device in one.

Speaking of which, the Charge 3 also has the Guided Breathing Sessions feature which will help you with stress management by providing personalized advice and breathing sessions that are based on your heart rate.
Accuracy
Accuracy

Accuracy

The accuracy of the heart rate monitor on the Fitbit Charge 3 fitness and health tracking watch has been widely discussed, with the majority of comments skewing to the negative. It’s worth noting that the HRM works much better when it’s not in exercise mode, but when it’s only tracking your resting heart rate during the day. Compared to the Polar H10 chest strap, the Charge 3 HRM lagged and had some inaccuracies that eventually deemed it unreliable by a lot of consumers. Some people even reported the device showing sudden spikes in their heart rate without those metrics being correct or induced by a sudden change of activity load. Additionally, the device struggles sometimes with automatically recognizing simple activities such as walking and jogging.

However, one positive aspect of the Charge 3’s tracking accuracy is the sleep tracking function. Fitbit Charge 3 does give detailed and almost always correct data and in-depth analysis of the length of your sleep phases, along with the info on how long you were awake.

The inaccuracy of the heart rate monitor won’t be such a big deal if its only function was to track your daily activities, because an HRM can be very useful even if it only showcased your heart rate 5 times during the day – it could still point out some important data on your heart rate’s general trends. However, given that Fitbit is trying to go into health waters and get FDA-certified as a device that will reliably monitor your heart rate and help with diagnosing sleep apnea and other conditions, it would be incredibly important to make the fitness tracker as reliable and precise as possible.
Connectivity
Connectivity

Connectivity

The Fitbit Charge 3 fitness tracker is able to wirelessly connect to over 200 Android and iOS devices via Bluetooth wireless connection any sync your data, stats and progress with your phone. The compatibility for Windows smartphones will be available soon. Keep in mind that some customers had issues with connecting the Charge 3 to their smartphone when they had Wi-Fi on the phone on. In order to be sure that your data will get synced, try connecting your devices with Bluetooth only and no Wi-Fi on.
Apps
Apps

Apps

The Charge 3 activity tracker works well with Fitbit Today app which allows you to check your health and activity status and see if your goals are being met day by day. If they’re not, the watch will nudge you slightly in order to remind you that you need to move some more. Also, there is the supremely useful Fitbit Pay compatibility, which allows you to load your cards to the Wallet in the Fitbit app and use the Charge 3 watch to make a purchase without having to carry your wallet, cards or cash with you. In the app dashboard, you’ll be able to see in-depth graphs of your training and HR data, as well as your progress, which will allow you to gain insight into your overall health and fitness levels. One happy customer even stated that the watch is able to sync to the Tactio Health app, which a lot of diabetics like to use because it shows you your glucose readings.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

While the comfort of the silicone band itself wasn’t an issue for most people, there were some who haven’t been satisfied with the L-sized band, which was too small for them. Luckily, the bands on the watch are changeable, so you can choose whichever size you want. Having to spend extra cash on something like that isn’t ideal, but it’s not that big of an investment, either. The face of the tracker is also noticeably lighter, which results in increased comfort.
Style
Style

Style

While the Charge 3 fitness tracker doesn’t feel premium or expensive (it really isn’t either of those things), but the people are still divided on the look and style of the Fitbit flagships. While some claim that it’s the kind of watch that you have to hide beneath your sleeve, others claim that it’s pretty looking. In terms of build, the Fitbit Charge 3 is noticeably thinner and lighter than the Charge 2, resulting in a sleeker and less bulky look. Depending on which version you opt for, the tracker comes with different bands you can interchange according to your outfits.
Durability
Durability

Durability

The Charge 3 fitness tracker is made using the aerospace-grade aluminum and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display that feels durable. While the tracker doesn’t look as robust and sturdy as some more expensive versions, its build, along with its water-resistance is enough to make it last around two years, maybe even a little more.
Face
Face

Face

Unlike the Charge 2, the Fitbit Charge 3 doesn’t have a pressable, physical button, and has swapped that with an inductive button with haptic feedback. The 1 Inch OLED touchscreen of the Charge 3 is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display that is large and very well lit, with automatic light adjustment, making it really easy to see notifications and stats. The screen of the Charge 3 is also 40% bigger than the previous version, while the whole tracker manages to be lighter, which is an immense improvement that is well-received by virtually everyone that has wanted a better screen on the Charge 2. However, one downside to this bigger display with better resolution is that it’s black and white, which is something that a lot of people have a problem with.
Band
Band

Band

The Charge 3 comes with the small wristband attached to the tracker (with the color and material varying depending on your location) and another L-sized band on the side. The materials of the band range from silicone to woven, textile material, but you can swap the brand ones for third-party bands.
Size
Size

Size

The Fitbit Charge 3 case measures 0.5 in x 1.1in and weighs 1.06oz or 30 grams, while the Charge 2 weighed 1.13oz. This slight decrease in weight is a result of using aluminum for the case build, instead of steel utilized in the Charge 2’s case build. Fitbit has also succeeded in making a face that isn’t too bulky for women’s wrists, and not too small on men’s wrists.
Ease of Use
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

The good thing about the Fitbit Charge 3’s interface is that there are lots of personalized reminders that will encourage you to move and meet your daily fitness goals. That being said, the software on the device is unintuitive and overly complicated, with elaborate, layered menus, which are only accentuated by the haptic button’s lack of sensitivity. Expect to have to do a lot of double-tapping and a lot of haptic button use. While some avid Fitbit fans won’t mind the user experience, the software of the Charge 3 will probably be a challenge for the rest to get used to navigating. One disappointed customer stated that it’s not merely a matter of getting used to the interface, but hat it’s objectively unintuitive and troublesome. However, this could be something that will be changed in the updates to come.
Power Source
Power Source

Power Source

The lithium-polymer USB-rechargeable battery of the Fitbit Charge 3 offers up to 7 days of usage before you have to recharge the device – this is the part where you should be grateful for the monochromatic display. The brand claims on the battery longevity have turned out realistic, so you can expect the device to be at around 65-70% of battery after 3 full days of usage.
Price
Price

Price

The Fitbit Charge 3 is priced exactly the same as the Charge 2 was when it launched. While this price would seem cheap for people who are used to professional sports watches, this is on the higher end of the traditional activity trackers. There is also a Special Edition Charge 3 available, which will cost you a little more than the original. While the Charge 3 is definitely a high-quality fitness tracker, it still isn’t the best on the market, nor the cheapest. However, if you’re used to Fitbits and you like the design, you’ll probably be more than satisfied with the Charge 3.
Accessories
Accessories

Accessories

The main accessories available for the Charge 3 are the various changeable bands, starting from the breathable sport bands, to extremely stylish and feminine third-party bands available on Amazon.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

● Over 15 exercise modes
● Auto-recognition and auto-stop of workouts
● Smartphone notifications
● Cardio Fitness levels
● Water-resistant up to 50 meters
● PurePulse heart rate monitor
● SpO2 Pulse oximetry sensor
● Sleep tracking
● Fitbit Pay compatibility
● Aerospace-grade aluminum casing
● 40% bigger screen than the Charge 2
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Fitbit’s new flagship, the Charge 3, is the brand’s most advanced tracker ever, as they’ve put it. Given that the Charge 2 is the brand’s most-sold device, the Charge 3 has received obvious upgrades in smartphone notifications functionality as well as 50-meter water-resistance. The sleep tracking functionality could be onto something big health-wise, but that’s somewhere in the (near) future for the brand. For the time being, Fitbit has made a better activity tracker than the previous ones. It’s far from perfect, though.