With everything you could possibly need to satisfy the vast majority of users, the Fitbit Charge 5 is a brilliant fitness tracker. The new display alone is a dream, making this model look and feel like a definite, if subtle, upgrade from Fitbit’s previous offering.
Fitbit Charge 5 Review
Entirely button free and available in a choice of three colourways: Steel Blue/Platinum, Black/Graphite, and Lunar White/Gold, the Fitbit Charge 5 is a very attractive little number, whichever style you opt for.
It has the 3 ‘S’ factor, in that it’s sleek, slender and streamlined, making it even more easy on the eye than previous models. I thought it looked great for both casual wear and more dressy occasions – By just adding one of our stunning Fitbit Charge 5 Straps to the mix you can transition seamlessly from a day in the office to a swanky evening out. I would suggest one of our hard-wearing silicone or rubber straps for casual daywear, teamed with one of our beautiful leather or metal straps for a post work or weekend smarten up…But don’t let me dictate your fashion choices, it’s entirely up to you!
Whichever of our strappy beauties you go for, this watch is seriously comfortable and, thanks to its slim design, incredibly well fitting.
In my opinion, by far the biggest improvement design-wise over the Fitbit Charge 5’s predecessors is the bright, always-on colour display screen, which is twice as bright and now comes with user-friendly touchscreen functionality.
The Fitbit Charge 5 is packed with new features you wouldn’t normally expect to find included in such an affordable model. Features such as an ECG monitor, in-built GPS and, for the first time in a Fitbit tracker, an Electrodermal Activity sensor (EDA) which measures the body’s response to stress through changes in the sweat glands on the skin. All are welcome and useful additions, with the EDA sensor being a particularly timely offering, since we’ve all had a pretty stressful time of it lately, global pandemic and all!
A nifty little motivational feature was the ability to set workout goals, either by time, distance or calories burned. You’re then shown your progress towards your goal throughout the course of the activity. I found this really encouraging in terms of keeping me going when the sofa started calling to me halfway through a workout!
Another very handy motivator is the continuation of the Active Zone Minutes feature when completing a workout. The watch buzzes when you reach a new zone and tracks the length of time you spend in each target heart rate zone, tracking your progress towards a goal of 150 minutes per week. Something you’ll definitely benefit from if you’re like me and need all the motivation you can get on some days!
Fitbit has also added a new metric called the “Daily Readiness Score”, which uses your data to assess whether you're ready to work out, or whether you would be better off prioritising recovery instead. Over time, this feature is designed to help you understand how your activity levels, sleep patterns and heart rate variability from previous days contribute to how energized you feel today.
Sleep tracking is another insightful offering. The Fitbit Charge 5 comes with the same spO2 pulse oximeter sensor as its predecessor, to help you better understand and improve upon your sleep patterns. You can use the Fitbit app to look up your sleep score, sleep stages and to set a smart wake up alarm (which uses technical wizardry to calculate the best time to wake you up). The Fitbit Premium membership (which comes free for a 6 month period) allows you to unlock additional sleep data, such as a breakdown of deep, light and REM sleep cycles.
For me, the major plus point is the bright, always-on colour touchscreen, which is easy to read, even in direct sunlight and whilst on the move. It’s also really easy to navigate and, quite frankly, an absolute joy to use.
I was also a fan of the in-built GPS, which connected very speedily and proved reliable and accurate.
A big bonus was the ability to experience the EDA sensor in one of the more affordable models in the Fitbit range.
The motivational features were another welcome function for me. Goal setting and Active Zone Minutes may not be for everyone, but for me, they’re definitely a big plus point.
Last but not least, the long-lasting battery life. I got 5 days’ charge time whilst using the always-on display. That reduced down to approximately 2 days when using all the additional bells and whistles like GPS and heart rate monitoring. But either way, it’s pretty respectable battery-wise.
Whilst aesthetically pleasing, I did find that the lack of buttons slightly compromised the usability.
As brilliant as the display is, the screen isn’t quite big enough to enable you to see all your key metrics at one time, making it necessary to scroll. Although this isn’t a big deal, it just means that accessing all your data mid-workout can prove a little fiddly.
There were a couple of bits and bobs missing. These being: no Spotify compatibility, no altimeter (so you can no longer obtain stair count data) and no weather app. None of these omissions should be a deal-breaker for the majority of people, but some may miss them.
In my view, the Fitbit Charge 5 certainly fulfils the brief of simultaneously being Fitbit’s most advanced fitness tracker to date and one of the best available trackers currently on the market. Add to this the good looks, the handy features and the affordability factor and you’ve got yourself a winner of a watch!