As a Mothers’ Day gift this year, my family gave me a new Fitbit Charge HR. Well, actually, I did the research and shopping for the gift that I announced to my family that they were giving to me. I don’t really like to leave things to chance and it’s something that I’d been thinking about…so I always make sure to ask for what I want when the opportunity arises.
I did a lot of research – read a lot of reviews and talked to people who have different activity tracking devices. I’ve been using the step tracking capabilities on my iPhone 6 for the last few months. I really like tracking my steps. I have a desk job – it’s easy to sit on my butt for too many hours in the day and think that I’m being active by just running after work a few days a week. Using the step tracker in the phone has been great – however, I always have to have my phone with me. Not ideal.
I decided to get the Fitbit Charge HR.
I decided on the Fitbit over other makers of activity trackers because of the popularity of the Fitbit products. Mainly for the community (very important to me) – I have friends with Fitbits and knew we could connect and support each other.
The features that I liked about the Charge HR – aside from the usual step counting basics:
– the display on the wristband that shows step count and clock (the display is customizeable, so you can select which items can be scrolled through)
– the clasp of the Charge HR is like a watch band, it’s secure – as compared to the snap-in closure of the Charge
– the heart rate tracking is interesting – the cost difference between the Charge and the Charge HR is $20 which seems like a good deal for the extra feature. I was mostly curious about my resting heart rate – I wasn’t necessarily planning to use it for real time HR tracking during workouts (this is something that I found in online reviews – the accuracy of the HR monitor wasn’t great in real time – as in people who used it during workouts to track real time weren’t so impressed with the accuracy of the device)
– caller ID: both the Charge HR and the Charge have caller ID notification on the wrist band. When you connect your device through Bluetooth to your phone, you will receive a vibration on the wristband when you receive a phone call.
I ordered my Charge HR from REI. I already have a membership and had rewards enough to help a little with the cost of it as well as I’d be earning about $10 back in dividends for this year. And, there’s an REI across the street from my office, so it’s easy to access customer service. The store was out of stock, that’s why I ordered it online.
I was so excited when it arrived – earlier that week, I had activated my Fitbit account. Fitbit will actually use the iPhone step tracker as a counting tool for any account user. I was impressed with the mobile Fitbit app right away. The setup was super simple and the dashboard was full of good information. I connected easily with my friends and coworkers and joined their weekday step challenge.
When my Fitbit arrived, I charged it while I finished up my workday so that it was ready to go when I was heading home. I love gadgets and was so excited to get in some more steps after work.
That first night, I went for a run. It hadn’t really crossed my mind that I’d still wear my Garmin for runs and then I’d now have my Fitbit. It was a little device overload, but I’m a run nerd, so it worked.
I did get pretty sweaty under the Fitbit band, so I took it off after my run to wipe it clean while I cooled down.
A feature of the Fitbit Charge HR that I was not expecting to love is the notification when I acheived my step goal for the day. That first day, I hit my 10,000 step goal while I was out for my run. At first, it surprised me, as it did each day I met my goal for the next week and a half. But, it was a fun little reward for meeting my goal.
For the first week of having my Charge HR, I loved it. I joined a challenge group with work friends for our weekday step count and I found a few other friends who I could connect with. Through the Fitbit app, you can cheer on your friends as well as challenge them to keep up with you or motivate yourself to keep up with them. There were quite a few days where the motivation from seeing how active my friends can be got me off the couch at the end of the day and out for a run or a walk. In that first week, there was only one day that I didn’t meet my step goal.
However, all that time, I was a little unsure about the fit of the Fitbit. I had used the online measuring tool to select my size. The Charge HR comes in a Small, Large and X-Large size. According to the measurements, I should have been a Small. Once I received the device, I saw that it was recommended to wear it up a finger’s distance from the wrist bone and it needed to be worn snugly on the wrist (for the HR monitor to work). When I wore the Charge HR, I had to have it on only the 3rd hole, there was hardly any room to tuck the extra flap into the band. And in the picture above, you can see how snug it was on my arm by the skin bulge at the top.
I received the Charge HR in the mail on a Thursday, that next Monday I went to REI on my lunch to see if maybe I really should be wearing the Large. They were out of stock in the Large, but one of the employees had his own personal Charge HR. He was great and let me try it on and we chatted about the fit. We ultimately decided that the Small was the best sizing for me. But, it could have gone either way. Either the loosest hole on the Small or the tightest on the Large. BTW – REI has fantastic employees – awesome customer service.
When I get home from my day, I like to change in to my pjs, take off my jewelry and relax. After a week of also continuing to wear the Charge HR, I started to get tired of it. It’s also a sleep tracker, so I was wearing it for almost the whole day. It was starting to bug me and I was feeling a little claustrophobic.
So, I stopped wearing it to sleep. Gone goes the resting heart rate information. Bummer.
Even without wearing it to sleep, I still feel like throwing it off my wrist by the end of the day. I thought I’d get used to it. But, the opposite was happening. I was more and more frustrated with it each day.
I like to wear bracelets. With the chunky-ness of the Charge HR, I was feeling like the arm jewelry wasn’t very noticeable. When I did wear bracelets, I was constantly adjusting them on either side of the Charge HR.
I felt like I was constantly messing with everything on my wrist. Ugh.
But, I loved the step tracking information and I loved the community of support on my Fitbit app. I started to think about returning the Charge HR, but I didn’t want to give up on it all together.
I went on to the Fitbit website to look at other options. I discovered the Fitbit One – it’s a small clip on device that has all the step tracking capabilities of the other Fitbits.
I wore the Charge HR through another weekend, and then made the decision to exchange it. I’m glad I purchased it at REI as I was in and out of that store in 5 minutes with the exchange.
I absolutely love the Fitbit One. It’s small and clips on to my pocket and even on to my bra when I don’t have a sturdy waistband.
Two things I miss about the Charge HR now that I have the Fitbit One:
1) I don’t get a notification when I reach my step goal. Kind of silly – but I wish it gave the little vibration
2) Caller ID: that was nice… but, I don’t really receive that many phone calls, so it really doesn’t make that big of a difference.
The Fitbit One can monitor your sleep. It comes with a wrist band and you can swap it in and wear it when you sleep. I sleep pretty well most of the time, so I have yet to use the One to track my sleep.
I know there are articles galore online about the use of activity trackers and the pros and cons of it. Does it make us more obsessive? Do we really need all this information? All I can say is that I love it. I like the community and the challenges and I love seeing how active my friends are each day. My best running friend has one now and she and I are always sending cheers to each other. It’s fun.
I know that in order to make my step goal each work day, I need to go for a walk for at least half of my lunch. I think I could easily fall out of that habit without the Fitbit to keep me in check. The small Fitbit One is perfect for me. I don’t have something extra on my wrist and I still get to track my steps each day without having to make sure that I’m always carrying my phone.
And, in case you are wondering – the Fitbit One retails for $99, the Fitbit Charge is $129 and the Fitbit Charge HR is $149.
And finally – this is not a sponsored review in any way. I love fitness gadgets and paid for and reviewed this all on my own. Or asked for this as a gift from my family and obsessed about it all on my own.