Fitbit Charge 3 review
The Fitbit Charge 3 is an upgrade to the company’s most popular fitness tracker. With a tweaked design, new features, and more strap options make it the best activity band around?
Should I buy the Fitbit Charge 3?
In improving the look, display, features and battery capacity for a price that’s less than the Charge 2’s RRP, the company has successfully redesigned its most popular product with the Charge 3.
Given that the Charge 3 comes two years after the Charge 2 we think it’s an expected upgrade for Charge 2 users, most especially if you desire the an extended battery life and full waterproofing.
And for first-time buyers/users, you won’t find a better-featured fit band tracker on the market at such a fair price.
The Charge 3 looks like a worthy upgrade to Fitbit’s most popular-ever fitness tracker.
Fitbit Charge 3 full review
The new fit band, Fitbit Charge 3, is the updated version of the Charge 2, which was launched in 2016. The company’s most popular fit band tracker to date. The series range has a slim design and important fitness features that appeal to many for the price and rich list of health-insight functions.
The Charge 2 which was launched in 2016 was our #1 fitness tracker, based on its range of features and price. The Charge 3 takes what was right about the Charge 2 and makes it better by upgrading the fit, features, and accessories to appeal to an users that may not want to spend £200 or over on one of Fitbit’s larger-screened smart-watches, the Versa and Ionic.
The Charge 3 comes with a bigger, better screen in a lighter, waterproof form – but still winning on all the gains that made the Charge 2 a bestseller – the Charge 3 looks like a formidable upgrade without spoiling what those 35 million loyal users love about the best-selling tracker.
Fitbit Charge 3: Price, release date and availability
In the UK the Fitbit Charge 3 is available now from the Fitbit Store, and online retailers such as Amazon UK, Argos, and John Lewis.
In the US Charge 3 is available from the Fitbit Store, and online retailers such as Amazon.com, Best Buy, and Target.
Fitbit Charge 3 models
The base price for the tracker is £129.99 / US$149.95 / €149.95 / A$229.95. You can pick from Graphite tracker with a Black silicone band or Rose Gold tracker with Grey-Blue silicone band. This is £10 less than the retail price of the older Charge 2 tracker, although you can find that version cheaper online.
A Special Edition Charge 3 adds NFC for mobile payments (Fitbit Pay) and costs £149.99 / US$169.95 / €169.95 / A$269.95. These come in Graphite with a White band or Pink with the woven band and will ship later than the regular versions in November 2018. Fitbit Pay isn’t widely compatible with banks in the UK right now but is better in the US. If you’re not bothered by contactless payments via your wrist, the extra £20/$20 buys you a new band, as the Special Editions also ship with a spare Blackstrap.
Fitbit Charge 3 bands
Fitbit continues its slightly disturbing trend of changing the strap and charger design with each new fit band, although here it’s the best strap release mechanism we’ve tested for a while – much less fiddly than the Versa and older Charge 2 are.
You can buy separate accessory bands for the Charge
Fitbit Charge 3: Design and build
The new tracker is more curved in places than the Charge 2. It is made from aluminum, it’s also 20 percent lighter than the Charge 2 which is hardly a beast and we could tell the difference when holding both.
It sits on the wrist more snuggly to help improve heart-rate accuracy, but the heart-rate sensor isn’t as flush to the unit as it is on the Versa and Ionic Fitbit smartwatches. This is because Fitbit has crammed a lot of sensors into a much smaller product. It’s even referring to the tracker itself as the “pebble,” perhaps a reference to the company it acquired to help it push on to smartwatch market dominance.
The pebble is now made of aluminum rather than steel, thus making it a very lightweight tracker. A notable change is an inductive rather than physical button on the left edge, marked only by an indentation. We found this new button worked just as well as the older physical button.
You’ll still need to use the inductive button to go back in menus, but you can now tap icons like on any other touchscreen were before pressing and holding a physical switch was less user-friendly. The display screen is built with Gorilla Glass 3 too, a decent level of scratch-and-shatter protection for such a small screen.
The vertical display is now 40 percent larger and fully touchscreen rather than only being able to react to taps. This allows you to scroll up, down and side to side through more detailed menus on a screen that can now display greyscale to improve animations (for instance, when you hit your 10,000 steps) and daylight visibility.
Fitbit Charge 3 screens
Fitbit Charge 3 Features and functions
Just like many other trackers, the Charge 3 tracks steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, floors climbed, heart rate, and sleep.
From the clock face, you swipe up to see the Today app, which shows your daily stats, including Reminders To Move. It will prompt you with gentle buzzes to get up out of your chair and start moving for at least 250 steps per hour of the day – but don’t worry, it won’t wake you up during the night, unless you set a timed alarm (it vibrates so won’t wake anyone else in your bed).
For more detailed and historical data, you use Fitbit’s excellent mobile app and its desktop dashboard.