While the Fitbit Charge 3 doesn’t actually launch until Sunday, a number of brick & mortar retailers have inventory… that they may be willing to part with. As such, fellow editor Adam Miarka picked up his $150 tracker today. And discovered it’s oh-so-much more than a step counter. In fact, it’s somewhat akin to a monochromatic Fitbit Versa smartwatch given the smartphone app notifications, upcoming third party apps, and an expansion of native apps — namely weather! It’s the one thing I really thought I might miss after trading in my Apple Watch.
Looks like you can essentially hard code two favorite cities within the Fitbit app, in addition to monitoring your variable physical location. Current conditions are displayed, in addition to a two-day forecast, by swiping through the Charge 3’s new multi-touch Gorilla glass display.
As with streamers and home automation gadgetry, I’m a frequent flipper when it comes to activity trackers – often vacillating in the features I want and motivation or actionable intelligence I find from such things. And, having recently checked out the Garmin Vivofit 3 ($100), I decided to go with the Fitbit Alta ($130) for my next wearable.
On paper, Garmin’s offering is superior given its waterproofing and months-long battery life. I also liked the idea of having a single app to track my weekly swimming along with the more passive daily step count. Not to mention Garmin’s app is more visually rich. But, after seeing the tracker person, I wasn’t sure I’d be comfortable wearing it in all settings and many Amazon reviews have surfaced some performance issues. Whereas, Alta feedback has generally been more positive and is Fitbit’s most refined band to date. The online imagery doesn’t do it justice — it’s significantly better looking and feeling than, say, the Fitbit Charge (that I previously owned). So, yes, I’m willing to pay a premium for good looks (assuming the requisite functionality is also present, which it is). My only minor complaint after a few days of usage is that the Alta screen can be hard to read in bright sunlight.
Now about the app. The same week my Alta arrived, Fitbit released their new graphically rich iOS Dashboard in “preview” form. It’s headlined by a “Daily Stats Tile” with smaller tiles below, such as water consumption and sleep tracking, that can be added, removed, or re-ordered to your liking. While the routine stats and circular meters are reliable, the updated interface is definitely still in beta as my hourly step goal and weight haven’t successfully migrated. (Given the new baby and unpredictable routine, I’m OK not looking at my Aria-recorded weight.) If you’d also like to give it go, head to the Advanced Settings to enable the Dashboard Preview.
At $450, I had no intention of buying the original Withings Activité watch. That’s a bit steep for my watch buget, even if it does incorporate activity tracking and is Swiss-made. Seeing an opportunity to use a similar design, Withings announced at CES 2015 a new version of the Activité called Pop ($150).The Pop looks almost identical to the Activité, except that it is made with cheaper materials which brings the price point down to a more reasonable $150. The features remain the same across both trackers. The Activité can record steps, track if you are running, and can automatically log sleep at night. These features are very similar to the new Fitbit Charge, but it’s safe to say that one of these looks more stylish than the other. :-)
Late in October, Fitbit announced three new activity trackers: Charge ($130), Charge HR ($150), and Surge ($250). Each offers different features depending upon your need. At the base, the Charge provides step activity, floors climbed, calories burned, automatic sleep tracking, call notifications, and silent alarms. Moving up to the Charge HR, Fitbit includes an optical heart rate monitor (PurePulse) that uses light to track your pulse throughout the day and during workouts. The idea being that included heart rate data will provide a better measure of calories burned (more on that in a bit). The top of the line Surge includes everything from the Charge HR, but also adds a larger screen and GPS to the mix. This means you are able to log walks/runs even when you don’t have your phone on you.
Last week, Fitbit sent out a special limited release email to those who showed interest in the new Charge HR and Surge products. As these products were not supposed to be released until early 2015, it was a nice surprise. Fitbit provided a one time code to purchase the new trackers and I was lucky enough to receive an email for the Surge. Order was placed Thursday night, and on Monday the Surge was delivered. Continue Reading…
Of course within 24 hours of receiving the new Fitbit Charge, Microsoft goes and releases their first product geared towards the fitness crowd. And, of course, being me, I had to find one the day it’s released. I really think this is the first time I have bought a Microsoft product, other than the computers I’m forced to use every day. I even ventured into a Microsoft Store where customers are still outnumbered by staff. ;-)
With the Fitbit Charge being just a rehash of the Force (it even says Force when you look at your Bluetooth settings on the phone), the Microsoft Band is a much more interesting product as it not only adds GPS to the mix, but also continuous heart rate monitoring. This lines it up nicely with the ChargeHR and Surge from FitBit. The cost is even split as the Band comes in at $199, where as the ChargeHR is $149 and the Surge is $249. Microsoft has one big advantage here of having the product available now, instead of an early 2015 rollout. Continue Reading…
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!
By way of the FCC and the USPTO, we learn Jawbone may have a variety of new activity trackers and services in the works. We can discern a few things from the “JL06” filing… Given the test submissions, naming convention, and removable battery this is clearly not a Bluetooth earpiece. Further, in regards to labeling, the Jawbone UP fitness band is listed as the JL01 – suggesting this gadget lives within the same product category, versus representing, say, a new Jambox. Lastly, a number of trademark submissions refer to additional entries in the UP line, including the UP Move, UP2, UP3, and UP4. Our very own Adam Miarka wonders if this “handheld” device requiring “a small coin” to insert or replace the battery might be something akin to the Misfit Shine puck or Magellan Echo Fit watch. We’ll continue to monitor and speculate as we anxiously await the new Fitbit and Jawbone healthful widgetry.