Fitbit’s Charge 6 fitness tracker, a new version of its most popular product, looks almost exactly like its predecessor but promises a major improvement in terms of heart rate tracking accuracy.
Fitbit says the new model delivers up to 60% more accurate readings during vigorous activities like HIIT, spinning, and rowing compared to the 2-year-old Charge 5. Fitbit uses your heart rate data to calculate calories burned and Active Zone Miniutes, so these metrics should be more accurate as well.
Moreover, the Charge 6 is the first Fitbit device with support for real-time heart rate tracking on select home gym equipment, including machines from Peloton, NordicTrack, Concept2, and Tonal, with more coming soon.
Priced at $159.95, or $20 less than its predecessor at launch, the Charge 6 is available for preorder now ahead of a global launch on Oct. 12. It comes in three colorways: black with a matching band, silver with an off-white band, and champagne gold with a coral band.
For fitness tracking, the Charge 6 offers 40 exercise modes, up from 20 on the last generation, including new options like surfing, skiing, crossfit, and HIIT. It promises up to seven days of battery life on a charge, the same as its predecessor.
In terms of design, not much has changed this generation, though Fitbit has, in a questionable move, resurrected the somewhat problematic haptic side button of earlier models. The Charge 4 had a recessed haptic button that didn’t always work right, but Fitbit nixed it last generation, giving the Charge 5 a buttonless design.
Older Fitbit smartwatches also featured a similar haptic button, which Fitbit replaced on the newer Sense 2 and Versa 4 with a more tactile mechanical button that is much easier to use. We’re hoping that the Charge 6’s haptic side button works better than previous versions, but we’ll reserve judgment for our full review, so stay tuned for more.
The Charge 6 otherwise has the same dimensions and always-on color touch screen as last generation. All models feature a 100% recycled aluminum case, a water- and stain-resistant Infinity band, and plastic-free packaging.
As for lifestyle features, Google Wallet replaces Fitbit Pay on this generation Charge, which also gains Google Maps with turn-by-turn directions and YouTube Music controls (for paid subscribers). With a YouTube Music premium subscription, you can start, stop, pause, and skip songs playing on your smartphone from the Charge 6. The tracker does not support offline music downloads.
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Fitbit’s latest tracker is compatible with most phones running at least Android 9.0 or iOS 15 via the Fitbit app. The Charge 6 requires a Google Account, meaning legacy Fitbit users will need to migrate their account over to Google’s platform, a fairly painless process I detailed in my Versa 4 review.
The Charge 6 continues to include a built-in GPS, and goes beyond basic fitness tracking with sensors for electrocardiogram (ECG) readings and electrodermal activity (EDA) stress scans. When you wear it to bed, it tracks your blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) and skin temperature, along with your sleep.
It comes with a six-month Fitbit Premium subscription, which gives you access to a library of video and audio workouts plus guided mindfulness sessions, including meditations with Deepak Chopra. Fitbit requires a Premium membership to access certain data, including a Daily Readiness Score to help you gauge your recovery level, 90-day health metric trend graphs, and a detailed Sleep Profile.
Meanwhile, Fitbit parent company Google is gearing up to launch its Pixel Watch 2 smartwatch next week. Based on an official teaser video, the Pixel Watch 2 has the same striking look as the original, but features an IP68 rating, an improvement from last year’s model, which offered no official dust ingress protection.
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The post Fitbit Charge 6 Fitness Tracker Promises Improved Heart Rate Accuracy first appeared on www.pcmag.com