I LOVED my Fit-Bit One. Unfortunate I lost it. So when I discovered several Bed Bath and Beyond gift cards, I decided to treat myself to a new and improved fitness tracker. After watching several positive reviews, I decided the Fit Bit Charge 3 was right for me. Soon after purchasing however I noticed it may not be right for everybody. In this review, I compared the Charge 3 to the iPhone Health app. I also want to show you a possible shortcoming of FitBit Charge 3 you may not know about. If your considering a fitness tracker, you'll want to know what I discovered.
Also See This review
Fit Bit Experiments
For this review, I conducted 2 experiments to check the accurately of the Charge 3:
- Basic exercise detection (default mode)
- Biking mode
I also wanted to compare its accuracy to the fitness tracker health app built into my iPhone 6 S Plus.
Let's look at each trial separately
Basic Exercise Detection
I bike to the gym using a known round-trip distance of 7 miles according to my bike's computer. To test the accuracy of the Charge 3, I wore the Fit Bit on my non-dominant wrist as I biked to -and from -the gym. I purposely did not set the Fit Bit to “biking mode” but instead just used the automatic movement detection, which is the default setting.
What I found was surprising.
While in auto detect mode, the total distance I biked to the gym was not accurately added to my daily steps. This previously was when I used the FitBit One.
Here's a breakdown of the Fit Bit Charge 3 and iPhone Health app:
- Fit Bit Charge 3: 6,792 steps (3.12 miles)
- iPhone Health: 3,389 total steps (1.4 miles)
This is my total steps and mileage for the day. As you can see, both seemed to miss that I biked 7 miles I biked.
Did Fit Bit Work In The Gym?
The Charge 3 only seemed to pick up activity when my arms were moving. For example, when I used the leg press, no steps were recorded. I noticed this same thing occurred while I was teaching a class. Even though I was not walking, the Charge 3 said I logged over 7,000 steps for the class!
I must do a lot of gesticulating with my hands 🙂
In the next experiment, I activated the bike mode and went for a bike ride.
How did that go…
Experiment 2: Fit Bit Bike Mode
In this second experiment, I switched the Charge 3 to biking mode. I also double checked the FitBit was linked the GPS on my iPhone. I then biked 6.7 miles which was confirmed by my bikes computer and the Mile IQ travel app. At the end of my ride, I checked both my iPhone 6S plus health app and Charge 3. Results for the Charge 3 were much better:
- Charge 3: 1279 steps (7.03 miles)
- iPhone Health App: 2403 steps (0.43 miles)
While in biking mode, the Charge 3 more accurately logged the distance I traveled, although it was a tad more than what my bike's computer and Mile IQ app said I biked (6.7 miles and 6.8 miles respectively).
Notice the steps taken are a lot less than the mileage biked. This tells me that even when in biking mode, Charge 3 does not count pedaling as steps when it's attached to your wrist.
Previously, when I used the FitBit One, pedaling converted into steps more easily because I put it in my pocket (as opposed to wearing it on the wrist).
As for the iPhone Health App, it drastically underestimated the distance I biked. Could this be because I had the phone mounted to my handlebars? It was not in my pocket.
Is The Fit Bit Charge 3 Worth It?
If you are looking for a stylish fitness tracker/watch to log your steps while walking or hiking, then the Charge 3 will work well for you. It also gives you info about your exercise heart rate and resting heart rate which is nice to have. While the Charge 3 did measure my bicycling distance when in biking mode, the distance was a bit more than what my bike's computer indicated. For most, this may not be a deal breaker.
Personally, I prefer the FitBit One over the Charge 3 because I only care about total steps taken and I can put it in my pocket and forget about it. While the FitBit One is no longer officially sold, you can probably still find it online.
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