Review of the FitBit Charge HR

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For Christmas 2015, my mom was really getting into walking and watching her calories, so I thought it would be a great idea to get her the new fitness tracker on the market – the FitBit Charge HR. In a testament to how similar we can sometimes be, my mom got me the same exact thing. It was even in the same color!

I’ve now had the tracker for a little more than a year, and so far I’ve loved it, with a few slight exceptions.

I really like how comfortable it is. The rubber-like wrist band is lightweight, and most days I forget it’s there. The step counting feature is remarkably accurate, even when marching in place.

Unfortunately, the one thing I wish it did better was the feature highlighted in it’s name – the heart rate tracking. My mom got me the Charge HR so I could keep a close eye on my heart rate, especially during exercising. However, the more I got into running the more I realized how grossly innacurate the heart rate monitor is.

To illustrate:

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Here’s a screenshot of my supposed heart rate over the duration of one of my recent runs. At several points, my Fitbit puts my heart rate in the 140 to 150 range. The problem with that is, I take my pulse manually during some of my runs.

When I’m really working hard, my heart rate can get all the way to a whopping 109 beats per minute. When I’m recuperating between jogging intervals, my heart rate is at about 80. And that’s measured by me and someone else.

The only thing I can figure here is that the Charge HR confuses your heart rate with the pounding of your feet on the pavement – something that’s been noted in several reviews. It’s really unfortunate, but it hasn’t been a total deal breaker for me.

What almost was a deal breaker was the fact that, if you let your charge HR completely die, it’s a complete pain to get working again. Both me and my mother in law had this problem. What happens is, you go on a trip or some other situation where you can’t charge your watch for a week or so, and it completely dies. No big deal, right?

Well, if you leave it dead for too long it stays dead – at least for a while.

After my charge HR was dead for four days, I had to charge it for two weeks and hold the button down for longer than 60 seconds on the second week to get it started again.

Needless to say this was really irritating, but at least I know what to do now, and I was able to get my mother in law’s watch working again when here’s did the same thing. But in my opinion, something so expensive shouldn’t take some voodoo rain dance to make it work after getting a little low on battery.

This particular quirk aside, I think I would choose the Charge HR again if I could go back in time. The accuracy in steps is really awesome, the interface of the FitBit app is simple and easy to navigate, and I really like that it lets you track sleep and calories in a simplistic way.

 

Do you own a Charge HR, or one of its successors? What do you think of the fitness watch craze?

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