Living with the Fitbit Charge HR for a weekMarch 17, 2016 · 4 minute read
So, this March 10th, which happened to be my birthday, I got a sweet new gadget: the Fitbit Charge HR. I’m relatively new to the scene of smartwatches and smartbands, so, what the heck, I’ll give it a try.
The setup was really simple. I downloaded the Fitbit app to my iPhone, created an account, and turned on Bluetooth to sync with my Charge HR. Boom. Paired. Done. It’s not the fastest sync, but that’s okay.
Using the Charge HR for school was completely natural. It took me a couple hours, but I finally realized you could flick your wrist to quickly view the time. I feel like the Apple Watch stole that idea. 😛
Additionally, I might walk to school if the bus doesn’t come — my Fitbit automatically tracks the steps I take. Some days I have PE, where the class wears pedometers and heart rate monitors — the Charge HR does that all in one fell swoop.
What really inspired me to get my Fitbit was my PE teacher, Ms. Jones. I mean, why not get one? I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted for my birthday.
Anyway, back to the story: While the activity part of the Charge HR is cool, there’s also a function in the band that detects sleep. I thought it’d be really, really interesting to see what time I actually go to sleep and how many hours I really get. So there’s that. By the way, I only get about 7–8 hours of sleep each night.
There’s a few more things in the Fitbit app that I won’t get into — a meal plan and a weight tracker, which I believe require some external accessories. I don’t need those at the moment so they’re not on my dashboard.
Back to syncing. Remember how said it wasn’t the fastest sync? Yeah, sync is weird. It requires Internet (which I suppose syncs to your Fitbit account?) along with Bluetooth. I’d like to be able to sync without Wi-Fi or Cellular, please.
Let’s talk battery. Fitbit says the average charge for my device is about 5 days, but I’m not so sure about that. I got about 3–4 days on a single charge. That adds up to two full charges in a week. Not bad, I guess? Maybe it’s lower because I trigger the watch too much…
Settings. There’s a few things you can customize! I didn’t expect that much from such a tiny device. You can change the clock face, tap gesture, quick view, and much more. I won’t go into detail on every feature, but it’s very easy to figure out. One thing I don’t understand is the “Greeting” option though. What’s this for? Does it show a message when you boot up your Charge HR? I don’t know yet — I may need to do more testing on this.
There’s also a link to a guide at the bottom of your device’s settings (Dashboard > Charge HR), but the device is so simple that I didn’t bother reading it. Maybe I should.
What disappoints me
- For whatever reason, the Fitbit app isn’t optimized for iPad. Come on developers, you’re better than this!
- You can’t import Fitbit data into HealthKit. This really annoys me. Currently, I have an iPhone 5c, which means there’s nothing in my Health app — I don’t have an M7/M8/M9 chip to detect my step count, among other things.
What I like
- The setup is relatively quick and painless. No need for a computer, that’s always a plus.
- Battery life. Much better than the Apple Watch.
- It works in the shower! Even though I probably shouldn’t have done that.
What I want
- More ways to customize my Fitbit. I’d like to use a third-party clock face, much like you can do with the Pebble.
- Offline sync! I know it’s possible!
That’s it. I really like my Fitbit. There’s a few quirks, but what do you expect? This is my first wearable device. I’m happy with it the way it is.