Wearable Technology

Fitbit Charge HR Review – Wireless Activity Wristband

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Fitbit Colors

If you have been creating a fitness plan, make sure you don’t forget to include Fitbit Charge HR as your fitness partner. It will supercharge your workouts and lifestyle in a way you have never imagined. However, much as it is ranked as the best Fitbit finesse trackers, I will not ignore the fact that it gets some stiff competition from Fitbit surge and Jawbone UP3 which will be released very soon.

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PROS:

  • Call notifications
  • Silent wake-up Alarm
  • 24/7 performing heart rate monitor
  • Looks nice and its comfortable to wear
  • Shows time of the day just like a normal digital watch
  • Calculates burned calories for each workout
  • It is a very effective tracker, but not 100% perfect.
  • Syncs Wirelessly
  • Light (it weighs only 5.6 ounces, so you will not feel uncomfortable when running)
  • The best sports motivational device out there on the market (buy Fitbit Charge HR and change your lifestyle)
  • Battery life is very good compared to other fitness trackers
  • It tracks sleep even when you don’t switch on sleep mode.
  • You will also be able to log each workout. In that case you can know how long you have worked out for and how many calories you have burned during that session.

 

CONS:-

  • Not accurate when it comes to counting steps and stairs taken. If you swing you hand without moving it will count that as a step taken and that is a very wrong count.
  • Not 100% water proof:- On the package you they say that Fitbit Charge HR is water resistant, but you’re reminded to take it off when showering and you should never wear it when swimming. This is really confusing, why do they say that its water proof when it can’t be used in a swimming pool

Heart Rate Monitor - Fitbit Charge HR

HEART RATE MONITOR:

According to Fitbit, before you start any workout, you have to know your heart rate / beat. At least this will help you know which exercise / workout to start with. I think this is a great thing because you have to consider your heart strength as you workout. In this case you don’t have to overwork / strain your heart and at the same time you don’t over limit yourself.

Fitbit has integrated an accurate heart rate / pulse sensor at the bottom of this device. Once you put this tracker on your wristband, it will start reading your current pulse and heart beat. Fitbit Charge HR is comfortable to wear and it saves you from wearing those uncomfortable chest straps.

 

FITBIT CHARGE HR vs FITBIT SURGE

 charge  charge hr
Category Active Performance
Steps, calories, distance Yes Yes
Clock Yes Yes
Sleep quality & silent alarm Yes Yes
Floors climbed Yes Yes
Active minutes Yes Yes
Caller ID Yes Yes
Continuous heart rate Yes Yes
Music control & notifications no Yes
GPS tracking no Yes

 RELATED POST:- Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch Review

  • Design Competition: – According to our comparison chart above, I can see that both Charge HR & Surge have almost the same features. However, the screen size of surge has been revised, it is wider than that of Charge HR which is pretty a good thing. Since Surge’s screen is wider, you will be in position to see more data at once without doing any tapping. At a glance you can see current time of the day, heart rate and so much more. In that case, Fitbit surge seems to win the design competition.
  • Performance:- With Fitbit Surge you will be able to control music playing on your smartphone as you workout and at the same time it has GPS tracking technology which makes a full fitness tracker and sports watch at the same. Investing in Fibit surge is a wise move because you will get more than what you actually pay for. Charge HR does not have music control & Gps tracking feature, if you don’t need them then go for Charge HR.

 

BENEFITS OF HEART TRACKING:

Heart beat

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Maintain Intensity:

  • Fitbit heart rate monitor helps you maintain intensity of a particular workout:- As you workout, your heart beat and blood flow will increase. You hear will beat so fast but you need to know how far it can go and prevent any injuries or damages that might occur due to extensive training. Keeping track of your beat using this Fitbit Charge HR will enable you maintain a standard intensity, not too high / low.

 

Maximize your workouts:

  • It helps you maximize your workout / training:- Fitbit Charge HR enables you to use simplified heart rate zones to customize workouts basing on zones. In this case, you will know when to increase on the intensity of a particular workout and the same time when to alternate workouts.

 

HOW DOES FITBIT CHARGE HR COUNT FLOORS? 

Not all Fitbit trackers have this feature and that is to why I highly recommend you to buy Charge HR if you have interest in knowing how many floors you have climbed. This device uses an altimeter to calculate total number for floors climbed. The sensor automatically detects a change in atmospheric pressure. Every time you increase on your elevation also the atmospheric pressure decreases, so Charge HR detect and calculate each reduction in at atmospheric pressure and count that as a floor climbed. However, figures are never accurate as you might think, because there many factors which affect atmospheric pressure, so if you count floors manually, Charge HR will show you more numbers but the difference between numbers will not be that big.

 

COLORS:

Fitbit Colors

 

FEATURES:

  • PurePulse Heart Rate Monitor:- I have already explained how Fitbit’s Charger HR heart monitor works and what its benefits are. The PurePulse reader is automatic, the moment you wear this tracker on your wrist, it will pick pulse readings on instant and display them on screen for easy reading. This pulse sensor is installed at the bottom of the device so you don’t have to be bothered when working out.
  • OLED Display:- In my opinion, this is a relevant feature and sometime I get annoyed when fitness device has a small screen display. I have to be fair in this review, Fitbit HR has a very small screen display, at least I’m comfortable with Fitbit Surge wide display, it shows lots of data at once. The OLED display for Charge HR just makes it easy to read data but the screen is too small, it can’t show lots of results at once.
  • Long Battery life:- I’m sure no one wants to use a fitness tracker whose battery life is poor. Fitbit Charge HR features a re-chargeable battery, but it lasts for 5 days of daily usage. In my opinion that is enough time because during the weekend, you might take a rest and have some fun with friends without worrying about your fitness. During this time, you leave this device charging fully, getting ready for use the next 5 days to come. I know some users don’t like interruption especially those who workout throughout the week, so when I talk about 5 days batter life, it’s like a joke to them. If you’re that person, I suggest you opt for Misifit Shine. This model does not require battery charging, it uses a coin battery cell which lasts for 6 months.
  • Exercise Tracking:- When you use Fitbit Charge HR, you will get  real-time run stats, burned calories, steps taken, heart rate, distance covered and time spent while working out. These results are displayed on the screen in a sequence format making it very easy for you to read. On the other hand, you can integrate this Fitness device with your smartphone using Fitbit App or any other fitness application of your choice. In that case, data will be synced wirelessly to your mobile App making it very easy to read.
  • Caller ID & Watch:- Working out is very essential to your health but that does not mean that you have to cut out yourself from the rest of the world. Don’t miss that important business call simply because you want to get a 6 pack. Both money & a healthy body go hand-in-hand. So as you’re busy pressing those dumbbells, Fitbit Charge HR will show you who’s calling at that particular moment. You can choose a tone for call alerts to ensure that you don’t miss any call.
  • Auto sleep & Alarms:- After a long day you need to have a good rest but sometimes our rest time is interrupted and we never get to know why and how often it happens. Having less sleep affects your body, health and brain. That is to why everyone should have a sleep tracker like Fitbit Charger HR because once worn on the hand when going for bed, it automatically takes record of how long you have slept, how many times you woke up during the night and it also has a silent alarm to wake you early in the morning. This silent alarm will only wake you not your partner.
  • Wireless Syncing:- Since Fitbit Charge has a very small screen, you might not be in position to read each and every information collected. However, Fitbit has simplified the all process of transferring data from this small device to a large screen computer / smartphone. Fitbit Charge HR syncs data wirelessly so you don’t need to have a USB cable and this will save you lots of time. But the only way you can view this data accurately on a smartphone is by installing Fitbit mobile App, it is a free application and it works on both iOS & android phones.

 

HARDWARE:

Fitbit Charge HR - HARDWARE

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  • Design: – At the glance, Fitbit Charge HR looks pretty, however, its screen is not that big but it’s a bit better than that of Flex. The band has been well studded and its lock has been revised. This time the band looks like that of a sports watch, it can be secured well to prevent slipping off. Some hardcore trainers have reported that if you increase on the tightness of this wristband, readings become accurate however, you’re advised to loosen the band once you go to bed. For the sake of colors, you can select a perfect color for yourself, however, you can’t change these bands the way you can do with Flex and I guess this is due to the Heart rate sensor embedded at the bottom of the tracker.
  • Band:- The band is made out of durable rubber which lasts for years and years. However, it is a little bit stiff but after using this tracker for a while, the band will become soft and flexible. So don’t freak out during the first weeks of using Charge HR.
  • Controlling & navigation:- Charge HR features one single button on the side, tap this button to display more content on the screen. If you want to know time of the day, simply tap the button until you reach the clock feature.
  • Technology:- A lot has been changed in Charge HR. When I compare it to first release which was Fitbit Charge, it lacked a continuous heart rate monitor. But now Fitbit has upgraded Charge HR and now it has a continuous heart rate monitor which is perfect and accurate. On the other hand more technology has been embedded in SURGE but we shall cover this as we go on with this detailed review.

 

WHAT IS IN THE BOX?

  • Fitbit Charge HR device
  • USB charging cable ( it helps you recharge the device when the battery is low. A 2hour full charge will take you for 5-6 days.

mobile

 

SEE YOUR PROGRESS:

After working out, sync data to Fitbit mobile application and view your progress. Data is organized in form of charts and graphs making it easy to read and compare. Fitbit App works with other social applications making it possible for you to share data with friends using other platforms. Since the App has social features, you can invite your friends to Fitbit and create workout groups, set goals and compete against each other. You can reward your self with badges and get more inspired.

Fitbit Charge HR - digest

Full Digest

  • Good for hardcore trainers:- I have been scanning through reviews posted on Amazon about Charge HR, many hardcore trainers say that they did not like the performance of Charge HR, but being a hardcore trainers too, I decided to give a try, after role the price has been slashed and its affordable to me. At first I was also skeptical about this tracker, for long I have been using fitness trackers but most of them don’t perform as advertised. I do full body workouts and this process involves sprinting, weight lifting, rope skipping and so much more. After getting this Charge HR I was not happy with results on day one, but I didn’t give up on it. So I played around with the wristband position and tightness, it consistently started measuring my Heart rate both at rest and when I was active. Whoever does hardcore workouts, you have to monitor your heart rate both at rest and when you’re in action, otherwise you will end up damaging your heart. I have noticed that when Charge HR is tight on the wrist, I get the best results, however, you should loosen it a little bit when going to bed.
  • Sweat & Water Splash proof:- I have read through some reviews on Amazon and 1 user shoot a video showing Fitbit Surge submerged in a glass of water for 1 hour and they got it out when it was still working perfectly [ Watch video here… ] . I have watched this video and I pretty agree with this guy. However, I don’t advice you to do that because on Fitbit.com, they say that Charge HR is sweat, rain and splash proof. However, it is not 100% water proof so you don’t have to swim or take a shower while this tracker is on your hand.  Fitbit goes on to tell us to only wear Charge HR when it’s clean and dry. If it gets wet or if you sweat on it, remove it from your hand and clean the band with a dry cloth.
  • Not 100% Accurate:- At first I got confused on how Charge HR counts steps taken on stairs. For example, if you go up the stairs, it will count each and every step but when you go down the stairs, it skips all those steps. Now after this confusion and scrolled through frequently asked questions, someone asked ”why Charge HR step count so different from other Fitbit trackers?”…..Here is Fitbit’s reply……”Charge HR has been designed for your wrist, every time you move your body and not your arms, your readings will be different. Additionally, if you wear Charge HR 24/7, you might see a few more counted steps. This is not different from other wrist-based trackers on the market”

Practically, when you climb stairs your hands will also move and when you’re going down stairs your hands are more likely to be intact, that is to why Charge HR does not count them as steps. This device has a motion sensor. So every time your hands move, the device will count that as a step. The only way of limiting errors is by reducing on unnecessary hand movements. If you want to engage in any activities which require only hand movement, I suggest you take off Charge HR from your wrist. In that way, it will only show steps taken.

  • Extra Floors Climbed:- Every now and then you will see some extra floors counted. Charge HR was tailored to count floors climbed however it is not that accurate. It uses an altimeter which senses and calculates altitude basing on atmospheric pressure. But one thing you have to know about these gadgets is that they can be as perfect as humans. It’s altimeter gets confused sometimes by wind, weather changes or even opening a door can make Charge HR take that as an extra floor. This is quite disappointing because I have too much respect for Fitbit as a company. I have checked there help section and they state that Fitbit’s engineers are aware of the floor count error and they’re working on it. Once this gets fixed, you will have to update your firmware and update your Charge HR which is a brilliant idea.
  • Colors and Sizes:- As of now, you will get this tracker in black, plum, tangerine and blue. By default you can’t change Charge HR’s wristband as it is with Flex, so order for a color which suits your style. When it comes to size, the small band fits a wrist between 5.5 – 6.7 inches, and yet the large band fits a wrist between 7.6 – 9.1
  • Using Charge HR for Non-Step based activities:- By default, this device was tailored for step counting and other related step related activities like jogging / dancing. However you can as well use it to track a few things for non-step taking workouts. This can be done by logging those activities on your dashboard. You will be in position to know how many calories you have burned during that particular exercise. Fitbit suggests you use the exercise mode feature found on Charge HR. Once this exercise mode is switched on, the watch will gain the capacity to track most activities which are not related to step taking.
  • Compatible mobile App:- I have seen many users and interested buyers asking if Fitbit Charge HR App is compatible with their smart phones. The truth is that, Fitbit App can work on over 120 Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices. If you have an old version phone which does no use any of those three operating systems, you might consider buying a new smartphone via AMAZON. These phones are not expensive, last month I bought a SONY XPERIA at $150 and now the price has been slashed down.
  • Tracking your heart rate:- Fitbit Charge HR has a continuous heart rate monitor sensor which tracks your pulse and heart beat. But many users ask how this heart rate tracker works?…..When the heart beats, it pumps blood and capillaries s expand and contract during blood movement throughout the body. The volume of blood pumped by the heart will determine on how big your capillaries will expand. Fitbit Charge HR features PurePulse LED lights at the bottom of the wrist. These detect blood volume changes as the heart beats. This heart rate monitor sensor uses a certain algorithms to measure your heart rate and these calculations will be displayed on the screen in a systematic way making it very easy for you to understand.
  • Calculating steps when pushing a stroller or carrying a shopping cart:- Not everyone gets time to jog, but majority of us do weekly shopping at the mall / supermarket. I advise you to wear this activity tracker to a mall because it will count each step you make while pushing that stroller. Fitbit Charge HR is somehow perfect when it comes to step counting compared to other fitness trackers. However, when pushing a stroller or holding a shopping cart, your hands will not be moving that often, so your step count will be lower than your normal walks which involve hand movement.
  • Picking up readings when typing:- This question came to my head as I was writing the point above. I wear my tracker on the left and I do most of the typing using my right hand. But every now and then I have to use my left hand to complete some sentences. Remember, Fitbit says that Charge HR uses hand movements to count steps taken, when I type, I move my left hand less often but I also see those small movements counted as steps….hahahaha….this is wired. After noticing this, I went to Fitbit.com’s help section I found out that they had addressed this issue. According to Fitbit, these few added steps picked up when you’re typing should not be a big deal. Actually, what you can do is to check your device settings and reduce on its sensitivity that will reduce on these errors.

FITBIT CHARGE HR - Specs 1

SPECS:

  • Wrist band size:- Large fits wrists 6.2” – 7.6” & Small fits wrists 5.4” – 6.2”
  • Suitable operating temperature: -4° to 113° F
  • Charge HR’s maximum operating altitude: 30,000 feet
  • Battery type: Lithium-polymer (lasts up to 5 days – rechargeable)
  • Use Bluetooth 4.0 as its radio transceiver
  • Sweat & splash water resistant (don’t swim & have a shower with this device on your hands)
  • It’s memory can track and store data for 7 days. (Wirelessly sync data when memory is full)
  • Optical heart rate monitor
  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • Altimeter
  • Vibration motor
  • OLED display
  • Syncing range: 20 feet (but syncing to mobile app will require you to have both Bluetooth 4.0 and internet connection)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

FITBIT CHARGE HR - Specs

Is it possible to change my Charge HR clock to 24hrs?

Yes, it’s possible. All you need to do is to go settings and click personal information; you will see the option for 2hr clock.

 

Should I set my Fitbit to exercise mode before working out or it will track my data even when I don’t set it to exercise mode?

If you want to track all activities, I suggest you set your device to exercise mode, in that way, it will track each and every activity during the day and when you go to be, set it to sleep mode. On the other hand, if you forget, the pulse sensor will be in position to track hear beat changes and at the same time it will be in position to estimate burned calories.

 

If I buy from AMAZON STORE, do I get a warranty Just in case something happens?

Amazon is an established e-commerce store, if you buy a product and you don’t get happy with it, you will have 60 day money back guarantee or you get a replacement. You will not be charged any single penny for shipping. (that is if you want a replacement)

 

I do sprint running, but does device have a stopwatch

No, it does not have a stopwatch. In that case, I would suggest you buy Garmin Forerunner Gps watch. It has that feature.

 

Does this model also count arm swings as steps taken?

Probably yes, according to what I read on Fitbit.com, they say that arm swings might be counted as steps, though the difference on numbers will be small. Wristband fitness trackers have just hit the market, it is the future of fitness technology but no company has perfected it yet. I’m sure in the long run; Fitbit and other related companies will sort this error because it results into inaccurate results.

Is Fitbit Charge HR waterproof?

According to its description & specs, this tracker is water resistant but they advice you not to swim / have a shower with it on the hand. It is only sweat, rain and splash proof. When it gets wet from sweat after working out, you have to wipe it dry and go for a shower, by the time you’re done with the shower, it will be dry and ready for use. I think the reason why you have to wipe water / sweat at the button is because it has a heart rate sensor, this feature might not function well if the hand is moist.

 

Can I use the same charger cable on both small & large Fitbit charge HR?

Yes. By default the charge pin is of the same size, it does not change. Your charger pin will enter both sizes. Hope this makes sense to you.

 

Is it possible to use Fitbit Charge HR on Windows XP?

According to my knowledge, Windows XP has been discontinued by Microsoft so I doubt if other tech companies support it as well. However, you can give it a try and see, but if it manages to install, it might not update. My other suggestion is to upgrade from XP and get the latest version on windows, in that way you will enjoy all Fitbit features.

 

Should I buy a wireless sync dongle?

The truth is that this device comes with its only wireless dongle, so there is no reason why you should waste your money on a new dongle.

 

Is the small size for women only?

That depends, in my opinion; you should buy a size suitable for you. Some men have small royal hands so they look better with a small size and others have big hands which look better with a large size. Don’t get shocked when you find a woman wearing a large size.

 

How do I navigate this tracker to see more data, the screen seems small to me?

True, Fitbit Charge HR’s screen is small, but you can view your data in 3 ways. [1] Tap the button on the side and navigate through data, it will show up on the screen as you tap. [2] Tap the screen and scroll through data, the same way you do with your smartphone. [3]

 

I always workout by a rowing machine, But how accurate is Fitbit Charge HR?

Wristband fitness trackers are still new on the market, there technology is still in advancement stage, so don’t expect perfection. It does not matter if you use this device or any other related fitness tracker. But you will get about 80-90% accuracy and that seems okay for a new technology. I’m sure as time goes on, all small minor errors will be solved and finally we shall have an accurate activity tracker.

 

Since it has a heart rate monitor, can I use it to read my blood pressure?

Definitely NO…..All it can do is to measure your heart rate, this data is completely different from blood pressure readings so don’t mistaken them. If you want to know your blood pressure, I suggest you buy blood pressure reader. I saw some good ones on Amazon.

Is it possible to use Fitbit Charge HR with a non smartphone:-

No, Fitbit works on smartphones only. You will not be in position to install its App on a phone which does not have the following operating systems; iOs, Android, Windows (latest version). Smartphones are very cheap, if you can afford to buy a fitness tracker which costs $149, you can afford a $100 smartphone. Try to be flexible and move with the world.

 

Does this Fitbit track outdoor cycling activities?

No. Fitbit trackers don’t work well with cycling or swimming. That said, if you move your arm while cycling, it will record that as a step taken. The other funny option is to wear your Fitbit Charge HR on your leg. It will monitor your heart rate very well but I’m not sure of the other features. I guess I better give it a try and see.

 

Is it possible to connect Fitbit to a treadmill so that I can read results using the treadmill’s monitor?

Wow, I doubt if that is possible but it sounds like a cool idea. As of now, this fitness tracker can sync with your smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer. So the best thing is to put your smartphone in-front of a treadmill, data will be synced wirelessly and it will be displayed on graphical format making it very easy to read and compare results.

 

Does it display heart rate continuously?

If you tap the heart rate feature, you will see your current heart rate readings, however, after a while the screen will go in power save mode so you will need to re-tap it again to read know your current heart rate.

Is it possible to time a run with this activity tracker?

No, it does not have a stop watch. But the other option you have is to use clock features to time your run. But if you want accurate results, I suggest you get Garmin forerunner, it has all essential features for runners. Activity trackers are tailored for steps counts, general fitness levels, calories burned, hear rate monitors, sleep monitoring and daily fitness goal settings. But of you’re a serious athlete, all you need is a GPS enabled sports watch like Garmin Forerunner 620.

 

How do I sync Fitbit with a desktop computer which has no Bluetooth?

In the box where this product is packed, you will see a device which can help you sync data to a computer.

 

Can I set training zones with this device?

Yes. You can do that via Fitbit mobile application. One you open up your app, you will see that option for setting training zones. For example, you can set a heart training zone so that when you exceed that zone the device beeps and tells you to stop. This is a good feature because to stops from over exercising. Remember, too much of anything is bad.

 

Does Fitbit Charge HR work with Galaxy S5?

Yes. As far as I’m concerned, Galaxy S5 is a smartphone operating on Android. You have to download and install Fitbit’s Android app. If at all you change to another type of smartphone, all you have to do is to install the app.

 

Is Charge HR bigger than Charge?

I have compared both models, they look exactly the same. May be the only difference is in features but not the design. Charge HR has got a continuous hear rate monitor. That is the only unique feature, screen size is the same. May be the wristband has been modified a little bit. Charge  HR has a secure lock and its wristband has been designed like that of a normal watch though the rubber material used on Charge & Charge HR is the same.

Can you change bands like I can do with Fitbit Flex?

No. It is quite sad that you have to stick with default Charge HR band colors like; black, plum, tangerine and blue.

 

Do I get inactivity warnings when I sit for too long?

No. Fitbit One and Garmin Vivofit have this feature. So if you always need a reminder, I suggest you try any of those two trackers. Alternatively you can time yourself just like I do; I sit for one full hour typing and then put my laptop on a high table and type for another hour while standing and then walk around the house for 15 to improve on blood flow. I maintain this style of working throughout the day and I close my day with a short marathon.

FITBIT CHARGE HR Review

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CONCLUSION:

I have reviewed Charger HR and answered some of the most asked questions, hope this posts makes sense to you. Please if you have a question, you can post it here using the commenting box below, if I fail to answer it, other readers will help me do that.

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Researcher and Blogger....at YOSAKI.com. I keep on testing different things until I get what works and what does not work.

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