A simple tracker that gets the basics done well. It is perfect for everyday use, and it is small enough to blend in with your wardrobe.
Fitbit has been a major player in the wearables market, and their trackers are everywhere. My introduction to their products was the Charge HR, the only tracker in their Active Fitness category. It’s a mid-level tracker, with constant heart rate monitoring, and step and sleep tracking.
I’ve had it for 6 weeks now, giving me enough time to play around with most of its features.
I purchased the black model, because, well, it’s black…
The design is nothing special, it is essentially bigger version of the Flex. It doesn’t fit in with my wardrobe, but it doesn’t look too out of place either. I usually add some pretty bracelets around it, and I can take it from the office to happy hour.
The heart rate monitor is as accurate as any other optical tracker, and does well through workouts and runs.
When walking / running, the Charge HR counts your steps, calculates calories and tracks your heart rates. It borrows information from your mobile’s GPS to keep track of your routes and distance, and calculates your splits as well. It also keeps track of incline (or floors climbed).
My favorite thing about this tracker is that you can force it into a workout mode. By pressing the only button on it, you can set the tracker into workout mode, and it will track your heart rate, steps and calories burned. It will also let you set a wrist motion so you can see your stats at a glance while the workout function is on. The Charge HR doesn’t classify the workouts though, but the app syncs the workouts from the trackers and other apps like MyFitnessPal or TrackMyFitness.
The Charge HR will automatically recognize sleep and track how long you slept, and how often you move during the night. However, it does not track the levels of sleep. I wish it would be a bit more precise with the time spent in bed and that I could see how long I spent in deep vs light sleep and that I didn’t have to use other apps to do so.
The Charge HR comes with a desktop dongle (girlish giggles), and allows you to connect directly to your laptop or you can connect the tracker to any bluetooth enabled mobile.
The interface is attractive and simple, and all the details are easily accessible. It syncs with all my other apps, although it doesn’t play well with Apple Health without the help from Sync Solver, The API support is wonderful, which means there are LOTS of apps to play around with, and make up for the things that Fitbit does not support.
In all honesty, I haven’t been using the desktop app to sync, but I use the online dashboard, since it’s easy and the new interface is very attractive. All the info is easy to access, and if you need to drill further into a single data point, it’s all a click away.
This is the reason why I switched to the Fitbit trackers. It integrates with every single one of my apps, from MyFitnessPal, to Pact, to Waterlog and beyond. It also works well with Apple Health, and it has great API support (in other words, new apps pop up ALL the time).
Calls and alarm notifications can be programmed in the mobile app, and a discreet vibration will alert you to them. I like that it is so discreet, and I can use it to remind me to get up every hour, eat and workout without disrupting meetings.
Overall, I like the Charge HR, it is a simple tracker that gets the basics done. It is perfect for everyday use, and it is small enough to blend in with your wardrobe. I wish they had more customization options like the Flex, since it’s not easy to have several colors given the price point.