Fitbit Charge 5 blasted by angry users over battery and connection issues

Fitbit Charge 5
(Image credit: Ida Blix)

Some Fitbit Charge 5 users are having a rough time at the moment, with no fix in sight for a battery drain issue as well as previously-reported problems with the device's Bluetooth connectivity. 

The battery drain issue first cropped up in 2021, as several people posted to Fitbit's community forums complaining of the Fitbit Charge 5's purported seven-day battery life actually lasting a matter of hours. 

Although turning on the built-in GPS and using other functions like the SPO2 tracker is well-known to drain the battery faster, even when the GPS is seemingly not on, the battery is sapped quickly. 

Not all units are affected, and it seems to be just a few vocal Fitbit users complaining about this issue. However, the issue has persisted into 2022, with more and more users affected. Well-known moderator DavideFitbit posted on the most recent thread on 9 July, claiming a firmware update is in the works, and to be patient.

"Keep in mind that firmware updates are released progressively; it starts with a small percentage and then it extends to the entire community of users," said DavideFitbit. This sentiment is echoed by Fitbit Support's official Twitter, claiming that a fix is in the works.

Fitbit's current recommendation is to turn off functions such as these in settings to avoid unnecessary battery drain, and resetting your device.

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However, as first reported by Phoneswiki, it's worth noting the Fitbit Charge 5 issue has been well-known for a while, with users alerting Fitbit in 2021 and the issue being publicly acknowledged by Fitbit in March 2022. There's been no fix for months, and it has left some users essentially unable to use their expensive new fitness trackers. 

It's compounded by further issues with Bluetooth connectivity which we reported on several weeks ago, with some devices stubbornly refusing to pair with phones, or frequently unpairing once successful. At that time, TechRadar reached out to a Fitbit representative for comment but did not receive a reply. 

Writing on 14 July, one message board user said: "I turned my Fitbit watch off completely from the settings on my watch and then restarted. This has worked for me so far. We’ll see. 
I got a message from Fitbit saying they are working on the issue. It is exactly the same message they were sending out a year ago."

It's not a good look for Fitbit. The Charge 5 is an amazing fitness tracker, and its most expensive, feature-stuffed device that isn't a legitimate smartwatch like the Versa or Sense lines. The Charge 5 review units we've tested before certainly did not contain any of the issues above. It's a really great device, and my review unit lasted around four days on a full charge with some light GPS usage for runs. 

However, there's no way of knowing what percentage of Fitbit Charge 5 devices may carry one or both of the problems above. With that in mind, we couldn't honestly recommend buying a Charge 5 right now until we know a fix is in sight. You might be better off with the similar Fitbit Luxe.

Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.