. Fitbit Charge HR Review

June 30th, 2016

Initial Thoughts: My first activity tracker was one of the early Jawbones which I was quite happy with at the time.  I purchased the Charge HR around the holidays in 2015 and realized the screen is a must have feature; I simply can’t imagine using an activity tracker without one now.  I found the Fitbit app, albeit different, basically the same to use as the one offered by Jawbone.  You can manually enter in activities performed that it isn’t capable of tracking if you’re interested in your overall calorie expenditures, track sleep, track food, and set off on step challenges against others.

Usage: Except for taking it off when in water I wore my Charge HR nearly 24/7 from January until April when outdoor running season really kicked into gear in Wisconsin.  I had a fit-filled Sunday where I went on a five mile run and did a bunch of work around the yard.  Apparently this involved enough sweat and being knocked around to make the Charge HR unhappy.  It appeared that the side button (for changing info displayed on-screen) was unhappy and the screen was sort of stuck jumping around.  After trying a software reset a few times I used a T3 bit and took it apart.  After I got it put back together it started behaving again.  Fast forward to June and after getting out of the shower I reached for the Charge HR to put it back on but must have had a little too much moisture on my wrist as it has gone completely dark and will not respond to charging or attempts at a software reset.  I won’t be looking to replace it as I’ve decided I’d like something capable of tracking more activities (including swimming) that is rugged and waterproof.

The Good: For around $100 you get to leverage Fitbit’s great app, wireless syncing, a  multi-mode display, and heart rate monitoring.

The Bad: Doesn’t track anything but running or walking unless it’s manually entered into the app.  Still no way to set an idle alarm.  No battery information available on the display; a minor grievance but legitimate given its almost daily charging requirements.  It is for light use only and will not hold up well if banged around or exposed to water.

Conclusion: A nice activity tracker for those primarily interested in steps and heart rate monitoring in light duty settings.


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