Wearables

Fitbit Charge 4 tracker adds onboard GPS and Spotify control

Fitbit Charge 4 tracker adds o...
The Fitbit Charge 4 is available in three main colors, with some special edition options
The Fitbit Charge 4 is available in three main colors, with some special edition options
View 4 Images
The Fitbit Charge 4 is available in three main colors, with some special edition options
1/4
The Fitbit Charge 4 is available in three main colors, with some special edition options
In terms of design, the Charge 4 doesn't look very much different from the Charge 3
2/4
In terms of design, the Charge 4 doesn't look very much different from the Charge 3
The Fitbit app tracks all your vital statistics, as usual – but there's no sign of Google Fit integration yet
3/4
The Fitbit app tracks all your vital statistics, as usual – but there's no sign of Google Fit integration yet
With a screen, a time display and phone notification support, the Charge 4 almost qualifies as a smartwatch
4/4
With a screen, a time display and phone notification support, the Charge 4 almost qualifies as a smartwatch
View gallery - 4 images

Fitbit remains one of the most recognizable brands in health and fitness wearables, and it just launched its first new hardware product for more than six months: the GPS-enabled, Spotify-ready Fitbit Charge 4.

It's a direct successor to the Charge 3 that appeared in 2018, though little has changed in the design department. The wearable still looks like a hybrid mix of smartwatch and fitness tracker elements, and indeed you can view the time in both digital and analog form on the monochrome display.

The big upgrade is onboard GPS, the first Fitbit device to have it after the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch. It means you'll be able to track the routes of your runs and your bike rides without having to take your phone along with you.

Spotify support has been added for the first time on a Fitbit tracker (rather than a Fitbit smartwatch – though there isn't a whole lot of difference any more). You can't sync songs and play them without a phone, but if you're playing Spotify on your mobile device or a wireless speaker, you can control playback from your wrist, as long as you're a subscriber to Spotify Premium.

Otherwise you've got all the same features we saw on the Charge 3: activity tracking, sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, Fitbit Pay, and so on. Fitbit is introducing a new, more intelligent metric for measuring exercise performance called Active Zone Minutes, which will appear first on the Charge 4 and then roll out to its other wearables.

In terms of design, the Charge 4 doesn't look very much different from the Charge 3
In terms of design, the Charge 4 doesn't look very much different from the Charge 3

And Fitbit has also used the launch to remind everyone that it's currently offering a 90-day free trial of its Fitbit Premium experience, which includes an extensive library of tailored audio and video workouts, more detailed exercise analytics, and some other extras.

What the Fitbit Charge 4 doesn't bring with it is any evidence of the US$2.1 billion buyout by Google that was announced last November – there's no change in the styling of the hardware design or any move towards an integration with Google Fit or Wear OS. We'll probably have to wait until the next Fitbit device for that.

With input from Google engineers presumably looming, this would seem to be a stopgap between the old Fitbit and a new Fitbit – it's not a giant upgrade over the Charge 3, but on-board GPS is undoubtedly useful.

Fitbit says the Charge 4 is swimproof and good for seven days of battery life between charges. Black, blue and rosewood are your color options, with pre-orders open now and shipping expected on April 13. The new wearable retails for US$149.95, with some extra color and band options available on a special edition that's $20 extra.

Product page: Fitbit Charge 4

View gallery - 4 images
1 comment
Sharky67
Why stop at Spotify? Why not have the tech capable of syncing even just a few Spotify playlists? Samsung and Garmin are all over this, granted they're a few extra dollars but I'm not understanding why Fitbit stopped 3/4's of the distance and didn't go all the way?