The fitbit charge 2 is the newest offering from fitbit as of writing this article. Its fitbit’s second version of their ever so popular charge line. After spending a few weeks with the fitbit charge 2, the GYMCADDY team is comfortable enough to say this is perhaps the best fitness tracker we have reviewed to date.
(Update: The fitbit charge 2 is such an amazing product, half the GYMCADDY™ Team is now using it as their daily driver. The price paired with its capabilities make this tracker amazing!)
Whats In The Box
Fitbit has recently been releasing their newer models in high quality boxes with an elegant presentation style. Its their subtle way of telling you right from the get go that you just bought a high quality product. Inside the box you will find the fitbit wrist band and its charging cradle, more on that in a moment. Interestingly enough, there is no desktop wireless sync dongle. It seems that fitbit is aiming for an all mobile app interaction platform, and we’re fine with that. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the fitbit mobile app is perhaps the best fitness tracking app out there.
The fitbit charge 2 has an aluminum and glass casing that is perfectly put together. All joints and surfaces are smooth, and the side button has a very satisfying click to it. The wristband is the same high quality soft touch textured plastic we have come to expect from fitbit. Thankfully the charge 2 wristband features a classic watch buckle, which makes putting it on a lot easier that other models that use the 2 pin clasp. The bands are also very easily replaceable thanks to the two release buttons on the underside of the fitbit. The charge 2 also includes an integrated heart rate monitor. After testing it against heart rate monitors on treadmills and a proper EKG machine we found it to be pretty accurate. Worst case scenario it'll be +/- 3 BPM off.
Using The fitbit charge 2
Using the fitbit charge 2 is very similar to the fitbit alta. It features a large white and black screen that you interact with by tapping and pressing the side button. Thankfully it seems that fitbit has refined the tap sensitivity and its now much more responsive that of the fitbit alta. Although this model lacks the colored touch screen found on the fitbit blaze, we found it was able to display vital information just fine. Its even safe to say the blaze’s colored touchscreen is over kill for a dedicated fitness tracker. The charge 2 is able to display the time, calories burned, real time heart rate, steps taken, distance walked, flights climbed, and active minutes. You can go deeper in to the charge 2’s menu by pressing the side button, then tapping the screen to scroll down, and long pressing the side button to make your selection. These menus include a stop watch and heart rate report. You can also manually set your charge 2 into workout mode and declare exactly what kind of exercises you're about to do. This way the charge 2 will start to track your stats more accurately and log your workout info into the fitbit app seamlessly. Exercises include running, weights, treadmill, workout, elliptical, bike, and interval training. The charge 2 is also able to sync with your phone to show you incoming calls, texts, and scheduled meetings. The fitbit charge 2 also introduces instructional breathing exercises. Its able to detect your breathing and instructs you when to inhale and exhale. The purposes of this function is to help you control your breathing so you can relax. Honestly we found it to actually work and it was rather accurate detecting our breathing.
Wearing the fitbit charge 2 is also a delight, the light weight, slim wristband, and integrated screen design make you forget you're even wearing it. There are no over hangs or bulges that press against your wrist or hand that remind you you're wearing a fitness tracker. The aluminum case also makes the fitbit charge 2 look great when you're wearing it outside the gym. You can even easily switch out the bands so you can accessorize with your outfit.
The one criticism we has about the fitbit charge 2 is its method of charing. The Predator like charging cradle is a little odd and unintuitive. We understand that adding magnets into the design of the charge 2 would make it a little thicker, but we think an improvement is warranted. Regardless, you wont be charging your fitbit charge 2 very often thanks to its very long battery life.
The Fitbit App
The Fitbit Companion App is the best fitness tracking app on the market. Its very beautifully laid out, simple to read, has comprehensive charts and graphs, and it does it all in simple english that also manages to keep you motived every time you log open the app. When purchasing a fitness tracker you're not just buying the hardware, you're also buying into it’s accompanying app. And truthfully all other fitness apps pale in comparison to fitbit’s. Other companies have tried to imitate titbit’s app, but none has been able to dethrone the king.
Playing around with the Fitbit app is fun. You can play around with settings like Activity goals, Exercise goals, Nutrition and Body Goals, and Sleeping goals. In the Activity Goals tab you can set amount of steps taken in a day, distance walked or ran, Calories Burned, Active Minutes, and Hourly Activity Goals. In the Nutrition Tab you can change goals like water intake, caloric deficit goal. Finally in the Sleep tab you can change your Time Asleep Goal, Bedtime, and Wake Up Time. Your Fitbit will then wake you up by vibrating when it feels its the best time to wake you up with in a 30 minute window of your selected wake up time. We highly prefer this wake up alarm as opposed to your standard audio alarm. Just make sure you have a back up alarm if you're a heavy sleeper.
The Fitbit App also includes a food logging journal which is reminiscent to MyFitnessPal. It can help you track your caloric intake and will give you a good sense of calories consumed vs calories expended through exercise via graphs and charts. It gets the job done but it fails to give you detailed macro tracking like MyFitnessPal. If you're looking for a detailed breakdown of your daily macros we suggest you stick to using MyFitnessPal.
The Fitbit App does give you a detailed breakdown on your sleep. It tells you how many hours slept, and it'll also tell you how many times you wake up at night. Knowing the quality of your sleep can help you on your fitness journey and help you achieve your goals. If you know you're waking up multiple times at night then this might be a good call to action to analyze your diet, caffeine consumption, workout schedule, or any stress that you may be experiencing in your daily life.
In conclusion, the GYMCADDY team feels that this is the best fitness tracker on the market. Its sleek and elegant design look great both in and out of the gym. It’s design also allows you to forget you're even wearing a fitness tracker. The technology packed inside the fitbit charge 2 is accurate and it manages to keep a very long battery life. The screen tap response has been greatly improved and its screen works great in direct sunlight. This amazing hardware paired with the best fitness tracker app on the market make for an amazing user experience. The GYMCADDY team is more than happy to recommend the fitbit charge 2 to any one in the market for a fitness tracker with an included heart rate monitor.