I thought I would take some time to review my new Fitbit Charge 2 in hopes of encouraging others to pursue a fitness watch.
I received it about a month ago and have been using it every day since….and I’m lovin’ it!!! Perhaps it’s because I am an Engineer at heart, but I love seeing data! I know that there are limitations to the accuracy of the data, but in general, I am finding the Fitbit to be a nice motivator to becoming more active, thus leading to a healthier lifestyle. It also allows me to always try to beat my set goals.
Fit & Styling:
Overall I like the styling of the Fitbit. I do wish it had a larger display, but am also appreciative that it gives me the info I want with an extremely compact design.
Setting up the watch with the app was a breeze. I actually received the watch as I was leaving town and did the entire setup as I traveled. I was only confused when it came time to login to FitStar. I didn’t know what it was and thought it was part of the setup, but ended up skipping that step and completed the setup.
I was a bit nervous about which watch band size to get but it appears the larger one was a good option for me. Apparently the cross over between the two must be sufficient as I was on the low end of the large band, but still have 4 notches to go.
Charging….my Fitbit needed to be charged, but luckily I had a car charger. Once charged, I get 3-4 days on average for use before I try to plug it in. I could probably go 5 days, but usually want to take a break for a bit.
There are three main areas to setup.
- Device Setup
- Account Setup
The Fitbit Charge 2 offers some nice features…some of which I haven’t started to use yet. I will list all the ones that are automatically tracked as long as you are wearing the device that I am aware of:
- Steps counting / mileage
- As mentioned above…I’ve notices some accuracy issues, but in the end..I am not trying to match my steps exactly…the goal is to beat the steps from the day before. I have done the manual method to set stride and actually this is really close. It comes down to the algorithm for what Fitbit counts as a step.
- If you feel like your count is really high, you can set
- This only counts ascending stair climbs..not decending. Perhaps rightfully so, but I believe that the it should track both….the band should be able to tell if it is going up or down a set of stairs.
- Minutes active
- This will show you how many total “Active” minutes you’ve had. This means anything that is 10 minutes or more of moderate activity.
- Hours with activity
- This counts the number of hours that you had some level of activity. The goal being to ensure you move some every hour.
- Days with exercise
- As it sounds, this is intended to ensure you set a goal of number of days with exercise. An exercise can be auto logged if it is a moderate activity of more than 15minutes. I think the time can be adjusted. So if you start a workout on your fitbit…and stop before your set time (15 minutes in my case)…you get credit for steps and moving, but not for Exercise. If less than 10 minutes, it will not count as “Active” minutes either.
- Heart Rate
- This is the one that all of my Triathlon friends say isn’t good because it isn’t accurate enough. A fair point, but I use it just as a point of reference. At some point I plan to get a chest strap and find a way to sync that to see how close the Fiibit HR tracker is to a chest strap tracker.
- This tracker is interesting…however I am not quite sure how to improve other than to exercise more, drink less alcohol and eat right. More insights are desired for this tool.
Additional items you can track with manual input:
- Diet –
- I started this, but don’t have the patience to enter all my meals. Perhaps I will take one week and log everything to see how it goes. For the few days I did track, I was significantly under my consumed calories. Perhaps this is why I struggle with muscle gain but not weight gain?
- Water Consumption
- I am using this and still find it hard to meet the goal. I like the tracker, but would like the ability to have a separate reminder to drink a glass of water.
- I am using the “Log” for weight and body fat. I’m sure I could connect a scale to have this auto-log, but this will suffice for now.
My main dislike, is that if Fitbit is my “Health App”…then why won’t other apps sync to the Fitbit App. I am able to connect Fitbit to these Apps, but it is only one way sync from Fitbit to “Map My Run” or “Strava”. Ideally these would all talk bi-directionally to each other and all “Workouts” “Biking” “Hikes” “Walks” etc could be seen in any app. Or if it needs to be one way…have the other apps talk to Fitbit where all of my other measures are kept.
All in all, for the price, I really like the Fitbit. I am considering upgrading to their “Fitbit Iconic to gain the GPS, Music and Pay features that come with it so I can go out with out phone or wallet. The battery life is much better than the Apple watch which is my main and probably only reason for not getting an Apple watch as I am a huge Apple products fan!
If I progress and stay with the healthier life-style, my preferred watch still looks like it would be the Garmin Fenix 5 as it appears as if it would do more accurate tracking of sports data that I am interested in. I just can’t bring myself to spend that sort of cash for a wearable. Maybe I’ll just wait for the next version and then buy the older one at a discount:)
I hope you enjoyed my review. Please comment on if you like it or if there is something else you would like to see.
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