Since October of 2014 I have joined the Fitbit train. I initially bought the Fitbit Flex. While it was a useful toy it lacked in many features which I’ll discuss in a bit. Also, I really disliked the strap on the Fitbit Flex. It came off too easy when doing simple things like putting a shirt or backpack on. In other words, you might lose this pretty easily if you are not careful.
For 4 months I used the Flex until the battery just died for some reason. I think I submerged it one too many times underwater. I wasn’t going to get a replacement one until I saw someone with the Surge and saw all the awesome features it had. Now, that is what I wanted from a Fitbit device… minus the price $250 tag. So, I opted for the Fitbit Charge HR.
The Fitbit Charge HR sells for $149. The Fitbit Flex was $99. Are the extra features for an additional $50 bucks with it? For me absolutely. Here is what sold me:
On the Fitbit Flex the display only had 5 dots. Just 5 dots. There is only so much you can do with 5 dots like show 5 dots or 3 dots or 1 dot. All they told me was if my battery was low on the Flex. Outside of that I had no purpose to have a display at all. If I wanted to see my numbers I had to sync my device on my laptop or phone first. Then I can see my progression.
On the Charge HR the display shows time and date, number of steps, heart rate, total distance walked in miles, how many calories I have burned, and how many flights of stairs I walked. This is data I can see without needing to sync to my device first. That is a huge difference from the Flex’s 5 dot system. Since it shows time and date I also have a wristwatch.
HEART RATE TRACKING
The Charge HR tracks your heart rate. Thus, the name Charge HR. I like that it does track my heart rate, especially during workouts. Ideally, it is good to know and maintain a certain level during exercise. That is how I plan on using that information. However, I’m not certain how accurate it is though. Unfortunately I do not have another device to compare it to but for now I’ll rely on the Charge HR’s data for now. It’s better than nothing I suppose.
Charge HR makes it super easy to track your workouts. On the left side of the display there is a button you hold down to start your workout. A timer starts and for that duration until you stop the clock it tracks steps, HR, burned calories, etc. This is a really nice feature because on my phone app there is a calendar view that shows which days I did and didn’t workout. This logged data is also nice because you can see how long your workouts have been and how intense they are. I really like this feature a great deal. I have never been one to track my workouts and this really has helped me on wanting to push myself to do more than my average. For example, my workouts last around 45 minutes and I now have a goal to do an extra 15 minutes. That little push is all you really need.
On the Flex you had to double tap the display to let it know you are about to sleep. The problem I had is even if I double tapped it I wasn’t certain if I activated sleep mode properly. I just grew frustrated and never tried to activate sleep mode. The 5 dot system just doesn’t work for me.
The nice thing about the Charge HR is that it tracks sleep automatically. That’s the key word here. Automatically. There is no double tapping the display. You just go to sleep. I have to say, it does a pretty decent job of tracking the amount of time I’m in dream zone. Since using the Charge HR I’ve been making sure I get better sleep especially during the weekdays. The past few years I’ve developed some bad sleeping habits. 4 hour night sleeps. 3AM lights out. Etc. Of late I’ve been feeling the need to correct that and this is helping me keep on track. Bottomline, the less I have to do the better and the fact that this can track it without any actions from me is great. Besides, when you are ready to crash who wants to remember to activate sleep mode on your Fitbit?
I mentioned earlier that the Flex had a strap that would come off to easily. Very true. Luckily with the Charge HR they corrected it. The strap is now more like a wrist watch strap. It feels much more secure and so far it has not come off one bit. No complaints. You’ll read about people breaking out in rashes. So far I have not experienced such condition and I wear the Charge HR 24/7. I am not saying it can’t happen. Everyone is different and react differently to certain things. Peanuts is a good example. The material of the strap is fine on my skin but may not be for others.
These are the main features that justified my Charge HR purchase. Keep in mind data is not always accurate. It’s pretty consistent but not accurate. What is important is progression not in numbers but just in movement. It’s all about getting a little more exercise and if the Fitbit does that it has done it’s job. So far the Charge HR is doing it’s job pretty well. Way better than the Flex.