Fitbit’s Charge may provoke a touch of déjà vu in anyone familiar with the ill-fated Force fitness tracker, but it’s not a direct clone. The new wearable provides a touch of new functionality and offers an optional pulse tracker.
The Charge is decidedly familiar. It shares both its looks and its functionality with the company’s Force tracker, that was recalled earlier this year in response to cases of contact dermatitis caused by the wearable. As you might expect, Fitbit has altered the materials used on the new tracker, with the product featuring a softer, textured rubber construction.
Like the Force, the Charge has the ability to track steps, distance, active minutes and calories burned, and packs an altimeter for keeping tabs on number of floors climbed. The OLED display presents the user with information including time of day, exercise mode and their daily fitness stats, and will also display and vibrate to alert them to incoming calls on a connected smartphone.
The Charge can additionally track the user while they’re sleeping, later providing an analysis on the Dashboard of the company’s smartphone app. Unlike Fitbit's previous trackers, the Charge doesn’t need to be told when it’s time for bed, but automatically detects when the user is hitting the hay.
If you decide to pick up the tracker, then you’ll also be able to use it as an alarm clock, replacing your phone's jarring jingles with a more civilized silent vibration. The wearable is water-resistant to 1 ATM, and is available in three sizes.
The new tracker connects to iOS, Android and Windows Phone smartphones, with the company’s app providing simple, accessible charts and graphs detailing the user's performance, as well as allowing them to set fitness goals.
The Charge will reportedly run for seven days on a single charge, comes in black, grey, blue and red, and is available now for US$130.
The company will also ship a variation of the product, known as the Charge HR that throws a heart rate monitor into the mix. There’s a slight trade-off for the extra functionality, with the pulse-tracking version of the device only rated for five days of battery life. The Charge HR is available for pre-order now, and will ship for $150.
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