Fitbit’s Charge 5 packs an ECG and stress response sensor

ECG and EDA sensors help you monitor your heart health and stress response.


The trickle-down of features from Fitbit’s higher-end wearables to its everyday fitness trackers continues with the Charge 5. This new edition of the device is packing both ECG and EDA sensors, both of which were first found in the higher-end Sense, to better help you monitor your heart health and stress. Charge 5 also gets a few quality-of-life improvements compared to its predecessor, including a new body that’s 10 percent thinner and a new color AMOLED display with an always-on option.

But the real point of this new tech is to integrate the Fitbit into your daily health routines as something more than just a tracker. The ECG sensor will, naturally, help you check your heart’s electrical activity and check for signs of atrial fibrillation. The EDA, or Electrodermal Activity sensor (itself a fancier term for Galvanic Skin Response) is designed to measure the perspiration of your hands, which can be a marker for stress. As with the Sense, users can then be coached through a stress-reduction session if their stats get too aggressive.

Fitbit is also looking to bolster its $10-per-month Premium offering to encourage more of its hardware users to sign up to a monthly subscription. That includes a new Daily Readiness Score, which sounds a lot like Garmin’s Body Battery calculation, which will examine how ready you are to work out. It’ll do that by looking at your heart rate variability, recent sleep schedule and activity to judge if you should hit the treadmill or the couch that day.

Premium will also get a new collection of workouts from Les Mills to help coach you through the workout du jour. In addition, Fitbit is partnering with Calm, and Premium users will get access to “30 pieces of Calm content in seven languages,” with users able to run an EDA scan at the same time as listening to a Calm-created mindfulness session. Or they will be, since the material is expected to arrive at some point in September.

The Fitbit Charge 5 is available to pre-order today, and will cost $179.95 complete with six months of Fitbit Premium thrown in.