Fitbit Charge 4 on long-term test: Good features, but battery life with GPS is an issue

Wristband wearables have come a prolonged way, and these days we be expecting them to

Wristband wearables have come a prolonged way, and these days we be expecting them to give GPS, coronary heart amount monitoring, alarms and a selection of handset connectivity functions. The £129.99/$149.99 Fitbit Cost four has all of these, additionally a blend of other functions, some of which Fitbit phone calls ‘apps’. You can pick to demonstrate or not demonstrate these wristband applications, which contain a contactless payment wallet termed Fitbit Shell out, on the system by building selections in the Fitbit smartphone application (iOS or Android). Shell out £149.99/$169.95 for the Specific Edition and you get a woven back wristband rather than a rubbery just one. I have been applying the Cost four for various weeks, and give these observations as a comply with-up to Matthew Miller’s April evaluate.


The Fitbit Cost four (£129.99/$149.99) offers coronary heart-amount tracking, developed-in GPS, aim-based mostly work out modes, drinking water resistance, slumber monitoring, notifications and on-band applications.

Images: Fitbit


The conventional wristband can be changed with colourful or woven alternatives.

Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The total design and style is acquainted to any person who has a preceding Fitbit Cost system: an elongated touch screen a single facet (touch) button on the remaining edge of the Cost four (if worn on the appropriate wrist) and a removable wristband that’s easily changed with colourful alternatives. The Cost four comes with two wristbands and I identified the compact just one was good for me. All but the largest of wrists need to be accommodated.

The gray OLED touchscreen is significant and you navigate about it applying the facet button and a blend of screen sweeps and faucets. It can be rather effortless to get made use of to how items perform. Tapping on the clock experience toggles by means of metrics like techniques, distance, and coronary heart amount. A selection of faces can be established showing various selections of metrics, additionally time and day, through the Fitbit smartphone application. Sweeping appropriate to remaining brings up numerous wristband applications that have been enabled in the smartphone application.

Simple activity tracking operates good. You can explain to the smartphone application your average stride lengths for equally working and strolling, and it shares this with the Cost four, which can then change paces into distance. It can be not excellent, but I have often identified Fitbit gadgets to be rather precise when tested on measured distances, and that continues to be the situation with the Cost four. 

The Cost four will immediately detect when you are working, biking, on a treadmill or strolling, and it is drinking water resistant to the extent that you can swim for up to fifty metres donning it with no adverse influence. If you might be really serious about cross-teaching with these sorts of things to do, then you may want a additional advanced system that can produce a higher selection of metrics. But if you might be just wanting to do a certain range of techniques or cover a certain distance, then the Fitbit four operates perfectly, like issuing alerts when you achieve your preset aims each working day.

With a coronary heart amount keep an eye on on-board, the Fitibit Cost four can do intriguing items like measure your resting coronary heart amount, established activity zones and report on these, and — new for this model — give a report of Lively Zone Minutes. This is a calculation based mostly on age and resting coronary heart amount, and the strategy is to achieve a aim of one hundred fifty minutes a 7 days in your Lively Zone. It can be really a intelligent strategy for people applying a Fitbit to melt away calories or get rid of bodyweight. Just ambling about is significantly less beneficial in this regard than transferring a little bit more quickly, and building your coronary heart perform a little bit more difficult. As your resting coronary heart amount lowers, the Fitbit modifications its focus on minutes, so in theory there’s often a suitable aim to purpose at. Full reporting finish with graphs is accessible in the Fitbit smartphone application.

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Of all these metrics I identified the resting coronary heart amount information notably useful. I have found from preceding Fitbit use how my coronary heart amount fluctuates if I have a chilly or fever, and how it falls as I get fitter, soaring as my fitness wanes. These metrics can assist folks observe their development together a fitness trajectory.

The slumber tracking is also useful. I like to keep an eye on the several hours I devote asleep, as perfectly as monitoring my slumber excellent to make sure I’m not shorter-modifying myself. The Fitbit application has some nicely introduced graphics showing total slumber several hours and periods of restlessness. If you genuinely want to weigh in with the metrics, the Fitbit application gives you a slumber score based mostly on the excellent and period of slumber, with a score this kind of as ‘fair’ or ‘good’ for each night time. 

As for the further functions, I did not hassle with the Spotify controls, Fitbit Shell out (a new aspect with the Cost four), the weather conditions application, or notifications. My handset is the go-to location for this functionality, but I can see how some consumers may discover them useful. What I like a good deal is the silent, vibrating alarm, which is strong enough to wake me, but way too subtle to wake a person else.


The Cost 4’s charge cable is rather shorter, and fiddly to interact.

Impression: Fitbit

The battery is rated to final for 7 days offered you are not applying GPS, in which situation it’s only very good for 5 several hours. This in essence rendered the GPS unusable for me on prolonged weekend walks, even if I began with it entirely charged. That is a disgrace, as GPS is a major providing stage for the Cost four. I identified the charge unit to be a little bit of a fiddly in good shape, and I experienced to double-verify that it was in location adequately. Also, its cable is really shorter, which meant my common desktop charge station was just a tiny uncomfortable to use. Extensive phrase this would possible be really an concern.

All round, the Fitbit Cost four has some great functions and is a very good move up from the Cost three, when the Fitbit application shows a good deal of really complicated information in an accessible way. Keen sports folks will want a more time-long lasting battery for GPS use and additional granular metrics, but as a fitness tracker for common wellness the Cost four does really perfectly.

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