Exergaming and traditional exercise both need one very important thing: the ability track and measure progress. Whether it be on at the gym or on the dinner plate, your fitness is directly linked to how well you track your fitness lifestyle (that is to say, diet and exercise for the most part).
Before the age of technology, this was done on a notepad, with rulers, and a bunch of other stuff that we don’t have time for today. That’s why we have technology in the first place! So it only makes sense to have a fitness device that allows you to track and measure your fitness lifestyle easier than ever.
*And no, this does not mean stepping on a scale every day. This is a horrible way to track your fitness progression. You cannot track weight loss on a daily basis; in fact, as any daily numerical change is usually the result of water weight.
This can not only discourage you from working out, but also promote dangerous habits like decreasing water consumption. Don’t do this!
Fun Fact! Did you know that people who track their fitness progress are 2-3x more likely to succeed in reaching their fitness goals? For something like trying to burn all that excess fat off, you’re gonna need every edge you can get! Trust me on that!
That’s why I prefer to use the Fitbit Charge 2. It’s become incredibly important to my workouts and my exergaming routines for a variety of reasons.
That said, does it still stand up to the test of time? Or is new technology here to replace it? Let’s get into it with the Fitbit Charge 2 Review 2018 Edition!
Table of Contents
Feel and Design
The feel of the Fitbit Charge 2 itself is great. The bands that wrap around the wrist are flexible and comfortable; it can also be adjusted to be looser or tighter in the same fashion of a traditional belt. Taking off and putting on the Fitbit is intuitive and easy enough.
The Fitbit comes with bands that vary in color, depending on which you choose. Keep in mind that the bands themselves can vary in price and change the overall price of the Fitbit. If you do not care about the color, the cheapest color will work just fine. It doesn’t change the quality of the Fitbit itself!
The design of the Fitbit is simple; a small touch screen that can be utilized by tapping or by pressing a button located on the site. Due to the size of the Fitbit, the information presented on the screen is detailed and condensed.
It will tell you information via side-scrolling text.
While the screen is small, it thankfully isn’t difficult to read. The more important information, such as heart beat and step count, is readily available and quickly accessible from the main screen.
The screen will, however, quickly turn off after a few seconds of not being used..
I assume this is done because it allows the Fitbit to preserve energy. Personally I wish that it lasted longer, but it wasn’t a huge bother once I adapted to it.
The feel and design work very well for me. My skin is sensitive, yet it isn’t bothered by the presence of this device. The Fitbit recommends allowing enough space between the skin and band for it to travel slightly below the wrist.
Despite this, my skin has not been chaffed, irritated, or scratched in any way.
Features and Functionality
The Fitbit Charge 2 itself actually does not use many features. Most of the Fitbit’s features are used on the Fitbit App, which comes with the Fitbit itself. Whenever the app is launched, the data that the Fitbit tracks is automatically uploaded to the app as long as it is within range.
Most of my fitness tracking is done through the app; think of it as the central hub for the Fitbit. As long as the app is open, data will continue to be synced in real time. All of this data visibly resets on the Fitbit device itself each day, but the data logged into the Fitbit is not deleted until a while after it is uploaded to the app.
So don’t worry about losing your progress or information. It won’t happen ever.
Here are some Fitbit device features. Remember that it’s only a portion of the total features offered:
This is the time and date. It’s directly synced to your smartphone.
This is how many steps you’ve taken during the day. It resets at the end of each day and defaulted to have you reach 10,000 steps, as recommended by numerous health organizations like the American Public Health Association and American Heart Association.
Heart Rate (in beats per min)
This is the measured heart rate at any given point. It directly tracks your heart rate in real time.
This is a feature that allows you to tell your Fitbit that you are about to run. It will then track various bits of information, like max heart rate, distance traveled, etc., and package that information once you tell it you are finished running. Like usual, this data will be synced to the app once opened.
It’s a stopwatch that measures time in minutes:seconds:deci-seconds (or 0:00:0).
An interesting feature that will direct you to do a simple breathing exercise as a method of relaxation. You can choose to do it for 2 minutes or 5 minutes.
You can enable or disable notifications.
Now here are the features available to you through the app:
By using elevation-sensing technology, the Fitbit can track how many floors you’ve climbed during use.
Distance in Miles
By using your personal physical information, such as height, the Fitbit can accurately estimate your stride and calculate how much distance you’ve covered that day.
The Fitbit can calculate how many calories you’ve burned based off your physical information, step count, and other factors. It’s very accurate and calculates calories burned during present/post-workout as well.
Periods of moderate activity that include anything more strenuous than a brisk walk. Cardio workouts and run information is logged here and it’s here where calories burned are calculated.
You are able to set up weekly exercise goals here. Information regarding what exercises were done during the week, as well as general information like average heart rate and calories burned, is showcased here.
When you wear your Fitbit to bed, it will use your heart rate to determine your quality of sleep. It will also document the various stages of your sleep cycle and help you achieve better, more consistent rest.
Heart Rate (BPM)
Your heart rate during each day of use is documented here. Both resting and active heart rate are detailed, making it easy to track when you were being most active.
Being sedentary is a national health problem that carries many health risks, so this feature is designed to combat that. You are encouraged/reminded to move every hour (usually in the form of getting some steps) in order to promote and develop healthier habits.
This is where your weight is tracked and monitored. By taking into account all the other activity logged into the app, the Fitbit can help you track your weight loss with greater efficiency than that of a normal scale.
This feature helps you track your water intake. This information has to be directly logged and can be set to help remind you to reach your daily water intake.
Food intake is absolutely necessary to log when trying to become fit. This is the place to do it. It even lets you know if you are exceeding your daily calorie intake and how much you need to burn to stay in your goal range.
Every feature has its use, though not every feature will be useful to everybody. It’s excellent that I’m able to pick and choose which features to focus on; that degree of choice is very important to me, even if I don’t end up choosing every feature.
After all, fitness goals change and develop over time and the features needed may change as well.
I like to focus on Heart Rate, Food Intake, Water Intake, Weight Management, and Sleep Insight. I feel as though cover the general scope of all of my fitness goals at the moment.
The Fitbit app is also compatible with many other fitness apps, such as MyFitnessPal, so cross-app use is completely possible, even encouraged! Use a combination of apps to fulfill every fitness need!
The features are easy to navigate, responsive, and put control in the hands of the user. Your experience with Fitbit’s features are directly dependent on how much you want to use them.
The Fitbit Charge 2 is an excellent device, but I have noticed some things that people should be on the look out for:
The Step Count Isn’t Completely Foolproof
What am I talking about? Well, the step counter is definitely fine-tuned and is accurate, but there are motions that can activate the counter even when steps are not being taken.
Vigorously shaking my arm, for example, can add steps. I’ve even picked up steps from lifting objects.
I would say that the counter is more or less off by 100-200 steps every day, so I treat the step counter as an estimate instead of an iron clad number.
In my opinion, the number of steps that it may be off by is insignificant anyways when compared to the 10,000 or so that should be taken each day. But regardless, it’s best to use the “honor system” when using the step counter to, well, count steps.
Don’t try to cheat out steps – you are just hurting yourself.
Heart Rate Accuracy can Change
The heart rate is tracked using light, which is accurate at a resting heart rate but can be slightly inaccurate at an elevated heart rate. At higher heart rates, there is more attenuation when the blood reaches the capillaries in your wrist; movement and sweat can interfere with the accuracy as well.
The slight decrease in accuracy should not be a concern for most people who use exercise to get fit; the ranges for fat loss and cardio development are generous. It does not affect me, though I can see why that would be off-putting for others.
For people who have health concerns, heart issues, or desire the utmost heart rate accuracy should invest in a chest-based heart monitor instead.
A really good one for that would be the Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor, as it has a host of features and is Go-Pro compatible.
Comparison to Alternatives: Apple Watch
Now, the biggest competitor to the Fitbit is the Apple Watch. It boasts many of the same features of the Fitbit and more, offering functionality beyond that of just fitness tracking.
How does it actually compare when stacked against the Fitbit Charge 2?
More Features = More Money
All of those added features come at a cost!
It’s about $50 more expensive to own an Apple Watch than it is to own a Fitbit Charge 2. If you are looking for something with more features than just fitness-based ones and don’t mind the increase in price, then consider the Apple Watch.
Also, something to note is that the battery life is 18 hours. The Fitbit Charge 2 has a battery life of 5 days, though this is mostly due to the difference in use.
Less active screen time = better battery efficiency.
Heart Rate Less Accurate than Fitbit
Numerous people have claimed that the Apple Watch’s heart rate technology is not as accurate as Fitbit’s. Both have been compared to stronger heart monitors; Fitbit came out more accurate overall.
With the Apple Watch having more features, it’s not too surprising that their fitness technology isn’t as specialized as Fitbit’s.
Exclusive to Apple Smartphones
If you own an Android or smartphone that’s outside of Apple, you are going to be out of luck. The Apple Watch, obviously, only works for apple products. Fitbit has no such restriction.
However, this also means that the Apple Watch is highly compatible with apple smartphones and features top-notch integration.
If you are seriously looking to get into shape, I would recommend the Fitbit Charge 2 over the Apple Watch. I’m using the device to help me maintain my fitness, so I don’t need the fancy bells and whistles that the Apple Watch has.
That said, if those added features are important to you, the fitness tech isn’t as important, the price doesn’t bother you, and you own an apple smartphone, then by all means go for the Apple Watch.
So is it Worth it? Or Pass?
Price: $119.99-$180, depending on color (functionality and features are not affected).
So, what’s the verdict?
It’s a definite PASS in my book!
The Fitbit Charge 2 did exactly what I wanted it to do and more. It makes tracking fitness so much easier. A lot of exergames don’t have an accurate means tracking this information, so I rely on my Fitbit to take care of that for me.
It’s not a perfect device, but no device will be totally perfect. I’m very happy with it and look forward to using it for a long time!
If you are looking for a way to track your fitness progress easily and effectively, you don’t need to look any further than the Fitbit Charge 2. Click here or on the picture below if you are interested or want to take a closer look!
It’s well worth it!
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