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Fitbit Charge HR – First impressions and mini review

In 2013, I did a review about the Fitbit Flex here. I was not very happy about it and did not recommend it. This time around, I am doing a review about the Fitbit Charge HR. Please keep in mind that I just got the Charge HR 3 days ago and these are my early impressions about the little device.

As you can see in the article’s main picture, the Charge HR features a continuous heart rate sensor, steps/distance/floors/calories counter, sleep tracker, wireless synce, and finally a caller ID.

Unboxing and first impressions

Unboxing the Fitbit Charge HR feels a lot like unboxing the Flex. Same box design and layout. Inside you will find the tracker, USB charger cable, a tiny USB sync device, user manual and agreements. There is no USB wall charger for this. If you want to charge your Fitbit Charge HR, you will need to either connect it to a computer or a generic USB wall charger.

The Device itself feels a lot like the Flex too, cheap. A bit wider to fit the screen obviously. I do like the adjustable strap much better though. It feels as comfortable as wearing any other regular “watch” since it is designed like that. If not too tight, you can easily forget wearing it. Fitbit also recommends wearing the device a bit loose so it can freely move back and forth on your wrist.

My wife and I both wanted one each, but decided to only get one device at first for myself to try out and make sure we like it before getting a second one. We ended up not getting a second one (more on that soon). But, we also decided to keep the one we got and not return it.

I initially got the large one for myself. All excited about it since as of writing this article, and beside the uncomfortable Microsoft band, this is one of the only ones in the market that has all the features I want.

When I first turned it on, sitting down, I already had 30 steps, some burnt calories and distance. I thought that surely there is a way to reset it in the app. But after many searches online, I came to find out that many people were having this problem. Some people even reported that on the daily basis, they wake up in the morning to find their Charge HR already counted steps for them while sleeping. This makes me question its accuracy. How can I trust it’s accuracy when I myself turned it on to find that I apparently was already walking and counting steps? What about all of the other people online that complained about it counting steps overnight when sleeping? That for me was strike one.

Strike two was how cheap the device felt. The rubber band felt very cheap and the plastic felt like a kids toy. Also, the band texture as you can see in the picture above, can easily collect dust due to the way it is designed. The picture you see above is shortly after we opened the device, it is already looking dirty. Also not too easy to clean since dirt do get stuck in band texture.

Strike three for me was the vibrate device inside the band. I am not sure how to accurately describe this but when the device vibrates, it feels more of a broken plastic rattling inside than a vibrate. You will know exactly what I mean if you end up getting the device for yourself. Fitbit decided to go with a super cheap vibrate device inside the band that it does not even feel like a normal vibrate like a phone vibrate or other wearable vibrate. Hope this makes sense.

Lastly, which is totally my fault but I will mention it here anyways in case someone goes through the same thing. For some reason, I thought the device displays notifications from your phone. But it does not! If you get a text message or an email, the device doesn’t show anything or not even vibrate. It only works for calls as a caller ID and that’s it. I am not sure why I thought it has notifications too. Maybe I read a wrong article somewhere before purchasing it? But like I said, this should not be counted as a negative since they do write on the box “Caller ID” and that’s it. I just thought I mention it here in case somebody else might think it does notifications other than caller ID.

To sum everything up, we decided to not get another band and just give mine to my wife. Even though I purchased the large one, it fits her wrist perfectly fine. She also does not care about the notifications so it works out perfect for her.

Hopefully one day Fitbit will decide to make a better quality device with better specs. Like the Microsoft band, only if it was not too uncomfortable.

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Hi, my name is Ali. I am a Systems Engineer. I live in the beautiful Evergreen state. I have a Bachelor degree of science in Information Technology with a handful of accompanying I.T. certificates. I also have a degree in Computer Networking. I am an Apple Certified Technician, Microsoft MCITP and a Linux expert.

2 Comments

  1. Julia · March 5, 2015

    Awesome review! Thanks a lot, very helpful 🙂

    Reply

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