Fitbit Charge 3 review: no need to change a winning recipe
Two years following the release of the Charge 2, Fitbit has decided its time to update its star model. That means the Charge 3 will have big shoes to fill if it wants to take over as the head of its class. So how did this new fitness tracker fare in our tests? Find out in our full review!
- Nice design
- Excellent battery performance
- 7 days of autonomy
- No integrated GPS
- Few third-party apps
Fitbit Charge 3 release date and price
Fitbit hasn't changed the price much for its new model. It's currently $129.95 for the classic model, which comes in two variants: blue gray/ rose gold aluminum and black/ graphite aluminum. The special edition is $149.95 and comes in two variants: lavender woven/ rose gold aluminum and frost white sport/ graphite aluminum.
Each fitness tracker is supplied in 2 sizes: S and L.
A formula for success
For its latest release, Fitbit didn't want to mess too much with the recipe for its bestseller . So you'll probably find the design of the Charge 3 to be a lot like the Charge 2. There's a central portion that houses the screen that is then attached to the wristband.
The wristband is made of silicone by default, but you can search for other materials in the brand's shop. The mechanism for fastening and unfastening the wristband is the same as on prior models and is very simple to use. All you have to do is press it down to unfasten the device.
One of the more noticeable new things about the design is the removal of the physical button. It's been replaced by a touch button (Fitbit calls this its "inductive button"). In addition to being more stylish, it's also easy to use. Some people might criticize its positioned on the left side. I personally didn't mind, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
Overall, the Charge 3 is a nice fitness tracker that will suit all users, even more demanding ones. Fitbit offers such a variety of bracelets that they will surely satisfy all tastes. As always, the finish is high quality and the stylistic fit between the bracelet and sensor is seamless. Finally, the lightweight (29 grams) ensures that it's plenty comfortable and waterproof (one of the new features on the Charge 3). So you won't have to be cautious while you're at the pool or the beach.
An OLED screen
Just like the previous generation, the Charge 3 offers a rectangular OLED screen where the wristband is attached . This time, however, it's a real touch screen, and it's quite reactive. The display has sufficient brightness that's visible in all circumstances, even in sunlight. I'd recommend leaving it in automatic mode by default. The resolution is also much better, so there's no unsightly pixels on the Charge 2.
Be default, you'll be able to see the time and your heart rate. Fitbit allows you to change the dials so you can see whatever information you'd like. If you swipe down, you can access your notifications. You can check your messages, calls and appointments. You can even answer a call if you'd like.
If you swipe upward, you'll find your data for the day and a complete dashboard on your heart rate, the distance you've run, etc. If you swipe to the side, you'll find the exercise menu, relax mode, weather, time, alarm and settings. To go back, just click on the touch button. The screen can also be activated with a double tap.
The Charge 3 will automatically detect when you're jogging or swimming (because yes, it's now waterproof to a depth of 50 meters). This automatic detection works well, but it's unable to detect breaks during your sessions.
Fitbit has nothing to prove when it comes to the effectiveness of its monitoring . Like any good fitness tracker, the Charge 3 offers different sensors to monitor your daily activity, including an optical heart rate sensor. The monitor provides precise readings and gives you an accurate idea of your heart rate.
The Charge 3 also includes a 3-axis accelerometer, an altimeter and a sensor for measuring your pulsed oxygen saturation (SpO2). This last measurement uses pulse oximetry to detect if you have breathing problems when you sleep. The device also allows you to use your smartphone to follow your jogging route.
Of course, all your physical activity can be found in the Fitbit app, which is available for free on the Play Store. The app is as easy to use as ever. The only downside is that there are still only a few third-party apps on the device. Please note that the new Charge 3 is also compatible with the Fitbit Pay function. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to test this feature during my test.
In any case, the Charge 3 will be suitable for the majority of users. Only athletes looking for more accurate data will be disappointed with this kind of fitness tracker. The data can't be synchronized with Apple Health or Google Fit.
A week of autonomy
Fitbit products rarely disappoint when it comes to autonomy , and the Charge 3 isn't an exception to the rule. The fitness tracker ensures an autonomy of one week! Yes, you read that right. That was Fitbit's promise and the device has more than proved itself in daily use. You can count on 7 days of battery life, even if you have notifications activated. That's compared to 5 days for the Charge 2. In this regard, it's an advantage that there's no GPS available, since it depletes your battery.
The device can also be recharged very quickly. In just over an hour, the Charge 3 will fully charge. The recharging system is also easy to use: all you have to do is plug in the central part of the device and you're done. Just be careful that you don't misplace the charger.
Fitbit Charge 3 technical specifications
One of the best fitness trackers on the market
The wait has been well worth it. The new generation of Fitbit's star fitness tracker appeals to and confirms the brand's strengths in the wearables market. The Charge 3 is definitely one of the best on the market.
It's compatible with all smartphones (Android, iOS and Windows Phone), and it will perfectly suit users looking for a simple, discreet and comfortable fitness tracker. The Charge 3 is an ideal companion to follow your physical activities (whether it's walking, jogging or swimming) as well as monitor your sleep. There's also excellent autonomy and a great Fitbit ecosystem (app, accessories, compatibility with other services), so you can easily see why the Charge 3 is likely to become the brand's bestselling product. The only thing that might stop athletes from purchasing it is the absence of GPS.
What do you think of the new Fitbit Charge 3?
The devices are fine, pity about the android app, it's garbage. Telling them the problems doesn't help either.