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Home / Technology / Fitbit Charge 3 review: Peppering a fitness tracker with smartwatch powers

Fitbit Charge 3 review: Peppering a fitness tracker with smartwatch powers

  Fitbit Charge 3 review: Peppering a training with smartwatch powers

Valentina Palladino

Fitbit was lubricated in smartwatch fever last year. And since the debut of its ionic smartwatch, the company's signature fitness trackers have not made as many waves as they once did. This is partly due to the fact that users are reviewing smartwatch more as technology improves over time.

However, fitness traitors are not dead or at least Fitbit hopes they will not come and the company's new Charge 3 tracker is designed for users who want some smartwatch features in a training bundle's simple bandage.

Even today, trainers have some advantages over smartwatches: they are easier to wear because they have slimmer, lighter profiles. They are less complicated because they are designed to keep you in shape (not necessarily for things like e-mail on the move). And perhaps the most important distinction of all, training tracks are generally cheaper than smartwatches.

But smartwatches have the benefits of innovation these days, as most companies that create such devices try to develop features that competitors do not have. As a result, training trains have become a little outdated. And after having had the new Charge 3 for almost two weeks to see how well Fitbit's mild marriage with smartwatch and tracker features turned out, the form factor is still radically changing un ̵

1; but it's nothing bad in practice.

Unboxing and setup

The Charge 2 was one of Fitbits most popular trackers, so the company stuck with winning formula with Charge 3. If you're familiar with Charge 2, you'll notice that not much has changed In the updated device – there is still a rectangular tracker clasped on its short edges of two parts of a ribbon. Fitbit updated connectivity mechanism that allows you to replace the bands on charge 3, making it easier to press the black groove on a button at both ends to release the device's current tape. The new band snaps into place without any extra effort.

The Charge 3 module weighs 20 percent lighter than it costs 2, so it will not weigh your wrist when you're wearing it. I barely noticed it on my wrist when I paired it with Fitbit's woven band, made of a feathery fabric. If you're looking for the band, both of which complement the device's weightlessness and remain moderately flexible enough to go from the gym to the office, I would go with a woven alternative instead of the regular silicone.

The Charge 3 pages are smooth, save for a small impression on the left edge. This is the inductive button that replaced Charge 2's physical button, allowing users to navigate back on the OLED touch screen. It also allowed Fitbit to make Charge 3 water-repellent enough to track swimming.

I've been enjoying swimming trails going down in more affordable units in recent years. Fitbit's Flex 2 is the most affordable device with swim tracking features priced at $ 60. But $ 150 Charge 3, with its big screen and smartwatch capabilities, is for a different audience than those who want to gravitate to the small quasi-cylindrical Flex 2. Even if you do not swim often, water resistance up to 50 meters means that users do not have to worry about showering with Charge 3 or accidentally dropping it in the pool.

Inside Charge 3 is an accelerometer, gyroscope, optical heart rate monitor and a SpO2 sensor to track blood oxygen levels. Charge 3 is the third Fitbit device that includes a SpO2 sensor that follows the footsteps of both Fitbit Ionic and Versa smartwatches. However, the SpO2 screen is currently in sleep mode in all of these devices, as Fitbit has not used it yet.

The company claims that the SpO2 screen will help devices look for signs of sleep apnea and other breathing problems, potentially good features for devices intended to be used 24/7. It will be used primarily in Fitbit's upcoming Sleep Score Beta, which further analyzes sleep quality using pulse and breath data. Beginning November, users with devices with only heart rate monitors can get a sleep score after each night's sleep. Those with an ionic versa or charge 3 will probably have better data thanks to the SpO2 screen that collects breath data.

But the ionic, the first of the Fitbit devices that includes a SpO2 display, came out over a year ago. It's frustrating to hear about exciting features that are "coming soon" when "soon" ultimately does not mean weeks or months but years. Although I understand it, it takes time and effort to develop features like this (especially if Fitbit hopes to pursue medical device approval or FDA approval in the future), I do not think Fitbit should hype features that are not ready to let Users are being tested.

Like other Fitbit devices, Charge 3 takes little effort to set up. It works with Android and iOS devices, and all you need is Fitbit Mobile App to use it. Select charge 3 from the list of devices you can connect via Bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet and follow the onscreen instructions. After setup, you can also edit basic information that Charge 3 uses when tracking activity, such as age, height, weight, and activity measurement you care about (steps, active minutes, etc.).

The first day: Daily activity and sleep

Cost 3 works continuously throughout the day to track steps, distance, calories, floor climbing and heart rate – standard activity data. Fitbit has tracked these calculations for so long without making many important updates from late that they are business as usual on Charge 3. I appreciate that most of the bells available for Charge 3 show your real-time pulse, either in a corner or at the bottom of the rectangular display. I like to look down and know my heart rate.

You can choose from five different watch faces for Charge 3, making it less adaptable than ionic or Versa. These smartwatches have the advantage of running Fitbit OS, which includes a library of many third-party watch faces. Charge 3 is not a smartwatch, so the version of Fitbits software is not as robust as what we see on Ionic and Versa. It's not so critical to Charge 3, since it's not designed to run more than a few basic apps, but those looking for interesting watch faces only deal with a variety of options.

The Charge 3 screen has 40-Pros more active space than Charge 2, and it provides a better touchscreen overall. From the viewing area, swipe top to bottom to reveal the notification tray; from bottom to top to see the daily dashboard; and side to page to see available apps. Transitions between screen pages are smooth, and animations with spell characters in apps like the exercise program move with ease.

The screen is a solid upgrade from both Charge 2 and even Alta HR, the latter containing a tap screen. It is more natural to use a mix of faucets and swipes on a touchscreen, so I expect new Fitbit users to warm up to Charge 3 easier than they would have an older device.


I visited the Fitbit app more than I usually did during the first day when I charged Charge 3 so I could handle messages. This device is the first tracker to go beyond the basic conversation, text, and calendar alerts that most Fitbit tracker can receive. Charge 3 can notify you of any incidents on your smartphone, if you wish. In the notification panel in the Fitbit app, you can choose which apps you want to receive notifications from – turn on them all so you never miss a beat or just turn on the apps that matter to you.

I'm going for a close-up approach – I enable notifications for most of my installed apps, save for those who are niche (mostly shopping apps that alert me to coupons) or those I do not use regularly. All alerts cause charge 3 to vibrate and display the message on screen and all previous notifications live in the notification tray that you can access by sweeping down from the top of the charged 3 screen.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to respond to notifications (like messages and emails) from Charge 3. It's a feature that's sequenced to smartwatches, but you can see most of the content in a notification on your device's screen . Considering how narrow the device's display is, reading through a long email will not be the most comfortable experience. But at least the message will look on your wrist and it will also have news headlines, text messages and other alerts.

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