Is Fitbit Charge 5 Worth Buying At All: A Detailed Review
Fitbit charge 5, released by Google-owned consumer electronics company Fitbit in 2021, is the newest in a line of smartwatches that can help you track determinants of your health such as steps walked, heart rate, calories burned, sleep tracking, skin temperature, etc.
But is this new addition to the Fitbit Charge series worth buying? To answer that question, today, we will be delving deep into:
Large display that gives full visibility and small text readability, both indoors and outdoors
An abundance of a variety of trackers and sensors to keep almost all aspects of your health in check
Combines the best fitness tracking features of the Fitbit Charge series such as Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Versa
Much slimmer and ergonomic than Charge 4, while at the same time, much bigger and easier to use than Fitbit Luxe
The daily readiness score and sleep score
Fitbit Pay is compatible with users who prefer online payment
Will receive firmware updates for a while, with new features being announced already
What can be improved about this great fitness tracker:
Third-party app support is very limited
Music playback and music storage are not supported
Many elite features are not supported at launch, and often come only with a Fitbit Premium membership
Common smartwatch features such as altimeter or weather are not supported
No stairs tracking
Pricing on the steeper side
Great! Not that we know the good and bad about this product, let’s get into the deeper findings.
About the Fitbit Charge 5: Fitbit Charge 5 vs Fitbit Charge 4
According to a leading digital publisher, CNET, the Fitbit 5 fitness tracker combines all the good stuff from smartwatches, such as great battery life, compact design, ability to monitor almost all the determinants of the wearer’s health (has a health metrics dashboard, but more on that later), etc., in a low-cost, streamlined way.
And, as expected, the Charge 5 has a lot of improvements on the older Charge 4. These include both functional and cosmetic changes. Let’s look at some of those to not just gain a deeper insight into the new Charge 5, but also contrast and highlight the many improvements the Google-owned company has made on its older model.
Fitbit Charge 5 review and overview of basic features:
Whereas the Fitbit Charge 4 came with a monochrome display, the Charge 5 comes with a colored AMOLED display, much easier to see and read. And, this comes as a solution to many negative user comments on how earlier Fitbit devices were hard to read outdoors.
You can leave your Charge 5 on as long as you want, unlike the Charge 4. The clock face is always on display on the Charge 5. Although, refer to the next section on battery life to get a better idea.
#3. Battery life
Theoretically, the Fitness tracker can go for a week (up to seven days) on one charge, but that’s again, “on paper”, and that would include light usage. The GPS tracking feature is the main battery life drainer on this, and you can expect three to four full days of heavy usage on the Charge 5.
Plus, keeping it on standby will really take a toll on your Fitbit devices, in general.
This is what gets me excited the most. With the Charge 5, you get no actual physical buttons, which makes navigation more minimalist, and completely touch-dependent. Though this is similar to the Fitbit Luxe, it is much more convenient to navigate the Charge 5 owing to its larger screen display. Swiping gets you back or forward and double tap action gets you back to the default clock face screen.
Sensors, their accuracy, and their variety are the things that set an excellent fitness tracker apart from the rest. And, the Charge 5 does pack a wallop!
Heart rate variability can now be tracked, especially after setting out alerts for low or high heart rates. You can use the ECG sensor and the ECG app, which will be active after launch, to get alerts on any heart rate variability or irregularity.
SPO2 Concentration and skin temperature tracking
You can also monitor your SPO2 levels (blood oxygen saturation tracking) and skin temperature tracking. The latter is the EDA sensor or electrodermal activity sensor, an ingenious EDA scan that tracks your body’s stress responses through the quantity of incipient perspiration.
All this data from the EDA sensor and its EDA scan is tracked and can be managed and viewed on the app as a stress management score, which should be available to you once you’ve used the Charge 5 for a few days.
Sleep tracking and metrics
It also tracks the number of things while you are asleep, including restlessness, sleep tracking, as well as average resting heart rate (included only in Fitbit Premium subscriptions). All this is done as part of the sleep score, a unified score on your Fitbit Charge 5 that will help you track your sleep needs and requirements.
#6.Fitbit Premium membership
You get a six-month free trial on buying the Charge 5. The subscription gives you the most out of your Fitbit Charge 5. This includes Fitbit’s daily readiness score, which briefly explains how prepared you are for various workout activities, a sum of a lot of other related health metrics.
The Fitbit Charge 5 is one of the best fitness trackers in the market, and besides basic step tracking, it tracks 20 different workout types, to help you keep your routine going. There are five basic workout slots that can be swapped straight from your wrists.
#8. Water resistance
The Charge 5 is water resistant, but not unlike any other electronic device, it is not 100% waterproof.
The Fitbit Charge 5 comes equipped with built-in GPS tracking, and hence can help you track your metrics even if you leave your phone at home. Unfortunately, there is no way you can track your phone on your Fitbit devices.
Let’s look at the Fitbit Charge 5’s smart features!
Fitbit Charge 5 overview of Smart Features and Limitations
Is Fitbit Charge 5 Compatible with iPhone?
The Fitbit Charge 5 is a good fitness tracker, and one of the best parts is that it is compatible with both Android and Apple iPhone OSs, making it great for either smartphone users. However, one backside of using the Fitbit Charge 5 with iPhones is that you cannot send quick replies to smartphone notifications, a feature reserved just for Android smartphones.
Is Fitbit Charge 5 waterproof?
The Charge 5 is completely water resistant and can be taken down 50m underwater. This works very well with swim tracking, one of the twenty kinds of workouts or exercise modes supported.
Fitbit Charge 5 Faces
Suppose you are one of frequently changing watch faces. In that case, the series offered is quite limited, and conventional, unlike Fitbit’s elite smartwatches like the Fitbit Versa 3 or Fitbit Sense, or other Fitbit devices. There are a couple of digital clock/watch faces, but mostly it’s digital, as expected.
Does Fitbit Charge 5 have a Microphone?
Although the Charge 5 is a well-rounded off, excellent fitness tracker, there is no microphone feature. This means, for taking calls on your fitness tracker, you must go back to your phone to address these needs. Major, major limitation, if you ask me.
And although the large screen gives you ample screen real estate to really read texts and smartphone notifications, you cannot respond to them if you’re an iPhone user.
Does Fitbit Charge 5 support Voice Assistants?
For those users who depend heavily on Siri or Okay, Google, well, this is one feature that has not yet been included in this otherwise awesome, and debatably, best fitness tracker in its range. But, we are hopeful, given how software updates normally are done.
Does Fitbit Charge 5 support Third-party apps?
Talking of other limitations of Charge 5, well, the third-party app support is very limited on this. Things like Weatherapp, or altimeter support are not included. And, here I want to discuss another important aspect of the Charge 5: It does not support music playback or music storage.
There is no speaker of any kind on Charge 5. Unlike the Charge 4 which offered Spotify controls, the Charge 5 comes with no support whatsoever for music playback or music storage: the latter of which means there is no offline music playback supported either.
So, more or less, if you like to jog with music playback on your earphones or AirPods like I do, well, you have to carry your phone around on your workouts.
Does Fitbit Charge 5 have a Timer?
Yes, there is a stopwatch countdown timer that can help you not just time your workout but also use as a stopwatch to track your improvements, while working out. For more details on this, refer to the user manual on your Fitbit Charge 5 unit.
Fitbit Charge 5 Find My Phone feature
Although GPS tracking is enabled and works well on the Charge 5 (to be honest, there is a certain amount of lag whenever it starts up), there is no Find My Phone feature on the Charge 5. This again goes with the broader theme of the Charge 5 user always needing their phone around them to truly get the most out of their fitness trackers.
My favorite feature on the Fitbit Charge 5
Personally, this is a fitness tracker and not a smartwatch, and if you keep your expectations in check, the Charge 5 does deliver on a LOT of new upgrades, especially if you’re an existing user.
My favorite feature is the visibility that this new screen gives me. And, I have consciously gone for this very basic upgrade, because this is what you see every time you look at your Fitbit Charge 5. Anything that needs you to read, such as metrics or even the clock face, to even smartphone notifications, the Fitbit Charge 5 does deliver well.
Be it outdoors or indoors, the screen is bright enough and does not feel like something you need a magnifying glass to read.
Read on to know about one of the most interesting additions to Fitbit devices: Active Zone Minutes.
What are Fitbit Active Zone Minutes?
Fitbit’s Active zone minutes are one of the more elite features that the Charge 5 offers. As the name suggests, for suggested workouts, Fitbit Charge 5 counts your time spent on such activities, referred to as “heart pumping activities.”
This is based on the recommended level of fitness activities, which normally lies along the range of 150 mins of moderate activities or 75 minutes of heavy, more vigorous activities. This is one of the ways in which fitness tracking has become more actionable: for example, one minute in the fat burn zone gets you 1 active zone minute, while 1 minute in the cardio or peak zone gets you 2 active zone minutes.
Summarily, the more you work out, or the harder you work out, you get points, which has a psychological effect, making you feel rewarded and hence more in the zone while working out.
The level of personalization available with Charge 5 is also great. Your resting heart rate and other health metrics help the fitness tracking device give you a more streamlined level of working out, which gives you achievable targets for your workout sessions. And, depending on your particular workout day, the Charge 5 gives you alerts about entering or exiting your current workout zone.
This helps you keep your workout on track, and is one of the fitness features that I really liked on the Charge 5.
What is the daily readiness score on Fitbit Charge 5?
A fitness tracker tells you how much you’ve worked out. However, a good fitness tracker such as the Fitbit Charge 5 takes this one step further: With the daily readiness score that this device gives you, you can not just know when to start out heavier workouts, but also know when it’s time to relax a little with a rest day, or engaging in mindfulness sessions, or meditation sessions.
With a Fitbit Premium membership, you get the absolute most out of your Fitbit devices, and the daily readiness score is definitely one of the best fitness tracker features you get. Where other trackers tell you just what you’re doing, this feature tells you when to start going to the next step, but also when to take a step back, literally.
And, for users with stress levels higher than usual, this can be an excellent fitness tracker reminder to take some time off for mental well-being as well. And this takes into account all kinds of data including recent sleep tracking, heart rates, etc., giving you an easy-to-act-upon unified score.
What is Fitbit Pay?
Fitbit Pay is a new and seamless payment method introduced by the Google owned device. In theory, from Singapore to the United States, you can tap and pay from your smartwatch device anywhere they have an online payment option. All you need to do is check your bank’s eligibility on the Fitbit website to get started.
Fitbit Charge 5 Firmware updates
The Charge 5 is a new device and will receive updates for a while. One of the most anticipated updates, announced a few weeks before this article was published, is the Find Phone feature, one of the many complaints that users had.
This version of the Google software would be v1.171.50. Now only with time, users will see more and more upgrades and updates to their fitness trackers.
Is Fitbit Charge 5 FDA approved?
Post Google integration, one of the latest anticipated things on Fitbit devices, including the Fitbit Charge 5 is the atrial fibrillation or AFib algorithm. This will be part of a soon-to-be-announced Fitbit firmware update as well. And, good news for all health enthusiasts, as this algorithm has already received approval from the US FDA.
A result of a 2020 heart metrics study, conducted on around 450,000 participants, this algorithm was matched up against ECG patches to detect irregular heart movements. It seemed to be more accurate 98% of the time, according to the leading digital publisher CNET.
This means it is certified as one of the more accurate fitness trackers with regard to monitoring heart problems and gives a fairly accurate ECG as well.
Are Fitbit Charge 5 calories burned accurate?
Simply put, yes it is more accurate than most Apple watches or other brands’ devices, but also, no, it is not 100% accurate. In fact, the 2017 study that pitted the Apple Watch with the Fitbit Surge showed that the latter had a 27% median error rate, but was still better at tracking the number of calories burned than its competitors.
My recommendation would be to not take the readings as the ultimate truth. Instead, check with a pinch of salt and use it as a simpler indicator with regard to your total output.
In fact, with the Charge 5, there are many other metrics and factors that you can track accurately: use an amalgamation of all the health metrics dashboard stats, along with your daily readiness score to change up your workout routine.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does the Charge 5 track stairs?
No. Despite the multiple features that the Fitbit Charge 5 offers at a significantly slashed price, the feature for tracking floors, and in turn stairs, is not offered by this fitness tracker. This is to say, however, it does track step count, so walk on my friends and keep collecting the steps (and of course, taking full advantage of step tracking)!
What is the Fitbit Charge 5 Water lock?
As the name suggests, this manual Charge 5 feature helps you lock your Fitbit Charge 5 when getting into showers or before going to swim. This feature was not included with the Charge 4 and helps you maintain your fitness device and prevent unnecessary water damage to it. Basically, it locks all buttons to prevent activation by water. However, note that while your Fitbit device is water resistant, it is not completely waterproof, and contact with corrosive liquids like soaps and shampoos may damage it.
Which is better: Charge 4 or Charge 5?
The Fitbit Charge 5 is definitely more advanced and has many more new features than its predecessor, the Charge 4. For instance, it has an AMOLED display, an ECG sensor to detect symptoms of atrial fibrillation, and an electrodermal activity sensor for stress tracking. What’s more, you can unlock a world of new features with a Fitbit premium membership!
Is the Fitbit Charge 5 more accurate?
Yes. With its upgrades and additional features, the Fitbit Charge 5 is definitely a lot more accurate than most smartwatches and fitness trackers. Although accuracy is not everything, you can rest assured that this device reliably detects, identifies, and records your workout, steps, and heart rate, and sleep score. And, the best part is the daily readiness score which is a consolidated, actionable number that lets you know your readiness for the day’s workout.
Does the Fitbit Charge 5 have weather apps?
Simply, no. Although the Fitbit Charge 5 is a leaner and more affordable fitness tracker with most of Fitbit’s best smartwatch features, it has very limited third-party app support, which includes no Weather app support or even no altimeter, if you are a trekker or hiker.
What is Charge 5 Sleep Mode?
The Fitbit Charge 5 has a do not disturb mode (for shorter rest time) as well as a Sleep mode, which needs to be activated manually. The sleep mode gives your device an off time and needs to be switched off in the morning before you start using it again. We recommend getting the Fitbit Premium subscription to really get the most out of your tracker device, including sleep score, EDA scan, and daily readiness score.
Can Charge 5 receive text messages?
In short, yes. Your Fitbit Charge 5, the health tracker, can receive text messages. However, your phone needs to be paired and within 30 feet from your device for it to do that. And, if you’re an iPhone user, you cannot reply from your fitness tracker. However, given its bigger screen size, it is a really nifty way to sift through your messages at a glance, and the display is big enough to enable you to do that, without the need for magnifying glasses.
How long does the Charge 5 battery last?
The battery on a Fitbit Charge 5 lasts up to seven days, considering lighter use. However, leaving your device on all the time and using the GPS tracking feature will really burn through the battery fast. So, despite the theoretical week-long battery life, in real life, with moderate to heavy usage, the Fitbit Charge 5 gives you three to four days of continued use.
My take: Is the Fitbit Charge 5 worth buying?
I think the main issue with Fitbit Charge 5 is keeping the buyers’ expectations simple. The Charge 5 is not a smartwatch, but a fitness tracker with health features, designed to give you a rough overview of what you should do to improve your workout regimen. Besides this, it helps you keep a lot of things in check, including your heart rate, stress levels (using the EDA sensor), as well as sleep score. The idea is to use this health tracker to keep all aspects of resting, working out, and health in check.
As far as pricing goes especially the Charge 5 combines a lot of improvements in a larger screen and ergonomic form, with a lot of the smartwatch features that are found in Fitbit Premium devices such as Fitbit Sense.
So, if you want a comfortable fitness tracker with a lot of elite smartwatch features along with compatibility supported with both iPhone and Android devices, the Fitbit Charge 5 does come out on top.
Now It’s Your Turn
That’s all about Fitbit Charge 5 I had to share today. Which feature did you like the most? Did you have any experience that you want to share with us? Either way, let us know in the comment below.
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