FitBit Charge HR Review

A popular pick for the title of “Best fitness tracker” and similar awards, the Charge HR has all the standard features plus built in heart rate monitoring.

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Product Description:

Make every beat count with the FitBit Charge HR—a high-performance wristband with automatic, continuous heart rate and activity tracking right on your wrist. See heart rate all day and during workouts to get more accurate calorie burn, reach your target workout intensity and maximize training time. Track steps, distance, floors climbed and sleep quality and more, and stay connected with Caller ID and time of day on display. Charge HR also wirelessly syncs to your smartphone and computer so you can monitor your trends and get the motivation you need to push yourself further—every step, every beat, every day.

Feature Table:

Category Active
Steps, Calories, Distance
Clock
Sleep Quality and Silent Alarm
Floors Climbed
Active Minutes
Caller ID
Continuous Heart Rate
Wireless Syncing
Battery Lasts up to 5 days, uses lithium polymer batteries, charging takes up to 2 hours, bluetooth radio transceiver
Water Proofing Splash, rain, and sweat proof, but not for swimming
Display OLED
Memory 7 days minute by minute, up to 30 days of totals, does 1 second heart rate intervals during exercise and 5 seconds at other times
Syncing Sync range of 20 feet, can connect with USB dongle with Internet or Bluetooth with Internet
Compatibility Syncs with Windows Vista and later, Mac OS X 10.6 and up, iPhone 4S and later, iPad 3 gen. and later, and leading Android and Windows devices
Operating Temperature -4° to 113°F
Operating Altitude 30,000 feet

Common Questions:

Who is the FitBit Charge HR a good option for?

The FitBit Charge would be a good fitness tracker for someone that wants a great fitness tracker that includes heart rate monitoring and is built for use during workouts. The FitBit that is the next step down is the regular Charge, which doesn’t include the heart rate monitoring. The next step up is the Surge, which has GPS and music controls.

What comes in the box with the FitBit Charge HR?

The FitBit Charge, a charging cable, a free FitBit account, and the USB dongle.

What colors does the FitBit Charge HR come in?

Black, Purple, Blue, Orange.

Does the FitBit Charge HR have an inactivity reminder like the Apple Watch?

No, it does not.

How does the Caller ID work?

The FitBit Charge HR is compatible with mobile devices, and can be set to show notifications of calls. What you’ll get is an icon with the contact’s name below it.

Do you need a separate sleeping band like the FitBit One for the FitBit Charge HR?

No, the Charge HR can be worn to bed and automatically works as a sleeping band. There is no need to wear a separate band, like with the FitBit One, and you also don’t need to activate a sleep mode, like with the FitBit Flex. Find out more in our FitBit Comparison.

What’s the difference between the FitBit Charge and the FitBit Charge HR?

The HR stands for Heart Rate. The Charge HR has continuous, automatic, wrist-based heart rate & simplified heart rate zones. This is an extra feature that is extremely valuable to some people, like those with heart conditions or people that want advanced stats for their exercise.  The Charge HR can track workouts and is classified as in the “active” category. The Charge HR also only lasts up to 5 days as oppossed to up to 10 days for the regular Charge, which is something you’ll want to consider.

How well does the heart rate tracking work?

The FitBit Charge HR heart rate tracker works best if you wear the fitness tracker slightly higher than normal, so that the device is snug against your skin/shirt. If it is loose, the readings can be a bit off. The tracking seems to work better at rest than during workouts.

What Others Are Saying:

Scott Stein, CNET:  “As it is, it’s the best all-day heart-rate-tracking casual-use fitness band that’s currently available…but it could have been even more.”

Christina Bonnington, Wired:  “While this Fitbit may not be the Cinderella slipper of my wearable dreams, I would absolutely recommend it to family and friends.”

Jill Duffy, PC Mag:  “The Charge HR costs $50 less than the Editors’ Choice Basis Peak, and Fitbit makes a much slimmer product. But I really love some of the benefits of the Peak, like automatic bicycle tracking and REM sleep data, plus all the extra information it collects about my body, from skin temperature to perspiration. If those perks don’t sound all that sexy, by all means go for the Fitbit HR and save yourself a few bucks.”

Brent Rose, Gizmodo:  “Should You Buy It? Yes. You should. If you want a standalone fitness tracker. This is a really, really good fitness tracker and it’s reasonably priced for what it can do. Not only that, it’s very accurate, it’s super easy to use, and it’s not bad looking. Fitbit really did a good job with this one, and I wouldn’t hesitate to call it the best Fitbit yet.”

Review:

The FitBit Charge HR adds continuous heart rate monitoring, workout tracking, and advanced stats to the last version, the FitBit Charge. This much more advanced functionality comes at just around a $20 price increase over the last version.

The Charge HR has a ton of functionality include step, distance, and calorie counting. It has a clock in the OLED display, does sleep monitoring and has a silent sleep alarm, it keeps track of floors climbed and active minutes, and it even has phone alerts. I love the FitBit app and the Charge HR also has an actual wristband that is easy to use and stays on.

The negatives are that the device only has a 5 day battery life. Tracking accuracy isn’t as good during workouts. Some people have complained that the dispaly turns off after a few seconds (which is true but I don’t think it is that much of a problem and it saves on battery) and it is difficult to see. This device really isn’t for swimmers (it isn’t water or shower proof) or cyclists, or anyone that needs a running or triathalon type breakdown of stats. This is an advanced fitness tracker, not for performance sports training (if you need that, check out our best fitness watches page).

Overall, I truly believe the FitBit Charge HR is one of the absolute best fitness trackers on the market and I would recommend it to anyone looking for advanced fitness tracking.  The FitBit Charge HR is probably the best fitness tracker available for most people.

FitBit Charge HR

FitBit Charge HR
9.5

Amazing

10/10

    Pros

    • Built in heart rate monitor
    • OLED display, sleep monitor, phone alerts
    • 5 day battery life, accurate, great app

    Cons

    • No phone controls (some competitors have this)