Fitbit accessories are definitely not holding back on new releases this year. 2016 has seen them offer us the Alta and the Blazeand the firm has come out with two new sequels; the Fitbit Flex 2 and the Fitbit Charge 2. Retailing at $149.99, Fitbit Charge 2 is cheaper than the Blaze but more expensive than the Alta. The price is the same to that of the Fitbit Charge HR when it was first released but the Charge 2 brings with it more features which include a larger screen, switchable bands and guided breathing as well as data tracking via VO2 Max.
The Charge 2 comes with the signature Fitbit look, making it similar to the previously released Charge and the Alta. The new release differs based on its sleekness as it has a larger black and white organic light emitting diode (OLED) screen which is four times larger compared to the original Charge. The silver body also gives it a fashionable look and the same clasp system used on the previous Charge devices is used on it making it easily adjustable as well as an easy wear.
Metrics on the wearable device are accessed by tapping on the screen and pressing the side button switches between modes followed by swiping down on the display to go through exercises. The complexity of the device seems to be acknowledged by Fitbit since hints on how to operate the wearable are displayed on screen over the first hours of usage.
The design is definitely pleasing and this can be credited to the larger display which offers a view of more information without having to deal with a bulky device. The display’s sensitivity is questionable though since it seems to need to be positioned in a certain way for it to register an arm turn. The screen also failed to illuminate properly on occasion.
Band replacements are available on the device with the Classic band costing $29.95 while the special editions bands are pricier at $179.95. Luxe leather bands are also available at $69.95.
Giving the side button a long press makes the device start tracking workouts and a summary of the same is available in the app later on. The new release also features SmartTrack, which automatically pick up on running, cycling and other user exercises and also automatically detects sleep, floors climbed and hourly and minute activity. The sleep tracker is highly accurate but the lack of a sleep-mode adjuster makes it light up the room in cases of tossing around in bed.
VO2 Max, Guided Breathing and Heart Rate Training
The Cardio Fitness Level on the Fitbit app represents the VO2 Max which is a new fitness metric to be used by the techfirm to measure your heart rate while you sleep with the Charge 2 on. Data from this feature is slightly concealed and is only accessible on the Fitbit app dashboard’s heart rate tab.
The guided breathing feature on the Charge 2 takes the heart rate to establish a favorable rhythm, which marks the first time Fitbit has employed heart rate variability on its tech. The device guides you to breathe in sync with an animated pulsing circle on the display.
The PurePulse sensor on the Charge 2 correctly tracks resting heart rate but the high intensity trainings used to test it brought up some challenges with the device. This led to the conclusion that the device isn’t up to the rigorous high intensity sessions of the hardcore fitness lot.
The App, Notifications and the Battery
The app has a new addition compared to the prior versions as it now incorporates Challenges which is a creative Adventures tool that matches the number of steps you make to a “walk” on a hike. While notifications on the Charge 2 are displayed, they can’t be replied to or reviewed and there is no access to third-party platform notifications such as from social media.
The battery life of the Charge 2 is five days, depending in usage, which comes as a surprise because it matches that of the earlier Charges that came with smaller screens.
Introducing New Fitbit Charge 2
The Charge 2 is an upgrade from earlier releases by Fitbit and its new features (VO2 Max, sleek design and guided breathing) make it the firm’s most advanced fitness tracker yet. The features added on and the friendly price makes it a recommendable wearable for enthusiasts. However, lacking dedicated GPS and not being as water resistant as the Flex 2 makes it come off as a lifestyle device for the moderate trainer.