People really love their Fitbits. This is evidenced by sales numbers alone: Fitbit sells more activity trackers than anyone else. Anecdotally, Fitbits abound: walk through any airport, hike any trail, jog through your neighborhood streets, & you will likely see someone wearing a Fitbit.

So it’s not surprising that so many people have sầu asked me about the new Fitbit Charge 2 when they’ve spied it on my wrist recently. The midrange Charge 2 is the successor to (và replacement of) the Charge HR activity-tracking wristband. The $149 Charge HR, with its optical heart rate sensors & its ability to lớn automatically recognize exercise activities, really hit the sweet spot for a lot of people when it came out in 2015 — so much so that it’s still Fitbit’s best seller more than 18 months later. The Charge 2 aims to bởi vì all of this plus more, & for the same price.

What more could it possibly vì chưng, you ask? For one, it has a bigger display than the Charge HR. Four times bigger, lớn be exact. It’s a tap-sensitive, OLED display. The Charge 2 most definitely looks like a fitness tracker, not a bracelet or anything suggestive sầu of a "fashion" wearable. But this key thiết kế change enables a multi-sport mode: tap on the display once for running, tap on it again for biking, và so on. Fitbit has also added "connected GPS" khổng lồ the Charge 2: the wristb& will pull GPS data from the phone while you’re walking, running, or hiking outdoors.

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The promise is great, The reality is differentThe promise is great. It’s a Charge HR on steroids, a Charge HR that pushes you khổng lồ vì chưng more beyond just basic step-counting & sleep-tracking.

But it didn’t fulfill that promise for me. I found notable discrepancies in distances tracked with the Charge 2 compared to lớn GPS sport watches (something Fitbit said was due khổng lồ bugs after multiple attempts to troubleshoot the issues).

First, at the most basic màn chơi, the Fitbit Charge 2 does what many other activity trackers bởi vì. It records your daily step count, stairs climbed, calories burned, distance traveled, heart rate, and sleep patterns. It will show notifications from your điện thoại thông minh, lượt thích incoming phone calls and calendar alerts.

The Charge 2 also has dedicated functions for recording workouts, something that the Charge HR didn’t have. These include running, walking, hiking, biking, and elliptical workouts. There’s even an interval mode, in which the Fitbit pulses on your wrist khổng lồ tell you when to stop và start an activity; I really liked this. And it will record weight-lifting sessions.

There"s also a new feature called Cardio Fitness Score. It’s a bộ combo hardware-software feature: Fitbit uses your resting heart rate, recorded with the wristband; some of your exercise data; & your profile information, to assign a heart-health score, found in the heart rate section of the thiết bị di động ứng dụng. Anything over 44.9 is "excellent" for my age & gender, according to lớn Fitbit.

But of the half-dozen distance tests I did in either Run, Walk, or Hike mode, the Charge 2 only accurately recorded one sự kiện, a 5K run (3.11 miles). Otherwise, distances were off, whether I used Fitbit’s connected GPS feature or not. A 1-mile walk was recorded as 0.71 mile on the Charge 2. A 3-mile run was recorded as 2.13 miles. A 3.6-mile hike was recorded as 3.3 miles.


To try lớn solve this, and partly at Fitbit’s request, I switched from a new iPhone 7 baông xã khổng lồ an older iPhone, since the iPhone 7 just came out và it was suggested that there may have been compatibility issues. Fitbit also sent me a new Charge 2 wristbvà. I tried that, too.

Distances were off in almost every test

Still, the distance-tracking was disappointing. Just this past weekover, a 4.28-mile hike was recorded as a 3.83-mile hike on the Charge 2 (without GPS), & it measured a 3.02-mile run as a 2.82-mile run, even while using connected GPS. Seems I’m not alone, either; some other Fitbit users have sầu reported inaccurate distances in Fitbit’s online forums.

Fitbit initially suggested it may have been my stride length or the fact that I was pausing khổng lồ walk during runs that may have been causing this. Eventually, the company said they"ve identified a bug in the software on Charge 2 that causes inaccurate distance estimates when using Connected GPS khổng lồ traông chồng the Walk và Hike activities. With regards khổng lồ some of the other discrepancies, Fitbit says the company is continuing to lớn investigate it.

There was another software bug as well that showed an outdated distance on the display when I would first raise my wrist during a run. After lowering my wrist & raising it baông chồng up again, sometimes more than once, the reading would adjust itself.

It’s not just the inaccurate distances that befuddled me, though that has been by far my biggest problem with the Charge 2. Fitbit added a big display và multiple-sport modes to the wristband… but didn’t add a pause function. No button, no tap-to-pause option, nothing. So if you need to lớn stop during a workout — to tie your shoe, wait for a friend, or catch your breath — you can’t. It’s also not waterproof.

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Then there’s the Charge 2’s Relax feature, which guides you through deep breathing exercises. Apple introduced a similar feature called Breathe in its new Apple Watch software; though Fitbit has said its Relax phầm mềm is more personalized, because it uses your heart rate lớn gauge your breathing rate.

But when you launch into lớn Relax mode, which lasts either two or five sầu minutes, the Charge 2 doesn’t offer you any kind of haptic feedbachồng to guide you through it. You actually have sầu khổng lồ stare at your Fitbit’s display for two to lớn five sầu minutes lớn see a digital representation of your breathing, a circle swelling and shrinking in kích thước. I don’t really meditate, but I’m certain most mediation exercises don’t begin with "Hold your gaze on your activity tracker."

Of course, you’re also buying inlớn some good features when you buy a Fitbit, otherwise it wouldn"t be so popular. The first is the software. Fitbit’s thiết bị di động tiện ích is không tính phí to lớn use, but the fact that it’s complimentary isn’t what makes it good. It’s good because it’s agnostic. The Fitbit app works with iOS, Android, hell, even Windows Phone phones, và it runs on desktops, too, a nice inclusion of people who still don’t have sầu or can’t be bothered with smartphones.

The Fitbit ứng dụng, which was recently redesigned, has a user-friendly interface. At the top of your dashboard you’ll see your steps for the day, with arrows on either side to lớn jump a day before or forward again; below that are snapshots of floors climbed, miles traveled, calories burned, & minutes of exercise. All of this sits on top of a series of customizable tiles that show things like heart rate, sleep data, even how much water you’ve sầu consumed that day. (Some of this requires manual entry on the part of the user.)

Fitbit still doesn’t giới thiệu its data with Google Fit or Apple Health, which not only act as repositories for health data but also chia sẻ the data with other apps. Instead, Fitbit has direct data-sharing partnerships with a bunch of health và fitness apps, including Strava, RunKeeper, MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal, Weight Watchers, Lost It!, even Amazon’s Alexa app.

But to lớn its credit, Fitbit has almost perfected the art of subtle motivation, if you could just get past how demotivating the accuracy issues are. "Overachiever!" the ứng dụng practically shouts if you’ve sầu far surpassed your daily step goal. You can also set weekly exercise goals in the ứng dụng. While I was largely inspired by the need to lớn chạy thử — và chạy thử again, và again — the Fitbit, it was nice to lớn get that five-day exercise badge.

fitbit has almost perfected the art of subtle motivation

These slaps on the baông xã, these virtual nudges, aren’t limited to lớn the Mobile app; they happen on the Fitbit itself, too. "Take me for a walk?" the Charge 2 pleads, in scrolling text across the display, if you haven’t moved in a while. Other times, it’s more specific with its requests: "Feed me 250 steps." Sure, I could vị 250 steps, you think. That’s not much. When you hit your daily step goal, little pixelated fireworks light up the display.

The Charge 2 automatically tracks your more vigorous activities, too, even if you don’t bother khổng lồ put it into multi-sport mode. (This "smart track" feature is available on a few different Fitbits now, và a lot of competing wristbands vì chưng this, too.) My xe đạp rides to appointments or a coffee meeting showed up in the phầm mềm as exercise completed, even though I didn’t "tell" the Fitbit I was doing it.

Finally, the Fitbit Charge 2 will last nearly a week on a single charge, even with its larger display và multi-sport features. That’s not as impressive sầu as the months-long battery life you’ll get with a Garmin Vivofit or a display-miễn phí Misfit tracker, but it’s a lot better than the one-day battery life of an Apple Watch.


Still, it’s hard not lớn feel as though Fitbit’s approach to lớn product releases this year has been more about volume than about innovation. The company has released four new wearables since the winter: the bracelet-lượt thích Alta (which I liked), the smartwatch-like Btia laze, the entry-cấp độ Flex 2, & this one, the Charge 2, all of which come with a new aesthetic but improve sầu on preexisting công nghệ in iterative sầu ways. The step-counting và sleep-tracking are the same. The heart rate sensors are the same, though Fitbit says it is constantly improving its heart rate sensing công nghệ. Two of these wristbands now have "connected GPS," but in my experience with the Charge 2, that didn’t mean it was more accurate.

is an accurate tracker too much khổng lồ ask for?

Fitbit says bug fixes are coming lớn the Charge 2, which just started shipping, & that those bug fixes will help it bởi one of the basic things it’s supposed to lớn vì chưng, which is traông chồng your distances traveled. And therein lies the rub: in the world of constant software updates, firmware updates, and bug fixes, you’re supposed lớn be patient và wait it out (and give more of your personal data over, while you’re at it). Điện thoại tư vấn me crazy, but that seems lượt thích an unfair bargain.

Update, Oct. 17, 2016: Fitbit now says that it has identified the issues with the Charge two và has issued a không tính tiền software update to fix it.

"These software errors caused the tracker lớn occasionally calculate stats like pace and distance with less precision than we expect from our products," a spokesperson for Fitbit said via tin nhắn. "We corrected these issues through a không lấy phí software tăng cấp available lớn all Charge 2 users."

Fitbit also underscored that the company "has performed and continues khổng lồ perkhung internal studies lớn extensively thử nghiệm the accuracy of" its products, và that it believes that it"s health & fitness trends over time that matter most lớn its users.

The Verge has not yet had the chance khổng lồ re-test the fitness tracker and verify the company"s claims. We will continue khổng lồ update this reviews as needed.