OUR unhealthy lifestyles are leading us to switch to healthy lives eventually. And these days gadgets and the entire concept of quantifiable self are driving people to achieve their fitness goals and rollback the effects of a sinfully sedentary lifestyle. Smartbands and watches are good aids in leading a fitter life and help you achieve goals and stay motivated. The FitBit Charge HR raked up quite a fan following because it could teach not just steps but also heart rate. A year on, FitBit is here with the Charge 2 that offers more than its predecessor in terms of features.
The Fitbit Charge 2 is not larger than the Charge HR, but it has a much larger display which means it can offer much more. It also tries to fix one of the biggest complaints with the earlier version, the band, by offering a band that can be changed easily. Tapping on the display let’s you cycle through the multiple functions and parameters. The app, which is a crucial part of any fitness device, is also much improved now.
What is good?
The FitBit Charge 2 has a functional design which will keep it going whatever you do. While the band itself is prone to wear and tear in the long run especially in climes like ours, it can now be easily replaced. What I really like about the Charge 2 is the fact that it tracks heart rate real time and gives you a good idea about stress levels. Using the app you can monitor how your beats per minute (bpm) is coping with the rigours of your professional and personal life. The results can be interesting and will help you make amends.
Another new feature is one that tries to improve your mindfulness. So there is a breathing coach that can be switched on at a tap. I found it a good way to relax and destress within a couple of minutes in the middle of a busy work day.
The band also gives your regular personalised alerts to stand up and clock a few steps if you have been sitting or been idle for too long. The notifications and alerts are now more rich using the extra screen space on the band. Plus, it is now intelligent enough to recognise what you are doing thanks to the realtime heartbeat readings extrapolated to the data from the millions of bands Fitbit has live across the world.
The app adds an extra layer of functionality. So while it helps you keep track of steps, calories burnt and active minutes along with the band, there are additional features that can log what you are eating and drinking. Doing the same, however, requires a lot of discipline.
Also, for those who feel the need for extra motivation there is the new Adventures feature that plots your steps on popular trekking paths to map progress and incentivise you when you complete challenges.
What is not that good?
The band seems to register a small number of false positives once in a while. On days when I did not wear the band to sleep, I woke up to see I had a head start of a few dozen steps though the band hadn’t left the nightstand. I found some extra steps being added during drives too. However, the number is thankfully insignificant.
The app strangely does not sync and update if there is no Wi-Fi connection. I found this really irritating though I understand this must be because the app is referencing the data with the cloud. However, I would like to know how I did the day before irrespective of if I have Internet or not. The charger is good and a interesting design where you push the band in the clip, but it is another charger to deal with. And it does not work with earlier Fitbit bands.
The Fitbit Charge 2 is among the best fitness bands in the market for people like me who need that additional data to put our lives in order. I would suggest this only for people who are already active and would like to achieve better goals and gradually reduce stress. Others should opt for a cheaper option.
Estimated street price: Rs 14,999