It's been two years since Fitbit released the Charge 2, which still holds a top spot on our list of the best fitness trackers. So we're more than a little excited about the Charge 3, which the company officially announced today. In addition to a better touch-screen experience, the Charge 3 borrows smartwatch-like app and notifications features from the Versa, as well as an intriguing new inductive button and up to a week's worth of battery life. It comes out this fall for $149.99, but we got to take an early look at it and have some initial impressions.
The Charge 3's most obvious improvement over the Charge 2 is its bigger, better touch screen. It has an active area of 0.7 by 0.2 inches (HW), and is able to respond to swipes in addition to taps. You can also see more information than you can on the Charge 2. Up close, the screen is much crisper and brighter than the Charge 2's, and very responsive in operation.
On the side is the new inductive button. It's a light groove in lieu of a physical button, and generates a haptic response when pressed. The vibration is fairly gentle, but noticeable. According to Fitbit, the inductive button allows for the inclusion of a larger battery. The Charge 3 has an estimated battery life of seven days with continuous heart rate monitoring, up from the Charge 2's five days.
Speaking of sensors, the Charge 3 includes SpO2 sensors (which measure the amount of oxygen in the blood) that Fitbit plans to use in the future to identify conditions such as sleep apnea. It doesn't have GPS however, which Fitbit says was omitted in favor of longer battery life.
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From a design standpoint, not much has changed from the Charge 2, though Fitbit borrowed some styling from the Versa. The tracker comes in all-black or rose-gold-and-navy models. The bands feature a handsome, geometric texture, and the whole thing feels lighter on your wrist than its predecessor. It's also water resistant to 50 meters, which means you can swim with it. Accordingly, the Charge 3 can track laps, distance, and time spent in the pool.
There are also some upgrades in the notifications department. In addition to call, text, and calendar notifications, you can get app notifications. The Charge 3 also supports quick replies for Android users, and you can download certain apps (like Weather) directly onto the tracker. Like the Versa and the Ionic, female health tracking is also supported.
The Charge 3 is available for preorder now, and will hit shelves this fall. In addition to the standard $149.99 models, Fitbit is offering two special edition versions for $20 more, with the choice of a frost white perforated sport band or woven band. The special edition models will also include an extra black silicone band, as well as NFC capability.
Considering the Charge 2 is still one of our favorite fitness trackers, we're looking forward to spending more time with the Charge 3. Check back soon for a full review.
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