Gear – Fitbit Charge2

Over the past couple of years of walking I’ve gone through a fair amount of gear, so I thought I would share some feedback for stuff that’s tried and trusted. Hope it helps.

What is it?: Fitbit Charge2 fitness tracker. The Fitbit Charge4 is the latest version. The Fitbit Inspire is close to the Charge2.

How much?: I got the Charge2 as a gift almost 4 years ago. The current model, the Charge4, is about $200, and the Inspire is about $100.

Where, when, how do I use it?: In 2016, my health wasn’t great – I was overweight, with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and suffering from stress-related angina. I knew I had to make some lifestyle changes, and my family helped out by buying me a Fitbit to get me off my butt and out walking.

And it’s worked. Since Nov 2016, I’ve logged more than 14 million steps over 10,600+ km while climbing the equivalent of 33,000 flights of stairs. I’ve lost about 30 pounds, my blood pressure is back to normal, and my cholesterol is under control.

Of course that’s not simply because of the Fitbit. I’m eating better, sleeping better, and walking daily. What the Fitbit does well is nudge you. I’ve set mine to vibrate every hour to remind me to get up out of my chair and walk at least 250 steps each hour. It also tracks my sleep so I can see how much restful deep sleep I’m getting. And it tracks my heart rate as it measures exercise, and that is logged against my activity targets. Having a goal and measuring against is a big part of the motivation you need to keep active – that, and having your son tell you that he doesn’t want you to die of a heart attack.

Over the years, it’s been pretty trouble-free. There isn’t much to do except wear it and charge it. So far the battery is holding up – I can still get about 3-4 days of use out of a full charge, down from 5+ originally, so I assume that is the limiting factor. Once the battery can’t hold a charge I’ll have to replace it.

That said, while this is supposed to be GPS enabled, it’s not super accurate on distances. Depending on the terrain, it can under- or over-shoot by as much as 15%, so on flat ground I find that I walk 10%-15% further as per Google Maps distance measurements compared to what the Fitbit says, and on hilly terrain it can be the opposite. For that reason, I take its distances with a grain of salt. What matters more to me is active minutes per day and per week – as long as it tracks my heart rate to motivate me to actually stay active, it doesn’t really matter to me whether Fitbit says I walked 9 km when I really did 10 km.

Would I buy it again?: Yes. I’ve worn out 3 bands on it, but the Charge2 is still chugging away. When I finally wear it out, I’ll by the latest model.

Disclaimer: This is not a “review”. I don’t go around sampling things, instead this is a summary of my own experience with a product I have used a lot. All opinions contained in this post are my own. I offer no warranties or assurances for your experiences with the same product. I bought the gear with my own money and have not received any form of compensation from the manufacturer. Take my feedback as given – caveat emptor.