Long have we waited for this day! With the debut of the Fitbit Charge 4, we’re about to introduce a slew of head-to-head articles where we put the recently-released unit against other formidable Fitbit gadgets. In this article, the successor takes on its predecessor, the Fitbit Charge 3.
From the outside looking in, you’d think both devices are the same, except maybe for the subtle aesthetic differences, but the Fitbit Charge 4 pushes the envelope by introducing a few features that the Fitbit Charge 3 is lacking, including built-in GPS and Active Zone Minutes.
Add to that the host of features already present in the Fitbit Charge 3, including mobile payment, heart rate monitoring, and female health tracking. That being said, let’s begin the Fitbit Charge 4 vs. Charge 3 match and find out which fitness tracker is going to claim supremacy, shall we?
Fitbit Charge 4 vs Charge 3 – Short Answer:
The Fitbit Charge 4 is a more superior option than the Fitbit Charge 3 because it has more bells and whistles while costing the same as the predecessor. By the look of things, we might actually be looking at the best fitness tracker overall.
|Product||Weight||Dimensions||Display Type||Resolution||Battery Life|
|Fitbit Charge 3||29 g||36” x 23” x 12”||OLED||100 x 150||7 Days|
|Fitbit Charge 4||30 g||29” x 43” x 13”||OLED||100 x 160||7 Days|
Fitbit Charge 4 vs Charge 3 – Full Comparison:
In this section of the article, we’re going to dissect the two contenders and find out which device is the better option when it comes to a number of external and internal aspects. Let’s begin.
1. Style and Design
If you take a look at the two Fitbits together, it might take you a few moments to see any glaring distinctions. In fact, the Fitbit Charge 4 might come across as a carbon copy of the predecessor. However, upon taking a closer look, a few subtle differences become more apparent.
The Fitbit Charge 4 measures in at 29 x 43 x 13 inches, whereas its predecessor spans 36 x 23 x 12. As you can see, the Fitbit Charge 4 is significantly longer than the Fitbit Charge 3, but due to its tapered design, it might look like it’s the same size as its predecessor at first glance.
Both activity trackers weigh about the same, with the recently-released model weighing in at 30 grams and the older Charge weighing in at 29 grams. Both devices are fairly lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about any of them weighing down your wrist as you’re exercising.
While both fitness trackers feature a unisex design, we feel that the Fitbit Charge 4’s design is a bit more masculine than the design of its predecessor. Maybe it’s because of the tangible length difference between the two units. But overall, both units are quite appealing aesthetically.
Another thing we’d like to point out about the design of both units is that they feature waterproof construction up to 50 meters. This means that you can wear any of them in the shower or in the swimming pool. However, it’s not recommended to use any of them in a sauna or hot tub.
Both Charge devices utilize similar-size bands, so if you already own a Charge 3 and you’re into the idea of upgrading to Charge 4 but still want to use your old band, you can do it. Fitbit Charge 4 will have one of four bands: sport bands, a classic band, woven bands, and leather bands.
The band selection for Charge 3 is Blue Gray/Rose Gold, Black/ Graphite, Lavender/Rose Gold (SE), and White/Graphite (SE). For Charge 4, you get Rosewood/Rosewood, Storm Blue/Black, Black/Black, Granite Reflective Wove/Black (SE). Casing-wise, both are available in two colors.
Overall, we can’t really find anything to complain about when it comes to the design of the Fitbit Charge 4. However, being that it’s designed to be the most capable fitness tracker available, by the look of things, we would’ve liked to see a new look rather than disguising in its old body.
2. Display Screen
Not only do both fitness trackers share the same rectangular construction, but they also feature the same grayscale OLED touchscreen, boasting a high resolution of 100 x 160 pixels. However, Charge 4 takes this round simply because it features an advanced backlighting function.
What does the Fitbit Charge 4’s backlighting function do, exactly? Basically, it alters the panel’s settings, including its brightness, to accommodate the lighting condition in your environment. In other words, you won’t have any issues perceiving the screen even in broad daylight.
Another thing that grants the Fitbit Charge 4 the edge over its predecessor is its length because it allows the users to interact with the screen more freely without feeling restricted. All in all, both fitness trackers boast excellent design, but we have to give this round to the Fitbit Charge 4.
Winner: Fitbit Charge 4
3. Device Navigation
When it comes to navigation, the Fitbit Charge 3 completely obliterated Charge 2 with its all-new navigation setup. The Charge 3’s screen is fully touch-enabled, allowing for swipes and taps. It’s also equipped with a haptic inductive button on the left-hand side that serves as a shortcut.
The aforementioned button on the left-hand side of Charge 3 allows you to initiate Fitbit Pay, get straight to settings, and dismiss alarms. So what’s different with the newly-released Charge 4 as far as navigation? Nadda! Both fitness trackers are pretty much identical in this aspect.
4. Featured Sensors
When it was first released, the Fitbit Charge 3 made a lot of noise as one of the most competent trackers on the market, thanks to its outstanding series of sensors. However, the device couldn’t compete with other Fitbits such as the Fitbit Ionic due to the lack of built-in GPS and NFC.
The Fitbit Charge 4 capitalizes on the range of sensors that its predecessor has by featuring the sensors that were missing. The Fitbit Charge 4 features built-in GPS, altimeter, optical heart rate monitor, vibration motor, near-field communication, SpO2 sensor, and 3-axis accelerometer.
We’d like to note that the Fitbit Charge 3 features an NFC function, but it’s only limited to the SE version. Overall, the Fitbit Charge 4 seems to be the more superior unit because it has a couple of convenient sensors that the predecessor lacks, so this round goes to the Fitbit Charge 4.
Winner: Fitbit Charge 4
5. Apps & Notifications
Neither the Fitbit Charge 3 nor Charge 4 are equipped with the library of apps as the Fitbit Versa has, but both devices do an excellent job of covering the basics. However, Fitbit’s Charge 4 gets the edge in this round as it boasts two new apps that its predecessor seems to be lacking.
Both units offer apps such as Exercise, Relax, Alarms, Weather, Timers, and Settings. The extra perks you get with the new Charge are Agenda and Spotify. The former is a mini-calendar, while the latter grants you control of the audio on your phone using a Spotify Premium account.
Both the Fitbit Charge 3 and Charge 4 are able to receive notifications from smartphones, so it’s not necessary for you to pull out your phone every time someone texts you. Also, if you’re using an Android device, you can use either unit to set up custom quick replies for convenience.
So which unit wins this round? The Fitbit Charge 4 wins on paper since it features two apps that Charge 3 is lacking. However, we don’t really feel like the two new apps that Charge 4 offers are all that significant since not everyone has a Spotify Premium account, so we’ll call it a draw.
6. Health & Fitness
Both Fitbit Charge 3 and Charge 4 are two of the most formidable health and fitness trackers on the market today. Both units share a lot of the same tracking functions, but Charge 4 capitalizes on Charge 3’s impressive features and adds Active Zone Minutes and Workout Intensity Map.
|Function||Fitbit Charge 3||Fitbit Charge 4|
|Active Zone Minutes||No||Yes|
|Workout Intensity Map||No||Yes|
|Cardio Fitness Score||Yes||Yes|
|24/7 Heart Rate Monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|Goal-Based Exercise Modes||Yes||Yes|
|Pace and Distance||Yes||Yes|
|Auto Exercise Recognition||Yes||Yes|
|Female Health Tracking||Yes||Yes|
|All-Day Calorie Burning||Yes||Yes|
You might be wondering what’s the alluring Active Zone Minutes feature that Fitbit Charge 4 has to offer. Basically, this is a feature that allows you to get more personalized workout results. This is a feature that will be present in the Ionic and Versa smartwatches, but not in the old Charge.
How exactly does it function? The Fitbit Charge 4 will define heart rate zones with the aid of bits of information gathered by cardio, fat burn, and peak heart rate metrics. Following that, the Fitbit will alert you upon reaching the desired heart rate zone. It’ll also record it on the Intensity Map.
Another neat function that the Fitbit Charge 4 boasts is the ability to track your Sleep Score as a means of enhancing your sleep quality. To add, you can use the Smart Wake function in order to gradually set a wake-up time so that you don’t wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck.
Winner: Fitbit Charge 4
7. Battery Lifespan
The Fitbit Charge 3 remains one of the best activity trackers amongst Fitbit’s impressive catalog due to the fact that it offers a splendid battery lifespan of about 7 days, which is long enough for you to lose your charging cable. The good news is that Charge 4 shares the same battery life.
However, you want to keep in mind that the Fitbit Charge 4 is equipped with a GPS function, and if you know anything about built-in GPS, you’ll know that it’s power-hungry. In other words, if you turn the GPS feature on your Fitbit Charge 4, the battery lifespan will be reduced significantly.
How long exactly will the Fitbit Charge 4 run for with GPS activated? Fitbit estimates the runtime to be about 5 hours. Why such a striking decrease? Because the GPS chip is regularly receiving and sending signals, which eats away at the battery’s lifespan, so use the feature moderately.
The Fitbit Charge 4 is currently available for preorder on Fitbit’s website. You can also preorder it from online retailers such as Amazon. Starting April 13, the Fitbit Charge 4 will become more widespread on various eCommerce platforms as well as brick-and-mortar retail stores.
The Fitbit Charge 4 will begin at a price tag of $149.95 for the standard version and $169.95 for the Special Edition version, which features a granite reflective/black woven band that costs $35 normally. Considering that the Fitbit Charge 3 is priced similarly, Charge 4 automatically wins.
Winner: Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit Charge 4 vs. Charge 3 – Pros and Cons:
Fitbit Charge 3
- Great fitness and health tracking
- Compact and lightweight design
- Features smartphone notifications
- An entirely touch-enabled screen
- Boasts excellent battery lifespan
- Features interchangeable straps
- Not equipped with onboard GPS
- Not entirely compatible with iOS
Fitbit Charge 4
- Fully-integrated tracking features
- Features onboard GPS and NFC
- Receives smartphone notifications
- Can control music on your phone
- An excellent 7-day battery lifespan
- Features interchangeable straps
- Could’ve benefited from a new design
- We would’ve preferred a color display
We’re quite fond of both the Fitbit Charge 3 and Charge 4, but at the end of the day, it’s obvious which device is the winner. If there was a huge price gap between the two, Charge 3 might have had a chance, but since both units are priced similarly, Charge 4 wins this match by storm.
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