When I reviewed the Fitbit Charge earlier this year, I found it to be a no-frills fitness tracker which monitors your physical activities and sleep patterns quite accurately.
But it would have been even more useful if it had a heart-rate monitoring feature. This is now available with the Charge HR.
The new tracker looks just like the Charge, with a small rectangular Oled screen and a button on the left.
A textured rubber wristband with a stainless-steel buckle makes it comfortable to wear.
The significant difference between the two is the slight bulge with two blinking green lights at the rear of the Charge HR.
This is the heart-rate monitor (HRM) which constantly measures your heart rate.
The Oled screen displays the time, steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned, heart rate and the number of flights of stairs climbed.
A double-tap on the wristband wakes the display.
Pressing the button toggles through the panels.
When you toggle to the heart-rate panel, it immediately shows your current heart rate.
This scheme is more convenient compared with some smartwatches or fitness trackers which require you to press a couple of buttons or navigate through menus to see your heart rate.
There is also no need to manually trigger the sleep-tracking mode.
The Charge HR does this automatically and can detect when I am awake, having a restless sleep or in deep slumber.
It also does a great job of tracking fitness statistics and heart rate.
Results of my steps taken with the Charge HR differed by less than 2 per cent from my personally calibrated Nike+ Fuelband fitness tracker and my Apple iPhone 6 Plus.
My heart-rate measurements differed by fewer than five beats per minute from results taken with my Apple iPhone's Heart Rate app and my TomTom MultiSport Cardio GPS watch.
You need the bundled proprietary USB cable to charge the device.
The cable which comes with the Charge does not work with the Charge HR.
You can sync the device wirelessly with a PC via the included USB dongle.
To sync the Charge HR with your smartphone, you need to download the Fitbit app (Android, iOS and Windows Phone).
No pairing is needed. Just ensure that your smartphone has Bluetooth switched on and launch the app.
If the Charge HR is paired with a supported smartphone, caller ID will be displayed when a call comes in.
One last thing: The Charge HR is only splash-resistant. So, you can wash your hands or jog in the rain with it, but do not swim with it.
Aside from its proprietary cable and not being able to swim with it, the Fitbit Charge HR is the most well-rounded fitness tracker in the market.
Material: Rubber wristband with stainless-steel buckle
Water resistance: 10m
Value for money 5/5
Battery life 4/5
This article was first published on Mar 25, 2015.
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