Fitbit Charge 4 on long-term test: Good features, but battery life with GPS is an issue

Nancy J. Delong

Wristband wearables have arrive a long way, and these days we hope them to offer you GPS, heart charge monitoring, alarms and a range of handset connectivity characteristics. The £129.ninety nine/$149.ninety nine Fitbit Demand four has all of these, in addition a blend of other characteristics, some of which Fitbit calls ‘apps’. You can pick to show or not show these wristband applications, which contain a contactless payment wallet identified as Fitbit Shell out, on the system by creating options in the Fitbit smartphone app (iOS or Android). Shell out £149.ninety nine/$169.ninety five for the Special Edition and you get a woven again wristband fairly than a rubbery just one. I have been utilizing the Demand four for many months, and offer you these observations as a stick to-up to Matthew Miller’s April critique.


The Fitbit Demand four (£129.ninety nine/$149.ninety nine) delivers heart-charge tracking, developed-in GPS, goal-based mostly exercising modes, drinking water resistance, rest monitoring, notifications and on-band applications.

Visuals: Fitbit


The standard wristband can be changed with vibrant or woven alternate options.

Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The all round style and design is common to anyone who has a preceding Fitbit Demand system: an elongated touch screen a solitary facet (touch) button on the remaining edge of the Demand four (if worn on the appropriate wrist) and a removable wristband that is conveniently changed with vibrant alternate options. The Demand four will come with two wristbands and I observed the compact just one was great for me. All but the largest of wrists should be accommodated.

The grey OLED touchscreen is massive and you navigate close to it utilizing the facet button and a blend of screen sweeps and faucets. It is fairly quick to get employed to how matters function. Tapping on the clock confront toggles by metrics like steps, length, and heart charge. A range of faces can be established showing unique options of metrics, in addition time and date, by means of the Fitbit smartphone app. Sweeping appropriate to remaining provides up a variety of wristband applications that have been enabled in the smartphone app.

Standard activity tracking is effective great. You can inform the smartphone app your regular stride lengths for both equally functioning and walking, and it shares this with the Demand four, which can then transform paces into length. It is not best, but I have normally observed Fitbit equipment to be fairly precise when examined on measured distances, and that stays the circumstance with the Demand four. 

The Demand four will quickly detect when you are functioning, biking, on a treadmill or walking, and it is drinking water resistant to the extent that you can swim for up to 50 metres putting on it without adverse influence. If you happen to be really serious about cross-education with these varieties of pursuits, then you could possibly want a a lot more refined system that can deliver a greater range of metrics. But if you happen to be just on the lookout to do a specific range of steps or go over a specific length, then the Fitbit four is effective very well, which include issuing alerts when you get to your preset ambitions each and every day.

With a heart charge keep track of on-board, the Fitibit Demand four can do exciting matters like measure your resting heart charge, established activity zones and report on these, and — new for this model — provide a report of Energetic Zone Minutes. This is a calculation based mostly on age and resting heart charge, and the idea is to get to a goal of 150 minutes a 7 days in your Energetic Zone. It is quite a clever idea for individuals utilizing a Fitbit to burn calories or get rid of body weight. Just ambling close to is much less helpful in this regard than transferring a bit more quickly, and creating your heart function a bit more challenging. As your resting heart charge lowers, the Fitbit changes its goal minutes, so in concept you will find normally a pertinent goal to aim at. Entire reporting full with graphs is readily available in the Fitbit smartphone app.

Of all these metrics I observed the resting heart charge details specially useful. I have seen from preceding Fitbit use how my heart charge fluctuates if I have a cold or fever, and how it falls as I get fitter, climbing as my health and fitness wanes. These metrics can enable persons observe their progress along a health and fitness trajectory.

The rest tracking is also useful. I like to keep an eye on the several hours I devote asleep, as very well as monitoring my rest top quality to make confident I’m not small-altering myself. The Fitbit app has some nicely offered graphics showing all round rest several hours and durations of restlessness. If you really want to weigh in with the metrics, the Fitbit app provides you a rest rating based mostly on the top quality and duration of rest, with a rating such as ‘fair’ or ‘good’ for each and every night time. 

As for the supplemental characteristics, I did not hassle with the Spotify controls, Fitbit Shell out (a new characteristic with the Demand four), the temperature app, or notifications. My handset is the go-to area for this operation, but I can see how some consumers may well uncover them useful. What I like a lot is the silent, vibrating alarm, which is potent enough to wake me, but too refined to wake another person else.


The Demand 4’s charge cable is fairly small, and fiddly to engage.

Impression: Fitbit

The battery is rated to last for seven days furnished you aren’t utilizing GPS, in which circumstance it really is only very good for 5 several hours. This basically rendered the GPS unusable for me on long weekend walks, even if I started off with it completely charged. That’s a disgrace, as GPS is a large promoting position for the Demand four. I observed the charge unit to be a bit of a fiddly suit, and I experienced to double-check that it was in area properly. Also, its cable is quite small, which intended my typical desktop charge station was just a minimal uncomfortable to use. Extended term this would most likely be quite an problem.

Total, the Fitbit Demand four has some exceptional characteristics and is a very good phase up from the Demand 3, although the Fitbit app shows a lot of quite advanced details in an accessible way. Keen athletics persons will want a lengthier-long lasting battery for GPS use and a lot more granular metrics, but as a health and fitness tracker for common health and fitness the Demand four does really very well.

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