Wearable fitness trackers created by Fitbit have earned a reputation for themselves, and with the Charge 2, they've added yet another one. The Fitbit Charge 2 has replaced the Charge and Charge HR as Fitbit's cheapest heart-rate-enabled wearables this year.
In this post, I am going to tell you my experience with this product which I actively used in the last year’s holiday season.
Fitbit Charge 2 Design
The product comes with a sleeker package and an affordable design than its predecessor. Like previous Fitbit devices, the Fitbit Charge 2 looks and feels like a cross between the Fitbit Charge HR and the Fitbit Surge.
The Charge HR has a bigger screen, but it's also thicker, so if you loved the Charge HR's compactness, you might not enjoy this one.
In spite of this, the touch screen is still tiny and monochromatic, but thanks to the use of an OLED display, it's easy to see all the information that the Charge 2 gives.
During my testing, the touch screen sometimes became unresponsive, but this was never really annoying; you simply had to give it an additional tap every now and then.
On the left side of the advanced health tracker, there's a button you can press to cycle through the menu selections for things like cardio fitness score, heart rate, smart track calorie burn, and sleep stats on display.
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There's one two-piece strap and one charging cable included in the Fitbit Charge 2 tracker's packaging. If you want to change the strap, simply take it out of the clips on each side of the tracker, and there is a large selection of accessories for the Charge 2 to choose from.
Straps come in light, dark, black, and purple elastomer (essentially rubber). Lavender/rose gold and black/gunmetal are the two more expensive alternatives for the fashion-conscious among you.
Additionally, genuine leather Luxe straps in a higher price range are also available. Each of the three color options is priced at $100-$200 price range.
At first, I found it difficult to relate a band to this degree of customisation. After a while, it figured out how to sit in the appropriate place on the tracker on its own.
Over the last five years, Fitbit has made significant advancements in the materials used in its interchangeable bands. There was a noticeable difference between this updated version and the original Charge, which had a strap that offended many people's skin.
The Charge 2 is comfortable to your wrist bone for every day use, compared to many other fitness trackers.
Even though Fitbit recommends that you wear it to bed, I found that it was not only comfortable to wear while sleeping but also when working at a computer. It is still comfortable for me when performing aerobic workouts with it.
A few drips when doing the dishes or a little sweat while working out may be tolerated by the Charge 2, but it isn't waterproof like the Fitbit Flex 2.
Showering or swimming will be out of bounds for Charge 2. Having a fitness tracker that can be worn in the rain without fear of harm is good, but I would have preferred it if Fitbit had made the Charge 2 waterproof.
Fitbit Charge 2's Screen And Interface
It's about time I made the switch to a bigger screen. I didn't love the Charge HR's small display, but the Charge 2 is a vast improvement.
At any one moment, only one statistic is shown, but now you can touch on the screen to cycle through your steps, continous heart rate, distance travelled, calories burned, stair-climbing time, sleep stats and all-day activity stats without having to scroll up and down. It's now possible to get text and phone notifications on your wrist as well.
The Charge 2's controls couldn't be easier to use. You can still start a run, set a stopwatch, or do breathing sessions by pressing the one button on the Fitbit Charge 2—simplicity is an important aspect of the device's appeal.
Fitbit Charge 2 Performance, And Fitness Tracking
The Fitbit Charge 2 uses the same step-counting technology as the Fitbit Blaze and Alta, but it also incorporates several new functions.
The Charge 2's default objective is 10,000 steps per day, but you may change that number via the fitness apps to suit your needs.
Compared to the original Charge, the Charge 2's multi-sport monitoring and sleep monitor are big upgrades. You can track your outdoor runs as well as treadmill runs, walking, and 20-minute workout.
You don't have to start sessions manually with the Fitbit Charge 2 since it identifies when you start moving, such as when you start jogging. You may also begin and stop an exercise without having to terminate it.
Because of this, there is no need to touch buttons while exercising. However, I suggest setting up the tracker ahead of time so that you obtain the precise data you need while doing certain activity types.
This is a major selling point for the Charge 2 over Fitbit's earlier devices for sports enthusiasts. Its accuracy is comparable with accurate chest straps.
The Fitbit Surge or a more costly running watch might be a better choice if you're looking for a specialized gadget for running. However, it lacks GPS tracking.
As an affordable tracker, the Fitbit Charge 2 will at least be able to use your phone's GPS to monitor how far you've walked. It does, however, necessitate that you bring your phone along with you when you go for a run.
In addition to the PurePulse heart rate monitoring technology, the Charge 2's PurePulse heart rate tracking is a genuine standout feature. It gives you accurate fitness readings during exercise.
A new heart rate zone visualization function has been added to Fitbit since it was first released, allowing you to observe your current heart rate and alter your efforts accordingly.
Using the new Guided Breathing tool, you'll be given deep breathing exercises while your heart rate and breathing rate are monitored every 30 seconds.
For the first time, I were able to control my heart rate with this function from Fitbit, and it worked as advertised. Seeing Fitbit implement a tool that isn't only focused on fitness routine is exciting and a welcome addition.
Advanced Sleep Monitoring
You can track sleep quality with the Fitbit Charge 2 when worn at night. This function may be fickle, as has been the case with previous Fitbit devices.
It's hard to suggest the Charge 2 merely because of its rate sleep monitor capabilities, considering how unpleasant it may be to wear while in the moments of calm.
Fortunately, with the quiet alarm option, you can gently wake yourself up without disturbing anyone else in the room. If you don't mind activating auto sleep tracking while you sleep, it's a cute concept, but it may not be very helpful if you have trouble falling asleep.
Fitbit Charge 2 Compatibility
To utilize GPS or get alerts, you'll need to connect your Fitbit Charge 2 to your phone over Bluetooth. It works well as long as you are at good syncing range.
It's possible to get alerts for phone calls, text messages, and calendar alerts on your wrist through your phone, but they'll be limited to that. This isn't like Android Wear smartwatches, which allow you to respond with voice commands or by touching the screen to transmit pre-loaded responses.
Another disappointment is that Fitbit hasn't done much to enhance the Fitbit Charge 2's notification capabilities. Android Wear smartwatches may get alerts from a wide range of applications.
Even though it's convenient to be able to see who is calling before you stop running, it's also great to know that you won't be missing out on anything if your phone vibrates in your pocket while you're out for a jog.
In order to use the Charge 2 with your smartphone, you must have an iPhone 4S, an Android phone running Android 4.3 or higher, or a Windows 10 device running Windows 10.
The Fitbit app makes it simple to connect to your phone's GPS, but keep in mind that the GPS function on an Android phone requires Android 5 Lollipop or newer to work.
Fitbit's device platform may be used to see whether your gadget is compatible with the Fitbit Charge 2.
With the Fitbit app on your smartphone and internet connection, you'll have access to the Fitbit Charge 2, and it's one of the most user-friendly fitness trackers on the market.
It walks you through the process of configuring your Charge 2 and explains all of the app's features in detail in an informative tutorial.
You'll be able to get a breakdown of your fitness data per day on the app. Your resting heart rate, the number of steps taken, and whether you've been moving sufficiently each hour (hourly activity).
Another feature is an estimate of how many calories you've expended and the number of floors climbed. A touch on an area reveals more facts, making everything easy to understand.
It is possible, for example, to view a breakdown of your step count by hour, which may be really beneficial for highlighting the exercises that you have been performing each day.
You'll find the exercises in a separate area, and you'll get a breakdown of what you've accomplished. This feature is useful for those who are more active and don't want to record all of their 15-minute or longer journeys; if you want to add shorter trips, such as five active-minutes of walks, you may do so in the settings.
Fitbit Coach, a new app for interval workout, is the latest addition to Fitbit's app capabilities. There are more than a hundred exercises to choose from, each with its own set of video drills to help you get in shape.
Fitbit's main app has certain sessions available for free, but you'll need to have the Coach app in order to access them. As a result, most of the exercises are hidden behind a paywall.
After paying £5.99 a month for a year's worth of access, you'll still have to shell out over $39.99 (approximately AU $50).
Fitbit Charge 2 Battery Life
With a single charge, Fitbit promises that users may get up to five days of battery life from the Charge 2. Despite the fact that I weren't quite there, I were nevertheless making heavy use of the gadget.
However, if you don't use the fitness tracking, its accurate distance tracking, sleep monitor, heart rate monitoring, or breathing sessions monitoring all the time, you may obtain up to five days of battery life. Keep in mind that in very rural areas, it sometimes give me inaccurate distances tracking.
Our fully-charged Charge 2 lasted us around three and a half days on average, which isn't too shabby considering that you'd only have to recharge it twice a week.
A microUSB charger would be preferable to the proprietary Fitbit charger since I couldn't charge the gadget when I arrived at work and discovered that I had left my own charger at home.
It might be difficult to determine the best time of day to recharge the activity tracker. To monitor your sleep habits, you'd think the best time to charge a watch or phone would be at night, but that's not an option with the Charge 2. At the very least, charging the gadget using its stock charger and charging cable takes just around two hours.
Battery alarms are also sent through the Fitbit app and via email, which I found to be a little intrusive, but it is easy to dismiss these notifications.
Thanks to an update from Fitbit, you won't be caught off guard when your battery is about to run out of juice.
This Product is For You IF..
If you're looking for a running watch, the Fitbit Charge 2 isn't for you. For those who want to keep track of their daily steps and get a little exercise activity every few days, this is one of the better options available right now.
This Fitbit's fitness features make it a better alternative for individuals who prefer to wear the same tracker every day.
However, the Fitbit Charge 2 is a worthy upgrade for anyone looking to get their feet wet with a fitness tracker for the first time or as a replacement for a less-expensive device.
Should You Consider Buying It?
If you're looking for a fitness tracker, there's no reason not to acquire a Fitbit Charge 2. I recommend the Fitbit Alta if you don't require a heart rate tracker, but if you must, I recommend the Fitbit Charge.
When it comes to fitness trackers, the Fitbit Charge 2 is one of the most well-built and easy-to-use options on the market.
Fitbit Charge 2 Alternatives
If you're contemplating purchasing a Fitbit Charge 2, here are a few more options to consider:
Fitbit Charge 3
The Fitbit Charge 3 outperforms the Charge 2 in almost every category, if you don't mind spending a little extra. It's water-resistant, so you can use it in the pool, and it has a more elegant design with a larger screen.
It's more expensive, but I believe it'll be worth it in the long term if you're willing to pay that little bit more.
The Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro
In comparison to the Charge 2, Samsung's gadget looks quite different and has a much larger color screen. If you don't have an iPhone, this is an excellent alternative to Fitbit's latest and greatest.
The improved Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro includes many of the same functions as the original Gear Fit, but it now has some new swimming capabilities, making it worth a look if you want the most up-to-date technology.
Fitbit Alta HR
The Alta HR aims to bridge the gap between low-cost fitness trackers and high-end smart fitness wristwatches with its affordable price tag. The super-thin and light Alta HR tracks actual heart rate readings (which is fantastic), as well as sleep stage composition (REM sleep, deep sleep, etc) and automated activity levels identification (eg. cardio fitness level). It has a 7-day battery life, which is a nice perk.
There are basic phone alerts and occasional reminders to get up and walk about. Because it counts reps during interval workout, this Fitbit gadget definitely has an advantage for gym rats. It also offers the benefit of active readings for VO2 Max.
So far, this watch doesn’t give me accuracy issues. Compared to the Fitbit Charge HR, the Fitbit Charge 2 isn't a huge leap forward. To be fair, the Fitbit Blaze already has a larger display that is great for scrolling over your numbers as well as for viewing your phone alerts, although at a higher price point.
To monitor your heart rate throughout the day, you might choose the Fitbit Charge 2, which has a variety of fitness tracking options for elliptical workouts and sleep monitor which tracks detailed sleep stage composition.
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