Fitbit is expanding on their Charge range with the new Fitbit Charge 3. The company’s latest mid-range wearable tracker is water resistant to 50m, features a range of nifty exercise modes, and promises up to a whopping 7-day battery life. You can even get Fitbit Pay on it… but only on the ‘Special Edition’.
An interesting development is the addition of an SpO2 sensor – not a first for a Fitbit tracker, as it’s already available in the Ionic and the Versa. Fitbit’s been promising functionality that’ll harness the sensor will come with a software update… but so far, nada. The SpO2 sensor can estimate changes in blood oxygen levels and help track and monitor asthma, allergies, and sleep apnea. Maybe with the Charge 3 we’ll see updates to the existing Fitbits with it.
Other than that, the Charge 3 hosts a range of health and fitness tracking features, like the female health tracking component that was added to the Fitbit app a few months ago, and goal-based exercise modes for 15 activities, including swimming, biking, yoga, and weights, with personalised goals that you have to reach, or else… It’s great to see proper swim tracking added to the Charge range — typically it’s been absent and you’ve needed either a fancier (or strangely) or simpler Fitbit to enjoy the feature.
Fitbit is also working on a more focused sleep tracker that will launch later this year. This new tracker is called Sleep Score beta, and will use key metrics while you’re snoozing to provide you with an overall score of the sleep quality and the effects it could have on your health.
A couple of weeks back, FNB announced Fitbit Pay support in South Africa for the Versa and Ionic smartwatches, and it turns out the Charge 3 Special Edition devices will offer the contactless payment solution, too. Sadly, the feature isn’t coming to the regular Charge 3. Will it be enough of a carrot to get buyers to fork out the extra cash? We’ll have to wait and see. We suspect it might depend on how quickly banks other than FNB get on board with Fitbit Pay.
The Charge 3 will be available in South Africa from October, and will cost you R2,600 for the base model, while the Special Edition with Fitbit Pay will cost you R3,100 (plus you get an extra band for your trouble).
[UPDATE: Now that the Charge 3 is actually here, pricing has changed to R3,000 for the base, ‘classic’ model, and R3,500 for the Limited Edition].