By Laura Kyle
Shopping for your first fitness tracker or looking to upgrade? Here is all you need to know about the new Fitbit Charge 5 and how it compares to the Fitbit Charge 4.
The Fitbit Charge 5 hit the shelves on September 27th, 2021, and is already a favourite among Fitbit fans who jumped on the presale. The Charge 5 is an upgrade of their extremely popular Fitbit Charge 4. New features include a colour screen, slimmer design, and a Daily Readiness Score. Does it live up to the hype? We think it’s a great option for tracking your health, and here’s why.
- Built-in GPS
- Heart rate monitor
- 3-axis accelerometer
- SpO2 monitoring
- 326 PPI colour touch screen
- ECG monitor
- Colour screen
- Sleek, comfortable design
- Sleek, comfortable design
- No button
- Lack of customisation
- No altimeter
Fitbit Charge 5 vs Charge 4
Is the recent update worth the additional $50US? We think so, but it comes down to what you need out of your fitness tracker. The Charge 5, released 1.5 years after the Charge 4, has some impressive upgrades for those serious about closely monitoring their health. One of the biggest changes is the addition of ECG capabilities, a feature limited to high-end smartwatches and trackers like the Apple Watch 6 until recently. The ECG sensors in the device, combined with their ECG app, can detect an irregular heart rhythm and record the data to be easily shared with healthcare professionals. Atrial fibrillation can be difficult to detect, but a diagnosis is key for reducing the likelihood of a serious cardiac event.
Another big upgrade for the Fitbit Charge 5 is an improved screen. The AMOLED colour touchscreen display is vibrant and easy to read even on the sunniest of days. However, the button has been removed and some users find the screen to be cluttered which has the potential to become frustrating.
Fitbit has launched their new Daily Readiness Score for premium users. It is compatible with a few of their devices, including the Charge 5, but is not available for Charge 4 owners. This feature uses a variety of data points to produce a score indicating how hard you should exercise on any given day. It looks at how you slept, your recent activity and other factors to give you a better idea of whether you need a rest day or should give your all in the gym.
It is worth noting that Fitbit removed the altimeter which measures elevation changes. Instead, the Charge 5 uses the GPS to estimate floors climbed. Just like its predecessor, the device is capable of sleep tracking, auto-detecting workouts, and reminders to move.
Why the Fitbit Charge 5 is an easy favourite
Fitbit has been one of the best selling fitness tracker brands for years. The company’s future is looking even brighter after being acquired by Google in early 2021 for $2.1billion. People around the world choose Fitbit to monitor their health with over 29 million active users.
The Charge 5 is suitable for almost everyone, whether your idea of a marathon involves Netflix or running. Its built-in GPS, accelerometer, and sensitive heart rate sensor provides plenty of data to help athletes monitor progress and improve their training. The SpO2 monitor and ECG capabilities make the Charge 5 ideal for anyone who wants to keep a close eye on their heart health. The Fitbit app helps users reach their health goals with food tracking, leaderboards, workouts, and plenty more. 3rd party apps such as Cardiogram extend its functionality.
The wearable has a 7-day battery life, though this varies significantly depending on how you use it. Additionally, it only takes 1-2 hours to fully charge. With different colours and styles of bands available, the Charge 5 is easy to customise to suit your tastes.
Where the Charge 5 falls flat
Some of the common complaints users have about their Fitbits continue to be an issue with the Charge 5, and they almost all come down to usability. Lack of interface customisation means the display may be cluttered with data and apps you have no intention of using. The device provides a limited number of clock faces that may not have your preferred combination of information and data. The removal of physical buttons in the Charge 5 has worsened the issue, forcing users to fully navigate the cluttered and confusing UI using only a touchscreen. Using the device while exercising, other than viewing the main display, can be a near-impossible task.
The removal of the altimeter means tracking elevation changes will be less accurate which could be problematic for endurance athletes.
Overall, the Fitbit Charge 5 is a full-featured fitness tracker for all types of lifestyles, and the additional heart monitoring features can help you detect possible issues. However, the UI could become a source of frustration for those hoping to make use of all features while on the move.
Buy the Fitbit Charge 5