Update: Looking for one of the best fitness trackers of 2017? The Fitbit Charge 2 is currently the best Fitbit available for your money. While bested by a few others, the excellent companion app makes this one easy to recommend if you're a current Fitbit owner.
Original review follows below:
If you're wearing a Fitbit right now there's a good chance it's a Fitbit Charge or a Fitbit Charge HR on your wrist – but there's now a new Fitbit in town. The Fitbit Charge 2 is the first upgrade to the popular Charge range since the Charge HR, which appeared early in 2015.
The Fitbit Charge 2 brings with it a couple of new features, and along with features we've seen before on the Charge HR, the Fitbit Alta and the Fitbit Blaze, it adds up to an impressive-looking package.
Fitbit specializes in accessible and easy to use fitness trackers, rather than more complicated running and fitness technology. With exercise, sleep, heart rate tracking and much more, the Charge 2 looks like a well-specced wearable that won't break the bank.
Fitbit Charge 2 price and release date
- Out now – you can still buy the Charge HR, but it's harder to find
- The cheapest version is $150 (£129.99, AU$250)
- Leather straps are expensive at $69.95 (£59.99, AU$119.95)
The Fitbit Charge 2 costs $150 (£129.99, AU$250) with a plastic band and $179.95 (£149.99, AU$289.95) for the Special Edition versions, which have more premium-feel straps. You can also buy leather straps separately in a light brown, indigo or pink, for $69.95 (£59.99, AU$119.95).
Some retailers are already dropping the price of the Fitbit Charge 2. At the time of writing the Fitbit Charge 2 was cheaper by $20/£20 at Amazon, and Black Friday 2016 saw the wearable drop just below that price as well.
You also can buy the Charge HR from some stores, and it's significantly cheaper at $99 (£85, about AU$140) – although as we'll see the Charge 2 offers quite a bit more for only a little more money, plus the Charge HR can be quite hard to find now.
The Charge 2 is more expensive than the new Fitbit Flex 2 though, so it may be worth your while checking out that tracker too.
- Larger screen full of extra details
- Thicker band than before, so takes up more room on your wrist
- Easy to swap bands, but each will need working-in to attach properly
Design-wise, the Fitbit Charge 2 is much the same as other Fitbit devices, and feels a little like the lovechild of the Charge HR and the Fitbit Surge.
There's a much larger screen here than on the Charge HR – but the device is a fair bit thicker too, so you may not be a fan if you liked the compactness of the last version.
That said, the screen is still relatively small and it's not colour, but it is an OLED display, so all the information the Charge 2 delivers is easy to read – plus it's a touchscreen, which is a first for the Charge range.
The touchscreen proved a little unresponsive at times during our review, but we never found it particularly frustrating – you just need to give it an extra tap sometimes.
There's a button on the left-hand side of the tracker that you use to skip through the menu options, such as steps, time, heart rate and calories; you can hold this button down to activate certain features as well.
The Fitbit Charge 2 tracker itself is rather small, and comes with one two-section strap in the box. Each part of the strap can be detached by pulling it out of clips on either side of the tracker, if you want to swap-in a different one for a style change.
You can get the elastomer (basically rubber) strap in light blue, dark blue, black or purple. The two more premium options for the fashion-conscious among you are lavender/rose gold and black/gunmetal.
There are also more premium Luxe straps available which are made of real leather. The color choices are light pink, brown and indigo but each costs a hefty $69.95 (£59.99, AU$119.95).
This level of customization is welcome, but we did find it a bit of a struggle to connect a band at first. Sometimes it would sit a little off of the tracker, but after a while it worked itself into the right position.
Fitbit has improved the materials used in its straps dramatically over the past five years. The original Charge launched with a strap that irritated a lot of people's skin, but this new version was comfortable throughout our review period.
It felt comfortable, and compared to many other fitness trackers this is a lot easier to wear throughout the day.
We didn't always want to wear it to bed, as Fitbit suggests you'll want to, but it feels secure on your wrist and isn't going to become irritating; it's also comfortable to wear when you're typing at a desk, so you won't necessarily need to take it off when you're at work.
The Charge 2 isn't waterproof like the Fitbit Flex 2, but it is water-resistant, meaning it can handle a few splashes while you do the washing up, or sweat when you're exercising.
You won't be able to wear the Charge 2 in the shower or when swimming, though. It's nice to be able to wear a fitness tracker in the rain without worrying about it being damaged, but we'd have liked to see Fitbit make the Charge 2 fully waterproof.