Fitness tracker and smartwatch maker Fitbit has been gradually blurring the lines between its devices in recent years, and that is likely to continue now that it’s owned by Google, which has struggled to make its Wear OS-powered devices a compelling alternative to the Apple Watch. The forthcoming Charge 5 isn’t a Wear OS device, but it is a peek at where Fitbit’s heading, and you’re going to be able to buy one this fall for $179.99.
The Charge 5 is the first device in the Charge range to get a color display. Until recently, those had been reserved for Fitbit’s smartwatches like the Versa, and its recent (somewhat disappointing) fashion-focused Luxe tracker. But it’s the new health-tracking and mindfulness features Fitbit hopes customers will buy the Charge 5 for.
Readiness score — One of the Charge 5’s key features is its new Daily Readiness score, a feature that’s only available to Fitbit Premium subscribers (the Charge 5 includes 6 months of Premium membership) that tells the wearer whether they’d be better off doing an intense workout or an active-recovery one.
The score is derived from three metrics: activity, heart rate variability (HRV), and recent sleep trends, and Fitbit says it’ll dynamically recalibrate based as users’ fitness levels change. Depending on what state you’re in, Fitbit will recommend one of its more than 200 Premium guided workouts to match. It’s also added new content partners like Les Mills and Barre3, and has partnered with Calm for guided mindfulness and meditation sessions.
Daily Readiness is also coming to Sense, Versa 3, Versa 2, Luxe and Inspire 2 devices, and while Fitbit isn’t committing to a date, the company says it’s coming “soon.”
Mental and heart health — The Charge 5 is Fitbit’s first tracker with an EDA sensor (though the Sense smartwatch has one), which measures the body's response to stress through minute changes in the sweat glands on the fingers. Fitbit’s adding a Stress Management Score to harness it, which will mimic the Readiness Score, albeit for mental health rather than physical wellbeing.
The Sense also introduced ECG readings, and those are present and accounted for, too, with the Charge 5. The tracker will alert wearers to signs of Atrial fibrillation (AFib), a common heart rhythm condition, and will alert them if their heart rates suddenly deviate significantly from their personal baselines.
Always-on display — The new AMOLED display also includes an always-on option for those users who want to be able to see the time at a glance without waking the tracker (or waiting for it to wake if it’s in auto-wake mode) or those who want on-screen metrics all the time during workouts.
Of course, there’s a range of strap options beyond the standard silicone one, and you can be sure third-party ones will show up on Amazon and the like as soon as the Charge 5 is launched to fill the gaps in Fitbit’s own accessory line-up.