Fitbit Charge 4: the complete test


He lacked only one function and everything was depopulated. This is how the history of Fitbit Charge 3, bracelet connected oh so nice but unfortunately devoid of GPS. The American brand decided to remedy this, almost a year later, with a fourth version that was finally complete, all without increasing the price. So two questions arise: Did Fitbit react too late? Is the Charge 4 at the level of the competition?

A design in continuity

Fitbit has been owned by a certain Google for a few months. But the least that can be said is that this new owner’s touch does not show up in the design of his latest product. Aesthetically, the Charge 4 is absolutely identical to its predecessor. The small rectangular screen is always matched with a striped fabric strap for the best effect. Integration of the GPS chip requires, the module takes a little thickness but the whole remains rather discreet … and in good taste.

The strap attachment system that had been improved on the previous generation is still easy to access and encourages the user to buy one or two replacement straps, in silicone for sports sessions or simply to change. style.

As for the display, there is nothing new to report. This 1.4-inch OLED panel remains sadly monochrome (an improvement idea for the Charge 5) but rather readable even in bright light. Despite its clarity, the screen is still limited, especially for displaying notifications, but this is an area in which connected bracelets find it difficult to compete with watches. Therefore, it is very difficult to hold it against him.

Tactile navigation but could be improved

On the Charge 4, navigation is mainly done via the touch screen. Indeed, the bracelet is devoid of buttons on the front even if a capacitive button is hidden on the left edge of the case. This acts like a back button to make it easier to switch from one application to another, but in reality, this one is still somewhat laborious. An example: to start a running activity (the fastest accessible), you still need no less than five steps from the home menu.

On the other hand, the slide down to display notifications, or up to monitor daily physical indicators is rather welcome.

Finally, in general, the Charge 4 manages, as much as possible, to forget its application. The latter still allows you to go back in detail to your sports sessions or to analyze your sleep hour by hour, but it is no longer as omnipotent as on the first versions of the bracelet. Very (too?) Complete, it still remains a reference in terms of ease of use and allows, as desired, to have either an overall summary of its activity or to go into detail (gps, cardio, floors, calories, etc.) of a workout.

Reliability and precision of measurements

For those who still doubt the interest of adding a GPS chip to a connected bracelet, the track record of this Fitbit Charge 4 should give some ideas. Indeed, of the twenty sports listed on the device, a third can take advantage of real-time location. Above all, it is of excellent quality. It even achieved results quite close to our benchmark watch, the Garmin Fenix ​​6. Whether on the course or the difference in height, progress is obvious compared to the previous generation of the American connected bracelet (the bracelet used the smartphone’s GPS for this). On the other hand, it is unfortunate that the GPS is not activated by default on all activities, which causes some hiccups when you forget to start it.

GPS, the enemy of autonomy

The lack of GPS allowed Fitbit to communicate on stratospheric autonomy. And for good reason, the localization is rather greedy in terms of battery. So it’s almost no surprise that the battery life has declined on this Charge 4. It is no longer possible to wear your bracelet for a whole week without charging it. On the other hand, with some occasional physical activity, it is quite possible to expect up to five days of battery life, which is still fairly fair.

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