Fitbit just recently released its newest lifestyle tracker the Fitbit Charge HR and I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the first to come off the factory floor. I, along with my wife, was originally given the Fitbit flex for Christmas , but when we heard the Charge HR was due out in early January we returned the Flex and checked the stores every day till they had their first in stock.

As a doctor I was quite excited to test the Charge HR, not only for tracking things like calories in/out, and  steps taken, but also to test the heart rate function as it relates to exercise and how accurate the calculation of calorie expenditure. I feel that if these functions are in working order and very accurate that many people and patients will benefit from the Charge HR.

First Impression of Fitbit Charge HR

The first time I put on the Fitbit Charge HR I was actually quite surprised at how well it fit my wrist. I am a big guy at 6’ 3” and the wristband seemed to curl around the wrist without any complaint.  I purchased the Large model and Shawna, my wife, got the small. The clasp and hook worked perfectly and was not tight or over cumbersome to wear, even on a small wrist as is Shawna.  I will say that I usually wear a wristwatch on the same side that I am wearing the Charge HR and it is a welcomed relief from the bulkiness of some watches.

I will say the one thing that did take some time to get acquainted with was the location proximate to where I had to wear it; slightly higher on the wrist than a normal watch. The heart rate feature was slightly inaccurate if worn directly over the wrist joint (extensor retinaculum.. for all you anatomy buffs). Once I got used to wearing it a couple of inches higher, I actually now prefer it; as it is more comfortable and allows full use of the wrist for activity.



General Specs on the Fitbit Charge HR

The Fitbit Charge HR device track all-day activity like steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, floors climbed, exercise ( heart rate zones) and active minutes.There’s also sleep monitoring and the sleep tracking which kicks in automatically and there’s a vibration-based silent alarm on offer too.The OLED display will display with two easy taps to the watch and give you your stats in real-time using the Exercise Mode.

The Fitbit Charge HR devices sync to your smartphone or tablet app using Bluetooth 4.0, or your PC or Mac using a wireless dongle.The band is 1ATM water-resistant, meaning it that you can wear it in the shower but it is not for swimming.  I prefer to always take mine off before showers just to be safe.

Battery life is stated as 5 days for the Charge HR and you’ll get a full charge in 1-2 hours. I will say one more thing on the battery life: When your device starts to get low, you receive an email. I thought that was pretty cool as I always seem to have my Iphone die on me at the worst of times.  As far as charging the device I usually plug it in when in the shower or bath.  I connect the charge cable and the 15-20 mins it takes me to shower and get ready gives me plenty of battery for the next day.



I found tracking to be very accurate and easy to access, both on the device and using the Fitbit app.  I do occasionally encounter a small issue when logging my food where the apps seems to “hang” and not display the food calories/data.  To solve I usually have to exit and enter into the app again.  Not a game changer, but definitely could be improved upon with a future software upgrade.

I do like the sleep tracking system and the ability to check and compare against previous days. It is quite revealing to see how you “ think” you sleep and what the data reveals.

The alarm system works great! I actually now prefer using the vibrating alarm on my Fitbit over my standard Iphone alarm.

Lastly, I have had a great time setting and beating challenges. The gamification that is offered by the Fitbit team is top notch. Me and Shawna are constantly setting goals for one another, challenging each other on who can take the most steps in the day/week and then competing against those goals.

We created a Fitbit group DocFit that we are using to help encourage others and guide them as we Ignite their health from within.

Do you have a Fitbit product? Do you love/hate it?  Any questions about the product?