The Fitbit Charge HR is an enhanced version of the Fitbit Charge activity tracker wristband, that adds continuous heart-rate monitoring alongside the many other display-based stats.
PRICE WHEN REVIEWED
£119 inc VAT
FITBIT CHARGE HR REVIEW
The Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge both feature heart-rate monitors plus a bunch of other fitness and activity-tracking features. See all Activity Tracker Reviews. UPDATED: new colours of Fitbit Charge HR announced; see below.
The Fitbit Charge HR is a more advanced version of the Fitbit Charge, which was released in November 2014. The Fitbit Surge features even more features for the performance-obsessed fitness fanatics. As such the Charge HR should appeal to someone wanting more advanced activity-tracking stats than a Fitbit Flex or Charge user – particularly heart-rate monitoring – but not to the level and price as the more sports-oriented Surge.
The Fitbit Charge HR also has some extra benefits, such as a watch-type buckle that is far more secure than the clasp on the Flex and Charge. It’s one of the reasons that the Charge HR is one of our favourite activity trackers. See the foot of this review for the latest best prices online.
It features all the functions of the Charge and adds some compelling new monitors that will make many Charge buyers stop to consider paying the extra £20 for the Charge HR’s extras.
The recent Fitbit Blaze offers everything the Charge HR has, plus multisport features, text notifications and music control. Read our Fitbit Blaze Hands On Review.
The latest Fitbit tracker is the Alta; read our Fitbit Alta review. This doesn’t boast the altimeter for floors climbed stats, or heart rate monitoring – although it does have text notifications and an inactivity alert. We think the Alta is worth considering against the Charge, but the HR’s heart rate and altimeter make it more advanced.
FITBIT CHARGE HR REVIEW: PRICE
While the Charge costs £99.99 (US$109.95), the Fitbit Charge HR is priced at £119.99 (US$149.95). Spending that extra £20 ($40) is tempting because of the extra features the HR offers. And check our best online prices at the bottom of this review for cheaper online prices, which are often a lot cheaper than when bought direct. At the time of writing we’ve seen the Charge HR selling for just under £100 on Amazon UK and under US$130 on Amazon.com.
Bear in mind that no Fitbit tracker integrates with Apple Health, so your fitness data from the Fitbit app can’t be imported into the Health app. However. this is no major problem since the Fitbit app presents the data nicely and lets you compete with friends.
FITBIT CHARGE HR VS FITBIT CHARGE: IT’S ALL ABOUT HEART RATE
All Fitbits have a MEMS 3-axis accelerometer that measures motion patterns to determine your steps taken, distance travelled, active minutes, and calories burned. The Charge and Charge HR both include a clock so you can ditch the watch if you like, but many wear the fitness band alongside their wristwatch. For a full breakdown and comparison of all the Fitbits see our feature “Which Fitbit is Best”.
The Fitbit Charge and Charge HR also feature an altimeter (unlike the Apple Watch) that measures floors climbed, to push you to climb those stairs instead of taking the lift, or to take the uphill route to work rather than the easier flat. Every 10ft elevation you walk or climb is counted as one flight of stairs.
The Charge HR isn’t the multi-sports powerhouse that is the GPS-packing Fitbit Surge, but – as with the Charge – you can use it to log workouts and – via the app – see a monthly exercise plan. Fitbit sees it as for “Active” users, compared to the Charge that’s aimed at “Everyday” users. You might also be interested in Fitbit’s Aria scales that sync with your account, and measure weight, body fat percentage and BMI; read our Fitbit Aria scales review.
Using Mobile Run both can track run, walk and hike stats and map routes using your iPhone’s GPS; the Surge has its own built-in GPS. These functions are not quite there on Android yet, unfortunately.
This is great for recording Average Pace and Split Paces. It also offers music controls so you can use it to select and shuffle songs on your iPhone. You can view runs from the past four weeks. You tap specific runs for an expanded view, where you can view steps, calories, and active minutes taken during your MobileRun.
Fitbit has introduced new features that track your Hourly Activity and Stationary Time in the app. You should aim to also take 250 steps each hour, which is roughly two to three minutes of walking. As your Hourly Activity time goes up, you’ll notice a decrease in your Stationary Time patterns over time.
In addition, the Fitbit Alta actually buzzes you to get you out of your seat if you fail to meet the hourly 250-step goal (daytime only, obviously!). This feature isn’t available with the other Fitbits yet, but the Hourly Activity stats do show up in the app.
FITBIT CHARGE HR: AUTO SLEEP DETECTION
Both wristbands also measure the duration and quality of your sleep, which is an often-forgotten aspect of leading a fit and healthy lifestyle. Sleep detection is now automatic. In the past you had to tap or push a button as you drifted off to the land of nod – which meant that this action was occasionally missed. This is another area where the Fitbits beat the battery-shy Apple Watch.
Sleepers who manage fewer than six hours of shut-eye each night are four times more likely to get ill than those who manage at least seven, says 2015 research from the University of California. Sleep was found to be a more important factor in catching a cold than stress or smoking. And Surrey University Physiology researcher Professor Derk-Jan Dijk says sleep is a fundamental ‘pillar of health’ alongside diet and exercise.
Both trackers feature a vibrating alarm to wake you – but not your partner – at the times you set beforehand.
FITBIT CHARGE HR: CALLER ID
If your phone is nearby you can set the Fitbit Charge and HR to show incoming call notifications using Caller ID. The top-of-the-range Fitbit Surge (plus Blaze and Alta) goes further yet, with built-in text notifications, music control and GPS tracking, so you don’t even need your phone nearby.
FITBIT CHARGE HR REVIEW: HEART RATE TRACKING
So far, so similar for the two Charges. What does the Fitbit Charge HR offer that’s missing from the Charge?
The Charge HR is designed for more active users than the Charge – gym regulars (but not nuts), joggers and the more dedicated keep fit people, rather than the moderate exerciser who’ll be happy with the Charge or entry-level Fitbit Flex.
The main difference between Charge and Charge HR, as pointed out rather obviously in the name, is the Charge HR’s heart-rate monitoring (shared by the Surge), which delivers continuous heart rate, and lets you see how you’re doing on the wristband as well as on the smartphone app. Unlike other heart-rate monitors it doesn’t require a device to be strapped to your chest. It’s all done on the wrist, which means you’ll get a more complete picture of your heart rate as it is on all day and night.