Fitbit Charge Now Shipping

As the story goes, the Fitbit Force activity tracker was recalled due to steel- or nickel-induced rashes. With hopefully less irritants, along with guidance on fit and hygiene, Fitbit is back with the Charge and Surge (that we broke in June). While the $250 Surge, expected in 2015, is more akin to a Garmin Forerunner, the Charge is effectively the 2014 Force upgrade … that builds upon the Flex with a small screen used to display time, steps, and even callerID from a synced phone. Sadly, while Fitbit Charge ($129) bands have started arriving, auto sleep and call notifications aren’t actually working… yet. Having said that, our very own Adam Miarka (who you may recognize as the hand model above) says the fit is good and that the band may actually be softer than the Force’s.

Speaking of, today Force owners were emailed one-time use 15% off coupon codes. While I didn’t get in on the prior generation activity band, a Twitter buddy hooked me up and I ordered a Fitbit Charge of my own.

As a thank you for using Fitbit Force, we’re giving you 15% off one of our trackers.

I expect the Charge will nicely compliment my existing Fitbit Aria. Yet I plan to decommission the WiFi scale as it’s the only 802.11b device on my network, dragging everything down.

UPDATE: Firmware version 74 has been pushed out, enabling call notifications, tap gestures, and auto sleep!

32 thoughts on “Fitbit Charge Now Shipping”

  1. Didn’t you see a shipment for new Aria’s with updated network? …at least everyone gets to see our new flooring…the Mrs. will be proud. haha.

  2. I got the 15% email, but you can’t pre-order the ChargeHR, which is only $20 more than the Charge, so I’m going to continue to wait.

    I got a flex after my force caused skin irritation and I sent it back. Spending money on the Charge doesn’t seem like enough an upgrade from my existing flex, but the HR version would be enticing enough to do so.

  3. For me, the screen is a must have. The callerID is a perk, but if I’m wearing something on my wrist, I expect it to tell time. I actively avoid heart rate monitoring. Who knows why. (I have run three marathons… a million years ago. Just not into heart rate training. Probably the same reason I never used Quicken.)

  4. What was updated with the Aria? I got a launch Aria Scale and so far have had zero issues. Plus it has been very accurate.

  5. I can’t speak for Adam, but I will say as gadget flippers… nothing is permanent. $200 for GPS is a good deal, but the Microsoft thing is more smart watch than low profile band given Facebook alerts, a Starbucks app, and voice. From watching the video, it also seems you’re supposed to wear the screen on the bottom of your wrist – seems awkward at the very least, shelf life limiting at the worst. I do wish Fitbit materials were higher quality, like Jawbone. I also wish the website sent me some sort of purchase confirmation email. Weird.

  6. Of course Microsoft announces The Band after receiving The Charge yesterday….haha. Maybe I’ll stop by the MS Store in the mall and take a look…for ZNF of course! :-)

  7. Disclaimer: I have zero interest in this market, and haven’t been following it even vaguely closely. So I could be massively barking up the wrong tree. However:

    We can make fun of the Microsoft Band all we want, but I did find this interesting:

    “Simply by virtue of being available to Android, iOS, and Windows Phone users all at once, Microsoft believes it can make inroads in an otherwise terribly siloed marketplace. Health will work with Android Wear watches, Android phones, and the iPhone 6’s motion processor, automatically collecting data from all three. Microsoft’s also been working with Jawbone, MapMyFitness, My Fitness Pal, and Runkeeper to import their data, and plans to incorporate many more.”

  8. Many of them are agnostic and interoperable to some degree. My Fitbit app also collects data from my Apple motion coprocessor, for example. Although Fitbit has also come out saying they don’t intend to work with Healthkit – maybe that’s what the ding is?

    Adam couldn’t help himself… and picked up a Microsoft Smart Band. He’ll get a little preview up later today. For me, it looks bulky and the display is sideways.

  9. It’s sideways because I”m wearing it incorrectly. The screen should be facing down, but that feels weird. First fix will probably be Microsoft allowing for a vertical view.

  10. Firmware 74 was pushed out today, enabling call notifications, tap gestures, and auto sleep. Headline has been updated and I added a little blurb at the bottom. Looking forward to mine getting in at some point… as everyone in the office seems to have Fitbit (Flex).

  11. Caller ID and Tap function work great. Autosleep failed to kick in last night. Don’t know if there is a timeframe that I need to let the Charge compute sleep after a sync or not. Will try again tonight.

  12. Dave, can you tell me about the stainless steel content of the Charge? Is the only metal your skin is exposed to at the clasp, or is that piece on the underside of the display metal as well?

  13. I can’t tell you the composition of the metal, but the only possible points where the Fitbit Charge could touch your skin are the two nubs to lock the strap in place. Although, those may not even touch your skin if you don’t strap it like a hand cuff. I haven’t had any issues to this point, other than inaccurate stair counts and sleep data I don’t know what to do with. I assume Adam has been fine with his as well.

  14. Yes, no issues so far. And you are correct, the only place that any metal would touch would be the clasp at the bottom.

  15. So weird then that there are already rash reports from people who are wearing the Charge – they look just like Force rashes right under the display. I’ve seen a few on the community forum and on Twitter. I wonder what’s causing them.

  16. Mikayla, do you have a link to these reports? Would be interested to read them. I have not had any adverse affects wearing the Charge. The part under the display is completely plastic. The charge connectors (which are some sort of metal) or are tucked deep into bottom. The only other exposed metal are four screws on the bottom of the Charge.

  17. See, that’s interesting to me. The charging port on the bottom is fairly recessed. You would have to be wearing the Charge extremely tight to have your skin push against those contacts. Saying that, I could see if you are sweaty and that gets into the recessed part and could affect your skin. I’ve used my Charge on multiple workouts and have not had any issues. Been wearing it for 2 weeks now. If I did start to see something, I would definitely post about it.

  18. Yeah, I never thought it had anything to do with wearing it too tightly. Did you get a rash from the Force? I did. Or maybe it was a burn. But I definitely did not wear it tight. And I’m not allergic to nickel. So I would like to know why people are still getting rashes. Makes you wonder if the real cause is still in there.

  19. Did not get a rash from the Force either. With the upcoming Charge HR and Surge, you will need to wear those tight as it uses the optical HR method which shines light into your skin. If it’s lose, you will not get a good reading at all. Jawbone is taking a different approach with their HR as it uses bioimpedance sensors which use an electric signal thru your wrist to gather data.

  20. After wearing one for about 30 seconds, I looked like this. YMMV, of course.


    “With the upcoming Charge HR and Surge, you will need to wear those tight as it uses the optical HR method which shines light into your skin … Jawbone is taking a different approach with their HR as it uses bioimpedance sensors which use an electric signal thru your wrist to gather data.”

    Wouldn’t radium-emitting sensors be a far more effective method than either?

  21. I wonder if the material surrounding the charging area is metal? I thought it was plastic, but who knows. I haven’t had any problems in the few days I’ve had the band. In fact, it’s been surprising comfortable and non-intrusive – knock on wood. I didn’t have a Force and I have no known nickel allergies although I have a history of allergies and general sensitivity. I haven’t worn a watch in over 10 years.

  22. Chucky, are you serious? Can you post a photo of your actual rash? How long did it really take? I assume you had previously had a reaction to the Force?

    Anticipating everyone else’s questions: Did you also react to the Force? Do you know of having a nickel allergy? What else are you allergic to? Do watches or other bands like this cause you any problem? Did you wear it very tightly? Thanks.

  23. “Chucky, are you serious?”


    (Thought the ‘radium-emitting sensors’ would eliminate any doubt. But my adamant refusal to use emoji, and my adamant insistence of using deadpan comedy sometimes comes to bite me. For future reference, about half of my comments fit with the ‘Funny’ part of ZNF, and the other half of my comments are serious comments on tech. I honestly do try my best to make the difference crystal clear, even if I don’t always succeed.)

  24. :) (I’m happy to use emojis!) I thought your sarcastic follow-up comment was in addition to, not instead of, a reported reaction. Thanks for setting me straight.

  25. I got a rash from the Force when I was wearing it facing outside like a watch. I then attempted an experientment of wearing it on the inside of my wrist, but only wearing it with a thin sleeve between it and my body. I got a second rash on the inside of my wrist, through the fabric. It led me to question if the problem was actually the 2.4GHz radiation cooking my arm.

  26. For whatever it’s worth, my sperm count is stellar despite keeping a cell phone in my pocket for those last ten years I haven’t worn a watch. But, yeah, that is really odd William. Hm.

  27. “For whatever it’s worth, my sperm count is stellar despite keeping a cell phone in my pocket for those last ten years”

    Or so you think.

    For a normal male of your age, merely walking through a crowded Starbucks should result in 2 to 3 pregnancies.

    The soft bigotry of low expectations…

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