Fitbit Charge 6 Review: Now With More Google

Connectivity was also an issue with the app. For almost a whole day, the Fitbit app showed that I had gotten two hours of sleep. This was not true; the Oura ring showed that I’d had more than seven hours of sleep. When I clicked through, the app showed that it hadn’t synced since 2:33 am, when I got up to drink some water. I clicked to sync repeatedly, but it didn’t sync until late that afternoon. I’ve had some connectivity issues with all Bluetooth-dependent trackers, but even during a short testing period of a week, Fitbit’s issues were notably annoying. (The company also has a history of service outages.)

The Charge 6 can now also connect with some Bluetooth-compatible exercise machines, such as the NordicTrack treadmill or Peloton bike. I mostly work out outside, so I didn’t get the chance to test this. However, a lot of my activity comes in brief fits and spurts throughout the day. SmartTrack, Fitbit’s automated workout recognition system, doesn’t pick up workouts nearly as quickly or as accurately as Garmin’s or Apple’s automated systems. My Garmin has recognized runs as short as one minute—me sprinting to make a doctor’s appointment. In contrast, the Fitbit’s threshold is 10 minutes, so you have to be doing an activity for a while before the Fitbit recognizes it and logs it. It’s very weird to get home after biking my kids a mile to school to find that I apparently moved nowhere and did nothing.

Finally, there’s no fall detection. No Fitbit trackers have this feature. As someone who works from home by myself and regularly runs, bikes, and hikes alone, this is one of the most important features in a fitness tracker for me. The lack of fall detection also precludes buying your nana or other elderly relative a Fitbit.

Just What You Needed

Photograph: Fitbit

Unlike with Garmin Connect or Apple Health, you do have to pay a $10 monthly subscription fee for Fitbit Premium. (Fitbit does offer six months of Fitbit Premium for free with each purchase.) If you don’t subscribe, you don’t get to see your Daily Readiness Score, which is your daily metric to show how fit you are to tackle the day and probably the most actionable metric that any fitness tracker posts. You also don’t get wellness reports or get to see the details of your sleep score—without which I never would’ve figured out that the tracker hadn’t synced.

However, you can still get a lot of useful information without a Fitbit Premium subscription. In our current subscription hell, paying $10 per month for a tracker that costs $160, as compared to a $300 or $400 smartwatch, seems pretty reasonable.

The cost savings means you’re getting a less-than-premium product. The Charge 6 might not feel quite as beautiful or sleek as a Pixel Watch 2 or Apple Watch. I consider that to be a valid reason to avoid any accessory that will spend nearly its entire life on your body. Also, spending multiple minutes a day fiddling with the Bluetooth connection can cause frustrations to build up.

Still, at a time when every smartwatch and fitness tracker is stretching harder and harder to find reasons to wear it—Get more ambient daylight! Assess your anxiety! Write a journal entry!—the Charge 6 remains simple and easy to use. It’s focused, and that’s something.

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