Friday, December 8, 2023

The Fitbit Charge 6 is a fitness tracker and smartwatch hybrid


Checking the Fitbit Charge 6.Fitbit

Fitbit has finally embraced what it means to be owned by Google with the Fitbit Charge 6. Not only is the Charge 6 an impressive-looking fitness tracker with a more accurate heart rate tracker, but it’s also the first Fitbit device to really lean on the vast data resources offered by its parent company, Google. These additions have moved the Charge 6 toward becoming more of a smartwatch, thinning the barriers between the two device types.

Fitbit was purchased by Google in January 2021, but outside of Fitbit’s tech being front and center in the fitness section of the Google Pixel Watch, it hasn’t meant too much change for the fitness tracker brand. That ends with today.

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The Fitbit Charge 6 has Google tech packed to the gills. YouTube Music is likely to be a hit-or-miss addition, depending on whether you use the music service or not, but Google Maps? That’s sure to be a massive addition for anyone, and the Fitbit Charge 6 comes with Google Maps and GPS built-in, so you can get turn-by-turn directions for your new running route right from your wrist. Also included is Google Wallet, perfect for that post-workout coffee, smoothie, or (we won’t tell if you don’t) sweet treat.


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Google Maps and Google Wallet were also added to the Fitbit Sense 2 and Fitbit Versa 4 throughout late 2022 and early 2023, and it’s great to see those Google integrations now creeping into another of Fitbit’s lineups.



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The Fitbit Charge 6 at rest.Fitbit

A Charge 6 being used on a wrist.Fitbit

A fitness tracker that can’t track fitness is no good, though, so thankfully, the Fitbit Charge 6 is equipped with a large number of potential exercises. It sports over 40 exercise modes, with 20 having been added just for the Charge 6. It will also help you to track your personal goals and stats, as well as keep on top of whether you’re ready to roll for the day ahead with your Daily Readiness Score.

Fitbit’s SmartTrack tech watches out for when it thinks you’ve started performing in a number of common activities, so even if you forget to start tracking, your Charge 6 will have noticed and will have started tracking anyway. An advanced heart rate tracker monitors your heart rate 24/7 and offers significantly stronger accuracy during certain activities like HIIT, spinning, and rowing. Will these changes land it on top of our best Fitbits and best fitness tracker lists? We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s looking like a likely inclusion.

Wellness is an increasingly large part of wearable smart tech, and the Fitbit Charge 6 doesn’t lack in this area either. There’s the aforementioned 24/7 heart rate tracking, but the Charge 6 also tracks your stress levels, your blood oxygen levels, skin temperature, and how well you’ve slept.

Being rested and well is a vital part of achieving your fitness goals, and the Fitbit Charge 6 also has a suite of tests it can run to make sure you’re running at optimal levels. Like more expensive smartwatches, the Charge 6 can perform an ECG to test your heart’s health, but it also has access to an EDA scanning app — a test that can detect small changes in your sweat to detect when you’re responding to stress, and then let you know if you need to take a break.


All that comes packed into a small, svelte package. The design is largely unchanged from last year’s Fitbit Charge 5, but frankly, it doesn’t need to change much. The tracker itself is small, measuring less than an inch wide and an inch-and-a-half long, and all your data is presented on a small 1.04-inch display with always-on capabilities. Don’t like the idea of reading on such a small screen? You can access all your data on the smartphone companion app instead. The battery is impressive, lasting seven days on a single charge, though Fitbit warns that using certain features, like the always-on display and blood oxygen tracking, may reduce the battery life.

The Fitbit Charge 6 is available for preorder now, with full release on October 12. It starts from $160 and comes in black aluminum with an obsidian band, champagne gold aluminum with a coral band, and silver aluminum with a porcelain band. A six-month subscription to Fitbit Premium is also bundled into every Fitbit Charge 6 purchase.

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