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GPS, NFC, and everything else that's different.

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Charge 3: Is the newest do-it-all fitness tracker a worthy upgrade?

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Staff Writer,

Macworld |

While we’re all waiting for the first tracker to emerge with Wear OS support and Google Assistant integration, Fitbit isn’t resting on its laurels. Barely 18 months after the debut of the redesigned Charge 3, Fitbit has launched the Charge 4, bringing new chips, new features, and a new color. Here’s how it compares to last year’s model:

To the untrained eye, the Charge 4 is a carbon copy of the Charge 3, but when you put them side by side, you’ll notice a few slight differences. The Charge 4 seems a lot larger on paper, but the tapered design gives it a very similar feel to the Charge 3.

Charge 3
Dimensions: 35.8 x 22.7 x 11.8mm
Weight: 29 grams

Charge 4
Dimensions: 28.8 x 42.7 x 12.5mm
Weight: 30 grams

Even with larger dimensions, the Fitbit Charge 4 won’t look or feel much bigger than the Charge 3.

With a very similar body, the Charge 4 also has the exact same high-resolution (100×160) 1-inch greyscale OLED display with the Fitbit logo underneath. However, the Charge 4’s screen is slightly more advanced due to better backlighting that adjusts to different lighting conditions.

Fitbit introduced a whole new navigation with the Charge 3, and nothing has changed on the Charge 4. The screen is fully touch-enabled for taps and swipes, and the divot on the left side is actually a haptic inductive button that acts as a shortcut to the settings, dismisses alarms, and activates Fitbit Pay. If you’re coming from a Charge 2, it’ll take some getting used to, but it’s vastly improved over the physical button and tap-screen on the Charge 2.

The Charge 3 already had an array of powerful sensors, and the Charge 4 only builds on it. The Charge 4 makes NFC standard for Fitbit Pay (previously it was limited to the SE model) and also adds built-in GPS, a first for a Fitbit tracker. Both models are also swimproof up to 50 meters.

Charge 3
3-axis accelerometer
Optical heart rate monitor
Altimeter
Vibration motor
Relative SpO2 sensor
NFC (in special editions only)

Charge 4
GPS
3-axis accelerometer
Optical heart rate monitor
Altimeter
Vibration motor
Relative SpO2 sensor
NFC

All Fitbit Charge 4 models now come with NFC for Fitbit Pay purchase.

While the Charge doesn’t run anywhere near the number of apps that the Versa does, its library more than covers the basics. And on the Charge 4, you get two new ones: Agenda, which is basically a mini calendar, and Spotify, which lets you control what’s playing on your phone if you have a Spotify Premium account.

Charge 3
Exercise
Relax
Timers
Alarms
Weather
Settings

Charge 4
Agenda
Spotify
Exercise
Relax
Timers
Alarms
Weather
Settings

The Charge 3 and Charge 4 can also receive notifications from your phone, and if you’re using an Android phone, you can set custom quick replies for responding to text messages.

The main features of the Fitbit Charge obviously revolve around heath and fitness tracking, and both versions bring an array of apps and features to help you get and stay fit.

Charge 3
24/7 heart rate monitoring
Cardio fitness score
Sleep Stages
Real-time pace and distance
Goal-based exercise modes
Guided breathing
Automatic exercise recognition
Swim tracking
All-day calorie burn
Female health

Charge 4
Active Zone Minutes
Workout Intensity Map
24/7 heart rate monitoring
Cardio fitness score
Sleep Stages
Real-time pace and distance
Goal-based exercise modes
Guided breathing
Automatic exercise recognition
Swim tracking
All-day calorie burn
Female health

The Fitbit Charge 4 includes a few new fitness features that the Charge 3 won’t be getting.

The biggest new health feature on the Charge 4 is Active Zone Minutes, which will also be coming to the Versa and Ionic smartwatches, but not the Charge 3. To get more personalized workout results, Fitbit will establish heart rate zones using personalized fat burn, cardio, and peak heart rate metrics to optimize your effort during workouts. Then your Charge 4 will alert you when you’ve reached your target heart rate zone and record it on a Workout Intensity Map available in the Fitbit app.

You’ll also be able to track your Sleep Score on the Charge 4 and use Smart Wake to gradually wake up at a set time rather than being jolted out of deep sleep.

Both the Charge 3 and Charge 4 offer full 7-day battery life including sleep and normal exercise tracking. However, if you turn on GPS on your Charge 4, it will be significantly lessened. Fitbit estimates that GPS use will drop the battery life to five hours due to the battery-gobbling GPS chip constantly sending and receiving a signal. Runners and cyclists will want to turn it on before a workout, but for the most part, it’ll stay turned off.

Like the Charge 3, the new Charge 4 is available in two colors with a few different band options.

Charge 3
Black/Graphite
Blue gray/Rose gold
White/Graphite (SE)
Lavender/Rose gold (SE)

Charge 4
Black/Black
Storm Blue/Black
Rosewood/Rosewood
Granite Reflective Woven/Black (SE)

While the black option is very similar to last year’s graphite color, the rosewood model is closer to the Versa Lite’s mulberry shade of purple than rose gold. Fitbit has also made new bands to match the Charge 4’s colors, though any of the Charge 3 bands will fit as well.

The Fitbit Charge 4 SE includes an exclusive reflective woven band.

The price of the Charge 4 is the same as the Charge 3: $150 for the standard model and $170 for the special edition. The only difference is that the Charge 4 SE has the same functionality as the Charge 4, where the Charge 3 SE added NFC. The extra $20 buys you an extra exclusive woven band that would normally sell for $35.

This story, “Fitbit Charge 4 vs Charge 3: Is the newest do-it-all fitness tracker a worthy upgrade?” was originally published by

Macworld.

Michael Simon covers all things mobile for PCWorld and Macworld. You can usually find him with his nose buried in a screen. The best way to yell at him is on Twitter.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

This Article was first published on itnews.com

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