Charg­ing ahead

Financial Mail - - PATTERN RECOGNITIO­N - Nafisa Ak­a­bor

ý Fit­bit’s lat­est fit­ness tracker will please its fans. The Charge 4 is its first de­vice with built-in GPS tracking, which was pre­vi­ously avail­able only on se­lect smart­watches. The fea­ture has been long awaited on what is its top-sell­ing model, and yet it is still ex­tremely com­pet­i­tively priced.

Stan­dard fea­tures in­clude Fit­bit Pay, Spo­tify con­trols, Ac­tive Zone Min­utes (an ac­tiv­ity tar­get) and a Smart Wake fea­ture that wakes you up half an hour be­fore your alarm, based on your sleep cy­cle.

It tracks heart rate 24/7, fe­male health and sleep cy­cles with a com­plete break­down of zones, and sup­ports smart­phone no­ti­fi­ca­tions.

The de­sign of the Charge has evolved over the years and the 4 is al­most iden­ti­cal to the big jump seen on its pre­de­ces­sor, with a 1inch greyscale touch­screen. It sup­ports taps, swipes in most di­rec­tions, and a hap­tic but­ton to the left. The band looks like a reg­u­lar ana­logue watch­strap, which I found com­fort­able to wear, but I do pre­fer the strap on my Versa 2.

The tracker sup­ports seven built-in Gps-spe­cific ex­er­cise modes.

The GPS was ac­cu­rate, and heart rate data is dis­played with a heat map over it to see which “zones” you were in — fat burn, car­dio or peak. Fit­bit says con­tin­u­ous GPS tracking will give the bat­tery a life­span of five hours.

The Ac­tive Zone Min­utes fea­ture sug­gests 150 min­utes of mod­er­ate ac­tiv­ity a week, as per World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion guide­lines. The new tracking sys­tem means you earn twice as many min­utes when you are in car­dio or peak zones. It also picked up ac­tiv­ity from do­ing house­hold chores, which counts to­wards those min­utes. This fea­ture will come to the Versa and Ionic.

While the GPS tracking is ex­cel­lent, if you don’t take your phone with you the Spo­tify con­trols be­come im­prac­ti­cal as it works with a paired de­vice.

Fit­bit Pay on the Charge 4 is no longer tied to a spe­cial edi­tion, and the pan­demic has proved how in­valu­able con­tact­less pay­ments are.

The Charge 4 is an ex­cel­lent all­round fit­ness tracker, de­spite still hav­ing a monochrome dis­play. It has a six-day bat­tery life and user­friendly app, and is rec­om­mended for the GPS tracking. It is well­priced at R2,999.

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