The Fitbit Charge 4 is a motivating tool with plenty of excellent functionality that helps you chart your workouts and better understand your body. For those who exercise out and about via running, swimming, biking, hiking, and other distance-related activities, the Charge 4 is your perfect fit. Here is a full Fitbit Charge 4 review for you to consider.
Fitbit Charge 4 Review
The first part of the Fitbit Charge 4 review is its price. The Fitbit Charge 4 starts at $149.95 with either a black, rosewood, and storm blue/black wrist band. A Special Edition Charge 4 costs $169.95 and comes with a granite reflective/black woven band.
The Fitbit Charge 4 has a very similar design to its predecessor in terms of shape and size, with the slim, rectangular face we’ve come to expect. There are two versions to choose from.
The Fitbit Charge 4 charges through a USB cable that connects to the watch via a large clip. It’s easy to line up the connectors (it clamps securely around the whole body of the watch, making it much easier than the similar charging clips used by Garmin devices), and a full charge takes under an hour.
Fitbit says that the Charge 4 lasts up to a week on a single charge, which we found to be true in our testing, though as with any fitness tracker, that period is shortened dramatically when you’re using the on-board GPS.
3. GPS and running performance
The most notable new feature of the Fitbit Charge 4 is its built-in GPS. The Charge 4 is only the second of Fitbit’s devices, and the first of its fitness trackers to have this feature. Many of Fitbit’s rivals have had GPS in similar trackers, and considering devices like the Garmin Forerunner 35 running watch now cost less than the Charge 4, it’s about time GPS became mandatory in trackers that cost more than $100.
By default, the Charge 4 has six exercise shortcuts loaded: Run, Bike, Swim, Treadmill, Outdoor Workout, Walk. Within the Fitbit app, though, you can choose from 16 other activities ranging from yoga to kickboxing, even interval workouts.
After the Charge 4 synced with my phone, a map of my runs showed up in the Fitbit app, along with data for pace, elevation, heart rate zones, and calories burned. Even better, the app overlays this information along your route, so you can see precisely where you were huffing and puffing.
Looking at the data, there appeared to be a couple of instances where the Charge 4’s heart rate monitor was a bit tardy in its tracking; my heart rate would suddenly jump up 10 or 20 beats per minute before settling into a more consistent pattern. Overall, though, the heart rate tracking seemed pretty consistent.
4. Heart rate
Just to start by going over old ground, the Charge 4’s heart rate accuracy is solid – but it will let you down at the highest intensity. Across a number of steady runs, we were really pleased with how it performed compared to a chest strap, even in the 190+ bpm range.
It suffered on very rapid rises and falls in heart rate on hill repeats – where it just couldn’t cope with the rapid surge in heart rate, and the Apple Watch Series 5 certainly handled that better.
You can see that in the comparative workouts below – where halfway through the run we stressed the device with three short sharp hill repeats. The chest strap tracks those quick rises, while the Charge 4 really doesn’t get near them.
Otherwise, however, you can see an extremely close match between the two – even the surge in heart rate at the end, and rapid drop-offs when resting.
5. Fitness tracking and sleep
Despite the fact that Fitbit hadn’t put its heart and soul into making the Charge 4 the best it could be, it was still the top fitness tracking band on the market.
That’s because Fitbit data is more compelling than most of its rivals – and a visit to the dashboard really puts you in touch with your data. While the Apple Watch Activity rings are probably the best daily goal visualizations, Fitbit does a better job at displaying your progress over the weeks and months.
Your current day is laid out at the top, so you can quickly see how much exercise you’ve done, your heart rate and resting HR, plus things like weight, water intake, and food.
Dive into one and you can see progress over time. Sleep, for example, is clearly shown as part of seven days, not in isolation. The graphs are all super clear – it’s a great app.
Sleep tracking is right up there as the best in the business – and one of the few systems to add awake time into the mix. Tossing and turning make up a big part of the nights, and you don’t get rewarded for that, so your sleep might be judged more harshly than on other devices.
You get an overall score for your sleep, and if you use Fitbit Premium, you can see how that was calculated too, with breakdowns for Time Asleep, Deep and REM time, and Restoration.
Without a sleep lab, it’s really hard to say how accurate this is, but you can absolutely affect the numbers, and you can see the effects of things like alcohol and late nights. And that’s what it’s all about – Fitbit enables you to work on improving your sleep quality more than any other system we’ve used.
Female health tracking is part of the app, and you can track your cycle in pretty good detail. However, oddly you can’t tell Fitbit if you’re pregnant which seems a strange omission. It would also help color some data, and add an extra layer of usefulness.
From this Fitbit Charge 4 review, you can see its outstanding features.