So I have technically owned 3 different Charge HRs. First one was a refurb from woot.com that went dead and I just returned it. Other two were from fibit directly. The first one the band started peeling off the electronic head? unit? and the second one still technically works, probably… but it was definitely just ‘going dead’. I was having major problems with battery life and my step count was starting to look, well, wrong. I think the screen tap thing was working half the time too. I did a lot of comparison between the Charge 2 and the Ulta HR and a lot of people seemed to like the Charge 2 better. One of the biggest thing was keeping the hardware button. I like the slim look of the ulta and I also like the different band but I knew I’d get annoyed without the button – eventually.
First, let’s get one thing out of the way. The thing I don’t like about Fitbits in general is the sizing. They have small, large, and extra large. So technically the large is the medium, but no, it isn’t. My wrist is just big enough to be too big for the small and so the large is too big for me. The band is tightened almost the whole way. Also, for some reason, I need to wear a Fitbit with the face/screen on the inside of my wrist. Otherwise I have this big open area between the band and my wrist on the outside/ulna nerve side. That wasn’t comfortable at all! So it’s an annoyance but I found a reasonable work around.
That being said, a quick Google search told me I was still sticking with the Fitbit because I wanted sleep and heart rate tracking, and I have an Android phone and I already knew the Fitbit app has no major problems with my phone. Beyond the extreme price difference. Fitness trackers have a wide range of prices.
In general, the Charge HR was good. The sleep and heart rate tracking helped me out a lot. Step counting is useful, until it’s not. Based on the step counts on my Charge 2, my HR step counts had lost accuracy. Considerably, on some days. I did return the second Fibit HR with the broken band and receive my last Fitbit HR for free as a replacement. That process was painless.
So the things I didn’t like about the Charge HR:
- It would get caught stuck against my arm and the inside charging area and such would dig into my arm and it would hurt.
- The feel of the band wasn’t comfortable, especially when ‘dirty’ and it got uglier looking when dirty.
- The way the band curled because of how it’s connected to the face/sensor area and the little screws in the back that attracted dirt as soon as you put it on the very first time. Based on how the band also peeled away, it was clearly a design flaw.
- Battery life, especially once it started getting old. I was needing to charge the thing like every 3 days and I wasn’t syncing it a lot. I also have quick look turned off.
- The way the front/screen are molded/shaped. It was really easy to scuff. Also kind of ugly.
- I sweat under it as soon as I was warm.
- The charger. Ew the charger. It became very hard to get the charger to snap in place on the fitbit so it would charge correctly. Also the cord is too small.
All in all, I was very happy to upgrade.
And the things the Charge 2 does a lot better than the Charge HR or how everything I didn’t like about the Charge HR was fixed:
- Wearability. The band feels different and it moves better. The backside of the Charge 2 doesn’t dig into my arm. Improved from the HR. The Charge 2 also looks a little nicer than the HR, just in general.
- I haven’t noticed the band feeling ‘dirty’ and I’ve owned it about a month.
- The band doesn’t have the same annoying curl. The curl is still present but since the band can be removed it feels different to me and the difference is better.
- Oh the battery life! It lasts at least 5 days? It might last closer to a week when I don’t poke at the app and sync it multiple times a day. You know, that shiny electronic thing where you use it more because it’s new? I’m past that and the battery life is excellent. (I continue to keep quick look turned off because I find it distracting. I tap the screen instead.)
- The screen is fabulous. It’s easier to read and see. I can see it outside. It might be a little more resistant to scuffs/scratches but I can’t say for sure.
- The band doesn’t stick quite the same and in the month I’ve owned it I think I’ve taken the fitbit off twice because it was too hot? I live in TX but don’t spend a lot of time outside so YMMV.
- The new charger! The new charge is awesome! It ‘plugs in’ only one way but that’s fairly standard. The clip is easier to use and there’s a hole in the side for the button. It’s also easier to reboot and you won’t accidentally unplug the tracker when trying to reboot it. I think it’s also easier to use if you have any range of motion, gripping, or strength problems in your hands.
The things that are great about the Charge 2:
- The new sleep cycle data. It shows you deep sleep, light sleep, REM sleep, and awake time. It’s been enlightening. If I feel extra crappy physically I didn’t get enough deep sleep. If I feel completely dead mentally it’s because I didn’t get enough time in REM. It uses heart rate data and will present the basic data if it can’t use heart rate data.
- I feel like the heart rate might be more accurate but I haven’t had much chance yet to compare it with readings at doctor offices.
- The band is definitely much more comfortable. Also, worth noting, the band is removable so you have options. I haven’t spend the money on a second band yet. (It’s like Apple accessories.) Also worth noting, I’ve noticed, for lack of a better word, twisting, where the band connects on either side. It doesn’t seem like a big problem and might be more of an issue because of the size of the tracker compared to the size of my wrist? If it ends up an issue I’ll contact Fibit.
- It reminds you to move at the end of each hour if you haven’t hit the magical 250 steps per hour (or whatever it is). I still haven’t remembered to try out the guided breathing/relaxation thing.
- I haven’t mentioned the exercise specific stuff because I don’t exercise enough for my fitbit to be helpful in that regard.
- The hardware button is larger and easier to press. It’s also easier to reboot.
Two more pictures to compare the trackers:
The Charge 2 is on the top in this picture, HR on the bottom. Good comparison of the button on the side.
I definitely recommend the Charge 2 if you’re interested in sleep tracking and or heart rate tracking. Also, from my Google searches it’s one of the cheaper trackers out there if you have these requirements, or was 6 weeks ago. If you have an Android phone, definitely check phone support on the different tracker apps too. I looked at a Garmon tracker, I think, but my Android phone was like the only one not listed and besides – they actually listed out Android phones which was a red flag for me. Fitbit also offers an extra warranty now. Reminded me of AppleCare so I went with it because AppleCare is useful.
My biggest problem with the Charge 2 so far is that it seems like every time the app is updated I need to reboot the tracker and my phone to continue to get the hourly reminders to move. Or, there’s something else wrong? I haven’t figured it out yet. If it continues I’ll contact Fitbit.
Basically, I’m very happy I upgraded from the Charge HR to the Charge 2 and I’m content that I stayed with Fitbit. My problem with the sizing offered is minor. Also, the new sleep stages/data are awesome.