Fitbit Charge 5 Review: Truly Better Than The Rest

Fitbit Charge 5 Review: Wearables makers are trying to squeeze in as many useful features in fitness bands as possible as the category is not limited to offering just heart rate monitoring and step counting these days. The onset of coronavirus pandemic changed how we look at fitness bands and their health monitoring and also made them widely popular and so much so that the India smartwatch market accounted for 10 per cent of the global market in 2021 from the three per cent YoY growth in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Fitbit, owned by Google, is a reliable name when it comes to health tracking and the company is known to not flood the market with a confusing number of launches and yet provide decent wearables that are dependable. While we had thought that the Fitbit Charge 4 was the most accomplished fitness band out there came the Fitbit Charge 5, at a higher price point, but also with a slew of advantages over the previous-gen Charge 4.

The Fitbit Charge 5 brings a range of upgrades over the Charge 4 and the biggest one is the colour display, a magnetic charger and the addition of several features taken from the pricier Fitbit Sense. The Fitbit Charge 5 is available in three colours in India. I wore the Charge 5 for a few days and here’s how it fared in my review.

Fitbit Charge 5 Design, Display, Looks And Build

The Fitbit Charge 5 gets the biggest upgrade in terms of display, which is a 1.04-inch colour AMOLED screen that is crisp and bright and easy to view under direct sunlight if you set the brightness to mode. The AMOLED display has an always-on mode which is very useful and the pixel density is 326 ppi which ensures that you see bright colours and there’s a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to protect the screen from scratches. Please keep in mind that the always-on display will deplete battery significantly. Fitbit has done away with physical buttons for good and the display is very quick to respond to touches. However, sweaty workout sessions will make navigation with taps and sweeps difficult.

The Fitbit Charge 5’s case has a matte, polished aluminium finish (Image: Krishna SinhaChaudhury/ABP Live)

The overall look and finish of the Charge 5 feels premium with a slim profile. The case has a matte, polished aluminium look that doesn’t scream for attention. Unlike the previous-gen Charge 4, there are no sharp edges in the Charge 5. The edges are curved and softer and also, there is no Fitbit branding. The device is available in three colour variants: Black/Graphite Stainless Steel, Lunar White/Soft Gold Stailess Steel and Steel Blue/Platinum Stainless Steel. If you want to sport a classy look, then go for the black model else the lunar white and steel blue are just fine. The slender profile means that the Charge 5 weighs just 29 grams, thus, making it very light and apt for everyday use. I have a sensitive skin, but despite that I wore it to bed with absolute ease, thanks to the lightweight design. The strap is wide and can collect sweat and that’s why I recommend investing in a perforated silicon strap or a leather or stretchable strap that you can find on Amazon.in or other third-party stores.

Fitbit Charge 5 Features, Battery And Performance

Those who have used Fitbit smartwatches or trackers would know the sleep analysis tools offered, and with the Charge 5, Fitbit has taken it a notch higher. The sleep tracking and analysis is strong and provides comprehensive details such as sleep stages, including REM sleep, deep sleep, light sleep and awake time. These details are accompanied by the estimated low and high oxygen variations. However, features such as sleeping heart rate and restlessness are locked behind Fitbit Premium service. The available sleep tracking feature and stats on the Fitbit Charge 5 are brilliant and are usually available is devices twice its price. Using its sleep tracking you can improve their sleep pattern and quality of sleep to a great extent.

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The sleep analysis is strong and provides comprehensive details (Image: Krishna SinhaChaudhury/ABP Live)

The addition of EDA or electrodermal activity scan is helpful in monitoring your stress better and it makes use of two sensor strips on either side of the tracker – to use it you have to hold both the sides gently with the forefinger and thumb and follow the breathing prompts that pop up on the display. Despite how fancy it sounds, the EDA feature is redundant in the tracker. Also, holding the sides with the thumb and forefinger properly for the scan is a task and the Charge 5 kept pausing and asking me to “hold sides to resume” that was infuriating. I could get the reading after repeated attempts only.

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The addition of electrodermal activity scan is helpful in monitoring stress better (Image: Krishna SinhaChaudhury/ABP Live)

Apart from these, the Fitbit Charge 5 comes with several default workout tracking options that include, run, treadmill, swim, bike and weights. The workout modes can be easily edited via the Fitbit app and you can select the exercise that suits you the best. However, you can have only six workout tracking shortcuts on the Charge 5 at a time which is a bummer. The Redmi Smart Band Pro (read the review here), for example, is much cheaper and provides 15 workout-tracking shortcuts by default with an option to add more.

Apart from that the Fitbit Charge 5 can track 20 different types of workouts which is pretty good. The Charge 5 also has a menstrual health tracking feature that if used regularly, can provide insights for any recurring irregularities. It can also help you identify menstrual patterns linked to everyday activities like sleep and exercise. The tracker has an ability to automatically identify workouts too. Fitbit’s step tracking scores over other options out there as it does not count false steps while I’m in a car or scooter or just sitting and typing on my keyboard.

The Fitbit Charge 5 has a promised battery life of 7 days on a single charge, but I found it to last a little more than 6 days during my use. Extensively using GPS and setting the display to always on will deplete the battery much faster. A huge upgrade from the previous-gen Charge 4 is the addition of the new charging dongle — it has a magnet, thus, making sure the Fitbit Charge 5 clings to it tightly and is easy to engage and charge. The Fitbit app works on both Android and iOS and is easy to use.

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The Charge 5 has an ability to automatically identify workouts too (Image: Krishna SinhaChaudhury/ABP Live)

The data it provides is comprehensive and presented in a way that is easy to read and understand, which makes it even better.  One thing that feels like a downgrade from the Charge 4 is the absence of Spotify. I was hoping to use it to control music playback on my smartphone during walks and workout sessions.

Fitbit Charge 5 Final Verdict

The Fitbit Charge 5 is an excellent fitness tracker, but of course it is not cheap. At a price of Rs 14,999, it is a costly proposition, but offers a bevy of health and sleep monitoring features along with menstrual health tracking and an integrated GPS. Undoubtedly, the Charge 5 is the best fitness tracker Fibit has ever made with a lot of significant upgrades over the Charge 4. However, it should be kept in mind that a lot of fitness bands from the likes of Honor, OnePlus, Redmi and Xiaomi also offer useful features without burning a hole in your pocket.

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