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Fitbit Charge Hr Review

The Fitbit Charge HR.
Price:   $130 List | $109.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Great value, easy to use
Cons:  Not the best ergonomics, slated to be discontinued
Bottom line:  A great value option if you get it before it's gone
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Fitbit

Our Verdict

The Fitbit Charge Hr is a solid fitness tracker at an affordable price. Currently heading towards being discontinued, this model has since been replaced by the Fitbit Charge 2, our current Best Buy award winner. The Charge Hr was the previous award winner for that category, and can now be found at an even better price…if you get it before it's gone.


RELATED REVIEW: Best Fitness Trackers and Activity Monitors of 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
David Wise and Austin Palmer

Last Updated:
Wednesday
January 11, 2017

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The Charge Hr performed well in all our tests, being particularly easy to use and scoring well in fitness impact tests. This model is available in a variety of colors, tracks your heart rate, and has a variety of fun challenges and a large online community to engage with on your path to better fitness.

Performance Comparison


The Charge HR is a solid tracker that can be found at a decent price.
The Charge HR is a solid tracker that can be found at a decent price.

Fitness Impact


The Charge Hr did well in this set of tests, meriting a 7 out of 10. As with the other trackers made by Fitbit, the online community is fantastic. This community allows you to compare and challenge your friends, as well as providing you with non-competitive challenges known as "Adventures" to help you get a little extra motivation to get out and be active.

A competitive challenge with the Fitbit app to help you get up and get active.
Taking a virtual "Adventure" to Vernal Falls with the Fitbit app.
 

This model did a good job of differentiating between genuine steps, and other random arm movements. Consequently, this tracker also seems to tend to underestimate steps when actually walking. We compared the tracker count with our manual count over multiple one mile trials, and found that the Charge Hr had an average of a 2.2% discrepancy. For other exercises, this model tracks the duration of the activity, your heart rate, and estimates calories burned. This model should also auto-recognize an activity if you have been doing it for more than 15 minutes.

Health Impact


This product scored alright when it came to evaluating its potential health impact, earning a 6 out of 10. This model tracked our heart rate relatively accurately in our tests, only averaging about 15 bpm off of the chest strap monitor we used as a control. This fitness tracker does not have alarms to notify you to move if you have been inactive for too long. However, this model does aid you tracking your calorie intake in its app. You can scan barcodes and the app — if the item is in their database — auto-populate the relevant information and allow you to track your food. Finally, this model also has automatic sleep tracking.

Ease of Use


The Charge Hr had a great performance in this round of tests, earning a well-deserved 8 out of 10. This model has a claimed battery life of up to 5 days, and uses a designated Fitbit charger. Unfortunately, we found that this model was prone to disconnecting if it experienced the slightest bump or any amount of jostling.

Like most other Fitbit models  the Charge HR uses a specialized charging cord.
Like most other Fitbit models, the Charge HR uses a specialized charging cord.

This tracker takes about 1-2 hours to fully recharge when the battery is dead. The Fitbit app is great, with an intuitive layout that is very user-friendly. The Charge Hr syncs within 2-10 seconds, allowing you to see logs of your activity levels on your mobile device. The watch band felt nice on this mode, very easy to put on. This device isn't waterproof, only water resistant and is marketed as sweat, rain, and splash proof.

Ergonomics


The Charge Hr scored about average in our ergonomics test, deserving a 5 out of 10. This model was essentially a bulky watch. Our panel of testers like the aesthetic appeal of this model, with its clean and simple display.

The Charge HR was an average comfort level.
The Charge HR was an average comfort level.

The profile on this model is a little on the high side, raised up from your wrist by about a finger's width. This made it a little prone to getting snagged when putting on a backpack, but problem-free for a light jacket.

Display


The Charge Hr did very well in our set of tests for display capabilities, earning a 7 out of 10. This model shows the time, month and date on its home screen, with the option to customize your preferences. It is a little hard to read in bright light, but looks fine in dimmer conditions.

The display on the Charge HR is simple  yet effective.
The display on the Charge HR is simple, yet effective.

This band can receive notifications for calls, but not texts. You can also see your current step count, distance traveled, and calories burned on the device, after navigating off the home screen.

Value


The Charge Hr is a great value, giving you close to the best bang for the buck. It was the previous Best Buy award winner prior to be discontinued, and can now be found on some great deals.

Conclusion


This great, bare-bones fitness tracker has an awesome suite of features at an affordable price. It has since been discontinued, and replaced by the Charge 2, but can still be found on some great deals.
David Wise and Austin Palmer

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