Which fitness tracker should you buy?

Fitbit Charge 4 displays the watch face on an orange background

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Fitbit is responsible for many excellent fitness smartwatches, such as the Sense and Versa series. However, the bread-and-butter model lineup has always been the Charge family. While the Charge 5 is the latest and greatest tracker in the lineup, the company’s two older Charge models are still excellent buys. But should you buy the Charge 3 or the Charge 4? In this Fitbit Charge 3 vs Charge 4 comparison, we’ve broken down the company’s two devices side by side with each other, outlining key differences and similarities.

Our verdict: Fitbit Charge 3 Review | Fitbit Charge 4 Review


Fitbit Charge 3 and Charge 4 specifications

Fitbit Charge 3 Fitbit Charge 4
an offer

Fitbit Charge 3:

1 inch OLED touch screen
160 x 100
Corning Gorilla Glass 3

Fitbit Charge 4:

1 inch OLED touch screen
160 x 100
Corning Gorilla Glass 3

battery

Fitbit Charge 3:

7 days
Lithium Polymer

Fitbit Charge 4:

7 days
5 hours with GPS
Lithium Polymer

memory

Fitbit Charge 3:

Saves 7 days of motion data
Saves daily totals for the last 30 days
Heart rate data in one-second intervals during exercise tracking and in five-second intervals at all other times

Fitbit Charge 4:

Provides 7 days of detailed motion and heart rate data, minute by minute
Saves daily totals for the last 30 days
Heart rate data in one-second intervals during exercise tracking and in five-second intervals at all other times

sensors

Fitbit Charge 3:

3 axes accelerometer
Optical heart rate monitor
altimeter
vibration motor
Relative SpO2 Sensor
NFC for Fitbit Pay (special edition only)

Fitbit Charge 4:

3 axes accelerometer
Optical heart rate monitor
altimeter
GPS + Glonass
SpO2 . sensor
skin temperature sensor
vibration motor
NFC

electronic identification number level

Fitbit Charge 3:

5ATM

Fitbit Charge 4:

5ATM

Smart Features

Fitbit Charge 3:

Call, text, calendar, email, music control, quick replies

Fitbit Charge 4:

Call, text, calendar, email, and control music with Spotify, Fitbit Pay support, and quick replies

Compatibility

Fitbit Charge 3:

Android, iOS and Windows

Fitbit Charge 4:

Android, iOS and Windows

Dimensions

Fitbit Charge 3:

Small: 139.7 – 180.3 mm
Large: 180.3 – 220.99 mm

Fitbit Charge 4:

Small: 140 – 180 mm
Large: 180mm – 220mm

Colors

Fitbit Charge 3:

black aluminum / graphite
Aluminum blue gray/rose gold
Woven Lavender/Rose Gold Aluminum
Frost White Sport / Graphite Aluminium

Fitbit Charge 4:

black
Rosewood
storm blue/black
Special Edition Granite / Reflective Woven


Features of Fitbit Charge 3 and Charge 4

There is very little separation between the Fitbit Charge 3 and the Charge 4 on paper or in the flesh. The two trackers are physically identical, from their monochrome OLED screens to their 5ATM water-resistant bodies. This philosophy has its advantages, but it also comes at a cost. You can use Fitbit Charge 3 bands on the Charge 4, and the excellent build quality of the Charge 3 continues on the newer trackers. But the Charge 4 also features some earlier design issues, like an unreliable inductive button and a rather bland aesthetic.

The Fitbit Charge 4 shares the technical underpinnings with the Charge 3. It packs the same heart rate monitor, albeit with more software additions that more active users will appreciate. This includes notifications for heart rate zone changes, which some may find more annoying than helpful. The sensor is also surprisingly accurate for such an affordable device.

Users explain how to restart Fitbit Charge 4.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Let’s talk about sensors. You’ll find a SpO2 tracker on both the Charge 3 and Charge 4. The data obtained from this add-on provides more intuitive information about sleep tracking and breathing monitoring in the Fitbit app. The Charge 3 lacked full use of the sensor at launch. It finally got a Sleep Score just like its more expensive counterparts, complete with blood oxygen data.

The Charge 3 and Charge 4 share a similar software system. Both run on a stripped-down version of Fitbit OS, which includes a few smartwatch-like apps, like the Social Fitness Leaderboard to an agenda app for quick access to the day’s events. Both trackers also feature a built-in timer, alarm, and weather apps. However, the Charge 4 includes Spotify and Spotify Connect smart control – a big deal for those who have invested in the music streaming service. You also get NFC as standard on all versions of the Charge 4. As a result, Fitbit Pay support is another notable feature over its predecessor, particularly useful for quick contactless payments on supported bills. We should note that only the Charge 3 special edition includes NFC technology.

How do these features affect the battery life of the Charge 4? Well, not much. The Charge 4’s battery life drops a bit to around five days, but that depends on how hard you push it. The Charge 3 has arrived with a long-lasting battery promised for a week. We observed about six days during the review period.

However, the battery will be affected significantly if you fully embrace the addition of the other important features of the Charge 4: GPS on board. For fitness enthusiasts, this is arguably the biggest reason why the Charge 4 won this battle. Although GPS takes some time to install, it is suitable for daily use. The onboard GPS also means you can keep your phone at home when doing long runs. Using GPS reduces the Fitbit Charge 4’s battery life to just five hours when in use, so you may not have enough power to complete a marathon with the tracker. However, you can use the Charge 4 in connected GPS mode as well, if you have your phone with you or want to increase the battery’s endurance.

Going hand in hand with this is the introduction of active zone minutes on the Charge 4. It’s a feature that eventually landed on the initial Versa and Ionic versions, but hasn’t been nominated for the Charge 3. It’s effectively encouraging users to keep it. Their heart rate zones are within a certain frequency range. The company argues that this is better than simply measuring fitness based on the number of steps you’ve taken or calories you’ve burned.

Finally, it is necessary to talk about the Charge 3 and the Charge 4 in terms of life and support. The older Charge 3 last received an update at the end of 2020, while the Charge 4 saw some patch love in April 2021. However, you should have better luck receiving new updates from Fitbit for the smaller Charge 4 in the future.


Pricing, availability and value

Fitbit Charge 4 GPS Operation Review and Settings Detection

At launch, the Fitbit Charge 3 was priced at $150, making it the fitness tracker of choice for mid-range buyers. You can still find it listed on big retail sites for that number, but all too often, it’s out of stock or impossible to find. It is also no longer listed on the official Fitbit website in the US.

Fitbit Charge 3 Tap Submit

Fitbit Charge 3

Ex-cool Fitbit

The Fitbit Charge 3 has always been one of the best Fitbit wearables you can buy. The fitness tracker monitors your heart rate, sleep cycles and estimated calorie burn. It also lasts up to seven days on a single charge.

In 2020, Fitbit launched the Charge 4 as a direct alternative to the Charge 3, charging the same price for it. It can also be found at a much lower price nowadays as well, while still also listed as a device on the official Fitbit Store. This is a good sign. Although the Charge 5 is available now, the Charge 4 is still an excellent buy, especially if you can park it on a bargain.

Fitbit 4 charging

Fitbit Charge 4

One of the best fitness trackers in the business

Step into your fitness tracking with Fitbit Charge 4. This latest version of the popular fitness tracker is water-resistant to 50 meters with over 20 different workout modes to choose from.


Fitbit Charge 3 vs Charge 4: Which one should you buy?

Fitbit Charge 4 Military Time

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

There are two ways to view the Fitbit Charge 3 and Charge 4 battle. First, if you already own a Charge 3, you shouldn’t be in a hurry to upgrade to 4. Yes, you will get Fitbit Pay support, some smartwatch-like features, active region details, And GPS is on board, but we’d argue the Charge 3 is more than just a convenient fitness tracker.

However, if you don’t own a Fitbit yet, the picture will change. The Charge 4 is the obvious gateway to those looking for a reliable activity companion. Sure, the Fitbit Inspire 2 comes at a much lower price tag, but it doesn’t have the Charge 4’s feature set or shine. The Charge 3 has basically fallen in terms of support. Launched in 2018, there’s really no reason to buy a three-year-old fitness tracker. With that in mind, and given the Charge 4’s improvements, younger life, and lower pricing, it makes sense to choose it instead.

See also: Best cheap fitness trackers

But what about the competition? Honestly, few devices come close to Fitbit’s Charge series. You can choose Garmin, but you will need to invest a lot more because the company is no longer competing in the fitness tracker market. As a pure fitness tracker, the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 is arguably the closest competitor, but it lacks built-in GPS and the Fitbit experience over the tracking app and phone. Finally, the Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 is also available for a significantly lower price than the Charge 4, but it lacks GPS and NFC on board.

In the end, the Fitbit Charge 4 is still an excellent device even in a world that now includes the much smarter and pricier Charge 5.

Which Fitbit Charge model do you prefer?

175 votes


Which Fitbit Charge model do you prefer? Let us know by voting in the poll above.

Leave a Comment