Fitbit Charge 3 Review & Rating
The Fitbit Charge 2 has been one of our most highly recommended fitness trackers for two years now. With the $149.95 Charge 3, Fitbit takes a good thing and makes it even better. Thanks to a sharper screen, longer battery life, new sensors, a swim-safe build, and more informative phone notifications, the Charge 3 features just enough changes to remain the best everyday fitness tracker for casual users. That makes it our Editors’ Choice, and one of the top wearables for keeping tabs on your health and activity.
Bigger Screen, Better Battery
With the Charge 3, Fitbit hasn’t changed the design of the Charge 2 so much as tweaked it. The monochrome OLED
The body of the tracker is made of aluminum and features a recessed button on the left. It’s a slight indentation that replaces the protruding button on the Charge 2 for a more streamlined look. I found it just as easy to use, especially since it gently vibrates with haptic feedback when you press it.
The Charge 3 features interchangeable straps, so you can dress it up or down for formal or casual occasions. For color options, the tracker comes with a black silicone strap paired with a graphite body, or a blue/gray silicone strap with a rose gold body. A Special Edition version costs $20 more and features NFC for use with Fitbit Pay; it comes in a rose gold body with a lavender woven band, or a graphite body with a white perforated sport band. Fitbit offers additional straps in materials ranging from silicone to leather in prices from $29.95 to $49.95.
The larger display makes for a change in interface that feels a little like navigating around a smartwatch. From the main screen, you can swipe up to get a view of your daily stats. Swipe left and you can scroll through the app menu, which shows two apps, stacked vertically, per screen. Swipe down to scroll through your notifications. A short press on the left button brings you back to the previous screen, while a long press brings up a shortcut menu to adjust screen and notification settings.
In testing, I found the screen’s touch sensitivity to be slightly less than perfect. It sometimes failed to register swipes, or registered them incorrectly, bringing up my apps instead of my daily feed. This is an issue we’ve seen with other OLED touch screens, like on the Garmin Vivosmart 4.
On the plus side, the Charge 3 packs a bigger battery, with an estimated seven days of use on a single charge. Ultimately, battery life will depend on your usage, but I’ve been wearing it for nearly a week and still have an impressive 35 percent battery left. One disappointment is that Fitbit still uses a proprietary charger, so you’ll have to shell out for a new one if you lose or break the one in the box.
Rounding out the upgrades, the Charge 3 is more water resistant than its predecessor (up to 50 meters). You can safely wear it in the shower or the pool and use it to track your laps.
Going for a Test Run
Inside, the Charge 3 packs the same sensors for monitoring your activity as the Charge 2, with an improved heart rate monitor and the notable addition of
When it comes to accuracy, the Charge 3 delivered solid performance in testing. On a one-mile treadmill walk at 3.5 miles per hour, it logged 2,036 steps to a Yamax SW-200 Digi-Walker’s 2,095 steps, for a difference of 2.8 percent. On a one-mile run at 5.0 miles per hour, it recorded 1,915 steps to the
When it comes to indoor distance tracking, the Charge 3 isn’t quite as strong, logging 0.78-mile on my walk and 0.94-mile on my run. It doesn’t have GPS, so this isn’t terribly surprising. If you plan to run outdoors, you can connect your phone for more accurate readings.
Heart rate monitoring is solid. In both controlled treadmill tests, the Charge 3 reported results within five beats per minute of the Polar H10 chest strap.
Fitbit’s app remains one of our favorite fitness apps, and it’s better than ever thanks to
Fitness Tracking for Everyone
Fitbit has been getting into the smartwatch game in a major way lately with the Ionic and the Versa, both of which include features like color displays, app stores, and more advanced integration with your smartphone. Along with the Apple Watch Series 4, they’re great options if you’re looking for lots of apps or to track phone-free runs, but they’re also bulkier, more expensive, and have shorter battery life. There’s still a place for dedicated fitness trackers, and they don’t get much better than the Fitbit Charge 3. Sure, it isn’t perfect, but it’s a comfortable wearable that tracks the stats most people want and you don’t have to charge it often. Fitbit’s app is excellent, and updates to the Charge 3’s screen, sensors, and build quality make it an even better buy than its excellent