Based out of San Francisco, like several other startups, Fitbit has released seven trackers to date since launching in 2007. As the company and the devices have developed from launch to launch, the Charge HR is the first to include a built in heart rate monitor and claims to track users cardiovascular efforts.
It tracks a user/wearers heart rate 24 hours a day, even when you sleep. It syncs everything to your phone and everything is recorded via a Fitbit specific application. It still looks like the older Fitbit bands, but it does more. The Charge HR is the same as a previous (failed) model, the Charge – a chunky rubber band about the width of a thumb. Aside form the design, the internal components allow Fitbit Charge HR to last “5+ days” per charge.
The Fitbit’s general activity tracking features are very useful and work. Like other devices in this field, it uses an accelerometer to measure activity, steps, and distance covered, an altimeter to monitor stair climbs while the heart-rate sensor constantly records beats per minute.
The best side of the Charge HR is tracking of general activity, alongside the app it is very user friendly and makes it easy to check your stats on the go. On the flipside, the heart rate monitor however does not offer a meaningful insight into much.
A more intuitive way of using the heart rate information is in the tracking of activity and combine it with other sensors for a much fuller picture of the users’ health. The way in which Fitbit makes use of the heart-rate monitor is to chart the heart’s activity through the day, concentrating on resting heart-rate and “exercise zones”.
Charge HR Sleep Tracking
As mentioned, the Fitbit Charge HR operates 24 hours a day and with this, sleep tracking is now performed automatically, meaning no more missed nights of sleep.
From the app, you can view a graph which shows a blue block of your sleep duration throughout the evening. The total time is listed in the app, along with the rest of the day’s stats. The block isn’t coloured to designate deep or light sleep as with other sleep trackers, but there are lines will tell you when you are restless throughout the nights sleep.
The Fitbit App
After you’ve installed and opened the app, you’re presented with all your data from the day or up until the point in which you check. You’ll be able to see how many steps you have walked, your heart rate data, distance travelled, calories burned, stairs climbed, amount of ‘active minutes’, bursts of stopwatch captured activity and sleep.
With so much information you are able to challenge yourself to beat a previous day or simply match a desired number.
The Good, The Bad and Conclusion
This instalment of Fitbit has left room for improvement in the next product – a promising start as a simple activity tracker but does not last as long as many will desire. The ability to track most of your daily activities is a huge bonus, but the lack of integration with a vital part – the heart rate monitor – is a little on the disappointing side.
If you fancy a Charge HR, it costs £120 and comes in black, purple, blue and orange straps.