Last Christmas season, I included the Fitbit Charge 2 with HR as part of my Tech Holiday Gift Guide. And today, after testing it for over a month, I’m sharing my overall impressions. I’m also sharing why it’s a great tool to have to reach your fitness resolutions this year. Since I own an Apple watch, I thought it would be fun to compare the two as well. Here are my thoughts on the Fitbit Charge 2 fitness band.
Disclosure: The Fitbit Charge 2 device was provided by Verizon Wireless for review/demo purposes. All opinions are my own.
Fitbit Charge 2 Fitness Band: Basic Information
- The Fitbit Charge 2 is a heart rate and fitness wristband that features PurePulse™ heart rate monitoring. It monitors your calorie burn with better accuracy. It provides tools for you to analyze all-day and resting heart rate trends so you can see how your fitness levels improve. And it does all this without an uncomfortable chest strap.
- It also features all-day activity tracking and auto-exercise recognition with the SmartTrack™ technology. It automatically recognizes select exercises and records them in the Fitbit app. And the multi-sport tracking feature effortlessly reports runs, biking, cardio and more with real-time stats.
- Wear the fitness wristband all day for continuous activity tracking. The Fitbit Charge 2 tracks your steps, distance walked, calories burned, floors climbed, and active minutes. It will even notify you to take 250 steps each hour. You can review your stats each day to motivate you for the following days. That’s why it’s a great tool to have to reach your fitness resolutions and goals!
- It also has guided breathing sessions to remind you to take a time out. It also automatically tracks your sleep patterns, so you can monitor how long and how well you sleep.
- The GPS works with your compatible nearby smartphone too. So you can map your running route and show real-time stats like distance, speed, and pace.
- You can stay connected to smartphone calls, text, and calendar with the notifications on your tracker’s display.
- Aside from that, the Fitbit Charge 2 is also water-resistant. So you don’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain. Plus, the interchangeable bands let you mix and match your wardrobe with your band!
Now that you know the basic features, let me share with you my thoughts on the device. I’ll also be sharing some comparison with the Apple Watch along the way.
Setting up the Fitbit Charge 2 was super easy. All I needed to do was attach it to the cable included with the device and insert the USB to my laptop. From there, it was pretty straight forward. I installed the Fitbit app on the Moto Droid Z provided by Verizon Wireless and paired it with the Fitbit Charge 2, then I was good to go. One thing to note though, it took me some time to get used to tapping on the device. I feel like I have to press or hold harder to select options on the display.
Coming from an Apple Watch, I was impressed with the battery life of the Fitbit Charge 2. With the Apple Watch, I need to charge it everyday or at the very least, every 1 1/2 days. With the Fitbit Charge 2, I was charging it every 4-5 days. I charge it on my laptop while I’m working and sitting in front of the computer. And before you know it, it’s fully charged. It took about 1 to 2 hours to fully charge the device. Another thing that I love about it is that it emails me when the Fitbit Charge 2 battery is running low. So if I were in the computer busy with work and I forgot to check the battery, the email is such a convenient reminder to plug it in.
For over a month, I wore both the Fitbit Charge 2 and the Apple Watch to compare the performance. What I noticed was the huge discrepancy on the number of steps in both devices. I always had hundreds to almost a thousand steps more on the Apple Watch compared to the Fitbit Charge 2. So I walked and manually counted my steps for a couple of times. To see which is more accurate. I did three batches of 100 steps:
- Fitbit Charge 2, started with 994 steps
- After 1st batch of 100: 1084 – registered less than 10 steps
- After 2nd batch of 100: 1182 – registered less than 2 steps
- After 3rd batch of 100: 1284 – registered more than 2 steps
- Apple Watch, started with 1909 steps
- After 1st batch: 2014 – registered more than 5 steps
- After 2nd batch: 2112 – registered less than 2 steps
- After 3rd batch: 2204 – registered less than 10 steps
So more or less, both devices were as accurate as the other. But why was it at the end of the day, I have hundreds to almost a thousand more steps on the Apple Watch? I found out while I was putting dishes in the dishwasher. I had to do side steps from the sink next to the dishwasher – while reaching out to put dishes there. I noticed the Apple Watch counting those steps while the Fitbit Charge 2 was not. So it seems that for straight walks, both fitness trackers are on the same page. But when it comes to side or mini steps, the Charge 2 was more conservative compared to the Apple Watch.
Style and Price Points
I love that the Fitbit Charge 2 has interchangeable bands. But the Apple Watch still has a lot more options, style-wise. So I think it’s safe to say that Apple wins the style category. But when it comes to the price points, obviously the Charge 2 wins. It retails for $149.99, compared to the Apple Watch that starts at $269 for the Series 1. Of course, the Charge 2 doesn’t have the more complex features of the Apple Watch like being able to send SMS, heartbeat, sketches, etc. And it won’t be able to answer calls, or open and view apps on your phone. So it all boils down to whether you need a more targeted and more accurate fitness band – the Charge 2, or you want a smart watch – the Apple Watch.
F.Y.I. Fitbit has a smart fitness watch called Blaze that retails for $199. Might be a better comparison for next time.
Restoring to Factory Settings
The only thing I wish the Charge 2 had was the ability to factory reset. When it came to restoring or resetting it to factory settings, I had a hard time. Even after going through several forums and Q&A online, it seems like there’s no way of doing it. All I could do was to delete the Fitbit Charge 2 device on the app or on my Fitbit account to unlink my information.
I understand some people would want ANY old information to be deleted. Let’s say they are upgrading their device or giving their old Fitbit Charge 2 to someone else, family or friend. Well, if you remove the device on the app, and that same device is then linked to the new owner, then it will overwrite any information. However, on the first day you transfer or give it to the new owner, the steps, calories and other activities done on the Fitbit Charge 2 that same day will still be there. It will reset by midnight though. AND, no personal information like email notifications, etc. will be there once you un-pair the device with your phone or laptop. I still wish there was a factory reset though. It just gives you that assurance.
If you’re on a budget and want a great and dependable fitness tracker to help you reach your fitness resolutions, I’d say go with the Fitbit Charge 2. Functionality, accuracy, and performance-wise, I’m all up for the Charge 2! It really helped me stick to my goals. The hourly notifications that I need to walk 250 steps or so was really helpful. I prefer that over the stand up notification from the Apple Watch. It helped me monitor my workouts, calories burned, heart rate, and even my water intake (on the app). Style-wise, I liked my sleek black band because it can pass up as a bracelet or bangle accessory, and I can still wear a fashion watch as I like.
If I were to rate the Fitbit Charge 2, I’d give it about 4 to 4.5 stars out of 5. If you’re a gym buff or live a healthy and active lifestyle, this is a great companion!