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Fitbit Charge HR Review 2016

In early 2015 Fitbit relased 2 activity trackers the Fitbit Charge HR and the Fitbit Surge. Both of these trackers feature accurate heart-rate monitors and plenty of other activity-tracking features. In this article we will talk and review Fitbit Charge HR, which is a newer version of Fitbit Charge that was released in late 2014.

The Fitbit Surge device has even more features for the fitness fanatics. Charge HR is designed for someone who wants some more advanced tracking stats than Charge or Fitbit Flex user but not the the price and the level that Surge has.

Fitbit Charge HR has a buckle that feels more secure than the one on Flex and Charge. This is one of the reasons that make it our favorite tracker. It adds some extra monitoring that will make people wanting to buy Charge seriously consider give the extra $20 for the extra features of Charge HR.

Like Charge, it displays all the fitness stats right on your wrist, unlike many other devices like Jawbone Up24 that do not have a real-time display on the band.fitbit charge general

Fitbit Charge HR VS Fitbit Charge

A MEMS 3 axis accelerator-meter is featured in all Fitbits. This is used to measure al the motion patterns, determine the distance traveled, the calories burned and the steps taken. Both of them include a clock so you can also use it as a watch if you want, but many people keep wearing their watch along with the fitness tracker.Also, they both have and altimeter that can count the floors climbed. For an elevation of 10ft the climb is counted as one floor.

Charge HR is not a powerhouse like Fitbit Surge but you can use it to keep workouts on log and follow a monthly exercise plan via the app. The company says it is aimed for the “Active” users instead of Charge that is aimed at the “everyday” users.

Both can track run perfectly using the mobile run, walk stats and using your iPhone’s GPS for the map routes. The device also offers music controls so you can shuffle songs and select your songs on your iPhone. You can view your previous runs up to 4 weeks ago and also view calories, steps and active minutes during your MobileRun.

Is Fitbit Charge HR Water Resistant?

Many people ask, is Fitbit Charge water resistant? Well, both HR and Charge devices are water resistant, having a resistant about 10 meters. In reality that means that each model will withstand no more than a quick dousing or some splashes. It is not recommended to wear them in the shower or when you go swimming. The Surge model is more water resistant.

Sleep Detection

Both wristbands also measure the quality and duration of your sleep, which is often a forgotten aspect of a healthy lifestyle. There is automatic sleep detection so you do not have to perform some action in order to start the sleep mode, like pushing a button. (that way this action could be easily missed).

A vibrating alarm is also featured on the device to wake you up at your desirable setting times.

Caller ID

You can set up the Fitbit Charge HR with Caller ID to show your incoming call notifications. This can be setup when your phone is nearby.

Heart Rate Rating

So far we see a lot of similarities between the 2 Charges. What are the extra features of Fitbit Charge HR and why should we pay the extra price instead just buying the simple Charge model?

Charge HR, as the company says, is designed for the more active users than Charge users. The joggers, the gym regulars and the more dedicated to fitness people, rather than the casual exerciser who will be satisfied with the Charge or the more entry level device Fitbit Flex.

The main difference between these 2 devices as pointed in the name is the Charge HR’s heart rate monitoring that shows a continuous heart rate and you can easily watch it on the wristband and on the smartphone app as well. Unlike the other heart-rate monitoring devices it does not need something to be strapped on your chest. All is done on the wrist and that way you can have a complete picture of your heart ray on day and night.

The technology that is used is the PurePulse optical heart-rate technology that uses some LED lights on the underside of the wristband to detect the heartbeat. It is completely safe for the skin and they are on the visible spectrum, like the house lights. Their power is very low so they cannot burn the skin. They are also programmed to shut down if the device freezes or the signal is not right.

The icon on the display tells you if you are in one of the 3 heart-rate zones. The zones can help you improve your training targeting different intensities and are calculated based on a percentage of your estimated maximum heart rate.

The common formula of 220 minus your age is used in order for the max heart rate to be calculated. Below 50% of the maximum heart rate is considered to be out of zone (is not considered exercise)

The 3 zones are the following:

  • 50-69% of maximum heart rate: The Fat Burn Zone. It is called like that because you burn a higher percentage of calories from fat, but the total burn rate is lower.
  • 70-84% : The optimum Cardio Zone. This is the medium to high exercise zone. The zone where “you are pushing yourself but not straining”, as the Fitbit explains.
  • > 85% : The Peak Zone : The high intensity zone for short sessions that improve speed and performance.

You can also create your own custom zones if you like.

Let’s take a look to the app graphs for heart-rate.fitbit charge screen

When you pair your device with the app you will see that there is a new field, the BPM field that is populated when you have slept while wearing the wristband. The best thing about this activity tracker is that it can measure your heart-rate throughout the whole day. You can see how your heart rate changes from one day to another, from one week to another and from one month to another. You can also see how long have you spend in each of the 3 zones and can also have workout summaries (when you press the start and stop button).

When you pair your Charge HR with the app you’ll notice a new resting BPM field (new, that is, if you’re upgrading from an older Fitbit). This will be populated once you’ve slept while wearing the wristband. Resting heart rate is traditionally measured just before waking up and certainly before you start moving around.

The Fitbit Charge HR (and Surge) go one better than most current activity trackers as they measure your heart rate – including your resting rate – throughout the day. The app graphs your resting heart rate so you can see how it changes from day to day, week to week and month to month. You can also examine your daily heart rate graph and see how long you spent in the three zones.

Here’s is how a workout summary looks like in the app:

workout summary app


Fitbit Charge VS Fitbit Charge HR Specs

The two devices have a quite similar design. The Charge has some longer battery life (about 7-10 days) compared to the HR that has around 5 days.

The designs of the two wristbands are very similar. Comparing the two next to each other shows that the lesser-functioned Charge, strangely, is very slightly wider than the HR.fitbit charge HR

Fitbit has improved the Charge’s clasp and the HR feels steady on the wrist and less likely to drop off. The buckle is excellent , making it worth the extra price itself.

Charge HR has the following colors: Blue, Black, Tangerine and Plum while the Charge comes in Slate, Blue, Black and Burgundy.

Fitbit produced the Charge for the everyday users that just want to get fitter and see how they perform from time to time. The Charge HR is for the more active users and has a lot more date about heart-rate monitoring, especially when it is used with the 3 zones of heart-rate. The heart-rate tracking is the main difference between these 2 models and it makes the Charge users temped to give these extra $20 in order to have the upgraded features.


Fitbit Charge HR is an activity tracker wristband that offers a lot of real-time fitness stats on your wrist, something that is a huge advantage to competitive devices like Jawbone Up24 that does not have a real-time display. It offers continues heart-rate monitoring and a better designed buckle than its simpler relative, Charge. We think that it is a better option than its sibling and a cheaper alternative to its bigger brother Fitbit Surge. A perfect solution for the active user that wants reliable real-time stats. We hope that you enjoyed our Fitbit Charge HR review and you found this information helpful. We will continue with more reviews about wristband trackers soon, our next stop will be Fitbit Surge. 

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