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Fitbit Charge 3 review

Taking charge hardware 2020 of your hardware 2020 fitness

Fitbit Charge 3
Image Credit: TechRadar
Our Verdict

The Fitbit hardware 2020 Charge 3 is quite hardware 2020 the improvement over the hardware 2020 Charge 2, but you should only upgrade hardware 2020 if you're hardware 2020 after a more slick, hardware 2020 lightweight design, a slightly larger display and hardware 2020 a hardware 2020 few new fitness tracking hardware 2020 features.

For

  • Large screen
  • Light design
  • Completely waterproof

Against

  • No onboard GPS
  • Monochrome screen
  • Proprietary charger

The Fitbit Charge 3 is hardware 2020 one of the company's hardware 2020 most hardware 2020 accomplished devices yet offering the hardware 2020 best fitness tracking experience the company offers hardware 2020 in a hardware 2020 band design.

There hardware 2020 are more hardware 2020 high-tech devices from the company now hardware 2020 including the hardware 2020 Fitbit Versa 2 and Fitbit hardware 2020 Ionic, but if you're specifically hardware 2020 after a fitness band hardware 2020 with hardware 2020 that hardware 2020 Fitbit branding hardware 2020 this may be hardware 2020 what you're hardware 2020 looking for.

Fitbit announced hardware 2020 the hardware 2020 Charge 3 hardware 2020 in August hardware 2020 2018, and hardware 2020 it remains the company's hardware 2020 most high-spec fitness tracker hardware 2020 despite newer hardware 2020 products hardware 2020 like the Fitbit Inspire hardware 2020 HR hardware 2020 being hardware 2020 introduced.

The Fitbit Charge 3 hardware 2020 offers a hardware 2020 variety of exercise tracking modes hardware 2020 along with sleep and hardware 2020 heart rate monitoring in a hardware 2020 more lightweight design hardware 2020 than hardware 2020 the hardware 2020 Fitbit Charge hardware 2020 2. It also hardware 2020 sports hardware 2020 a bigger hardware 2020 screen, plus it's waterproof too.

Fitbit Charge 3 price and release date

  • The cheapest Charge 3 started at £129.99 / $149.95 / AU$229.95
  • Now down to around £100 / $130 / AU$159
  • Australia can also buy Special Edition, but it's a little different

You hardware 2020 can hardware 2020 buy the Fitbit Charge 3 from hardware 2020 Fitbit itself hardware 2020 or a variety hardware 2020 of other third-party retailers. Price-wise, hardware 2020 the hardware 2020 Charge hardware 2020 3 launched at hardware 2020 £129.99 hardware 2020 / $149.95 hardware 2020 / hardware 2020 AU$229.95, which was the exact hardware 2020 same as the original list price hardware 2020 of the Fitbit Charge hardware 2020 2 at hardware 2020 launch. 

The Special Edition Charge 3 cost a hardware 2020 little extra hardware 2020 at £149.99 / $169.95 / AU$269.95. hardware 2020 Those prices now fluctuate a little as hardware 2020 the Fitbit Charge 3 hardware 2020 has been out hardware 2020 for a year or so, but it's hardware 2020 very hardware 2020 rare that you'll hardware 2020 see the price drop below £100 hardware 2020 / $120 hardware 2020 / hardware 2020 AU$200.

The fitness tracker hardware 2020 comes with some different hardware 2020 bands depending on which version hardware 2020 you opt for. It's worth hardware 2020 noting hardware 2020 if you live in Australia hardware 2020 all versions of the hardware 2020 Fitbit Charge hardware 2020 3 have Fitbit Pay support, hardware 2020 but those in the US and UK will hardware 2020 have hardware 2020 to opt for the hardware 2020 Special Edition to be able hardware 2020 to use hardware 2020 the hardware 2020 payment service.

You’ve got hardware 2020 the choice hardware 2020 of a woven material hardware 2020 in purple hardware 2020 with a rose gold case, or a perforated hardware 2020 white sport band hardware 2020 with hardware 2020 a graphite hardware 2020 case hardware 2020 if hardware 2020 you hardware 2020 opt for hardware 2020 the 'Special hardware 2020 Edition' device, while the standard Charge hardware 2020 3 comes with hardware 2020 a black classic hardware 2020 band and a hardware 2020 graphite hardware 2020 case hardware 2020 or a hardware 2020 blue hardware 2020 grey classic hardware 2020 band with a hardware 2020 rose gold hardware 2020 case.

If hardware 2020 you choose hardware 2020 the hardware 2020 special edition of the Charge 3 hardware 2020 you'll also get an extra hardware 2020 black classic strap thrown in, hardware 2020 but whichever tracker you hardware 2020 choose hardware 2020 you can also buy hardware 2020 different straps separately.

There hardware 2020 are classic bands from hardware 2020 £19.99 / $29.95 hardware 2020 / hardware 2020 AU$49.95, sports hardware 2020 bands from hardware 2020 £24.99 / hardware 2020 $29.95 / hardware 2020 AU$49.95 and hardware 2020 Horween Leather Bands from an eye-watering hardware 2020 £59.99 / hardware 2020 $49.95 / AU$69.95.

Design and display

  • 40% larger screen
  • Lighter and thinner
  • Now completely waterproof

The Fitbit hardware 2020 Charge 3 hardware 2020 has hardware 2020 the hardware 2020 same rectangular hardware 2020 screen and band design hardware 2020 as hardware 2020 seen hardware 2020 on its predecessor, hardware 2020 the Charge 2, hardware 2020 but the design has been hardware 2020 refined and hardware 2020 tweaked somewhat.

Firstly, the Fitbit hardware 2020 Charge hardware 2020 3 is thinner, so it hardware 2020 looks hardware 2020 a little less chunky on hardware 2020 your wrist. It’s much hardware 2020 lighter too, as it’s hardware 2020 made from aluminum instead of stainless steel, hardware 2020 which the Fitbit hardware 2020 Charge 2’s body was clad hardware 2020 in. This hardware 2020 makes hardware 2020 the hardware 2020 new hardware 2020 device 20% lighter, hardware 2020 and you can hardware 2020 really feel the difference here. hardware 2020 It hardware 2020 also hardware 2020 feels hardware 2020 much more comfortable hardware 2020 as hardware 2020 a result.

One thing to note however is hardware 2020 that there aren't any pressable hardware 2020 buttons hardware 2020 on the Charge 3. That’s hardware 2020 because this hardware 2020 one has a full touchscreen hardware 2020 rather than the tap-to-cycle screen we hardware 2020 saw on the Charge hardware 2020 2, meaning you’ll hardware 2020 do most of your navigating around its hardware 2020 features hardware 2020 with your hardware 2020 finger hardware 2020 on hardware 2020 the display. (On hardware 2020 the Fitbit Charge 2 you could hardware 2020 only tap hardware 2020 it to switch what hardware 2020 was hardware 2020 displaying).

However, joining hardware 2020 this functionality is an inductive button on hardware 2020 the left-hand hardware 2020 edge of hardware 2020 the hardware 2020 tracker which you can hardware 2020 use hardware 2020 to wake the device or go hardware 2020 back hardware 2020 a hardware 2020 screen. It hardware 2020 will give you a little hardware 2020 tactile vibration feedback to let you know it’s hardware 2020 working.

We found that using this hardware 2020 button can take some hardware 2020 getting hardware 2020 used to, as the functionality hardware 2020 isn’t hardware 2020 so clear at first.

There’s a knack hardware 2020 to the way you must hardware 2020 hit hardware 2020 it in order hardware 2020 for it to respond well to hardware 2020 your tap, otherwise you’ll hardware 2020 find yourself tapping hardware 2020 away aggressively until it recognizes your hardware 2020 press hardware 2020 (like we hardware 2020 did at hardware 2020 first). Once you’ve got the knack however, hardware 2020 it hardware 2020 works rather well hardware 2020 and hardware 2020 proves to be a nippy way hardware 2020 to navigate the tracker.

On the underside, the PurePulse heart rate hardware 2020 monitor remains but it’s now hardware 2020 joined by hardware 2020 an hardware 2020 SpO2 Pulse oximetry hardware 2020 sensor. This hardware 2020 makes the hardware 2020 overall finish much rounder, and hardware 2020 thus more comfortable on the wrist.

Another new hardware 2020 update hardware 2020 introduced on the hardware 2020 Fitbit hardware 2020 Charge 3 is hardware 2020 the hardware 2020 strap design. In place of the hardware 2020 chunky metal clips seen on the Charge hardware 2020 2, hardware 2020 there is now just hardware 2020 a tiny black button which hardware 2020 ejects the strap when pushed (as hardware 2020 seen hardware 2020 on hardware 2020 the hardware 2020 Ionic hardware 2020 for example), allowing you to hardware 2020 easily change the hardware 2020 straps.

One thing we will hardware 2020 add is that hardware 2020 the hardware 2020 plastic strap that comes hardware 2020 bundled hardware 2020 with the standard edition does hardware 2020 feel a hardware 2020 little cheap. hardware 2020 A silicone strap (that you don’t hardware 2020 have to fork out hardware 2020 for additionally after hardware 2020 purchase) would hardware 2020 have made a hardware 2020 world of difference. Nevertheless, the strap hardware 2020 feels comfortable, and compared hardware 2020 to many other fitness trackers hardware 2020 this hardware 2020 is a hardware 2020 lot easier to hardware 2020 wear hardware 2020 throughout the hardware 2020 day.

The biggest difference on hardware 2020 the hardware 2020 Charge 3, hardware 2020 though, is the screen, which is 40% hardware 2020 larger than hardware 2020 the display of the hardware 2020 Charge 2. It’s still hardware 2020 black and white, hardware 2020 but it hardware 2020 has also had a bit of hardware 2020 a resolution boost as well as hardware 2020 being hardware 2020 a proper touchscreen hardware 2020 as we mentioned earlier.

While it’s by no hardware 2020 means on hardware 2020 the level of that hardware 2020 seen on the hardware 2020 Versa hardware 2020 or Ionic, hardware 2020 the screen hardware 2020 does its job and is able hardware 2020 to display hardware 2020 information clearly despite its hardware 2020 small size hardware 2020 - even hardware 2020 in very bright hardware 2020 conditions. Its hardware 2020 monochrome appearance is a bit sad hardware 2020 to look at, hardware 2020 especially hardware 2020 when you compare it hardware 2020 to hardware 2020 the Versa’s, hardware 2020 but it does ensure battery usage hardware 2020 is kept to a minimum.

Another hardware 2020 big change hardware 2020 in the third generation of hardware 2020 the Charge is its waterproofing. The Charge 2 hardware 2020 was only 'water-resistant', meaning hardware 2020 it could hardware 2020 handle a few hardware 2020 splashes while you did the washing up, hardware 2020 or sweat hardware 2020 while exercising.

However, hardware 2020 this time around Fitbit has ensured hardware 2020 the Charge hardware 2020 3 can track hardware 2020 your swimming. Although note hardware 2020 this is only pool swimming hardware 2020 and not hardware 2020 open hardware 2020 water swimming. More on that later.

Image Credit: TechRadar