The successor to the Force wristband, now with caller ID notifications
The Charge is the first in Fitbit’s new range of trackers and is a direct replacement for its illfated Force wristband, which was withdrawn following a rash of complaints from skin-irritated users.
The culpable nickel is absent in the new textured strap and buckle, but the Charge retains its predecessor’s accelerometer and altimeter, the latter being a sensor that calculates altitude based on atmospheric pressure. The wristband tracks steps taken, distance travelled, stairs climbed and calories burned, and displays these stats as real-time data on a bright mono OLED display (it also shows the time), activated by pressing a small button on its side.
If you wear the Charge to bed, it recognises when you fall asleep, and can wake you up in the morning with a silent alarm (two things Fitbit’s £20-cheaper Flex can’t do). Pairing the Charge with the iPhone app over Bluetooth allows you to view sleep quality, as well as browse other stats in timelines, check battery life (ours lasted eight days) and also log meals as part of a food plan.
The display can flash up incoming caller IDs if Bluetooth is active. It’s neat, but not nearly as useful as other notifications would have been and feels tacked on; we would have preferred waterproofing (like the MisFit Flash, at half the price) and a UK food database. As it is, the Charge performs well, but the Charge HR brings heart-rate monitoring for £20 and will be released soon. Hold out if you can. Tim Hardwick
The Charge is perfectly capable and rocks a display, but more advanced trackers are almost here.
The Fitbit Charge’s OLED display lets you check activity at a press of a button.