Living With the Fitbit Charge 6 video – CNET

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Living With the Fitbit Charge 6


Speaker 1: The Fitbit. Charge six has a whole host of new features that make it a great fitness tracker. The button returns for easier navigation. It lets you broadcast your heart rate data to supported apps and gym equipment, and there’s new Google integrations that bring maps and wallet to your wrist. Did I mention that Fitbit also gave it a price cut by $20 compared to the charge five when it launched and it works with Android and iOS, but yes, there’s always a, but it’s the first Fitbit that feels way more Google than Fitbit, and if you’re coming from an [00:00:30] older Fitbit, that might take some getting used to. Let’s dive in.

Speaker 1: So the charge six is your standard fitness tracker. On the outside it’s got a small AM lead display just like the charge five, but around the side is a new haptic button you can use to navigate press from any screen to get back to your clock face. Or if you’re in a workout, it scrolls the screen so you can easily hit pause. I didn’t have too many problems navigating the Buttonless charge five, but a lot of people really miss the button, so I’m glad [00:01:00] Fitbit listened to user feedback. It comes in only one case size, but you get two strap sizes in the box. My wrist is 152 millimeters for reference, so you can get an idea of how it fits it’s comfortable to wear and the idea is you’re going to want to wear it almost all the time because one, the battery lasts a lot longer than your average smartwatch. And two, it tracks sleep really well. Phone notifications like calls or texts come through on the charge. Six with quick replies only supported when paired with an Android. Magnification in Zoom is now supported, so you can now see the small screen [00:01:30] much more easily with just a few taps, which is a great accessibility feature.

Speaker 1: In case you missed it, Fitbit was bought by Google a couple years ago and in that time we’ve seen a lot of the Fitbit influence on the Pixel watch, but this time Fitbit’s the one getting Googled. You get support for Google Maps, so you can start a walk, bike ride or driving directions on your phone. Then you’ll see turn by turn navigation pop up on your wrist. It works really well, but you still need to have the phone with you because the charge six doesn’t have built-in [00:02:00] L T E or standalone Google Map support. Google Wallet is also there and it replaces Fitbit pay, which I’m very happy to see. But entering a pin to pay for stuff is still a tedious process. You’ve got to scroll up and down that number list because of the small screen. I’d love to see a better way of doing this, like getting rid of the pin altogether.

Speaker 1: Maybe setting a payment limit from your phone could help. We finally get music controls on a Fitbit charge. Yay, but it’s not all Roses. It is through YouTube music [00:02:30] and you do need to have a YouTube music premium subscription to listen to songs or playlists from your phone. There is a one month free trial with the charge six, but after that you do have to pay by now. Most of us have chosen a streaming service, so I’d much prefer Fitbit have generic music controls that work with any streaming app on your phone. There is also no offline music storage or support for storing your own music on the charge six. It just acts as a remote control for your phone. I always love the old Fitbit for being easy to use, [00:03:00] but with the recent redesign it’s just not as easy to use for me and you do need to convert your old Fitbit account to a Google account to use the charge six.

Speaker 1: Alright, enough complaining. Let’s talk about the good stuff. Fitness enthusiasts, you have a lot to like about the charge six, including support for broadcasting live heart rate data from the tracker to supported gym equipment. But more useful for me is support for sending that same heart rate data to fitness apps such as Peloton and Strava. Scroll up and find the heart rate [00:03:30] on equipment setting. Turn it on and then find the charge six in your supported app. Here it is on Strava. It connects really, really quickly and when you’re in a workout you’ll now get heart rate data, which is great. Fitbit also borrowed some of the heart rate algorithms used on the Pixel watch to improve accuracy. The company claims it is now 60% more accurate than the charge five for hit rowing and spinning workout types, but only those workout types I’m guessing because they don’t use G P Ss.

Speaker 1: But I did ask Fitbit for comment on [00:04:00] this. I compared the charge six to a chest strap for a hit workout and it was fairly close though like the charge five. It also took a little while to catch up to intense bursts of activity. You’ll be able to find more on heart rate and G P S accuracy in my full text review links in the description. The charge six comes with the same great sleep tracking as earlier Fitbits and thank goodness Fitbit did not change the interface for this, which is, in my opinion, the easiest to understand of all watches and trackers. You also get an E C G with a regular heart rhythm notifications and [00:04:30] the stress tracking sensor exactly the same as the charge five. I love that the daily readiness score takes into account sleep activity and heart rate variability and it’s super helpful for determining if I need to take a rest day or I can choose to work out. But that is a Fitbit premium feature and you guessed it. It’s another subscription that costs $10 a month, but you do get six months free with the purchase of the charge. Six. To be clear, you absolutely do not need to have either a YouTube Music Premium or a Fitbit premium subscription to use the charge six. [00:05:00] You’re just going to miss out on things like music controls as well as Fitbit premium perks such as that daily readiness score, more in-depth sleep metrics and custom workout plans to name a few.

Speaker 1: Battery Life has always been one of Fitbit’s strong suits and it is still good on the charge six though. If you are using key features, you’re not going to get close to that seven day claim from Fitbit with the always on display active at normal brightness, A G P S workout, sleep tracking and call and text notifications. I got two full days [00:05:30] out of the charge. Six. Changing the display to raise to wake will stretch the battery and under the same usage patterns, I was able to get between four and five full days before charging. Using the live heart rate broadcasting does drain the battery really fast and after about an hour’s workout, my charge six had dropped almost by 20% and if you use the built-in G P s rather than relying on the dynamic mode or using your phone’s G P s, that will also battery life, [00:06:00] so buy it, skip it or try it. I would say buy it. If this is your first Fitbit and you’re looking for robust fitness features with some added Google Smarts, even though it is less expensive than the charge five

Speaker 2: When it launched,

Speaker 1: You do need to factor in some potential subscriptions to either YouTube Music Premium, Fitbit Premium, or maybe both when looking at the total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the charge. Six. Thanks so much for watching. As always, if you have any questions that I didn’t answer about the charge six, [00:06:30] feel free to drop me a comment, find me on your favorite social media platform and make sure to check out my full text review that’s linked in the description with so much more on things like sensor accuracy. I’ll see you later.

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