The Fitbit Charge 3 ships in two different models, the standard and the Special Edition, with the latter adding the ability to use Fitbit Pay and including an additional band in the packaging. The cost of each model is $149.99 and $169.99, respectively.
Looking at the Charge 3 you quickly notice it’s slimmer and sleeker looking than its predecessor, which bodes well for those of you wanting a fitness tracker that doesn’t take up half your wrist. Along with the slimmer design, replacing the bands is much easier: With a simple button push, they pop out and new bands can be added. If you are looking for a button on the left side to navigate through the menus, there isn’t one as it’s been replaced with an inductive button that essentially works as a back button on the device. Navigating through the various options is done via swiping the screen in different directions.
One thing that bothered me with the Charge 2 was the responsiveness of the touch display. Many times I had to tap very hard to get a response. The Charge 3 eliminates this problem and is much more responsive to its Corning Gorilla Glass 3 Grayscale OLED display. Additionally, the Charge 3 is now 50m water resistant and can track your time in the pool or even be worn in the shower.
The Fitbit Charge 3 software suite includes some nice features such as Auto Sleep Tracking, Real-Time Heart Rate Zones, and Female Health Tracking using the Fitbit app on your device. Fitbit’s proprietary SmartTrack recognizes your exercise and automatically tracks the appropriate stats whether you are running, swimming, or on a treadmill. Those looking to run or bike outdoors can use their Charge 3 along with their phone’s GPS and display pace and distance along the route. Additionally, the Charge 3 allows you to set goals for over 15 exercises including biking, swimming, and yoga.
Smartphone features such as text and call notifications can be enabled in the software to ensure you don’t miss an important call or message. If you are an Android user, there are options to send a quick reply, but otherwise, you need to pick up the phone to reply to a text or answer a call. Multiple clock face options are another new feature with the Charge 3. They aren’t in full color like the Ionic and Versa, but do provide you a few options to mix up the look of the Charge 3 display.
Battery life on any fitness tracker is critical, and the Charge 3 claims to have a one-week battery life before needing to be charged. In my experience, I’ve found that to be pretty accurate. I was impressed by how little the battery drained throughout the day, even with me constantly checking it for my step count or heart rate. It’s nice to not try to think how long it’s been since the device was charged and whether I need to charge it again soon.
The one downside, and one of my major gripes it seems with every Fitbit device I review, is the charging mechanism. Once again, Fitbit updated the interface and there is a new charging cable that works only with the Charge 3 and no other Fitbit devices. The number of charging cables in my drawer grows with every new Fitbit release. It would be nice for them to standardize on a specific charger for all future Fitbit devices.
The Fitbit Charge 3 is a good fitness tracker for those looking for a new device to help them on their fitness goals as well as the seasoned fitness guru looking for an upgrade to their current fitness tracker. You can pick up the Fitbit Charge 3 for $149 at a number of retailers including Target, Walmart, and Amazon.