July 5, 2020


Connecting People

Fitbit Charge 4 on long-term test: Good features, but battery life with GPS is an issue

Wristband wearables have come a very long way, and these times we anticipate them to give GPS, heart charge checking, alarms and a assortment of handset connectivity characteristics. The £129.99/$149.99 Fitbit Charge 4 has all of these, moreover a mix of other characteristics, some of which Fitbit calls ‘apps’. You can select to show or not show these wristband applications, which include a contactless payment wallet known as Fitbit Pay, on the device by producing alternatives in the Fitbit smartphone app (iOS or Android). Pay £149.99/$169.ninety five for the Special Version and you get a woven again wristband rather than a rubbery one particular. I have been utilizing the Charge 4 for a number of weeks, and give these observations as a observe-up to Matthew Miller’s April overview.

The Fitbit Charge 4 (£129.99/$149.99) delivers heart-charge tracking, built-in GPS, objective-based work out modes, water resistance, sleep checking, notifications and on-band applications.

Photographs: Fitbit


The common wristband can be changed with vibrant or woven alternate options.

Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The total structure is acquainted to any individual who has a past Fitbit Charge device: an elongated touch monitor a one side (touch) button on the still left edge of the Charge 4 (if worn on the proper wrist) and a detachable wristband that is quickly changed with vibrant alternate options. The Charge 4 will come with two wristbands and I discovered the small one particular was great for me. All but the largest of wrists really should be accommodated.

The grey OLED touchscreen is substantial and you navigate around it utilizing the side button and a mix of monitor sweeps and faucets. It can be really uncomplicated to get employed to how things function. Tapping on the clock experience toggles via metrics like methods, length, and heart charge. A assortment of faces can be established displaying different alternatives of metrics, moreover time and date, by using the Fitbit smartphone app. Sweeping proper to still left brings up many wristband applications that have been enabled in the smartphone app.

Primary exercise tracking will work great. You can inform the smartphone app your regular stride lengths for both of those operating and strolling, and it shares this with the Charge 4, which can then change paces into length. It can be not fantastic, but I have always discovered Fitbit gadgets to be really exact when analyzed on measured distances, and that remains the case with the Charge 4. 

The Charge 4 will mechanically detect when you are operating, biking, on a treadmill or strolling, and it is water resistant to the extent that you can swim for up to fifty metres donning it without the need of adverse impact. If you are severe about cross-instruction with these varieties of functions, then you may well want a more refined device that can produce a greater assortment of metrics. But if you are just hunting to do a certain amount of methods or go over a certain length, then the Fitbit 4 will work very well, such as issuing alerts when you reach your preset plans every single working day.

With a heart charge keep track of on-board, the Fitibit Charge 4 can do appealing things like measure your resting heart charge, established exercise zones and report on these, and — new for this product — give a report of Energetic Zone Minutes. This is a calculation based on age and resting heart charge, and the thought is to reach a objective of one hundred fifty minutes a week in your Energetic Zone. It can be really a intelligent thought for those people utilizing a Fitbit to burn calories or lose excess weight. Just ambling around is a lot less beneficial in this regard than going a bit more quickly, and producing your heart function a bit more difficult. As your resting heart charge lowers, the Fitbit alterations its goal minutes, so in idea you can find always a appropriate objective to goal at. Complete reporting entire with graphs is accessible in the Fitbit smartphone app.

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Of all these metrics I discovered the resting heart charge information particularly handy. I have found from past Fitbit use how my heart charge fluctuates if I have a cold or fever, and how it falls as I get fitter, climbing as my health and fitness wanes. These metrics can assist people today keep track of their progress together a health and fitness trajectory.

The sleep tracking is also handy. I like to hold an eye on the hours I spend asleep, as very well as checking my sleep high-quality to make sure I am not short-changing myself. The Fitbit app has some properly offered graphics displaying total sleep hours and durations of restlessness. If you genuinely want to weigh in with the metrics, the Fitbit app offers you a sleep score based on the high-quality and length of sleep, with a rating these kinds of as ‘fair’ or ‘good’ for every single evening. 

As for the more characteristics, I failed to trouble with the Spotify controls, Fitbit Pay (a new function with the Charge 4), the weather conditions app, or notifications. My handset is the go-to put for this operation, but I can see how some people may obtain them handy. What I like a ton is the silent, vibrating alarm, which is solid adequate to wake me, but too refined to wake a person else.


The Charge 4’s demand cable is rather short, and fiddly to engage.

Picture: Fitbit

The battery is rated to previous for 7 times presented you are not utilizing GPS, in which case it is only superior for five hours. This fundamentally rendered the GPS unusable for me on very long weekend walks, even if I began with it absolutely billed. Which is a shame, as GPS is a big promoting position for the Charge 4. I discovered the demand device to be a bit of a fiddly in good shape, and I had to double-test that it was in put appropriately. Also, its cable is really short, which meant my standard desktop demand station was just a small uncomfortable to use. Very long phrase this would probably be really an issue.

General, the Fitbit Charge 4 has some excellent characteristics and is a superior step up from the Charge three, whilst the Fitbit app displays a ton of really advanced information in an obtainable way. Keen sporting activities people today will want a more time-long lasting battery for GPS use and more granular metrics, but as a health and fitness tracker for standard wellbeing the Charge 4 does very very well.

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