The heart rate monitoring component makes the Fitbit Charge HR my new favorite tracker.
At this point, no matter what your style or athletic ability, there's probably a fitness tracker for you. Many have similar features and prices, so many times it just boils down to which tracker looks best on your wrist and does everything you want. But, after testing out the Fitbit Charge HR ($150) off and on for about three months, I think I've found a winner.
The Charge HR features continuous heart rate measuring via an LED light on the back of the tracker that tracks your pulse all day, in five-minute increments for normal activity and one-minute increments if you're logging a workout.
The fact that the Charge HR measures resting heart rate tracking and heart rate monitoring during a workout was one of the main reasons I was so excited to test out the Charge HR. Having a convenient way to measure my heart rate during a workout without having to strap on a chest heart rate monitor was an easy sell for me.
Recording a workout is incredibly easy with the Charge HR; just press and hold the button to start an exercise session, then press and hold to stop. During your workout, pressing the button cycles through time elapsed, steps taken, calories burned, distance, floors climbed, and heart rate for just your workout session.
Besides the heart rate-specific capabilities, the Fitbit Charge HR works much like other trackers: the display shows steps, distance walked, floors climbed, and calories burned (as well as heart rate), and you simply fire up your smartphone's Fitbit app if you want more detailed stats. Wireless syncing via Bluetooth makes looking at your stats a breeze.
The app is easy to navigate and intuitive; I found the dashboard stats and graphs about my activity and sleep habits to be useful and simple to understand. It also syncs with many popular health apps like MyFitnessPal and Run Keeper if you need to keep close track of your calorie intake and burn.
The only other major complaint I have with the Fitbit Charge HR is the fact that it's not waterproof, just rain-, sweat-, and splash-proof. This means you have to remember to take it off every time you take a shower; there have been a few days where I forgot to put it back on afterward as I rushed through my morning routine as a result. It's a minor inconvenience for me since I'm not a swimmer, but if you log a lot of laps at the pool you may want to look elsewhere for a tracker that can measure your stats in the water. On the whole, though, I'm definitely a fan of the Charge HR: it's heart rate-measuring capabilities — both during a workout and when I'm doing nothing at all — are useful, the app is simple and informative, and its design is subtle enough to wear with almost anything.