The Fitbit was one of the first wearable devices available when it first hit the market in 2010. That year they sold a paltry 58,000 units worldwide
. Fast forward a few years to 2016 and Fitbit was dominating the market, selling nearly 23 million units. Since then many competitors have entered the market, most notably Apple with the Apple Watch, a smart wearable device that connects seamlessly with your iPhone. That product allowed Apple to take control of the market
during the first quarter of 2018. Early reviews have come out and it looks like Fitbit is entering a new challenger in the smart wearable devices market with the Fitbit Charge 3. Read on to learn about what we love about Fitbit's latest product and what can be improved.
What We Love About the New Fitbit Charge 3
The biggest change and our favorite thing about Fitbit's newest product is that it's finally waterproof. This was one of the biggest complaints after the release of the previous model and it looks like the company took its customer's complaints to heart. The new fitness tracker will have a 5ATM water resistance rating making it safe for up to 50 meters of water. To match this upgrade, they've added features for both swim duration and tracking laps. Besides swimming, there are also enhancements in the fitness features. Besides things like heart rate tracking and workouts, there are also 15 sports that you can set directly from the device. Additionally, the device lets you set time or caloric goals before you start exercising. Another big change comes in the device's design. One of the criticisms against the previous model was that it was bulkier than its competitors. The new model is rumored to be lighter while at the same time featuring a significantly larger display. This should make it more comfortable for both day wear and night time wear.
Since this new device is targeting the smartwatch market, it follows that it needs to have competitive smartwatch features. We'll leave it up to you to decide if Fitbit hits or misses the mark on this one. Firstly, the alert system has improved since the Fitbit Charge 2
. Although you cannot download apps to the new device (you'll need the Ionic or Versa models for that), the Charge 3 gives notifications across a range of third-party apps. Later this year, Android users will also be able to reply to messages with Fitbit promising more functionality moving forwards. What will these alerts cost you in battery life? According to early rumors, the new device has an estimated battery life of seven days, but we'll have to wait for the full reviews to see if that's a reality.
What Can Be Improved
Fitbit still hasn't added integrated GPS to their devices. It will, however, have Connected GPS. This means that you'll still need to pair your wearable device with your smartphone as well as carry the phone with you while you're exercising. We're frustrated that Fitbit hasn't integrated the GPS feature when there are other devices on the market that include this capability. I don't know about you, but I would prefer to leave my phone at home when I go for a run.
Other Features of the Upcoming Fitbit
Besides being a fitness tracker, this device provides tracking data to help improve your life in general. For one thing, it will help you understand more about other aspects of your heart. Some of these health tracking features include a 24/7 heart rate monitor, an all-day calorie counter, and charts based on your heart rate zones. These charts show you when you're in each of the different Fat burn, peak or cardio zones to help you improve your workouts. The Auto Sleep Tracking feature is one of our favorite things about these devices in the first place. We've tried using some of the phone apps, but there's nothing like a device that's actually on your wrist to measure your sleep cycles. The fitness tracker, together with your smartphone, will show you how long you're in light versus REM sleep each night. Not only that, but over time, it will be able to create insights based on that data and give advice on how to improve your sleep cycles.
What the Special Edition Offers
So far, the extra features on the special edition are Fitbit Pay and premium bands. Fitbit Pay works in the same way as other contactless mobile payment methods. First, you add your credit or debit card info. This makes paying at participating retailers as simple as holding your smartwatch near the payment terminal. Considering the company is billing the Charge 3 as a smartwatch, we're a little disappointed that this feature isn't included in the standard model. In terms of bands, with the special edition, you can choose between a purple woven band or a white perforated sport band. Of course, there are so many great Fitbit bands
on the market, we're thinking it's unlikely that buyers will choose this model just for the bands.
When Can You Get It and What Will it Cost?
An official release date has yet to be confirmed but you can pre-order the device from the company's website. The standard model is set to ship in October and the special edition in November. There are two color options for each model. Pricing starts at USD$149.95 for the standard model or USD$169.95 for the special edition.
We Can't Wait to Test Out Fitbit's Latest Smart Watch
Many of these things are still considered rumors about the Fitbit Charge 3 so we cannot wait to get our hands on one and test it out for ourselves. Looking for a Fitbit for your little ones? Check out our review of the Fitbit Ace activity tracker