FitBit Charge 4 Review

When you think FitBit, you think sleek, small, shiny, and smart. Well, the FitBit Charge 4 checks every box.

The quintessential fitness band returns as an actual band, and a more accessible version of a FitBit if you don’t want the more smartwatch-esque bells and whistles of the Versa 2 (which is also very good). This, I feel, is the point of a FitBit; tracking fitness. And, to be honest, you really can’t beat it for this one.

Charging into the Future

Full inbox lineup for Fitbit Charge 4.

The Charge 4 comes with several straps for your pleasure and comfort. Small wrist? We’ve got you. Large wrist? Also good. Want some fabric? You know FitBit’s got it covered. Honestly, it’s a weird thing to fixate on, but regardless of any other features here, making sure the damn thing is comfortable to wear should be top priority, and I’m glad it was given so much attention.

Ergonomics, my friends. It’s how you sell things to me.

Barely needing to charge wearables is my favorite thing about them, and the week-long battery on the Charge 4 is what I’m all about. Ok, it was more like 5 and a bit days, but I was using it constantly and fiddling with all the features; standard use would probably last at least another day or two.

I’ll miss physical buttons though; while the Versa 2 and older Charges maintained a side button, the Charge 4 has gone futuristic and moved to a fully touchpad experience. 

I Like to Move It Move It

GPS is now included in the FitBit Charge 4, leading to increased accuracy while you move about… Or it would, if we were really moving much. When I was leaving the house, the Charge 4 knew where I was going precisely. And yeah, it was mostly Countdown, but still, handy to know how many calories I burned while sauntering through Wellington.

Active Zone Minutes are a cool addition as well. While they can be a bit confusing to figure out, the crux is that periods of intense exercise count as more valuable than those of lower intensity. Which makes sense, because your body cares about calories, not the nebulous concept of time.

Also, apparently my body REALLY hates stairs.

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go

Sleep tracking is always a fun one, because I thought I sleep really badly. Turns out that if I don’t go to bed at 2am and get up at 11am, I’m actually going to have a good night’s sleep.

Way to hold me accountable to my own poor life choices, FitBit.

The Sleep Score is still present and awesome, because gamifying my health is the way to make me improve it. Turns out sleeping better also makes you feel better, so I’m more productive now as well; lockdown made me LAZY.

The Charge 4 is also, you know, a watch, but thankfully has a Sleep Mode and Do-Not-Disturb mode to make sure it’s not keeping you awake. You need to wear it all the time to get the full benefits, after all.

Push it to the Limit

I have a love/hate relationship with the push notifications from FitBits in general. Sometimes it’s useful, like telling me I’ve been sitting down WAY too long, and I go for a meander around the office/ apartment. But telling me ‘Good Job’ when all I did was clean the bathroom feels odd. Yeah, it means I’m super intense about cleaning, so I guess that’s a plus. But I then feel like I don’t need to work out, and man, do I need to work out.

Being able to control Spotify is great, but you’ll still need your phone if you want some sweet tunes on the go. The Charge 4 has no onboard music storage, unfortunately, but when you consider that even those which do require a direct addition rather than playlist downloads, this isn’t a dealbreaker. I feel deeply uncomfortable without my phone anyway, as I am a millennial and thus would like it surgically attached to me. This just means I can keep the phone in a pocket and skip 90% of my playlist with a swipe on my wrist; handy.

The Price of Victory

People complain about paywalls and Premium subscriptions, but there’s a time and a place. If the FitBit was a device that just sat there, yeah a Premium service wouldn’t be ideal. But given that the Charge 4 learns about you, personalises to your needs, and updates workouts while tracking sleep, oxygen, and all sorts, and then offers comparisons to your demographics, yeah I think it’s reasonable. There’s a lot in there that I would consider to be Premium.

Still costs less than a gym membership, amirite?

The Charge 4 itself also isn’t nearly as expensive as the competitors in smartwatches, and clocks in at about $269 NZD; all things considered, that’s pretty good for a device you’ll be wearing all day-every day. With Premium, it’s about a dollar a day to track your health, and yeah that sounds good to me.

You’ve also got a 90-day free trial, so hey see for yourself.

Come Together

With exercise, sleep, and health tracking all together in one nifty little package, I would consider this to be the perfect example of what a FitBit should be. I’d like more options around FitBit Pay, and onboard Spotify Playlist storage, and hey what happened to that Pebble tech with the e-ink screens, let’s get that back in the mix. But overall, this is the pinnacle of what FitBit have achieved so far, and I like it.

While it doesn’t have all the fancy extras as an Apple Watch, or even a Versa 2, it’s hard to deny that the FitBit Charge 4 is exactly what it claims to be; a fitness tracker. Everything else is just a bonus. For pure health and fitness, it’s gonna be hard to beat.

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