Reviewed: Fitbit Charge 3

I am not a fitness fanatic, although I do try to hit my daily goals. What I am, though, is obsessive about knowing how many hours I spent in deep sleep every night, what my heart rate is at any given time, etc. So, I do love fitness trackers, and I just had to try out the new Fitbit Charge 3.

Design: 4.5/5

Maintaining the same look, with a rectangular screen and band, the Charge 3 is a definite improvement over its predecessor, particularly in the use of aluminum making for a thinner profile and lighter feel on the wrist despite the display being 40 percent larger. While still black and white, the OLED grayscale touchscreen is crisp and bright.

The standard package comes in graphite aluminum with a classic black band, or in rose gold aluminum with a classic blue-grey band. The Special Edition package is either a graphite aluminum body with a frost white sport band or a rose gold aluminum tracker with a lavender woven band. Additional bands in various colors and materials are offered as options.

Hardware: 4/5

Packed inside the tiny Charge 3 body are a number of sensors and components that continuously measure, process, and store your personal data. 

First and foremost is PurePulse, an optical heart rate monitor that calculates blood flow by shining green light onto the skin and using light detectors to measure how much light is absorbed and, thus, how many times your heart beats per minute.

A 3-axis accelerometer and altimeter measure both movement and elevation, useful for tracking various types of activities, while a vibration motor delivers gentle buzzes for notifications on your wrist. Bluetooth 4.0 provides connectivity, while a lithium-polymer battery lasts up to 7 days on a single charge.

The Charge 3 also has NFC used for Fitbit Pay, a tap to pay feature available only in a few countries. The relative SpO2 sensor is a new addition, useful for estimating blood oxygen levels during sleep, information that could potentially help with sleep conditions like apnea, among others.

User Experience: 4.5/5

Out of the box, the first thing I needed to do was pair the Charge 3 to my phone and add the device to my Fitbit app. After a firmware update, it was ready to wear. I immediately noted how light and comfortable it felt on my wrist, of paramount consideration for a device that’s meant to be worn virtually 24/7. 

The Charge 3 touchscreen display allows you to swipe up to cycle through your fitness information like steps taken, calories burned, floors climbed, and now also showing additional dashboard data like hours slept, weight, water and food intake, etc. Swipe down and you get notifications for calls, text messages, calendar, and your selected apps. Swiping left takes you to the exercise, relax, timers, alarms, weather, and settings functions. An inductive button on the left side serves as a back button.

The Charge 3 syncs with the Fitbit app via Bluetooth, and the process seems significantly faster with this new model. Up to 7 days of battery life means you can go camping without the special charging cable. The device stores real time motion data for 7 days and totals for 30 days so you don’t lose the information in case you’re off-grid.

To help with your fitness goals, you can set your exercise modes and goals, which now include swimming, and the Charge 3 celebrates when you hit your targets. For outdoor runs or bike rides, Connected GPS lets you see your pace, distance and route on your phone.

More than exercise tracking, the features I like best about the Charge 3 are the hourly activity reminders telling me I need to stand up and walk around, and the relax function that guides me through deep breathing exercises to help me stay centered during stressful moments. 

On the Fitbit app itself, I appreciate the sleep insights that tell me not only the quantity but also the quality of my nightly rest, with information on when I was in light, REM, or deep sleep. 

Value: 4/5

The standard Fitbit 3 package retails for PHP 9,990 while the Special Edition package carries a PHP 10,990 price tag, about mid-range for the Fitbit product line and a good price point for a functional health and fitness device that you will be wearing almost all the time.

Bottomline:

Perfect Christmas stocking stuffer for the health conscious

Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE December 2018-January 2019 Issue.

Reviewed by Maribelle Alba

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