by Amy Hou
As a follow up to Cyrus Sidhwa’s February 26, 2015 post on the Fitbit Flex, this post will talk about the newer Fitbit Charge HR.
I recently received the Fitbit Charge HR for my birthday. With my wedding coming up in less than six months, I was thankful for any bit of help in motivating my fitness goals. Little did I know just how helpful it would be.
Similar to the Flex reviewed by Cyrus, the Charge HR tracks your daily steps and distance travelled. Unlike the Flex, the Charge HR also features the PurePulse™ heart rate monitor that continuously provides your real-time heart rate. I must say the heart rate feature is one of the coolest things about this device. I am able to see my current heart rate as I type this post (66 bpm), track my previous night’s average heart rate during sleep (56 bpm), and check out the heart rate peak from my step class last Friday (171 bpm). Speaking of workouts, since the Charge HR monitors heart rate, it is able to more accurately track the calories burned by a particular workout compared to the Flex. A co-worker has complained to me at the water cooler that his Flex, while great at giving him a fairly accurate calorie burn number when he tracks a run outside, does not give him any credit for any sort of stationary weight training exercise. This makes sense because the Flex is only tracking your movement. Since the Charge HR is also taking your heart rate into account, it provides a more accurate figure and gives “credit” for those stationary weight-training exercises.
Physically, the Charge HR is a tad larger than the Flex with a band about the width of your average sport watch. Also, instead of the lights that illuminate when you tap the Flex, an actual display illuminates when you tap the Charge HR. This display will cycle through key data points like current time, daily total steps, current heart rate, daily distance travelled, daily calories burned, and daily stairs climbed.
Also, one of the complaints Cyrus had about the Flex – the fact that you have to manually tell the device when you are sleeping or waking up in order to use the sleep tracking function – is no longer an issue. The Charge HR, through some sort of pure magic or actual technological advancement, can just tell when you are asleep or awake and tracks that time automatically.
Overall, the Charge HR has been a great motivator. I think the key for me has been the sense of awareness it provides me. When it tells me I have had a very inactive day, I feel pushed to get it together and get my daily numbers up. Even when it tells me I’ve had a super active day, I feel happy but still pushed to keep up the good work. Also, there is a slight social media factor where you can see how your weekly steps compare to those of your Fitbit using friends. If you’re competitive like me, there is nothing like being just a few thousand steps behind your friend, Eunice from college, to ensure that you make it to the gym tonight.
With the help of the Fitbit, this bride is on track to fit into her dress!