The first Fitbit after Google announced it intends to buy the company last fall looks... well, like every other Fitbit that came before it. And it’s apparently intentional, as the company wants to expand on one of its most popular fitness trackers that’s long due for an update.
The Fitbit Charge 4 is pretty much exactly as the leaks ahead of its official announcement teased: it’s essentially the look and feel of the Charge 3 with built-in GPS, Spotify control, and other high-end features typically found on Fitbit’s smartwatches like Fitbit Pay, app notifications, smart wake, and an SpO2 sensor. The $149 tracker has a battery life of up to seven days, or up to five hours with continuous GPS use.
With built-in GPS, Fitbit wearers no longer have to take their phones out on a bike ride, hike, or run to record their heart rate, distance, and speed. Workout information will automatically be recorded to the app, making it useful if you run similar routes often and want to check if your pace is getting faster. It’s a sorely missed sensor that even Fitbit’s Versa smartwatches don’t have.
All of these features now come standard with the Charge 4 instead of having to splurge for a special edition. (True to form, Fitbit is releasing a Charge 4 SE, but the extra $20 basically buys you a reflective band for night commutes in addition to a classic black band.) Since the Charge 4 has the same dimensions as the Charge 3, you can use bands from the previous model on the new tracker.
The Charge 4 also debuts with a new fitness metric called Active Zone Minutes, which automatically recognizes when your heart rate is at a sustained, heightened level and counts the minutes you are “active.” Fitbit says this is to promote people to be active for at least 30 minutes a day — something that’s getting admittedly harder to achieve given the mass self-quarantine and social distancing measures across the US right now. Since Active Zone Minutes is based on heart rate, the score is calculated by factoring each person’s height, weight, and fitness levels. The feature follows a series of other Fitbit metrics like sleep score and 10,000 daily steps, which the company uses as basic guidelines for encouraging wellness.
With today’s launch, Fitbit will no longer sell the Charge 3 on its website, though it will be available for purchase through other retailers. Given that Fitbit is not selling Charge 3s anymore, prices will likely fluctuate among different vendors. If built-in GPS, Fitbit Pay, and music control is not a big deal to you, now is a good time to snag its older tracker on a steep discount.
The Charge 4 goes on sale today for $149 and is available in mauve, blue, and black. It’ll also come with an extended 90-day trial of Fitbit Premium, which offers fitness programs, classes, and personalized challenges to help you set and reach your wellness goals.
Update March 31st, 2020 9:30 AM ET: An earlier version of this story said Fitbit had been acquired by Google. Google announced it intends to buy Fitbit in November 2019, but as of March 2020, the acquisition has not yet been completed.
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