Ever since my previous Fitbit, the Charge HR, died an early death I have been wearing a Fitbit Charge 2 in its place. Now that I’ve gotten a few months of use out of it I thought this might be a pretty good time to share my thoughts on this device and how I think it compares to the Charge HR.
Like my previous Fitbit, the Charge 2 does all of the usual Fitbit things. It tracks steps, stairs, heart rate, integrates with the Fitbit mobile and desktop applications and connects to your phone to use its GPS to accurately track your run distances. Beyond that there are a few things I wanted to touch on.
The battery life has been excellent so far. The Charge HR had pretty decent battery life as well, usually lasting me around 4 days or so, but the Charge 2 easily lasts a full week and I could stretch it even longer if needed. I’ve literally never seen the battery go below 20% on this thing and I don’t often remember to charge it right away.
Speaking of battery the Charge 2 can actually tell you how much juice is left right on the device itself. No need to have to open up the Fitbit app on your phone to check anymore! It’s like we’re living in the future!
While the Charge HR would show who was calling, the Charge 2 takes things a bit further and adds text message notifications and content. So when you get a text on your phone the Charge 2 will show you who it’s from and even scroll a portion of it on the screen. If the text message is small enough you can even read the whole thing right on the device.
Reminders to Move
This has been a feature on other Fitbits in the past but was a new feature to me because the Charge HR didn’t have it. The way it works is you set up your activity goal within the Fitbit app, for example I want to move at least 250 steps every hour between 9am and 5pm, and then the Charge 2 will buzz reminding you to move if you haven’t hit the goal yet. This can be very useful and get you on your feet but it can also be pretty annoying if you’re unable to just jump up and get moving at that exact moment. Still I haven’t turned it off yet so that’s a good sign.
The interface on the device is very similar to the one on the Charge HR, it is simple and generally easy to use but I still find it quite annoying trying to get the ‘tap’ input to work at times. Basically the way it’s supposed to work is you use the physical button to get to a category menu. So for example let’s say I want to start working out and navigate on the device to that category by pressing in the physical button a few times. Now once I’m on that menu I want to choose the type of workout I’ll be doing and in order to do that I have to tap on the device. This then cycles between the types of workouts pre-programmed in the Charge 2. The problem is that this isn’t a touchscreen and so sometimes the device recognizes the tap and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a minor inconvenience but it seems like such a small thing that could easily be fixed.
The Charge 2 comes with the ability to give you a VO2 Max estimation when you go running with a connected GPS and based on your heart rate. Sure this might be useful for some people but I find it to be very difficult to get the Fitbit to actually measure this correctly and as a result my VO2 Max score tends to bounce around quite a bit. Your mileage may vary on this one.
The display is so much better on the Charge 2 than the one on the Charge HR. It’s no smartphone screen by any means but it definitely gets the job done and is a big improvement overall.
So is the Charge 2 worth picking up? I think if you’re coming from a device like the Charge HR, or just looking for an incremental upgrade from one of the other Fitbits, the Charge 2 is definitely worth looking into. It is still very much that familiar Fitbit fitness-first step-tracking+ device though so don’t expect a whole lot of advanced features here. Still that’s not a bad thing and especially when you consider its price point. Personally I’m very happy with my upgrade.