Display: Colored and with continuous time display
For a long time, one of the biggest criticisms of the design of the Fitbit Charge series was the screen: it shone only in black and white and was quite dark and low contrast. Now the OLED screen in grayscale makes room for a colored AMOLED. The display thus looks more modern and wins in contrast and brightness. If desired, it can be switched to the always on state, so that the screen constantly shows the time – and not only when it is awakened by an arm lift or a push. The clock may as well be read indoors, but it seems too dark outside.
Design and operation of the Fitbit Charge 5
Die-hard Charge fans should notice one change: The Housing has a new round shape. It is no longer made of plastic, but of a mixture of aluminum-glass resin and Fitbit uses stainless steel on the sides. This gives the tracker a more valuable look. But the change goes hand in hand with the fact that there are no more side buttons. And so the operation is limited to touch screen. It responds to input with a short delay. that menu structure: Vertical swiping shows the day’s fitness data as well as a menu leading to settings and payment functions, horizontal swiping toggles between the face, notifications, workout menu, alarm clock, timer, ECG and “EDA scan”.
Strap closure like Fitbit smartwatches
The bracelet is based on Fitbit’s smartwatches, which in turn are based on the Apple Watch’s sports bracelet. The end of the bracelet disappears inwards. Closing and opening work easily, while holding the strap firmly in the arm. However, the straps sit at a fixed angle on the case, which makes the shape a bit stiff. Anyone who owns the predecessor Charge 4 will be annoyed by the new strap plug, as old straps no longer fit.
Solid fitness features, but one is missing
The fitness features of Charge 5 are very similar to its predecessor, Charge 4. But one detail is missing.
- Heart rate measurement: The tracker measures heart rate during the day and during training. We have already tested this with the editorial reference device, the Polar H10 chest belt. The result: Charge 5 stays accurate even when your arms are moving during sports.
- Sports detection: Charge 5 registers and registers automatic training, including walking and cycling.
- Route recording: In outdoor sports, the Fitbit Charge 5 also records the distance traveled thanks to the built-in GPS. This can be tracked later in the Fitbit app. However, Fitbit does not register the height.
- With steps, without stairs: Fitbit Charge 5 counts steps as usual. However, the belt suddenly no longer determines which floors are coated like its predecessor. The reason for the omission of the function is probably that the space for the altimeter has now been taken up by other health sensors.
- Sleep analysis: If you carry Charge 5 at night, you can enjoy Fitbit’s usual comprehensive sleep analysis, including sleep phases, comparison with others, oxygen saturation analysis, sleep score and even sleep phase alarm clock.
EDA scan: meditation with stress analysis
Using “EDA scanning”, Charge 5 analyzes eelectroieermal ONEactivity, i.e. the conductivity of the skin. This measurement is one of many values that lie detectors use, but which are not used in medicine – and therefore have limited significance. Charge 5 combines the scan with a three-minute meditation. The index finger and thumb rest on the two stainless steel side rails. The band measures the number of “reactions”, that is, changes in the skin caused by stress or tension. However, the finger position is quite uncomfortable.
Update brings ECG and day shape index
Fitbit has added two features via update. Like the Fitbit Sense, the Charge 5 now examines the heartbeat using an electrocardiogram (ECG). The tape gives an indication of atrial fibrillation, a dangerous cardiac arrhythmia that can trigger a stroke. To do this, place your thumb and forefinger on the side electrodes. With our test sample, the recording already worked. Anyone who has booked a premium subscription (8.99 euros per month, 6 months free when purchasing Charge 5) will be happy with another feature: Daily form index, which is calculated based on exercise, sleep and heart rate variability (HRV). The latter is measured during sleep and provides information on recovery: The higher the HRV, the greater the recovery, a low HRV indicates stress. The index tells you how fit you are in terms of a score and whether training or something relaxed would be optimal. Other manufacturers, such as Whoop and Polar, offer something similar. The daily form index also migrates to the following Fitbit devices:
- Fitbit Inspire 2
- Fitbit Versa 2
- Fitbit Versa 3
- Fitbit Sense
- Fitbit Luxe
The battery runs for several days
Fitbit promises up to seven days of battery life, depending on usage. In our test with activated time display and heart rate measurement as well as notifications, the tape was given three days. GPS significantly shortens driving time: Then Charge 5 lasts only a few hours.
Charging cable with reset trick
The included charging cable, which is not the same as the Charge 4, has a button on the USB connector. This is used to reset the bracelet. In our test, Charge 5 had trouble maintaining the Bluetooth connection to the paired iPhone (with iOS 15). Only a reset via this button, which has to be pressed three times at intervals of one second, made it possible to pair the bracelet again. Charge 5 had no communication issues with the paired Android phone.
Comparison: Fitbit Charge 5 vs. 4
The fitness features of the Fitbit Charge 4 and 5 have remained strong. The manufacturer does, however floor count deleted from the newer volume. The same thing happened with Music remote control: Charge 4 was good for remote control of Spotify music on the smartphone, but Charge 5 can no longer. The other smart features remain: Both trackers mirror in-depth news from the mobile phone and offers (only with paired Android mobile phone) a response function with already formulated quick answers or with emojis. Both come with the payment service Fitbit Pay. New to Charge 5 are the modified ones designthe colored the screenthat health features. If you can do without it, you can get away better and cheaper with Charge 4.
Fitbit Charge 5 on Amazon
Fitbit Charge 5: price and availability
Fitbit Charge 5 has been on the market since the end of September 2021. The tracker usually costs 179.95 EUR and is available in three house colors: black, silver (with blue strap) and gold. A compatible smartphone with iOS 12.2 and Android 7.0 or later with the Fitbit app is required for setup and use. Alternatively, it also works with Mac (from OS X 12.2).