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« eBay adds support to Android Nougat’s app shortcuts feature | Main | Canadian Reviewer Weekly Roundup 1/22-1/28 »
Sunday
Jan292017

Review: Fitbit Charge 2

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

Fitbit is red hot right now and seems to be enjoying a surge in popularity. The Fitbit Charge 2 fitness tracker seems to be its most popular model in the market right now. I think a lot of people got these as presents over the holidays and the device hasn't even peaked.

The Charge 2 is everywhere, I've seen it in ariports, in food courts and worn by all sorts of people trying to become more active or conscious of their health. 

Personally, it has been the fitness wearable I've returned to the most and has also been the device that's replaced my mechanical watches as well as my growing collection of smartwatches. 

More like a sleek bracelet with a sligthly curved glass display, the Fitbit Charge 2 is one step above minimalist fitness bands and one step below hybrid or health-focused smartwatches. It is all about simplicity.

The Charge 2 has one button, but also offers touchscreen controls.

As with most Fitbit devices, the excellent smartphone app helps keeps users updated on their progress, but if you don't want to do that, it is possible to synch with your PC. 

The Fitbit Charge 2 is tasteful, unobtrusive and useful. It has a rubber or leather bracelet that will fit most users, there are bands in two sizes to fit smaller and larger wrists.

The Charge 2 is multifunctional, it gives you the time, it has a silent alarm, it can measure steps, it has a heart-rate monitor, integrates nicely into Fitbit's stellar app and web service and even works to give simple notifications for calls or text messages.

Other perks are a stopwatch (used it to try and replicate Momofuku's 'perfect' 5:10 boiled egg), and a relaxation app that instructs you to breathe.  For those that want a bit more fashion in their Fitbit, you can add various palstic or even leather straps to the  device to dress it up a bit.


Many people are overwhelmed by what smartwatches offer. Instead of simplifying things for smartphone users, they add another layer of interaction and increases the daily noise. Fitness  tracking, is the one area where smartwatches excel but the Fitbit Charge 2 surpasses many more expensive smartwatches in the market because it offers true 24/7 tracking, including slee and sleep quiality plus, it's good for a week on a full charge.

As someone who has to travel often for work and take many short trips, I get by by packing light. The Fitbit Charge 2 is so good with battery that I don't have to charge it daily or take along the charging cable (even if I did, It charges to full in 40 minutes).

For a simple to use device, the Fitbit Charge 2 is packed full of great technology and most of it works in the background. It may not be the device for users craving more interaction or control, but at the same time it has a very specific set of skills that it handles very well.

I like the subtle reminders to move or to get more exercise. Motivation is a key feature that makes trackers useful and Fitbit manages to do it without being annoying.

Not everything was perfect, though. There was an instance where my Fitbit Charge 2 stopped synching and my iPhone could not recognize it. Looking at Fitbit's support website, the only recourse was to reset the Charge 2 and, as a result, lose all my data acquired since I last synched. Not good.

 

Hits:

  • Stellar battery life of u to 5 days on a single charge

 

  • Various strap colours and materials available

 

  • Lightweight and stylish but doesn't call attention to itself

 

  • 24/7 fitness and health tracking with heart rate and sleep monitoring

Misses:

  • Lacks water resistance

 

  • Proprietary charging cable 

 

  • Limited notifications

 

  • Problems maintaining connection to smartphone results in lost data     

Verdict

The Fitbit Charge 2 is a fitness tracker I can reccomend to any level of user wanting to improve their fitness. It works well as a watch, with various faces to choose form and good basic functions, it is a great fitness tracker if you can manage to avoid the synching issues.

 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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