We've reviewed the Fitbit Charge 2, and found it to be our favorite fitness tracker, but how well will it hold up over the long run? To find out, we've given one to Rebecca Pardi, a new mom who has used Fitbits in the past, but was looking for a new device after her Charge HR stopped working. We'll be checking in with her once a month to see what she thinks.
Here, in her own words, are Rebecca's impressions of the Charge 2.
This month I really wanted to dive into some of the Charge 2's features. With the holidays always being super stressful, I decided to start with the relax mode. This feature actually forces you to to take a full 2-minute break and just focus on your breathing. I have to admit, it didn't feel that relaxing the first few times you use it. I was closely watching the animated circle grow bigger and smaller very intently to make sure my breath matched it. But after I used it a few times I started to use the vibrations as my cue and closed my eyes and fully relaxed. (The vibration cues are only available in the latest update).
I've always been a big fan of interval training, but it's not always the easiest to do if you are alone and not in a class. I have used apps on my phone, but I don't always like having my phone that close to me, especially while working with weights. It's nice to just have the Charge 2 vibrate on my wrist to tell me go onto the next exercise. Hopefully in the future, Fitbit will allow you to save a few different intervals, as you may not always want to move and rest for the same set time. It can be a little annoying to have to go back into the app and modify them. Here's how to set up intervals (opens in new tab).
Another update that I am very excited about is that Fitbit finally added the battery level display on the device, so there are no more last minute surprises that your device is almost dead. If you haven't updated your Charge 2's firmware, here's how to do it.
MORE: How to Set Up and Use Your Fitbit Charge 2 (And Stay In Shape!)
I have been working out pretty regularly lately, attending Pilates 5 times a week. So far the Charge 2 is holding up very well (even with my 1-year-old trying to bite it). I did purchase some fun colored replacement bands which I like but, the lighter colors are getting stained from darker colored clothing—granted, they were cheap Amazon knockoffs.
I like the look of the leather band, but I haven't been able to bring myself to spend $70 on one. Part of me is also secretly hoping that Tory Burch comes out with some fun strap designs. The bands themselves are very easy to swap out: All you have to do is push the release button and it slides right off. Having the ability to swap out bands is a big improvement over the original Charge HR.
My one complaint so far is that it feels like it takes forever to fully charge the device, so I end up charging it twice a week. I guess I should really get in the habit of charging it whenever I am sitting at my desk.
Fitbit has really stepped up its packaging design for the new Charge 2. When you open the box everything is nicely in its place and there is no more fighting with the plastic to get the device out. The new Charge is much more stylish than its predecessor. I love the larger display and the stainless steel bezel.
They also redesigned the charger—it now clips onto the device vs plugging into the back. I am very happy about this update since my old Charge would sometimes become unplugged when I was charging it. They also increased the length of the charging wire, which it great.
I also love the fact that you can easily switch out the bands on the device. The first thing I did was order a bunch of fun colored bands. I feel like the fit of the Charge 2 is much better.
I set up my new Charge HR with Fitbit's iPhone app. Adding a new device was very straightforward and only took a few minutes. Once synced, I then went in and set up my clock face display and turned on my call/test notifications. I like the convenience of having not only calls but also text messages displayed, but it can also be a little annoying, especially if you are on a heated group text!
Picture messages are shown as blank screens with just the senders name, which took me a little while to figure why no text was being displayed. The device also has a character limit for text messages so, if you get a really long text, only part of it will be displayed.
Notifications are only displayed for a certain amount of time, so if you're too slow, you may miss the notification. This is becoming more of an issue as the weather gets colder and your Fitbit is under your jacket.
After using the device for a little while, I stumbled upon the exercise shortcut feature. It's pretty awesome that you can start recording a workout right from your wrist. You can also rearrange and add additional workouts to the shortcuts list depending on what kind of exercises you like to do. I customized it so that Pilates is my first item, since I have been going several times a week.
Now the only challenge is to remember to hit the start button before class. The device also reminds you to move every hour which is great when you lose track of time!"
Stay tuned for more updates from Rebecca and her experiences with the Fitbit Charge 2.