Please note: there are older versions of the Fitbit Charge available! The Fitbit Charge 2, the Fitbit Charge (2014) and the Fitbit Charge HR (2014).

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Fitbit Charge 3 (Standard)


£109.99

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£126.99

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£129.99

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£129.99

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£129.99

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£129.99

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£129.99

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Fitbit Charge 3 (Special Edition)


£149.99

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£149.99

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£149.99

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If you thought Fitbit were too good for fitness trackers now that they’ve become active players in the smartwatch game you were wrong. Fitbit have finally released the much anticipated follow up to their Fitbit Charge range (and biggest seller) – The Fitbit Charge 3.

What’s changed? Well not much actually. The Fitbit Charge 3 does a lot of the same things that the Fitbit Charge 2 does but better thanks to a few strategic upgrades and clever tweaks.

 

#Shredded

At first glance you’d be hard pressed to see many physical changes to the Charge 3. The buckle is the same, as is the overall look of the fitness tracker. Hold the two up together however and you may see a few improvements.

For starters, the Fitbit Charge 3 is a little less chunky (18.325mm wide) than the Charge 2 (21.45mm wide) and has a wider range of bands and finishes to choose from. This may not seem like it would make a difference, but it definitely fits better under clothing (no more stretched sleeves). It also feels a lot more comfortable in general. The Charge 3 is lighter too, weighing just 29g compared to the Fitbit Charge 2 which is 36g. The main reason for the weight difference is the use of lightweight Aerospace-grade aluminium compared to the stainless steel the Charge 2 uses. As someone with ickle wrists who likes to run, this is a definite plus. It gives it a little bit more of a sophisticated, polished look too.

 

#Gains

With such a weight difference you’d assume that the screen of the Fitbit Charge 3 must be smaller, right? Wrong! Not only is the screen 40% larger than the Charge 2, but the Charge 3 has a greyscale OLED touchscreen with scratch resistant Corning┬« Gorilla┬« Glass 3 screen. The display is still the classic black and white, but this does mean you can actually interact with your phone notifications from your wrist (e.g. decline voice calls) unlike the Fitbit Charge 2. Additionally if you have an Android phone, you can make use of the Quick Replies function which is a nice little feature. The novelty probably won’t last long, but I certainly found myself tickled by the fact I could hang up on spam calls whilst on the treadmill.

While the Fitbit Charge 3 still has an inductive button to wake the device, Fitbit have had to do away with the physical button found on the Charge 2. Not only does this slim down the tracker, but it means the Fitbit Charge 3 can be used for swimming (finally) – the Fitbit Charge 2 was simply splash-proof. That’s right, the Fitbit Charge 3 can withstand depths of up to 50 metres which means this version of the Charge can track your swims. If you’re a swimmer, this is definitely a feature the latest Fitbit Charge model has over the others. At the very least, you can take it into the shower with you which is handy when you’re at the gym.

 

#Miring

Of course once you get past the cosmetic changes, there’s a lot more to Fitbit’s newest fitness tracker than first meets the eye. Besides swim tracking, the Fitbit Charge 3 can also track things such as Female Health such as period, ovulation and fertility tracking. It also features Advanced Sleep Tracking and a new Goal-Based feature which lets you set a target distance or time to work towards during a workout without having to open the app on your phone. Furthermore, thanks to the latest SpO2 sensor (the same one found in the Ionic and Versa), the Fitbit Charge 3 does everything the Charge 2 did but more accurately… at least it will do once Fitbit make full use of it. So far I have mainly used the Fitbit Charge 3 at the gym on the treadmill – so far so good, stats on the treadmill and the Charge 3 have been very close in terms of distance.

As you know, Fitbit have been trying their hand at smartwatches. While the Fitbit Charge certainly isn’t a smartwatch, there are a few features that have trickled down from the Versa and Ionic. Besides the touchscreen, notifications and quick reply features already mentioned, the Special Edition Fitbit Charge 3 offers NFC. So like Fitbit’s smartwatches you can use Fitbit Pay to make contactless payments. A nice little feature, but it comes at an extra cost. It certainly saves you having to dig through your purse for your phone or wallet. You can also have a bit of fun pretending to be a Jedi – just don’t let the power go to your head.

 

#WeekendWarrior (Shortfalls)

Unfortunately there’s still no on-board GPS. It’s a shame, but as we all know GPS is a massive battery drain and would undoubtedly add weight to the fitness tracker. That said, Fitbit have managed to squeeze a bit more longevity out of the battery on the Charge 3. With minimal use you can get approximately seven days. That’s an extra two days over the Fitbit Charge 2 which can only manage 5 days on a good day.

Another thing that would have been nice to see is more choice of watch-faces. So far there are five to choose from, but it would be nice to have at least one option that shows the date as well as the time. This is a pretty minor quibble however and something that will likely be updated in due time.

 

Final Thoughts

As usual, Fitbit have created a nice mid-ranged fitness tracker. Of course there are always improvements to be made. And it would be nice to see some of the data a little less US centric for us UK users. The important thing however is that it collects accurate data and that it does (despite some complaints about car and motorbike journeys skewing data).

Charge 3 or Charge 2? If you are new to Fitbit, you can’t go wrong with the Fitbit Charge 3, especially as the older model isn’t much cheaper. For those who already own a Fitbit Charge 2 however I’d hold off. Unless you’re a swimmer or want to pay out for the NFC function on the Special Edition, the changes probably aren’t enough to make you swoon and justify the purchase.

What’s in the Box

  • Fitbit Charge 3
  • Classic wristbands (both small & large)
  • Charging cable

Fitbit Charge 3
Design82%
Usability91%
Battery Life95%
Features84%
88%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
66%