Fitbit Charge 4 review: still so good?
Fitbit has been quite successful with the Charge range for a number of years. Now you have the Fitbit Charge 4 presented some time ago. I checked to see if the tracker was still this good.
In fact, Fitbit has in comparison to the predecessor improved some things and integrated new features, although this may not be noticeable at first glance. Among other things, the wearable now has GPS, a new active zone minute feature that is similar to the rings on the Apple Watch, and a slightly modified case. We now want to take a closer look at how these innovations are noticeable in everyday life.
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Unboxing and initial setup
On the other hand, there are no changes to the packaging or initial setup.
The pack is still mostly white with some light blue accents. Fitbit has some again ProProduct images, several logos and some small inscriptions printed on it - everything as we already know it. Once you have removed the plastic seal on the bottom, you can pull out the box with the scope of delivery. This includes the fitness bracelet itself, a longer spare bracelet, a small charging station and several instructions.
Loyal readers of my Fitbit reviews already know that this is the first time I will mention the Fitbit app, which is available for Android and iOS. This is required for setting up batch 4. If you open the app and log in, you will see either your own in the top left Profilbild or an avatar if you haven't set one. If you press this button, the option to add a new device appears. As soon as you have selected the Fitbit Charge 4, the smartphone and the tracker look for each other. Once both have found each other, you have to enter the code that appears on the display on your smartphone. The rest happens automatically. It may be that the watch is still loading an update. Then you have to plan a little waiting time.
Design, workmanship and comfort
I originally thought (and wrote it that way in my first info article) that Fitbit simply took the case of the previous model for the Charge 4. If you look at the photos alone, you would actually think that this is the case. In reality, however, the manufacturer chose plastic for the case material of Charge 4, not the aluminum of Charge 3. I will explain in more detail later what the reasons are. Still, I find that the aluminum felt a little more premium.
Fitbit sells the Charge 4 in four different versions. There are three variants of the normal version and one variant of the special edition. With the normal models you can choose between the colors black, rosewood (purple) and blue / black. If you opt for the Special Edition, on the other hand, you will only get the black version, but with a black fabric strap and a reserve strap made of silicone, which is also black.
The Fitbit Charge 4 looks almost the same as its predecessor. So it's a compact fitness tracker with a small touchscreen display. Compared to the model from two years ago, I don't notice any significant differences in everyday use. I particularly like the fact that the display can be particularly bright. The back button on the left has also remained the same. Whereby, it's not really a button, but a capacitive surface that you can use to either wake up the wearable or take a step back in the user interface.
Let's take a closer look at the back. There you will immediately notice the heart rate sensor, which is always activated when you carry the tracker in your hand. Second, you can see three small connectors. These are there for the charging station. Then there are two buttons that can be used to detach the wristbands from the Charge 4. It's still easy as usual.
Despite the change to the plastic case, I have nothing to complain about when it comes to the workmanship. The case looks very robust and has no visible scratches (yet). In addition, the mechanism for the bracelets makes a very stable impression.
In terms of wearing comfort, it remains to be said that I believe that everyone can wear the bracelet without any discomfort. The Charge 4 comes with two differently sized bracelets, which means that there should be the right size setting for every arm circumference.
Straps & Bracelets
As is usual with Fitbit trackers, there are also some interchangeable wristbands for the Charge 4 in the company's online shop. These are divided into four different categories - classic bracelets, sports bracelets, Horween bracelets, and fabric bracelets. In these categories, the bracelets are available in different colors and, depending on the model, with various patterns. These start at 29,95 euros, while the Horween leather straps are available for 69,95 euros.
Internal components, operating system and battery life
The Fitbit Charge 4 comes with GPS. Yay! Fitbit has already brought a wearable with GPS onto the market, but that was a few years ago - the last time we had the sensor in the Fitbit Ionic seen. This allows distances covered during workouts to be recorded without having to be connected to the smartphone. I'll tell you later how well it worked in my test. What we already know from the predecessor, however, is the already mentioned heart rate sensor. It works like in other Fitbit trackers, so it constantly records the heart rate - both in everyday life and during workouts. This allows the wearable to determine heart rate zones and calculate the training intensity. More on that later.
If we remember the special edition of Charge 3, it is the only model with an NFC chip for Fitbit Pay. This year the normal version also got such a chip for the payment service. I explain exactly how this works in this article in detail. According to Fitbit, the battery life is up to seven days. This is absolutely true with normal use, but not when you do several training sessions a week.
The operating system has hardly changed at all compared to the Charge 3. It is still structured in the same way and in this respect is a bit similar to FitbitOS, which runs on the watches of the Versa and Ionic series. But not everything has stayed the same. For example, you can now set an alarm clock or view upcoming calendar appointments. This means you don't have to use your smartphone as often. This may seem a little ridiculous when you think of other wearables or smartwatches, but at Fitbit such features (unfortunately not yet) are a matter of course. The Spotify app is also new for the Charge series. However, this is only a controller, not its own app, where you can download music for offline use. This makes it unusable, at least for me, as I would like to download my music for running so that I can leave my smartphone at home. With the new GPS in particular, that would have been a real dream.
The Fitbit app is also back. They can be found in the App Store or the Play Store and can also be downloaded there for free. Since nothing has changed since the last Fitbit test report, I recommend that you there read what this can do.
A central point of a wearable is the tracking of workouts. The Fitbit Charge 4 collects data from the motion sensors, the already known heart rate sensor and the GPS. All data ends up in the Fitbit app after one session. In principle, training units can be started directly on the tracker, but only seven of them. These seven can be defined in the smartphone app. Unfortunately, the choice is not limitless here, competitionproproducts offer significantly more options here.
But I noticed that the measured data is very accurate - both the routes and the results of the heart rate sensor. I compared the data with the Apple Watch Series 3. New with the Charge 4 is that you can see on the map where you were in which training zone. This is often very interesting, especially for competition training. Furthermore, the active zone minutes are new. These are points that you get when you move. The aim is to collect enough active zone minutes every day. I think it's a very motivating feature.
Prices and availability
The Fitbit Charge 4 is available from the Fitbit, Amazon, MediaMarkt and Saturn online shops. While the normal version costs 149,95 euros, the special edition costs 169,95 euros.
Fitbit Charge 4: conclusion
Once again, Fitbit has managed to become a popular Profurther develop the product in a meaningful way. Good new features have been integrated without removing popular existing functions.
I liked the GPS, the active zone minutes and the training intensity map best. Thanks to the GPS, you can do a workout without having to bring your smartphone with you. The active zone minutes can effectively help you exercise enough every day, as you get an understandable visual representation of your current progress. And on the training intensity map you can see exactly how demanding a workout was. The possibility that you can now set an alarm clock directly via the tracker should also be mentioned positively. I think it's good that you have to pick up your smartphone for fewer and fewer things. Well-known things, such as sleep monitoring, have again fully appealed to me.
Let us now come to my points of criticism. The first concerns the case of the wearable. Even if I understand that this is now made of plastic thanks to the GPS, I fear that sooner or later it will get some scratches with everyday use. Standalone GPS is all well and good, and theoretically I could leave my smartphone at home while running, but I don't want to. This is due to the half-finished integration of Spotify, which doesn't let me save any songs on the watch. Hope Fitbit fixes this in the future. Last, but not least, I hope to be able to record more workouts in the future.
And I'm now answering the question in the title: Yes, the Fitbit Charge 4 is still so good despite the disadvantages. I am therefore already looking forward to the successor.
Thank you for providing the Fitbit Charge 4.