Fitbit Charge 3 Smartwatch Review

Fitbit Charge 3 Smartwatch Review
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Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

There are a few features and specs that make the Fitbit Charge 3 the best smartwatch for running, but there are also some features that could really help other types of users. It is the best fitness tracker out there and a great smartwatch, but it’s definitely not for everyone.

If you’re interested in the Charge 3, you will be able to pick it up for $199 on the Amazon Store starting today. It is compatible with both iOS and Android.

Fitbit Charge 3: Design

Fitbit Charge 3

Despite its slim design, the Charge 3 isn’t the thinnest tracker. It’s thick and bulky, with a thin silicone band that’s about 0.9 inches wide. The package includes both a large and small band, so you won’t have to worry about fitting. It is a universal fit. You can wear Charge 3 with anything, and it is simple and stylish. Replacement bands are particularly affordable on Amazon, where they sell for less than $10. 

From corner to corner, the 1.57-inch backlit OLED screen is large enough to be seen from a distance. The screen is grayscaled, but bright enough that it can be seen in bright sunlight. Rather than physical buttons, the Charge 3 has a touchscreen and a capacitive button on the side that you press to wake up the device. Holding down the side button brings up additional display options when you use it as a back button. It has an easy-to-navigate interface, and you swipe up and down to check your call notifications and metrics (think heart rate, steps, stairs, sleep), and you swipe left and right to access other widgets or to log an exercise. 

Fitbit has a water resistance of up to 50 meters and is durable and rugged. It is perfect for swimming, showering, and exercising, and will hold up to the demands of your busy daily routine.

Fitbit Charge 3: Comfort

Fitbit watch

Although Charge 3 may be comfortable for some, I found it uncomfortable after wearing it for long periods of time.

As far as the black classic band is concerned, it feels hot, stiff, and rigid. Because the sides aren’t rounded enough, I couldn’t sleep in it, shower in it, or do exercises like push-ups or pull-ups with it on. 

Other Fitbit replacement bands, such as the cloth band and sport band, are more comfortable. Fitbit Charge 3 isn’t as comfortable even with the replacement bands as the Garmin Vivosmart 4.

Fitbit Charge 3: Performance

Fitbit smartwatch

Fitbit Charge 3 offers solid and reliable metrics and a range of useful data and applications. With other Fitbit units and many other fitness trackers, the step counter tends to overestimate the number of steps taken. Occasionally, it would count steps when I made slight hand movements (typing, washing my hands, etc.). The heart rate monitor is more accurate than other trackers in this price range. When compared to a chest strap, it is typically accurate to within five beats per minute. 

I tested other trackers in this price range and found this one to be more accurate. When compared to a chest strap, the device is typically within five beats per minute of an accurate reading. 

The Charge 3’s sleep tracking features impressed me, as did its ability to track activities like running, swimming, biking, and weight lifting. It is possible to track your activity automatically or manually, and automatic tracking is fairly accurate, especially for swimming. Running tracking tends to improve if you input a custom stride length. The Charge 3 does not have built-in GPS, so it needs to be connected to your phone to track distance.

With the Charge 3 fitness tracker, you can receive notifications for calls, texts, calendar events, and emails. Charge 3 displays emojis as well as clear and easy-to-read text. Additionally, most apps offer notifications, and quick replies and vibration settings can be customized. 

Fitbit Charge 3: Software

There is a lot of functionality in the Fitbit app, including a food and water tracker, workout programs, asleep analysis, and different communities you can join. By purchasing the premium version, you can further enhance the app. Additional perks of the premium version include a fitness coach, detailed sleep scores, access to additional programs, and tips customized to your goals.

My only complaint about the Fitbit app is that historical tracking isn’t as seamless as I’ve experienced on other apps, which display historical data on the main screen. You can scroll through past days and today’s data on the Fitbit app. There is also a weekly summary. The long-term progress can be seen by clicking on each activity, but it’s not as easy to read as I’ve seen in other applications. 

Several third-party apps are supported by Fitbit, including Alexa. With the Fitbit skill, you can say things like, “Alexa, ask Fitbit how I slept last night” or “Alexa, ask Fitbit how many steps I took today” and your Alexa-enabled device will provide you with that information.

Battery

According to the manufacturer, the battery on the Charge 3 lasts for up to seven days. The battery life of a fitness tracker varies depending on how frequently you use all of its features. I was able to get 6.5 days of battery life using Charge 3 during testing, and I took full advantage of all the features. With light use, the tracker’s battery lasts even longer, with about 20% of the battery remaining after a full week.

The battery can be charged by clipping on a clamp charger and connecting it to a USB plug or computer. Within an hour, it reaches a full charge.

Pros Cons
Accurate tracking for most activities  Uncomfortable for long wear
Feature-rich app Inaccurate step counter
Larger display screen than the previous model No built-in GPS
Includes small and large bands

Conclusion

Despite Fitbit’s focus on smartwatches, the company hasn’t forgotten its best-selling product, the Charge 2. If you’re a swimmer who wants in-depth sleep analysis in a device that can last a week, the Charge 3 is an obvious upgrade.

At least for now, the Charge 3 does not blaze any trails. Fitbit’s Sleep Score Beta data could inform future medical-grade software features, so I’m intrigued to see what it does with it.

Fitbit is still far from making the perfect fitness tracker. Charge 3 takes Fitbit that much closer.