Both Vishnu and I have been using Fitbit Charge HR fitness tracking devices since January.  Now, I know what you’re thinking – “You never mentioned this on the blog.”  Yes, I kept my Fitbit a big secret!  But I promise it was for a good reason!  I wanted to use it for a few months before sharing my thoughts.

Fitbit1
Like everything else, our Fitbits come with a back story!  It all started when Vishnu declared that he wanted a Fitbit.  I told him to go for it, but that I definitely wasn’t interested.  I didn’t need a tracking device to motivate me to workout (or so I thought!).  Well, to make a long story short, Vishnu ordered the small band for himself.  It ended up being too small, so he suggested I keep it.  After playing with it for a bit, I unexpectedly fell in love.  And Vishnu ended up ordering a larger Fitbit for himself.

To this day, I don’t know if Vishnu made a true mistake when ordering or if he did that on purpose so that I would end up getting a Fitbit too.  He claims it was a mistake, but I’m just not convinced!

Fitbit2

So this isn’t going to be a comprehensive review of the Fitbit Charge HR.  I’m not super techie, so I’m pretty sure a technical review from me would help no one!   If that’s what you’re looking for, I highly recommend you check out the following sites…

Instead, I want to share the everyday user perspective, specifically the good and the not so good as well as behavior changes/lessons learned.
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Let’s start with the good…

  • The caller ID feature is pretty cool.  Basically, if you get a call and your phone is close by but not accessible, your Fitbit vibrates and the name of whoever is calling shows up on the screen.
  • This Fitbit can serve as a watch.  In fact, on a day to day basis, I hardly wear my actual watch anymore.
  • The sleep tracker is helpful at a high level.  In the beginning, I looked at my sleep patterns every day.  Now that it’s been a few months, I hardly take a look.  But if you’re a light/poor sleeper, this may be a helpful feature.  It doesn’t give very detailed data, but I’ve found that the information it does provide is fairly accurate.
  • The Fitbit app is a great tool.  I love all the chart and graphs and the built in GPS feature.  It’s very convenient.
  • Battery life has not been an issue for us.  I usually charge my Fitbit when I shower, and even that small amount of time is enough to make it last a few days.
  • I like how Fitbit fosters friendly competition among its users.  There’s a feature in the app that allows you to add friends and see their seven day step count.  Not sure how many people it actually motivates, but knowing exactly how much other people are moving definitely motivates me to increase my activity.
  • The built in heart rate monitor (the HR in the Charge HR) is a really neat feature in this Fitbit model.  If you want to understand the technology behind it, check out the reviews I linked to.  Basically, the device uses your wrist pulse to assess your heart rate, and from the very unscientific tests I’ve run, it’s fairly accurate.  This feature also allows the Fitbit to calculate your daily caloric burn with a fair degree of accuracy using your age, height, and weight along with your heart rate from throughout the day.

The not so good…

  • I’ve found that the step counter is not always accurate.  It does a good job counting steps when you’re actually moving your legs, but I’ve learned that it also counts steps when you’re sitting/standing.  For example, I somehow went from 4,000 steps to over 10,000 all while driving to Savannah.  I also seem to accumulate a lot of steps while chopping vegetables and washing dishes.  I get that it’s not designed to be precise, but it can get a little annoying sometimes!  This also goes to show that the Fitbit data should be looked at as more of a trend than anything else.  It gives you a big picture view of how active you are, not an exact one. 
  • The physical design of the device has grown on me, but it’s still a little too clunky.  I wish it was a bit sleeker, especially for those of us with smaller wrists.
  • If you’re the type of person who needs instant feedback, don’t rely on the Fitbit app to provide that for you.   While the content is great, it takes forrrrever to update!

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Behavior changes/lessons learned

To be honest, I don’t know if the Fitbit has changed my behavior much in terms of activity level.  However, I will say that it’s been an extra source of motivation on days where I’m teetering on the edge of “should I workout today or not.”  Not going to lie, meeting and sometimes even exceeding your step goal for the day is a great feeling!  And for the numbers people like me, it’s nice to see the facts and figures.

Regularly wearing a Fitbit has also been eye-opening.  On days where I don’t intentionally exercise and just flow through my normal routine (go to work, come home, cook dinner, etc.), I barely hit 5,000 steps!!!  If that doesn’t push you to move more, I don’t know what will.

As far as Vishnu is concerned, I honestly haven’t seen much of a change in him.  As much as he wanted a Fitbit, he’s not as into it as I am (go figure!).  I’m hoping that having a more normal/structured routine come July will help in this department!  This just goes to show that a Fitbit alone is not good enough to change behavior.  Your own internal motivation plays a much bigger role!

So while this wasn’t a technical/detailed review of the Fitbit Charge HR, I hope it provided good, practical information!  If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.

Do you own a fitness tracker device?  If so, which one?

By Parita

12 thoughts on “Fitbit Charge HR”
  1. This review was so thorough and just what I needed. I’ve been considering buying a Jawbone lately but keep hearing mix review. As superficial as it may sound, design is a key feature for me which the Jawbone appeals to me. I don’t think the fitbit is for me, both due to appearance and the fact that it takes a while to update (thank you for the heads up)!
    Khushboo recently posted…Homemade nut butterMy Profile

    1. It’s not the ugliest thing but it is a little bulky! And while the app isn’t fast, I do like that all the info you need is readily available on the device itself. You may really like the Fitbit, but if design is impt, I’d go with something else!

  2. I was doing soooo well with my fitbit and then the strap broke. I need to replace it. I’ve been slacking on that for over a month! I have been considering upgrading to a heart rate monitor and I’m thinking about sticking to fitbit, but like you, the sensitivity of the device is a huge con. I feel like I want something more accurate.
    Pragati // Simple Medicine recently posted…3 Herbs you Should Grow this SummerMy Profile

    1. If the pedometer aspect of it isn’t that important to you, you should look into a heart rate monitor. I really like my Polar FT40.

  3. i got my boyfriend misfit long time ago but i dont think its being used as much..i am on the same page as you when it comes to devices but secretly i want one..now that my boyfriend has this competition among his co workers, he wants one but im like..really?

    1. I think you’d enjoy it! Let me know if you get a Fitbit so we can be friend on it as well!

  4. I thought about getting a FitBit but I think I’d get too caught up in the numbers. Also, my iPhone pedometer thing works well enough, not sure how accurate it is but I feel like it’s pretty close!
    Ameena Din recently posted…bagelsMy Profile

    1. I was afraid I’d get a little too caught up in the numbers too, but thankfully that hasn’t been the case! And I think if you’re phone is working for you, that’s the best way to go.

  5. Nice blog Parita ! Like you I am also obsessed with my fitness that’s why last year I brought one of these fitness trackers but it was that thing was not worthy enough. While exercising it never tells me may exact heart rate and I tried same thing with polar 360 and that’s much better.

    1. Thank you! I definitely don’t rely on my tracker to give me 100% accurate info, but it’s nice to see the trend and get an extra boost of motivation to move more. 🙂

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