The Fitbit Charge 5 is a really complete fitness tracker, and it may be the best “real” fitness tracker we’ve tried so far. It combines the best parts of all of Fitbit’s other devices into one neat device. You get built-in GPS for tracking runs without a watch, an EDA (electrodermal activity) sensor for measuring stress responses, contactless payments, sleep tracking, excellent heart rate monitoring, and sleep monitoring. All of this information is shown in a clean, easy-to-use way, even if you’ve never used a Fitbit device before. With the Charge 5, Fitbit has taken away the ability to control Spotify playlists through the Charge 4, which was possible with the Charge 4. The Charge 5 is made for working out, so it’s too bad it doesn’t have music, but if that’s not a deal-breaker, it could be a great gym buddy.
The Fitbit Charge 5 is a powerful fitness tracker that takes the best features from all of Fitbit’s other devices and puts them all together in one device. It has the Fitbit Versa 3’s built-in GPS, the Fitbit Luxe’s slim design and bright AMOLED screen, and the Fitbit Sense’s stress-measuring app.
It’s a big step up from the Charge 4, and if you’re starting to get serious about running, the gym, or both, it’s a great choice. It’s also a step up from the cheaper, less complicated Huawei Band 7 or Fitbit Inspire 3, which don’t have GPS. The Charge 5 is a great choice for anyone interested in HIIT or spinning because it can track your heart rate so well.
The Charge 5 uses the same “Biologic Industrial Design” language as the Sense, Versa 3, and Inspire 2. It has smooth lines and soft colors that are “inspired by the human body.” It looks very different from the Charge 4, which was a lot more angular.
The Charge 5 also looks more expensive than the Charge 4 because its case is made of stainless steel instead of plastic. It comes in three colors: black with graphite stainless steel, lunar white with soft gold stainless steel, and steel blue with platinum stainless steel (pictured here). You can buy extra bands, like a perforated strap that lets your skin breathe better when you’re doing sports.
These are all big changes, but the Charge 5’s display is the one that stands out the most. Instead of the Charge 4’s black-and-white memory-in-pixel screen, the new watch has a full-color AMOLED screen, just like the Fitbit Luxe. This is one of the biggest differences between this tracker and the Fitbit Inspire 3. The screen is clear and bright, and it scrolls and moves smoothly.
There’s an option to keep the screen on all the time, which makes it easier to see at a glance, but we didn’t find it useful in everyday use. Unlike some fitness trackers we’ve tried, the Charge 5’s screen always came on when we raised our wrist to check the time, which was a nice feature.
The Fitbit Charge 5 doesn’t have any physical buttons, but the ECG and EDA apps are controlled by oval sensors on each side of the case. On the back of the watch are the usual optical heart rate sensor and the charging contacts. This charger is the same as the one used by the Fitbit Luxe, and it magnetically sticks to the Fitbit Charge 5. It uses a USB-A cable, which is bad for Macbook users.
The best way for a fitness tracker to work is for you to wear it every day. This lets it get a full picture of your health, sleep, and activity patterns, and Fitbit has pretty much figured out how to do this. The Charge 5 is not only more attractive and comfortable to wear than the Charge 4, but it also has more uses, giving you plenty of reasons to put it on every morning.
Because the color screen has a higher resolution, it is now much easier to read notifications on a smartphone. When you get an SMS, WhatsApp message, or other alert, you’ll see a small bit of text that you can tap to read, open on your phone, or ignore. You can also quickly accept or reject calls by tapping the screen. The interface is simple and easy to use.
We also liked that tracking your menstrual cycle is easy to find and not hidden under a bunch of sub-menus.
Fitbit Pay works with the Charge 5, just like it did with the Charge 4. This is widely supported in the US, where it works with dozens of banks, but less so in the rest of the world. In the UK, for example, Google and Apple both have big payment services.
But the Charge 5 doesn’t have any music tools like the Charge 4. We wouldn’t have thought that a device this small would be able to store music for offline listening, but the Charge 4 let you control your Spotify playlist from your wrist, which was great for working out. We would have liked to be able to at least control our phone’s default music player, pausing and skipping between songs like you can with the Garmin Lily.
We found that the Charge 5 lasted about six days between charges with normal use and sleep tracking. However, if you keep the screen on all the time or use GPS a lot, the battery will die much faster.
Each Fitbit device is made for a certain kind of person, and the Charge 5 is made for people who like to get their heart rates up. Even though it doesn’t have as many features as a running watch, it’s easy to recommend to anyone who’s just getting into working out and wants a good way to track their pace and distance.
A lot of fitness trackers only have a general mode called “indoor cycling.” But the Charge 5 has a setting just for spin classes that lets you know when your heart rate changes. The Charge 5 is a great way to train because the heart rate sensor works well and is accurate.