The sports tracking could use a little work, but that’s par for the course for the Charge range. It’s a stylish, lightweight, and versatile tracker that’ll give you more than enough stats to get your fitness journey started.
So you want a new wearable fitness tracker? Fitbit’s Charge has been a stalwart of the company’s fitness line-up for ages for good reason, but the company’s recent acquisition by Google has turned up its best one yet. The Charge 5 is the first in the range to include a gorgeous colour OLED screen along with its usual run of GPS and tracking features.
Finding a new band
The Charge 5 looks fairly similar to the Charge 4, though some of the rough edges have been smoothed out. There are no buttons on the Charge 5 at all. That takes some getting used to. Navigation is all touch, with directional swipes handling most functions. A double tap on the screen works as your back button.
We’re not all that fond of how the band wraps around the wrist — previous models used more of a wristwatch design. You know, the same way you’d cinch a belt around your waist? This one is a little less secure. Eventually the band will wear enough that it’ll battle to remain fixed, but that’ll be measured in years.
Bits and pieces
There’s ECG tracking for a more accurate heart rate (but this wasn’t available at launch), the ability to track SpO2 (just bear in mind that this isn’t medical grade). Plus, there’s all the movement tracking you’re used to from the Charge. Not much has changed on that front. The Charge 5 works best picking up walks and runs, but it’ll also handle weights, swims, bicycle sessions and even interval training – with varying degrees of success.
Stress tracking is present in the Charge 5, giving you EDA tracking at a fraction of the price of the Fitbit Sense. It’s a decent little feature, but it does make the Sense a very expensive white elephant. Aside from fitness features, there are also on-wrist notifications. The screen isn’t suitable for replying and this isn’t a smartwatch replacement, but you’ll always know what’s happening on your smartphone, if that’s your thing.
And then there’s the metrics. Fitbit’s app is great about providing all sorts of insights, but the really deep data is locked behind a Premium subscription. The band comes with six months free. After that, you’re on the hook for about R155 a month.
Fitbit Charge 5 Verdict
This is Fitbit’s best-looking Charge yet. The colour OLED is an excellent addition, with the option to set it to always-on or lift-to-wake. We preferred the latter, for the battery extension. Then there’s the heart-rate tracker, which is top-notch. The sports tracking could use a little work, but that’s par for the course for the Charge range. It’s a stylish, lightweight, and versatile tracker that’ll give you more than enough stats to get your fitness journey started.
Display 1.04in colour AMOLED
Sensors ECG, SpO2, ambient light, optical heart rate
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.0, GPS+GLONASS
Battery Life 7 days
Waterproofing 50m (5ATM)