Fitbit Charge 3 Review

Last updated: April 7, 2019

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Fitbit Charge 3

Fitbit is well-known for their activity trackers and with the Fitbit Charge 3, they are out to stake their claim in the sleep tracking niche as well. The Charge 3 is a nice marriage between smartwatches, sleep trackers and fitness trackers. It has a little of each and tries to make the most out of them.

Design

If you are familiar with the Fitbit Charge 2, the first thing that you’ll notice with the Charge 3 is that tap responsive display has been replaced with a bigger touchscreen OLED. This means you can now swipe through the menu options. One gripe we have is the limited number of clock faces available for the Charge 3. There is an also an inductive button on the side that lets you quickly revert to the home screen. The OLED display is made of Gorilla Glass so it is sturdy enough to withstand just about any workout routine you can engage in.

The screen’s water resistance capability will work up to 50m which affords you the freedom of wearing it even when you’re doing laps in a pool. This is much better than the splash-resistant capability of the Fitbit Ace.

Aside from the PurePulse heart-rate tracking technology, they added an SPO2 sensor to this device. This is the first time that this feature is built in into a Charge. What this sensor does is estimate changes in blood level oxygens. It can also help in detecting health issues like sleep apnea.

Changeable bands

This fitness tracker comes in different bands depending on the version that you choose. The Australian version has Fitbit Pay Support which is a form of contactless payment. This feature is not available in all the US versions and you will have to go for the Special Edition if you want this feature.

The woven band comes in purple with a rose gold case or a perforated white sports band with a graphite case if you go for the Special Edition. The base version comes with a classic black band and a graphite case or a clue gray classic band with a rose gold case.

The Special Edition also comes with an extra black classic strap. However, you can still buy different straps like the Horween leather one, no matter which version you have.

Smartwatch capabilities

The Fitbit Charge 3 seems to be Fitbit’s attempt to marrying its smartwatches with their famous activity trackers. While the Charge 2 has pretty basic smartwatch features, the Charge 3 has some pretty good upgrades. Be warned though that these are still not at far with those of the Fitbit Versa or the Apple Watch.

One thing we like about this new device is that we can now receive notifications from all of the third-party apps on our smartphones. Its predecessor can only handle alerts for phone calls and text messages. They also added timers and weather notifications. Unlike the Fitbit Ionic or Versa though, you still can’t download mobile apps to the Charge 3. Fitbit has reported though that the device will enable you to accept or reject calls after some updates later this year. They also said that a calendar and the Fitbit Leaderboard would soon be available in the new device.

Upcoming updates will also let you reply to messages via your Charge 3. These replies will be predefined responses and are meant for messages that are not urgent. This will be available to Android users only, and not for iOS users.

Fitness Tracking

Aside from all the multi-sport fitness tracking features that Fitbit activity trackers are famous for, this device has some new fitness features. You’ll have the 24/7 heart rate tracking, workouts, and guided breathing for relaxation. A new feature is the swim tracking capability.

It can also track outdoor running, treadmill running, walking and weight training. Bike and interval workouts can also be tracked. This fitness tracker tracks your exercises automatically, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to start your sessions manually. It also gives you the ability to start and pause a workout without the need to end a session.

You can also keep track of the number of calories burned throughout the day. This feature is quite motivating for us because it also told us how many calories left we need to burn for us to reach our daily goals. You can combine this with the tracker for your calorie intake and you can easily attain that weight goal you’ve been aiming for.

The biggest letdown for us though is the lack of a built-in GPS. This is a feature that Fitbit users, especially those who love running, have been clamoring for. You can still connect your phone to this device so you can use your phone’s GPS to track the distance you have traveled. Needless to say, this means that you need to take your phone out when you run, and this is not an appealing prospect for some users.

Female users can use the Female Health Tracking feature. This is a feature that lets you track your next period.

Sleep Tracking

The sleep tracking capability has been brought back on the Charge 3. This lets you keep track of your sleep stages like light sleep, deep sleep, and REM. This device is comfortable enough to wear even while sleeping which is why it can market itself as a welcome alternative to purely sleep tracking devices.

There’s a silent alarm mode which emits a vibration on your wrist. This is meant to wake you without disturbing anyone else gently.

Fitbit has been gearing towards trackers that can monitor sleep disturbances. Sleep disturbances are a sweeping term for sleep-related conditions like sleep apnea, snoring, atrial fibrillation, allergies, and asthma. They will also start rolling out a “Sleep Score” dashboard. This beta dashboard is expected to be rolled out later this year.

Battery Life

The battery has also been improved and it can now last up to 7 days compared to the Charge 2’s 5 days. As with other battery-powered devices, the battery life hinges on how you use your device. Intensive use of all of the Charge 3’s features will most likely result in shorter battery life. This tracker comes with its charging stand which is a letdown for us. We were hoping that it can be charged using a micro-USB charger just like the ones that we use on our mobile phones.

App

One thing that Fitbit excels on is the way they make their app very detailed yet easy to understand. The Android/iOS app is easy to navigate and decipher. Just like other companion apps, it uses Bluetooth to sync your phone and the device. The home screen has 5 tabs within the Fitbit App: Dashboard, Account, Challenges, Guidance/Notifications, and Friends. The dashboard is the main tab where you can sell all the data collected like food and water intake or the number of steps taken.

The Account tab is another tab worth looking into since this is where you can access other settings. This is also where you can change your goals.

Pros and Cons of Fitbit Charge 3

What We Liked

  • Contactless payments for Special Edition
  • Swappable bands
  • SPO2 sensor
  • Improved battery life
  • Touchscreen display
  • Waterproof

What We Didn’t Like

  • No built-in GPS
  • Monochrome screen

About Fitbit

Customer Experience and Service Rating

Customer ratings in Amazon average 3.5 stars. Fitbit Support answered customer inquiries posted on the website.

History of Fitbit

Fitbit Inc is an American company with headquarters in San Francisco, California. They are best known for producing activity trackers, wireless-enabled wearable technology devices that can measure fitness data like the quality of sleep, the number of steps walked, the number of steps climbed and heart rate. The company was previously called Healthy Metrics Research Inc. before taking the name Fitbit in October 2007.

Physical Stores

Aside from their online store, Fitbit products can be bought in partner retailer stores like Target. Fitbit also has partner stores selling their products abroad.

BBB Rating

Fitbit is not a BBB accredited business. The BBB website gave Fitbit a rating of A+.

Contact Fitbit

https://www.fitbit.com

Fitbit on Social Media

Facebook | Twitter

Accolades & Praise for Fitbit

Our Verdict

  • Accuracy
  • Ease of Use
  • Functionality
  • Reliability
  • Data Accessibility
  • Aesthetic Design
  • Comfort
  • Battery Life
4.3

Summary

The Fitbit Charge 3 is the company’s first foray into merging smartwatches and fitness trackers. And we feel that they are quite successful in this regard. The display is now a bigger OLED touchscreen. It is now swim-proof and it now has a sensor that can track your blood oxygen levels. When it comes to sleep tracking, this device can provide you with a detailed sleep cycle report that you can use to improve your sleep quality. Although it is made primarily as a fitness tracker, the Charge 3 is comfortable enough to wear while sleeping so you won’t mind taking advantage of its new sleep tracking capabilities.

Fitbit 3 Compared to Other Sleep Trackers

Sleep TrackerAccuracyBattery LifeData AccessibilityRatingOur ReviewBuy Now
Oura RingBest AvailableExcellentYes via App - iOS and Android
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Garmin Vivosmart 4Best AvailableVery GoodYes via App - iOS and Android
Read Full ReviewCheck Price
Withings Sleep Tracking MatGoodBattery Not NeededYes via App - iOS and Android
Read Full ReviewCheck Price
Fitbit Charge 3GoodGoodYes via App - iOS and Android
Read Full ReviewCheck Price
SleepScore MaxGoodBattery Not NeededYes via App - iOS and Android
Read Full ReviewCheck Price
Emfit QS HRV Sleep MonitorGoodBattery Not NeededYes via App - iOS and Android
Read Full ReviewCheck Price

How We Rate Sleep Trackers

Sleep trackers are judged by 8 standards:

  1. Accuracy
  2. Ease of Use
  3. Functionality
  4. Reliability
  5. Data Accessibility
  6. Aesthetic Design (wearable only)
  7. Comfort (wearable only)
  8. Battery Life (wearable only)

Read about our rating process for sleep trackers.