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Fitbit's Charge 2 helps keep your heart in the zone

The update also lets you pause workouts and assists with breathing exercises.
Fitbit's Charge 2 helps keep your heart in the zone
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|December 21, 2016 3:49 PM

We like Fitbit's Charge 2 fitness tracker, but there's no question that it has room for improvement -- in particular, it could do with better guidance when you're in the middle of some activities. Thankfully, you're getting just that. A just-launched firmware update for the Charge 2 has added a slew of genuinely practical features highlighted by heart rate and breathing help. There's an upgraded heart rate zone display (shown at top) that makes it easier to tell whether or not your blood is pumping as quickly as it should. If you need to step up the intensity, you'll know with a quick glance. The breathing-oriented Relax mode, meanwhile, now has Apple Watch-style vibration cues so you don't have to stare at the screen while you calm down.

Other upgrades will definitely be noticeable. You can finally pause workouts, preventing you from ruining your stats when you stop at a crosswalk. A Do Not Disturb option saves you from annoying others at the movie theater, and you can see the exact battery life percentage on-device to avoid running out at an unexpected moment. And if you're all about precision, a new clock face shows the time down to the second.

Many of these updates will seem obvious or a little familiar (especially if you've used a smartwatch), but that's really the point. While Fitbit is still the reigning champ in wearables, it can see both rival fitness tracker makers and smartwatch companies in its rear view mirror. If it doesn't nail the features you're increasingly coming to expect from wrist-worn devices, it's all too easy for you to switch to a rival.

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Fitbit's Charge 2 helps keep your heart in the zone