Details are scant so far (there’s no ‘Fitbit’ branding on the image and 9to5Google is keeping its source close to its chest), but TechRadar has found an FCC document registered earlier this year for a new Fitbit ‘wireless activity tracker’ that might just fit the bill.
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External photos and a user manual for the device are currently private, but are due to be made public on October 18, 2021. There’s no way to be certain that this device is ‘Morgan’, but the dates seem to line up.
Here's the Fitbit 'Morgan,' a possible Charge 5 with color display and new design https://t.co/YJhqs4GRku by @technacity pic.twitter.com/5I34sLsnGEJuly 26, 2021
So is this a Fitbit Charge 5? It might be – or it could be something new. We’ve been expecting a new Charge to land within the coming months, but based on previous release patterns we weren’t anticipating it to land until April 2022. The Fitbit Charge 4 arrived in April 2020, so an October 2021 launch would mean less than two years between the two devices.
The ‘Morgan’ codename is interesting, but no guarantee. Fitbit has been known to give its devices similar monikers during development; in 2017 we first heard about a new Fitbit device codenamed ‘Higgs’, which turned out to be the Fitbit Ionic. However, there were also rumors of a pair of of sports headphones codenamed ‘Parkside’ complete with a ‘leaked’ image, but these never materialized.
We’ve contacted Fitbit for a comment, but we won’t hold our breath; the company declined to comment when images of the Fitbit Luxe leaked ahead of its official launch – though Fitbit did move its launch date forward a few days in response.
A new look for the Charge 5
The ‘Morgan’ looks quite different to previous watches in the Charge series, but the line is certainly due for a makeover. The Charge 4 was released before Fitbit finalized its new Biologic Industrial Design Language, which Fitbit’s senior vice president of design Jonah Becker says is "inspired by and designed for the human body". That means smooth shapes and rounded edges, as seen on the Fitbit Inspire 2, Versa 3, Sense, and Luxe.
The ‘leaked’ image shows a fitness tracker with a minimalist design, featuring a soft silicone band that sits flush with the device’s body. The body appears to be plastic (though it’s not possible to tell for certain), and there’s a color display – something conspicuously lacking from the Charge 4.
What makes us curious is the appearance of large black bezels around the edge of the Morgan’s display. No watches in Fitbit’s current line have such big bezels, which makes us wonder about the image’s accuracy. We’ll keep you updated as and when we hear back from Fitbit, but we’re hedging our bets.
Analysis: the Fitbit Charge 5 needs to stand out
When the Fitbit Charge 4 launched, it was one of the smallest and lightest GPS fitness trackers around. It’s held up well since its launch in April last year, but its successor will need to work harder to stand out. In recent months we’ve seen a bevy of cheap smartwatches including the TicWatch E3 and Amazfit Bip offering an impressive range of fitness tracking tools for a very modest price.
The Fitbit Charge 5 will need a new ace up its sleeve if it’s going to stand out, and it’ll have to be something that won’t be in direct competition with the company’s other devices. The Fitbit Sense has stress monitoring sewn up, the Luxe has the style-oriented section of the market cornered, the Inspire 2 is the lightest and smallest activity band in the range, and the Versa 3 is Fitbit’s take on the multi-functional smartwatch.
We think it’s likely that the Charge 5 will be a device aimed squarely at fitness fans, with an improved raft of features designed specifically for workouts – possibly even as a rival to entry-level running watches like the new Garmin Forerunner 55.
We’d be very surprised if it loses its GPS receiver (a tool extremely useful for runners and cyclists), and it could gain new tools that integrate with Fitbit Premium, such as workout plans sent from the Fitbit app to your watch, and suggested workouts based on your fitness level and goals. Additional sports profiles would be a welcome addition, as would breathing exercises (a feature missing from the Charge 4) and post-workout recovery guidance.
There's some seriously tough competition, but if Fitbit can put together the right package, the Charge 5 could be the next device to take the top place in our guide to the best running watches.
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