Fitbit Charge 3 release date: Fitbit announces successor to the Charge 2
Fitbit has just announced the Fitbit Charge 3, the long-awaited successor to the Charge 2 that came to wrists in 2016. The Charge 2 was an immensely popular fitness wearable, so the Charge 3 has a lot to live up to if Fitbit wants it to be anywhere near as successful.
Thankfully, the Charge 3 looks like an impressive update. Not only does this year’s fitness tracker have a sleeker design and a larger screen – which is finally a touchscreen – but it’s also a swim tracker, waterproof to 50m.
Fitbit Charge 3 key specs: What you need to know
|Screen||Greyscale OLED touchscreen|
|Price||£130 standard, £150 special edition|
|Release Date||Preorder now, available October|
Fitbit Charge 3 release date: When’s it out?
The Fitbit Charge 3 is available for preorder today from the Fitbit store and is set to launch at an unspecified time in October. It’s unclear just how long we’ll have to wait, but it’s likely those who preorder the Charge 3 will find out shipping dates soon after, providing us with insight into when we can expect it.
Fitbit Charge 3 price: How much will it cost?
Fitbit is charging £130 for the standard Charge 3 and £150 if you fancy picking up the Charge 3 Special Edition. While you can pick up a Charge 2 for just over £100 on Amazon and other retailers, the Charge 3 is officially £10 cheaper than the Charge 2 on launch, despite all of its added features.[gallery:6]
Fitbit Charge 3 design and features: What can this do over the Fitbit Charge 2?
So, what can the Fitbit Charge 3 do over the Charge 2? At first glance they seem to be very similar wearables from Fitbit, with the Charge 3 looking more like an evolution of the Charge 2 than a complete redesign.
The Charge 3’s sleek aluminium body echoes that of the Charge 2, but housed within it is a greyscale OLED touchscreen display. At 40% larger than the Charge 2’s screen, it makes sense that Fitbit opted to turn it from a simple tap-to-wake screen to a fully featured touchscreen for navigation and interaction. This means you can now navigate menus via swipes and taps, instead of a multitude of button presses.
Rather than physical buttons, Fitbit has introduced inductive touch-sensitive buttons to keep the device’s sleek profile uncluttered. You can also switch straps out by pressing two quick-release buttons on the rear of the casing – just like on the Charge 2 – so you can switch straps from workout to casual wear.
Unfortunately, GPS is the missing ingredient here. If you want to accurately track runs and bike rides, you’ll still need to have your phone close at hand. To make up for this shortfall, Fitbit has added in a slew of other fitness features to keep you happy. The Charge 3 now automatically detects when you’re running to enable a workout and pauses it when it realises you’ve stopped running. You can also now set up goal-based workouts, letting you set time, distance or calorie targets before beginning an exercise. It’s also waterproof to 50m and has swim tracking built in too, so it can be the single wearable you use for most of your workouts.
Outside of the exercising world, Fitbit has introduced female health tracking to the Charge 3 (previously only available on Fitbit Ionic and Fitbit Versa), and Fitbit’s SpO2 offers up insights into your sleep patterns via blood-oxygen level tracking.
If that wasn’t enough of an improvement on the Charge 2, Fitbit claims that the Charge 3 battery will last up to seven days between charges. The Fitbit Charge 2 needed to be topped up every five days, so a two-day boost is welcome. Those who pick up the Fitbit Charge 3 Special Edition will also be able to use the wearable to make contactless payments via Fitbit Pay.[gallery:8]
On the software side of things, Fitbit has also brought a host of improvements to the Charge 3. You’ll now have widgets for checking the weather, viewing your calendar and setting alarms and timers. You can also send quick replies from notifications on Android phones and there’s the ability to track your sleep and hydration levels directly from your wrist, so no more fumbling with the Fitbit app.
Fitbit Charge 3 first impressions: What do we think so far?
We’re still yet to see the Fitbit Charge 3 beyond the lovely lifestyle shots and product renders dished out by Fitbit’s marketing department but, at this point in time, the Charge 3 looks to be Fitbit’s best tracker to date. Not only has it had a major design overhaul, it’s packed with a number of smart features, some of which have been locked to Fitbit’s higher-end devices.
At £130 for the standard model, or £150 for the Special Edition, the Charge 3 is going up against the formidable, and similarly priced, Garmin Vivosport. The real difference is that Garmin’s device comes with GPS.
Fitbit, however, is the bigger brand name in fitness wearables and so it’s likely the Charge 3 will be a resounding success for the brand. We just hope Fitbit has managed to iron out the niggles that blighted both its Versa and Ionic smartwatches.