FitBit Charge 2 – mHealth Wearable of the Week

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FitBit Charge 2 – AppAdvantage.co’s wearable of the week

Is the FitBit Charge 2 the right wearable for you – and for your health and fitness goals?

Despite falling sales, FitBit is still the most popular fitness tracking device available.

In this brief review, I’ll let you know

  • what the FitBit Charge 2 does,
  • how it works, and
  • share my own opinion.

 

What does the FitBit Charge 2 do – in one sentence?

The Fitbit Charge 2 tracks your activity (and lack thereof).

 

What else does the FitBit Charge 2 do?

Unless you’re a total newbie to the world of fitness tracking devices, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Here’s what the FitBit Charge 2 does:

  • Track your steps, calories and distance
  • Track the number of floors you’ve climbed
  • Show you the time
  • Track your sleep – light, deep and REM
  • Wake you up with a silent alarm
  • Remind you to move
  • Show your heart rate
  • Notify you for calls, texts and calendar events
  • Guide you through breathing sessions

 

How does the FitBit Charge 2 work?

The genius of wearable devices lies in their simplicity. You just put it on and go. And then the device does all the work for you.

There is some initial setup and you have to connect it to your phone. But once it’s all set up, all you have to do is push the buttons on the device itself or in the app to see your numbers.

The FitBit Charge has two primary sensors for tracking:

  1. Motion sensor. Just like the name implies, it senses very small movements and records them. This data is then used to calculate things like the number of steps you take.
  2. Heart rate monitor. You guessed it: this monitors your pulse. And it can be used (in combination with movement) to calculate your sleep.

All that data is then shared with your phone (or other device) by connecting via bluetooth. Optionally your phone also shares data with your device so that you can see notifications for calls, texts and events.

 

What’s my opinion on the FitBit Charge 2?

I admit that I’ve never used the device. However, I’ve talked with a lot of people who use FitBits and the main thing I hear is that they really like to track their steps.

My (70+ year old) parents, for example, will track their steps and check in with each other throughout the day to find out who is “winning”. My Mom uses her FitBit while my Dad just uses his iPhone. Overall, it’s a great way for them to stay active and keep moving throughout the day.

I really like the effort on FitBit’s part to track sleep better by using heart rate. This way you get an idea of not just your time asleep but you get very rough measures of your sleep stages including light, deep and REM sleep.

What I don’t like about the FitBit (and most other devices) is the continuous bluetooth connection with your phone. This is my main reason for not even trying the device. I may be over-cautious on this front, but there’s enough evidence (e.g., linking bluetooth to blood-brain barrier permeability) that it may lead to negative health consequences.

Overall I give the Fitbit Charge 2 an enthusiastic thumbs-up based on the simple way it encourages people to be more active. I know there are plenty of news stories about how the trend in tracking devices is not leading to more activity. However, I’ve seen first-hand how it helps my parents as well as other people – and that’s enough evidence for me!

 

 

What are the primary alternatives to Fitbit?

Oura ring. This is what I’m currently using and it’s said to be the best consumer device on the market for tracking your sleep. It does help me pay closer attention to my overall sleep habits, it’s helped me create new sleep habits and it keeps me informed of both my general activity and readiness. You can learn more about the Oura ring here.

Your phone. Like I mentioned above, my parents have an ongoing competition for number of steps they take throughout the day. My Mom has a Fitbit. But my Dad, on the other hand, doesn’t have a specific fitness tracking device. Instead, he simply uses his phone to track his activity. On Android you can use Google Fit and on iOS there’s the Health app.

Smart watches. You can use Apple Watch or any number of the available Android Wearables to track your activity.

Pedometers. This is the easiest and lowest tech of all of the options. You can buy a simple pedometer for around $10 on Amazon.

 

What are customers saying?

Overall, the fitbit makes fitness fun. It’s packed with so many cool features, and really is a motivator for daily movement. It is perfect for someone who wants to streamline their fitness goals and keep track of their life. It is a wear all day and all night product.

 

While I’m working out, the heart rate sensor isn’t always able to read your pulse.

 

What separates Fitbit is the software and social functions. You won’t find a better app with ease of use, not to mention with the largest userbase of trackers it’s much easier to find friends and families to participate in challenges.

 

What do YOU think?

Do you have thoughts about the Fitbit Charge 2? Share them in the comments below!

 

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