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Fitbit Charge 3 review: the best fitness tracker of its kind

Fitbit Charge 3 test
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2019 TechnikNews)

It's been over a year since Fitbit introduced the Fitbit Charge 3 has presented and thus expanded the popular Charge range. I was finally able to look at the tracker and form an opinion.

Unboxing and initial setup

With the Fitbit Charge 3 you once again get the well-known packaging design. This means that on the outer shell, which was decorated in white, gray and blue, an image of the Proproduct, some logos and some inscriptions. If you remove the case and open the box, you can see the fitness bracelet, a small charging station, a larger interchangeable bracelet and some instructions. Don't expect any innovations here.

The first set up is also well known. In the Fitbit app, there is a point in the wearable settings for the setup of new devices. A list of the entire Fitbit range appears there, hidden in the Charge 3, which you select. The smartphone and tracker then search for each other and pairing takes place after entering a code that appears on the watch's display. After agreeing to the terms of use, some updates will be downloaded. The initial setup is completed after a good 15 minutes.

Design and workmanship

Fitbit Charge 3 test

The heart rate monitor measures continuously - except when the band is not worn. (Image: TechnikNews)

The Fitbit Charge 3 is largely made of aluminum and looks like a fitness tracker. Fitbit offers the case in two colors, namely black and rose gold. In my case, the black model with a black silicone strap was available to me. Alternatively, Fitbit has several variations and collections up its sleeve, just take a look at the website. For a band you usually pay between 30 euros and 100 euros in addition. There are similarly good (but mostly cheaper) alternatives on Amazon. Another nice bonus is that the tracker is waterproof to five ATM.

The news is that the bracelet works without any hardware buttons. Instead, the manufacturer built a pressure-sensitive point on the left that functions as a back button for navigation. Otherwise you won't find any conspicuous things, only a heart rate sensor, which continuously measures the pulse, and the contacts for the charging station are hidden on the underside. Connecting this is a little awkward in my opinion, as it is often not properly attached to the pins on the first try.

Fitbit Charge 3 test

The charging cable is attached directly to the tracker - on the other side it is connected to a power supply unit via USB. (Image: TechnikNews)

The touchscreen on the front is responsible for displaying the time and the most important information. This is based on OLED, cannot display any colors and is sufficiently bright in sunlight. So I always got along well with it.

But one thing made itself felt negatively: The raise-to-wake function VERY OFTEN did not do what it was supposed to, namely switch on the display when the user raises their hand. This is very annoying and shouldn't actually be the case. So I had to press the back button very often to see the current time or other important things.

Specifications and software

Like every other tracker from Fitbit, the latest fitness tracker packs a whole range of sensors. Including a heart rate sensor and a motion sensor. This makes it possible to record sleep, among other things. This is then documented in the Fitbit app along with the sleep index, which expresses the sleep quality as a number between 0 and 100. Works as far as it should, but the bracelet would occasionally collect data when it was in a pocket. I cannot say exactly why this is so.

Readers who will remember my previous Fitbit reviews will know that I was never satisfied with the way I got a record of the steps I took. I was always credited with more steps than I actually walked. Unfortunately, that's the case here too, I wondered when something would be done here.

GPS was not installed, instead the fitness bracelet uses that of the smartphone. A disadvantage for some, it didn't bother me because I get a detailed and accurately drawn route when I go running or cycling.

The package is powered by a battery that, according to the manufacturer, should last up to five days. With normal use, I was able to achieve this value without further ado. That's why I never had to take the charging station with me on longer weekends - one less charger to take care of. With light use, I even got through a week without charging. With frequent tracking of sports - more on this shortly - the charge had to be plugged in again after about four days. Still, that's a solid result too.

Fitbit installed an NFC chip in the special edition of the tracker, which is used for payments with Fitbit Pay. How this works exactly, I have recorded in a separate article. With the Charge 3 I couldn't get out of the serviceprobeer because the Special Edition was unfortunately not available to me.

Fitbit's own software runs on the wearable. The structure of the surface is very similar to Fitbit OS, just adapted to the smaller screen. In any case, I was able to find my way around quickly and always found everything I needed. There is only one smart feature, namely displaying notifications from the smartphone. And Fitbit Pay, you should be the proud owner of a special edition.

Record sports

Fitbit Charge 3 test

Training can be started directly on the tracker. (Image: TechnikNews)

Tracking sports on the Fitbit Charge 3 is pretty easy. The training can be started directly on the tracker itself - which five sports can be selected directly here can be specified in the app. In addition, you can choose from over 20 sports in the app and also start your training here, which can then also be carried out using GPSprois tocolated. For this function, however, the tracker must be continuously connected to the smartphone.

I personally have tracking while swimming probet, which was not really accurate and quite off the mark. Here I was shown more lengths than actually swum – the distance didn’t match either. GPS is rather pointless when swimming. When running, however, the Charge 3 does a good job and records reliably.

Fitbit app

Once again, the Fitbit app is required to use the tracker. These can be found free of charge in the Google Play Store and in the Apple App Store. The functionality did not change, you can still set up new devices here and view the data collected from them. For a more in-depth look, I recommend one of our previous Fitbit reviews.

Prices and availability

I have already mentioned a few times in this report that there is a Fitbit Charge 3 Special Edition. This costs 169 euros and comes with Fitbit Pay and a second silicone wristband. The manufacturer charges 149 euros for the normal version.

Fitbit Charge 3: conclusion

If you look around the market, you will quickly see that the Fitbit Charge 3 is the tracker that offers the most features and the best ecosystem at a reasonable price. And features like sleep monitoring work better with Fitbit than the competition because the manufacturer has more experience with the subject. Fitbit Pay is a nice addition.

If you do more sport, you should still consider using other Fitbit watches. Here you get a larger display on which more information is visible during the workout. While we're on the subject of workouts: recording the steps and that Protocolling of sports could still work a little more accurately. And the manufacturer could really work on one thing: the raise-to-wake function. Otherwise, the Charge 3 is a very successful tracker.

We thank Fitbit for providing the Fitbit Charge 3.

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David Haydl

David lives in Graz and has been there for around half a decade TechnikNews, also editor-in-chief for some time. He regularly provides the site with news, test reports and the like TechnikNews Weekly, which was his idea to launch. He likes to spend his free time outdoors, listening to a lot of music (and clearly too loud) and some podcasts on all kinds of topics, and also likes to go running. He enjoys the time that remains with his charming girlfriend or in front of the TV.

David has already written 1137 articles and left 106 comments.

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