Fitbit Charge HR – Fitbit’s Charge fitness tracker range got a massive update in early 2015 when they released the Fitbit Charge HR. All the same great functionality of the old Fitbit Charge device but now with continuous heart rate monitoring.
Way to add a killer feature to an already tidy product!
Despite being released over a year ago, the Fitbit Charge HR still leads the way in affordable and feature-rich fitness tracking devices.
Essentially it is just an evolution of the old Fitbit Charge fitness monitor with with the really cool addition of heart rate monitoring. The heart rate sensor in the Fitbit Charge HR allows for more detailed and accurate analysis of your daily exercise.
The old Fitbit Charge is still available, but for a very small additional price the extra heart rate monitoring feature of the Fitbit Charge HR adds an extra dimension of biometric data monitoring.
Design of the Fitbit Charge HR
As far as looks are concerned it will be hard for the average person to tell the difference between the Charge and the Charge HR. They come with the same textured wristband as before.
The adjustable watch-type buckle/clasp makes fastening the band around your wrist a doddle. And you don’t need to worry about the hard, fixed bands of devices like the Fitbit Alta. Simply adjust to fit, even throughout the day as your wrist might swell slightly in the heat or with exercise.
Just make sure to order the correct strap size. The small version claims to suit wrist circumferences up to 6.2 inches while the larger version of the strap will be suitable for those with bigger wrists. If in doubt measure your wrist circumference by wrapping a dress-making tape measure around your wrist (not too tight), or if you don’t have a flexible tape measure use a piece of cloth to measure your wrist, mark it and then lay it beside a ruler to read off the measurement in inches. If you’re right on the borderline between small and large, consider getting the large strap.
The strap of the wristband itself is made of a rubbery material which is quite comfortable. Just remember not to have the Fitbit Charge HR too tight on your wrist, and take the band off from time to time to allow your skin to breathe. Some people have reported irritation or rashes when worn constantly so take sensible precautions as you would with a wristwatch.
Note that the Fitbit Charge HR is not waterproof. Well they say it is waterproof to 1 atmosphere, which in reality means it is splashproof. But you can’t go swimming with it on. And if it does get wet from water or sweat, take it off and allow it, and your skin, to dry completely before putting it back on.
Features of the Fitbit Charge HR
We’ll start with the standard features of the Fitbit Charge and come on to the ‘HR’ variant shortly.
You get all the good old features you would expect. Step counting, estimated distance travelled and elevation changes allowing for estimated flights of stairs climbed are standard.
Then add in the continuous heart rate monitoring of the Fitbit Charge HR, and you get much more accurate estimation of calorie expenditure during the day, while you are inactive, active and exercising.
The heart rate monitor works by shining two tiny green lights on the underside of the band into your wrist. An optical detector receives reflected signals that bounce back from the blood vessels in your wrist, allowing your heart rate to be calculated on a continuous basis.
Heart rate monitoring accuracy – I am pleasantly impressed with the heart rate monitor on the Fitbit Charge HR. Resting heart rate appears to be accurate to within a beat, compared with the good old fashioned finger on the wrist pulse test. Heart rate measuring whilst exercising is slightly more difficult to compare manually, just try taking your pulse while running, it’s not easy, but the Fitbit seems to be accurate to within a few beats of standard gym equipment monitors.
So for the average user trying to monitor and track their fitness, including heart rate, the Fitbit Charge HR is as close as you need. Serious athletes might grumble about being a few beats off, but to be honest they are going to want a professional level heart rate monitor, probably with a chest strap, not your average consumer product like the Fitbit Charge HR.