Thanks to two big new features, the new Fitbit Charge 4 looks to be the company's most powerful fitness tracker yet. This new tracker, which looks very similar to the current Fitbit Charge 3, has both GPS as well as a new way to measure how active you are, which the company says will provide a more accurate look into your overall health.
Add to that all of the other features already in the Charge 3 — a heart rate monitor, female health-tracking, contactless payment — and the Fitbit Charge 4, which starts at $149, looks to be a contender as the best fitness tracker overall.
Update: Be sure to check out our fill Fitbit Charge 4 review.
Fitbit Charge 4: Price and release date
The Fitbit Charge 4 is available for preorder starting today (March 31) on Fitbit.com, as well as at online retailers including Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart. The Charge 4 will be more widely available online starting April 13, as well as in retail stores, if they are open.
The Fitbit Charge 4 will start at $149.95 with either a black, rosewood and storm blue/black wrist band. A Special Edition Charge 4 will cost $169.95, and come with a granite reflective/black woven band.
Fitbit Charge 4: Specs at a glance
Water resistance: 50 meters
Heart rate sensor: Yes
Display: 1 inch, 160 x 100-pixel touchscreen
Contactless payment: Fitbit Pay
Battery life: 7 days/5 hours continuous GPS
Fitbit Charge 4: Design
You'd be hard-pressed to notice a difference between the Fitbit Charge 3 and the Charge 4; both have a similar rectangular design with a grayscale OLED touchscreen, and a replaceable band that wraps around your wrist. A single button on the side of the Charge 4 lets you select items on-screen.
Both Charge devices will use a similar-size wristband, so Charge 3 owners who want to upgrade, but like their old band will be able to easily swap them. The Fitbit Charge 4 will be available with one of four bands: Evergreen and frost white sport bands, rosewood classic band, midnight and rosewood woven bands made of recycled material, and black and midnight blue Horween leather bands.
Fitbit Charge 4: New features
GPS: The most notable new feature of the Fitbit Charge 4 is its built-in GPS. The Charge 4 is only the second of Fitbit's devices, and the first of its fitness trackers to have this feature. (the company considers the Fitbit Ionic to be a smartwatch). It's a long time coming, considering many of its rivals, from Garmin to Huawei, have had GPS in similar trackers. The Fitbit Charge 4 has seven modes that can take advantage of its GPS.
Active Zone Minutes: With the Charge 4, Fitbit is introducing a new fitness metric something called Active Zone minutes. The tracker will measure the time you spend in target heart rate zones, and track your progress towards the goal of 150 minutes per week. You get double credit for the amount of time you spend doing vigorous activity. The Charge 4 will calculate your target heart rate zones based on your age and your resting heart rate; as your overall fitness level improves, the Charge 4 will automatically recalculate those zones.
If you take your Fitbit Charge 4 out for a run (or other outdoor activity) using GPS, the device will generate a map which you can view in the Fitbit app that shows your heart rate zones for each the segments of your activity.
Sleep Tracking: Previously only on its smartwatches, Fitbit is bringing its Smart Wake feature to the Charge 4, which the company says uses machine learning to know the best time to rouse you from your slumber.
Spotify controls: Another feature brought over from its smartwatches, the Charge 4 will have Spotify music controls. While you'll still need your phone —sorry, no onboard music storage — this should make it easier for you to skip tracks and change playlists.
Other Charge 4 features brought over from the Fitbit Charge 3 include:
Fitbit Pay: secure contactless payment that works with nearly 500 issuers, retailers in 44 countries, and 10 transit systems worldwide.
Sleep Score: A metric that shows how well you slept, based on your heart rate and motion during the night.
Female Health Tracking: Allows women to track their cycles using the Fitbit app.
SmartTrack exercise recognition: Automatically recognizes several types of workouts, and starts tracking them, without you having to press a button.
Smartphone notifications: When connected to your phone, you can view texts, messages, and calendar events on the Charge 4.
Fitbit Charge 4: Battery life
Fitbit says that the Charge 4 should last up to 7 days in normal fitness-tracking mode — the same as the Charge 3, and fairly standard for most fitness trackers — and will last up to 5 hours if you're actively using GPS. That's not great when compared to the best GPS watches, but not horrible if you're using the Charge 4 just to track your daily runs around the neighborhood.
Launched last fall, Fitbit Premium is a $9.99 per month subscription service that offers personalized workouts, health and sleep insights, and coaching from trainers.
While not limited to those who purchase the Charge 4, Fitbit is currently offering a 90-day free trial of Fitbit Premium, as well as 40 new pieces of free content in the Fitbit app.
Fitbit Charge 4 outlook
Given our previous experience with all of Fitbit's other trackers and smartwatches, we have high hopes for the Fitbit Charge 4. The addition of GPS arguably makes the Charge 4 a more compelling device than even the $199 Fitbit Versa 2, which has a larger display and some more features, but still requires you to bring your phone along if you want an accurate look at where you're going.