It’s been so long since the Charge 5 launched that the newly announced Fitbit Charge 6 has a whole lot more Google inside it than was previously the case. That’s because, in the intervening time, Google completed its assimilation of the fitness tracker company.
Long story short, there’s a new member of the Charge family. Unusually, if you’ve been doing this for a while, the announcement turned up on Google’s website rather than, say, Fitbit’s. It also appears there but it’s just a little weird to see Google taking the lead.
Google’s Charge 6
Since this is a Fitbit wristband, the Charge 6 closely resembles its immediate predecessor, the Charge 5. Rounded edges for the OLED display and a smooth transition from the device itself to the various wristbands characterise the lineup, but there is one big design difference. You just can’t see it. Google has brought back the physical button, chucking out the inductive key that could be a bit hit-and-miss. But, since we’re in the future now, the button also supports haptic feedback.
But that’s not the main reason why you’ll want a Charge 6 on your wrist. Fitbit/Google reckon that this device features the brand’s most accurate heart tracking yet, supported by a new algorithm that uses machine learning. It won’t track anything new — afib assessment and heart anomaly tracking are still options — but it’ll apparently do these tasks better than ever. The Charge 6 also has the ability to connect to certain workout equipment in order to give exercisers accurate heart rate info. That could be fun.
Elsewhere, Google’s influence is plain. Google Wallet is supported by the device, letting you pay for items by tapping the band on payment points. That’s not new, but Google Wallet (which replaces Fitbit Pay) is. Users can also control YouTube Music (you’ll likely need a Premium subscription) or use Google Maps navigation on-wrist. Those aren’t terrible additions. But there is a new requirement — you’ll need a Google account to use the Charge 6. We were miffed when Meta did that for the Meta Quest 2 and we’ll probably be similarly annoyed here.
Otherwise, tracking and features are classic Fitbit. It’ll keep an eye on sleep and stress as well as movement, the tracker arrives with a six-month subscription to Fitbit Premium, and it’ll have all the same survivability as previous trackers. The one thing we’re really interested in is local pricing. It’ll see a price drop overseas, a change that, if it makes it here, will make this the most affordable Charge we’ve ever seen at launch. Expect to pay at least R3,000 ($160) when the Fitbit Charge 6 turns up later this year.