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More than just a fitness tracker: Fitbit Charge 5 boasts ECG, stress monitor

Fitbit Charge 5
(Image credit: Fitbit )

 Today, Fitbit announced the launch of the Charge 5, the latest update to its ever-popular Charge line. Replacing the Fitbit Charge 4, the Charge 5 has a real focus on stress and overall wellbeing — including an ECG and a stress monitor — following a year that taught us that health is about far more than how many steps you take. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Fitbit Charge 5 and when you’ll be able to get your hands on the upgraded tracker. 

Fitbit Charge 5: Price and release date 

The Fitbit Charge 5 will cost $179.95, which includes a six-month Fitbit Premium membership. It will be available in three colors: Steel Blue/Platinum, Black/Graphite, and Lunar White/Gold. Those who purchase the Charge 5 will also get a six-month Fitbit Premium membership for free, which will give them access to additional features, such as a Health Metrics dashboard, guided video and audio workouts, and sleep and mindfulness tools.

Fitbit has yet to confirm an exact release date other than "this fall". They have said in North America the Charge 5 will start shipping in late September, but users are able to sign up to pre-order the watch from August 25.

Fitbit Charge 5

(Image credit: Fitbit )

Fitbit Charge 5: Design and specs

Fitbit Charge 5: Specs at a glance

Price: $179.95
Battery life: 7 days
Display: AMOLED
Screen size: 0.86” X 0.58”
Resolution: 326 PPI
Built-in GPS: Yes
Heart rate monitor: Yes
SpO2 monitor: Yes
ECG monitor: Yes
Fitbit pay: Yes
On-board music storage: No
Weight: 28g  
Size: 36.7mm L x 22.7mm W x 11.2mm D

 Similar to the Charge 4, the Charge 5 will still have a built-in GPS for accurate tracking when running and cycling outside, 20 different exercise modes, automatic exercise recognition and give you an estimate of your VO2 max. Yet compared to its predecessor, the Charge 5 is 10% thinner, with a more aerodynamic design. The Charge 5 is also the first Fitbit with an always-on display option, allowing you to keep the screen on when out on the run or in the gym. 

The AMOLED color display is two times brighter than that used on the Charge 4, making it easier to see on sunny days. It's also still got the same touchscreen technology as the Charge 4, allowing you to scroll through various screens on the move. With the Charge 5, Fitbit also gives you the option to customize the wristbands, letting you switch between a breathable sports band and a leather band, should you wish. 

Fitbit Charge 5: New features 

 ‘Daily Readiness’ score

Similar to the recovery tools launched by Garmin and Polar last year, Fitbit has launched their own ‘Daily Readiness’ score which will feature on the Charge 5, (and be available soon on the Fitbit Sense, Fitbit Versa 3, Fitbit Versa 2, Fitbit Luxe and Inspire 2 designs). Based on three different metrics - your fitness fatigue (activity), your heart rate variability (HRV), and your recent sleep, users will be given a score each morning which indicates their body’s readiness for exercise. Based on your Daily Readiness score, your recommended target Active Zone Minutes will change and Premium members will get personalized recovery content. 

EDA sensor

The Charge 5 is Fitbit’s first tracker to include an EDA sensor, which measures the body’s response to stress through changes in the sweat glands on the skin. Fitbit says this is in response to the (perhaps unsurprising) data that suggests that 40% of adults said they experienced a lot of stress in 2020. Fitbit first launched EDA with the Fitbit Sense, released last fall, so it’s exciting to see it’s being rolled out to the more affordable items in their catalog. 

ECG app

Following the launch of the ECG app on the Sense, Fitbit is making the app available on the Charge 5, allowing users to assess their heart health from their wrist. As well as this, the Charge 5 will give users notifications on when your heart rate is above or below its normal range and when it might be an indication of a heart condition worth checking. 

Fitbit Charge 5

(Image credit: Fitbit )

Fitbit Charge 5: Battery Life 

Fitbit have said the Charge 5 will last up to seven days on a charge; this is the same as the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Fitbit Charge 3 and is pretty standard for activity trackers. We expect, though, that battery life will decrease the more you use the Charge 5's GPS.

Fitbit Charge 5

(Image credit: Fitbit )

Fitbit Charge 5: Outlook 

While we're yet to test the Fitbit Charge 5, it's exciting to see Fitbit moving away from counting steps, and towards features that monitor overall health. The new EDA and ECG features have, until now, been reserved for the more expensive models in Fitbit's range, so it's encouraging to see the technology being filtered down to more affordable models, especially when they're tracking important metrics. 

How the device performs on the run or in the gym remains to be seen, but it's safe to say, this looks like a positive improvement on an already impressive tracker. 

Jane McGuire

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past four years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.