Throughout the last half of 2018, I kept debating on and off whether to purchase a fitness tracker, however, I always ended up going round in circles never knowing how I felt. I wanted to use the tracker to up my (already existent) exercise game!
Jack must have gotten annoyed with hearing me bang on about it, and he got me one for Christmas. You may ask, “why did he buy you the Fitbit Charge 2 when the Charge 3 is out”? Well, my friends, it is because the Charge 3 has awful reviews and the Charge 2 is a great Fitbit product.
So now after a lil’ bit of personal background, it is time to get to work on the question of whether you should purchase a fitness tracker – and whether it should be the Fitbit Charge 2.
Should I buy a fitness tracker?
Those who do NOT consistently exercise –
Whilst the concept of having one is trendy, the everyday person doesn’t NEED a fitness tracker. I wanted one because I was already exercising and had no way to track it. (especially important now for running and my half marathon)
If you don’t already exercise and are expecting this new device to bring you a rush of motivation, routine and happiness, then I would take a step back for a minute.
Personally, I believe you should take the time to set your routine and get into the flow before spending hundreds of pounds. It won’t provide you with consistent motivation, and it won’t make you want to magically workout when you haven’t done before. That feeling needs to come from something inside. Take some time to set some SMART goals, (more on that in a future post) potentially find a friend to join you and get started.
Even right now, I commonly ignore the reminders that I need to get moving. So if you aren’t already comfortable exercising regularly, finding that push from elsewhere might be beneficial.
If you get two months down the line and all is going well, then maybe return to the thought of buying a fitness track and read below to see if the Fitbit Charge 2 would work for you!
Those who DO consistently exercise –
If you are like me and found yourself coming to a plateau in your fitness, then purchasing a fitness tracker could be something that could get you back in that zone. Whilst numbers aren’t everything, they are certainly helpful when you are trying to progress and improve.
You can find out more on what the Fitbit Charge 2 offers below, however, in terms of just a general fitness tracker, this is something that you may want to think about purchasing.
Looking for the one that suits your lifestyle and preferred exercise is a good place to start. (smartwatch vs fitness tracker etc..) For example, the Fitbit Charge 2 isn’t waterproof so if you are looking for one to wear whilst swimming this won’t be the one for you. However, this doesn’t worry me and I can just track it on the app manually so it fits nicely.
Ask yourself a couple of questions of why, how and what and do your research before taking the plunge!
Review of the Fitbit Charge 2
The Charge 2 has a slick and minimal design, in which you can customise through the detachable bands. The band closes via a buckle, which allows you to adjust the size. (I wear a 14 – 17 cm small and the band fits lovely!)
The actual device itself is much thicker, due to the HR monitor causing a bump on the back of the already fairly thick device. This still has yet to bother me (despite me never having worn a watch previously) although some have said it can cause a small gap between your wrist and the device. The Charge 2 has a rectangular screen with a button on the left-hand side. This button is used to move between functions on the device.
The OLED display is black and white and also supports touch screen. I have found at irregular times the touchscreen can be unresponsive and requires a few taps to move along. It also isn’t the same touchscreen you find on smartphones and it is important to note that this is NOT a smartwatch – but a fitness tracker.
My overall judgement is that I like the look of the Charge 2, it’s simple, the device doesn’t stick outside the width of the band and the screen is not huge. At times I can almost forget it is even sitting on my wrist – although not completely.
Device Mechanics –
As mentioned above, the Charge 2 is NOT waterproof and therefore not ideal for keen swimmers. It can take a few splashes, although you need to remove it to shower and I also take it off when washing my face in the morning, for example. I would also recommend giving it a good wipe if you have been getting sweaty during your workout, mainly for hygienic purposes.
The Charge 2 does have HR tracking abilities, and if it is sitting properly on your wrist it will track your ‘beats per minute’ (BPM) and ‘resting heart rate’ (RHR) in the background. You can then sync this up with the app on your smartphone and see how your heart rate has fluctuated throughout the day.
When connected to your phone, (Bluetooth and Location must be enabled) and within Bluetooth range, (of about 6m) the Charge 2 has the ability to send phone and text notifications to your wrist. Whilst this doesn’t mean I am going to be getting Snapchats when my grandparents send me over a text the Charge 2 will vibrate and display the message scrolling on the screen. I cannot provide further insight into this as I don’t tend to leave my Bluetooth turned on.
Speaking of vibrations, the Charge 2 has a ‘Silent Alarm’ feature, in which the device will vibrate in a pattern at a set time(s). There has only been on instance where I haven’t woken up to the vibrations, however, that is something to bear in mind if you are a heavy sleeper. The Charge 2 also has the option to vibrate and remind you each hour to get moving and get those steps in. My goal is 10,000 steps a day, but yesterday I barely did 2,500, so some days are better than others!
Also speaking of sleep – if you wear the Charge 2 to bed it will track your HR and sleeping pattern for that night. This is something I have never had the experience of before. It was a shock to see that when I thought I was getting 8 hours of sleep, in fact, my Fitbit showed me that I was actually awake during the night, and I was only pushing just under 7 hours!? Whilst these recordings aren’t the PEAK of accuracy, it does allow and prompt you to think about getting better sleep.
This section is all about the features the Fitbit Charge 2 has, and how they are displayed on the device.
The first display is the date and clock face, (in which you can change how it looks via the Fitbit app) which is can be displayed when you lift your wrist up. I must admit this can be inconsistent and several times during the night I have been BLINDED by the screen appearing. Although, the feature is very useful when I am running. The clock acts as a ‘parent’ display, with ‘child’ features such as step count, distance, floors, calories and active time just a few taps away.
The next section is all about heart rate, and this is where you can find your live BPM and RHR. Following on is the activities screen, where you can tap and choose which activity you wish to begin tracking. You can edit the order, and type of exercise, that appears but I have: Weights, Treadmill, Run, Workout, Elliptical, Bike and Interval Workout. Hold the button in and tracking for this activity will begin. It also does a handy trick for people like me who sometimes forget to start it off, and after 10 minutes of consistent running, it will automatically turn ‘Run’ tracking on.
Next, we find a stopwatch feature, which is self-explanatory. A relax feature, which I have used several times, and is a 2-minute breathing exercise. You then have the alarm display, where you can move between previously set times and a notification screen to turn phone notification on and off! A simple little setup, but it works with no fuss or distractions – so I am not complaining!
The Fitbit App –
The Fitbit app is the same across all devices, which means you can sync up several of them. To sync the device just ensure Bluetooth and Location is turned on and the app does the rest for you! (Unless you turn off ‘Sync all day’) It is rocking a simple and minimalist design.
Within the Fitbit app, you can manually track your water intake, food, female cycle and weight. The other sections of the app (which I haven’t yet used) are Challenges, Guidance and Community which can provide you with options to compete with other Fitbit friends or complete a challenge. The final sections are the Options in the top left corner and the notifications tab on the bottom left.
As mentioned previously, you can also manually track your activity by pressing the large bottom left ‘+’ button.
Last bits of Information –
The battery life on the Fitbit Charge 2 is set to last, give or take, 5 days. I don’t think I have ever gone that long without charging it, as I just charge it in the car when I’m not moving around, however, I can confirm it has lasted at least 3 days. The level of usage, and how old the product is, may impact that.
The device can save up to 7 days of ‘detailed motion data – minute by minute’, however, I also sync my device up to the app at least once a day, so I have not had any issues here.
The Fitbit Charge 2 is my first entry into the fitness tracker world, and I am impressed with what it has to offer. It might not be a top of the range smartwatch, but I don’t wish to receive Twitter notifications on my wrist or respond to a message. I wanted this to help me with my fitness progression and being able to see the numbers and what I am achieving has really spurred me on.
It is not the thinnest nor the thickest tracker on the market, and it goes for that simple but effective look. I love the heart rate monitor and to see what my max BPM was after finishing different exercises.
Things I would change? Making the device waterproof, not just water-resistant, and take the music feature from the Fitbit Versa and allow me to connect my Bluetooth earphones up. If those features are for you, and you are wanting more of an everyday smartwatch vibe then maybe look into the Fitbit Versa.
But if you are looking for some fitness tracking to help you along your journey, for only £139.99 new, then I recommend investing some time into the Fitbit Charge 2!
I hope that is useful for some, as with the New Year I have been reading people debating on whether to purchase a fitness tracker. Also when I was reading reviews some were quite ‘techy’ and I was just looking for an everyday person to tell me what they thought – so here we are!
If you have a fitness tracker/Fitbit be sure to let me know your thoughts below or message me on social media. I am interested in technology, especially around fitness, so hopefully, I can bring you more reviews in the future!
Till next time my friends!