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Fitbit ChargeHR

from  $149.99+
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81 Global Score
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.
81

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Engadget Summary

The Fitbit ChargeHR occupies a weird space in fitness wearables. Its watch-like design and heart rate monitor make it a little too hard core for many casual users, but an unreliable HR tracker, a lack of real waterproofing and no GPS mean it isn't good enough for more serious athletes either.

The design of the ChargeHR is almost identical to the Charge, with the addition of an optical heart rate monitor and a traditional watch clasp, the latter of which Tom's Guide found "much easier to put on my wrist." Wired found the rubber of the band "exceedingly soft" and "velvety to the touch." However, though the ChargeHR doesn't appear to cause rashes the way the recalled Fitbit Force did, TrustedReviews did find it "occasionally itchy to wear," and PC Mag noted that the inside of the band isn't textured to improve airflow. The latter would have been useful given that the ChargeHR is somewhat water resistant (to 1 ATM), with Tom's Guide finding "you can safely take this device in the shower" but it's "probably best not to go swimming with it."

Like most Fitbit products, the ChargeHR does a decent job tracking steps and sleep, with both PC Mag and DC Rainmaker finding it "reasonably" accurate. Unfortunately, it falters when taking heart rate thanks to its somewhat loose design, which allows light to leak under the band and mess up the readings from the optical sensor. Re/code says it "rarely matched the reading I got from a chest strap," but both CNET and TechRadar found to at least be consistent. This is especially helpful when looking at those readings in the Fitbit app, which TrustedReviews says is still "one of the best fitness tracker companion apps for simplicity and ease of use." But CNET was a little disappointed at how the plethora of charts felt "a bit arcane for a newcomer to fitness" and didn't offer any planning or analysis.

The ChargeHR occupies a middle ground between the relatively casual Flex and the more advanced Surge, and it fills that niche rather nicely for existing Fitbit users. But, while the ChargeHR is certainly a better buy than the regular Charge, it doesn't have any standout features for those who might want to make the switch from a rival product.
81 Global Score
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.
81

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Scores

Engadget

Not yet scored
 

User Reviews

50
terry75
Everything i need and the app is great when at work or home however once at...read more
60
cobaltred
Connecting the Fitbit HR to the app has been a problem from the first day. Always...read more
100
aarturne
I have had my Charge HR for over 6 months. I love this thing. It does everything...read more
Write a Review

Score Breakdown

 
79
Average user Score
 
50
terry75
09.20.15
Everything i need and the app is great when at work or home however once at the gym not so good in fact pointless. I was hoping to keep track of my workouts on the treadmill but once you start to sweat the heart rate stops working the blue-tooth dose not connect to the treadmill at any time i paid more hoping the heart rate would give more but i still need my cheap HR strap when running . If you want to keep track of your day when at work and home its great just no good when you workout
 
60
cobaltred
07.21.15
Connecting the Fitbit HR to the app has been a problem from the first day. Always some kind of connections issues - restart bluetooth, cannot find device etc. Secondly, why does it need the phone to be online before it can sync? I thinks that is really silly when the transfer to phone is actually by bluetooth.
 
100
aarturne
07.09.15
I have had my Charge HR for over 6 months. I love this thing. It does everything that the other fitness trackers do but with the battery life to actually make it usable.
 
90
cediener
05.30.15
The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - Engadget
 
80
rflnogueira
05.07.15
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadget
 
90
varera
03.28.15
Very nice all around fitness tracker. It automatically logs sleeping as well, which is great. I admire silent alarms, they are quite handy. Comfortable on the hand, easy to use, with iPhone app it is informative and effective.
 
60
rich0051
02.09.15
Over all the design and fit is very well done, but I question the accuracy of both flights of stairs climbed and heart rate. For and example one day i was credited with climbing 50 flights when I know i only went up 2, 2 days before that i went up and down my apartment stairs 4 times( 2 flights each time for total of 8) and was only credited for 3.As for the heart rate, this is were it really fails and the reason for my low rating. When sitting still or sleeping it seems to be within a few beats of a chest strap, but the second any type of movement is involved it becomes laughably inaccurate. While doing one workout my chest strap read 150 to 165 for a solid 20 minutes, during that the fitbit never read above 130, and normally read around 115. On separate workouts I have tried loosening the band, tightening the the ban, moving it way up my forearm, and even putting the display on the inside of my wrist which fitbit tells you not to do. None of these positions gave better readings. These were fairly high motion cardio workouts but makes it pretty much useless to make sure you’re working out in the right zone. When used on a stationary bike it worked better but still managed to be about 15 beats per minute off most of the time.What I do like is the steps and distance seem to be fairly accurate. The sleep tracking is very close to what my beddit reads and how I feel in the mornings. I also really like the caller ID function.If I were to redo my purchase. I would have rather not wasted the money on the HR version and just gotten the normal charge, or more likely gotten a model/brand that links to a chest strap heart monitor for workouts.
 
100
RazvanClaudiu1
02.04.15
OK, so when it comes to the Charge HR, there are two questions that must be answered.1) Is this a good choice for someone new to fitness trackers?2) Is this a good upgrade for someone already in the ecosystem?1) Relatively yes. It is not the best band on the market and the competition is very high. The JawBone is a good competitor. FitBit goes for simplicity and JawBone for style. Plus, FitBit is made for counting steps while products from Nike track activity in general. It is comfortable, it works, it doesn't break. I can't say that it is a best buy for a first time purchase but it is in the top 3.2) YES. Upgrading from a Flex, the Charge HR comes with many advantages. The first one is the display, which means that I don't have to keep the bluetooth on on my phone to check my stats. Stats were always displayed on FitBits but on the Flex, it was through five LEDs. It was great enough but this is a plus.Second, it is a watch type of bracelet. Far more comfortable and easier to put on. Impossible to lose this time, I've lost my Flex several times in the past when changing clothes. Third, automatic sleep tracking. It actually works. I don't know if it is based on HR too but it tracks with amazing accuracy. This comes as a huge advantage since you had to toggle sleep mode manually on older models (something that you may usually forget to do also).Fourth, the HR sensor. Now, if you want this for the HR alone, it won't do. It updates every five second or so I think. It is accurate but it is more accurate for noticing long term trends and not so much for exercising. I've tested three different HR trackers and they display within 2bpm. Finally, smartwatch functions. I haven't used the phone notification yet but the watch comes in handy. I still reach for my phone but from time to time, I take notice of it. Everything else is the same. Smart alarms work great, tracking steps work great (unless you are on a treadmill) and the general build quality is very good. It is somehow discreet (but bigger than the flex, due to the screen) and fits almost any outfit. However, it is not as good looking as the Jawbone. The Altimeter works OK but it is sometimes fooled by the subway. Finally, it is not water proof anymore. So don't take it in the pool. You can risk in the shower but no pool or sauna.So, should you upgrade? The upgrade is like from an iPhone 4S to iPhone 5S. Not very different but everything better. Should you pay $120 to upgrade right away? No. My Flex was broken so I had to upgrade. The Flex was at half the price but I've decided to go with the Charge HR. Should you upgrade eventually? Yes. If you have your Flex for three - four months, keep it for at least six - one year. It is a great device. If you have it for one year, like I have, yes. Razvan
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