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Fitbit Charge 3 review: great fitness, just enough watch

I used to be at my dentist the opposite day, repairing a damaged crown. I used to be carrying an Apple Watch ($469 at Amazon Marketplace) on one wrist, and the Fitbit Charge 3 ($150 at Amazon) on the opposite. The dental assistant smiled and confirmed me her arm. She was carrying a Fitbit and Apple Watch, too.

I used to be carrying mine for work, I defined to her. She stated she wears each as a result of the Fitbit is healthier at social fitness, whereas the Apple Watch is healthier for messages. This is the reality, and the fact of health wearables: Nothing does every thing completely.

The Fitbit Charge 3 might be Fitbit’s greatest pure health tracker band, supplied you are fantastic residing in Fitbit’s universe. Which, actually, is a fairly good place to be for social health, checking day by day habits, and including exercise challenges.

The Apple Watch Series 4 is a great watch, however nonetheless feels extra like a chunk of the iPhone ($1,177 at Amazon Marketplace) that indifferent and began residing as a satellite tv for pc on my wrist. It’s fantastic with health, however not as fine-tuned at occasions as what the Fitbit delivers. And it is costlier.


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Sarah Tew/CNET

The Charge 3’s value is cheap ($150), and its function set is almost full. It provides you coronary heart charge, sleep monitoring, 50 meter swim water resistance, a bigger show with cellphone notifications, plus climate, timer and stopwatch apps and non-obligatory NFC funds in a particular version. It additionally lasts about seven days on a cost. I nonetheless assume the Fitbit Versa, Fitbit’s extra watch-like health tracker, is a greater guess for its enjoyable watch faces and music capabilities plus its extra-customizable bodily buttons, and it is being provided on sale this vacation at nearly the same price.

While the Charge 3 is tremendous practical, its lacking options embrace:

  • No onboard GPS (it tracks utilizing your cellphone’s GPS)
  • No music storage or distant music controls
  • No app retailer
  • No watch face retailer

It comes all the way down to this: If you are in search of an on a regular basis health tracker that has app notifications and just a little bit of smartwatch-ness, the Fitbit Charge 3 is a fairly great choose. It’s just like what different producers are making in health bands, and a detailed match can be the Garmin Vivosmart 4, which provides a brand new pulse oxygen-detecting coronary heart charge sensor that guarantees comparable benefits now to what Fitbit is claiming it is going to unlock in its improved Charge 3 heart-rate sensor down the highway. But the Fitbit Versa nonetheless is definitely worth the improve for its massive assortment of watch faces and apps, larger coloration show, sideloadable music storage, and further bodily buttons. (For a comparability between Versa and Charge 3, read my impressions here.)


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The Fitbit Versa on the left. The Fitbit Charge 3 on the suitable.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Design: A wonderfully fantastic tracker

The Charge 3’s grayscale touchscreen OLED is bigger than the earlier Charge 2. It matches time, steps, and coronary heart charge into many of the selectable watch faces. It’s simple to look at, and swiping up the display exhibits different day by day health objectives and stats (stand hours, sleep, distance, stairs climbed and energetic minutes), whereas a swipe-down exhibits notifications. Fitbit’s app permits discrete management of particular person app notifications, too.

It’s additionally a straightforward tracker to put on, though not all of the bands felt tremendous comfy. I most well-liked the black silicone band included in-box, whereas the woven nylon and perforated sport bands felt rather less cozy on my wrist. All the bands, nevertheless, are simple to snap on and off with a easy launch mechanism on the again. Charge 3 straps use particular proprietary connections, however aren’t as troublesome to connect because the Versa’s straps have been.

Setting up the Charge 3 on an iPhone X and XS was often difficult when Bluetooth pairing did not appear to work. But I received it to work after just a few tries and every thing’s been fantastic since.

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