PROS / Continuous heart rate tracking makes the Charge HR a powerful tool.
CONS / The Charge HR is water resistant only, so it can’t be submerged in water and has a hard time with rain and sweat.
VERDICT / This all-around fitness and heart rate tracker is an over achiever that can help you train smarter with heart rate zone data and a handful of other health metrics.
If you’re truly looking to improve the intensity of your workouts or your everyday lifestyle, the Fitbit Charge HR can seamlessly do both. It is one of the best heart rate monitor watches and earns our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for its configurable screen, powerful features, and minute-by-minute heart rate tracking and analysis.
Heart Rate Monitoring
This heart rate monitor watch was about 94 percent accurate during our vigorous testing. While this is only about average for heart rate accuracy, the level of information it provides, as well as the data, details and analysis of your heart rate it displays really make the Charge HR a top heart rate watch. Since the Charge HR is a continuous heart rate monitor, it can track your heart rate every minute of every day, and it shows you this information in five minute intervals in the app. You can see your heart rate data from when you sleep, your morning run, and the time you spend sitting at your desk. The Charge HR and the Fitbit app then take that information and analyze how many of those total minutes you were in cardio or fat burning heart rate zones. You also have access to your daily resting heart rate and other metrics over days, weeks and months.
Real-time heart rate can be viewed in the app, and more importantly, on your wrist. You can customize the screens on your watch so heart rate appears first or second when you view your daily screens. While the screen itself is tiny, it’s backlit and bright, and you can toggle through screens by tapping or clicking the button. When you raise your arm, the screen lights up and shows you the time and date without you having to touching anything.
You can choose which screens show and what order they display in, as well as the skin for your time and date screen. The Fitbit Charge HR’s only downside is that as a continuous tracker, it has poor battery life. If you turn off notifications, all-day heart rate and all-day sync and rarely check the display, you might be lucky enough for the battery to last five days. However, if you turn those features on, you can expect to charge your device every two days.
In addition to being a top heart rate monitor watch, the Fitbit Charge HR is a great fitness tracker. From both the watch itself and the app, you can see metrics for steps taken, calories burned, active minutes, distance traveled and stairs climbed, as well as how restfully you slept. All of your data is backed up in the app, so you can go over exercise sessions for the past few weeks to gauge your improvement. There are even charts and graphs that show you how far you’ve come, how well you did today and your goals for tomorrow.
The Fitbit Charge HR provides much more detailed and in-depth information than many of the other trackers we reviewed. Our testers found that the information to be important and necessary for training sessions, not superfluous or just good to know. If you like to view live data and analyze past data to make better workout choices, this tracker is a good choice.
Connectivity & Design
Unlike other devices we reviewed, the Fitbit Charge HR has a screen and functions as a watch. The wrist band is a malleable thick elastomer, so it’s not a comfortable as silicone. Still, it is much more comfortable than hard plastic. It comes in different sizes and is adjustable, making it easy to find a good fit; however, we found that sweat is a major problem.
Since the band is solid without slots or perforations, there’s no air flow underneath it. This can cause skin irritation and make the band stick or slide during exercise. This tracker is only water resistant, so while you shouldn’t shower with it on, it’s fine to take it for a run on a rainy day. For the most part, we didn’t have any problems as long as we remembered to dry the band off. It’s easy, lightweight and comfortable to wear all day as well as during intense workouts.
This Bluetooth heart rate monitor syncs automatically with the app, but you can switch it to sync manually to preserve battery life. Either way, the Charge HR is extremely easy to use, and it syncs in a matter of seconds with one tap. Since this is a strapless heart rate monitor, you don’t need an additional chest strap to track your heart rate.
It displays smartwatch notifications on the screen so you can see who’s calling without picking up your phone. The device vibrates to let you know you have a call or one of your alarms is going off. It even vibrates to let you know you beat your step goal, which is highly motivating.
Help & Support
Like other wrist heart rate monitors, the Fitbit Charge HR comes with a standard one-year warranty. Fitbit lists contact information on its website – you can start up a live chat session, email technical support or call with questions. FAQs and a helpful manual are also available on the website.
The Fitbit Charge HR is one of the best heart rate monitor watches on the market. Since it’s so customizable, it can help you achieve your fitness goals, no matter your current fitness level. The Charge HR is best for those who want a wide-angle view of their fitness and help monitoring their heart rate training progress and goals.