Hands-on review: IFA 2016: Fitbit Charge 2

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If you’re wearing a Fitbit, there’s a very good chance it’s a Charge or a Charge HR on your wrist right now – but there’s a new version out that you may want to upgrade to.

The Fitbit Charge 2 is the first upgrade to the popular Charge range since 2013 and has brought on a couple of new features that may be worth the upgrade.

In terms of pricing, the Fitbit Charge 2 costs $150 (£130, AU$250), which is just a touch extra than buying a Charge HR today. It’s more expensive than the new Fitbit Flex 2 though – so it may be worth your while checking that out, too.

Design wise, it’s much the same as other Fitbit devices and feels a bit like the lovechild of the Charge HR and the Fitbit Surge. There’s a much larger screen here than on the Charge HR but the device is even thicker too and you may not be a fan if you liked the compactness of the last version.

There’s a button on the left hand side of the tracker that you’ll use to skip through all the menus such as steps, time, heart rate, calories and much more.

Fitbit Charge 2

With a larger screen there’s even more room to see that data too, limited as it might be.

Fitbit Charge 2

You have the choice of four different color plastic bands – those are light blue, dark blue, black and purple – along with two leather options as well, which will cost extra. These can be swapped out quickly and easily by pulling at the edges of the band around the tracker.

The actual device itself is reasonably small but you may find it a little bit too thick on your wrist if you’re looking for something that doesn’t stick out.

Fitbit has improved the materials used on its straps in recent years too and the plastic version felt comfortable within our short time wearing it.

Fitbit Charge 2

You won’t be able to take the Charge 2 in the swimming pool with you, but it is water resistant meaning you’ll be able to sweat on it or run with it in the rain without having to worry about water damage.

You’ll be able to receive calls, SMS and calendar notifications through to your wrist but it’s just to know what’s going on – you won’t be able to reply without taking your phone out.

Fitbit Charge 2

In terms of tracking tech, this is a very similar affair to other Fitbit wearables. It will monitor your step count throughout the day, but it also features a lot of the recent innovations seen on the Blaze and Alta.

When working out, there’s no GPS to track your running – but you can connect the Charge 2 to your phone’s GPS feature to allow Fitbit to track accurate distance traveled.

Fitbit Charge 2

The big addition here for the Charge range is Multi-Sport tracking. This was a feature introduced on the Fitbit Blaze last year and allows you to track seven individual sports including running, walking and yoga.

For the sporty-minded, this is the reason to go for the Charge 2 over one of the older devices.

There’s also a new Guided Breathing feature that will take your heart rate for 30 seconds and then set you a breathing challenge to help it improve. Upon first testing we found it worked in slowing our heart rate, but whether you’d use this feature often is up to you.

If you wear the tracker in bed it’ll also monitor your sleeping patterns as well. There’s also a silent alarm mode that will vibrate the tracker on your wrist to get you to wake up slowly and not disturb anyone else in the room.

Fitbit Charge 2

It’s a nice idea, but it may not prove all that useful if you’re a heavy sleeper.

Battery wise the Charge 2 is supposed to last up to five days on a single charge – but if you’re prone to working out a lot that may tend to be a little bit shorter.

If that battery life proves to be right, it’s not too disappointing to put your fitness tracker on charge twice a week though.

Early verdict

The Fitbit Charge 2 isn’t a massive improvement over the Fitbit Charge HR – the heart rate tracking tech was already there and the design has improved a bit.

Fitbit Charge 2

The larger display is useful for running through your stats as well as phone notifications, but ultimately that was something the Fitbit Blaze already offered, albeit for a higher price.

If you’re looking for a fitness tracker to take your heart rate throughout the day and want to use the Multi Sport tracking features, you may want to upgrade to the Fitbit Charge 2.

But if don’t need the heart rate monitor, we’d probably recommend going with the Fitbit Alta.

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