Fitbit Charge 4 on long-term test: Good features, but battery life with GPS is an issue

Wristband wearables have arrive a prolonged way, and these times we count on them to provide GPS, heart charge monitoring, alarms and a range of handset connectivity characteristics. The £129.99/$149.99 Fitbit Cost 4 has all of these, furthermore a mix of other characteristics, some of which Fitbit calls ‘apps’. You can opt for to exhibit or not exhibit these wristband applications, which contain a contactless payment wallet referred to as Fitbit Pay, on the machine by making selections in the Fitbit smartphone app (iOS or Android). Pay £149.99/$169.95 for the Specific Version and you get a woven back again wristband relatively than a rubbery a person. I’ve been making use of the Cost 4 for various months, and provide these observations as a follow-up to Matthew Miller’s April evaluation.


The Fitbit Cost 4 (£129.99/$149.99) presents heart-charge monitoring, developed-in GPS, target-primarily based workout modes, h2o resistance, rest monitoring, notifications and on-band applications.

Pictures: Fitbit


The conventional wristband can be replaced with vibrant or woven options.

Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The general style is familiar to any one who has a former Fitbit Cost machine: an elongated contact screen a solitary side (contact) button on the left edge of the Cost 4 (if worn on the proper wrist) and a removable wristband that’s simply replaced with vibrant options. The Cost 4 arrives with two wristbands and I uncovered the little a person was fine for me. All but the greatest of wrists need to be accommodated.

The gray OLED touchscreen is significant and you navigate about it making use of the side button and a mix of screen sweeps and taps. It truly is rather easy to get employed to how points perform. Tapping on the clock experience toggles by way of metrics like measures, distance, and heart charge. A range of faces can be established exhibiting different selections of metrics, furthermore time and day, via the Fitbit smartphone app. Sweeping proper to left provides up several wristband applications that have been enabled in the smartphone app.

Primary activity monitoring is effective fine. You can inform the smartphone app your typical stride lengths for the two functioning and strolling, and it shares this with the Cost 4, which can then transform paces into distance. It truly is not fantastic, but I have generally uncovered Fitbit equipment to be rather accurate when tested on measured distances, and that stays the circumstance with the Cost 4. 

The Cost 4 will mechanically detect when you are functioning, cycling, on a treadmill or strolling, and it is h2o resistant to the extent that you can swim for up to fifty metres sporting it without adverse outcome. If you are significant about cross-teaching with these sorts of things to do, then you may possibly want a much more subtle machine that can produce a greater range of metrics. But if you are just searching to do a specific quantity of measures or deal with a specific distance, then the Fitbit 4 is effective properly, such as issuing alerts when you achieve your preset goals every day.

With a heart charge monitor on-board, the Fitibit Cost 4 can do appealing points like measure your resting heart charge, established activity zones and report on these, and — new for this design — present a report of Active Zone Minutes. This is a calculation primarily based on age and resting heart charge, and the notion is to achieve a target of one hundred fifty minutes a week in your Active Zone. It truly is fairly a intelligent notion for those making use of a Fitbit to melt away energy or get rid of pounds. Just ambling about is fewer handy in this regard than moving a bit faster, and making your heart perform a bit more challenging. As your resting heart charge lowers, the Fitbit modifications its target minutes, so in concept there is generally a relevant target to aim at. Total reporting full with graphs is offered in the Fitbit smartphone app.

Of all these metrics I uncovered the resting heart charge facts notably helpful. I have noticed from former Fitbit use how my heart charge fluctuates if I have a cold or fever, and how it falls as I get fitter, soaring as my health wanes. These metrics can aid persons keep track of their development alongside a health trajectory.

The rest monitoring is also helpful. I like to maintain an eye on the several hours I expend asleep, as properly as monitoring my rest high quality to make guaranteed I’m not small-shifting myself. The Fitbit app has some properly presented graphics exhibiting general rest several hours and intervals of restlessness. If you really want to weigh in with the metrics, the Fitbit app presents you a rest score primarily based on the high quality and period of rest, with a ranking such as ‘fair’ or ‘good’ for every night. 

As for the added characteristics, I didn’t hassle with the Spotify controls, Fitbit Pay (a new attribute with the Cost 4), the weather app, or notifications. My handset is the go-to location for this features, but I can see how some end users may obtain them helpful. What I like a ton is the silent, vibrating alarm, which is powerful plenty of to wake me, but too subtle to wake somebody else.


The Cost 4’s cost cable is relatively small, and fiddly to have interaction.

Picture: Fitbit

The battery is rated to previous for 7 times furnished you are not making use of GPS, in which circumstance it is really only good for five several hours. This in essence rendered the GPS unusable for me on prolonged weekend walks, even if I commenced with it absolutely charged. Which is a disgrace, as GPS is a huge marketing stage for the Cost 4. I uncovered the cost device to be a bit of a fiddly match, and I experienced to double-test that it was in location appropriately. Also, its cable is fairly small, which intended my regular desktop cost station was just a small uncomfortable to use. Prolonged expression this would most likely be fairly an concern.

Total, the Fitbit Cost 4 has some excellent characteristics and is a good phase up from the Cost three, even though the Fitbit app displays a ton of fairly sophisticated facts in an accessible way. Eager athletics persons will want a lengthier-lasting battery for GPS use and much more granular metrics, but as a health tracker for normal well being the Cost 4 does really properly.

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