Fitbit’s Charge 6 boasts plenty of new and improved capabilities, including our most accurate heart rate on a fitness tracker yet. With my New Years’ resolutions fresh on my mind, I was given the chance to try one out for myself. Over the course of a week, I wore my Charge 6 everywhere from the gym to my favorite outdoor running routes. Just as important, I also kept it strapped to my wrist at the office and even at night to help track the quality of my sleep. Here are a few of my favorite ways Fitbit’s most advanced tracker yet helped me take my health and fitness to the next level, while also giving me the ability to tell when it might be a better idea to take it easy.
1. The heart rate tracking gave me new insights into my overall health.
Whether I was furiously pedaling on my gym’s exercise bike or taking a break between sets on the weight bench, Charge 6 did an impressive job of keeping track of my heart rate. Part of the credit goes to its more accurate heart tracking thanks to an improved machine learning algorithm brought over from the Pixel Watch. A more accurate heart rate has a trickle-down effect to other metrics, too, improving the precision of everything from calorie burn tracking to proprietary Fitbit metrics like Active Zone Minutes, Daily Readiness Score, Sleep Score and more. On more than one groggy morning, that data helped me confirm if I might want to put off my workout until the afternoon in favor of more rest.
2. I could wear it 24/7 without fear thanks to the extensive battery life.
My first morning with the Charge 6, I woke up annoyed with myself: I’d spaced on plugging it in overnight, and I wasn’t sure if the Charge would have enough juice to last the entirety of my morning run. Turns out, my fears were misplaced: On a full battery, Charge 6 can last up to a week before it needs to be topped off and can reach a full charge in under 2 hours. Sure enough, my Charge 6’s display showed that it still had more than half of its battery life preserved — plenty for that day’s workout and possibly even the next. Once I could let go of the fear of waking up to a lifeless screen, I also felt more confident about wearing Charge 6 to bed and taking full advantage of Fitbit’s advanced sleep-tracking capabilities.
3. It was easy to DJ my workouts using the YouTube Music app.
A great soundtrack can make or break my workout, and nothing makes me reach for the skip button faster than a song with the wrong vibe. Charge 6 users can get a 30-day trial of YouTube Music Premium, and the seamless integration saved me from fussing too much with my Pixel phone when my attention should’ve been on my next set. With just a couple of taps to my wrist, it was simple to perform basic actions like skipping tracks, switching to a new workout mix or dialing up the volume when the playlist landed on one of my power songs. I found the feature especially useful while using more hands-on machines like the rower, where it helped me flip between tracks without completely disrupting my flow.
4. It provided plenty of inspiration for varying my routine.
Charge 6 users can pick from more than 40 exercise modes, ranging from usual suspects like running, cycling and HIIT to more niche pursuits like kickboxing, canoeing and more. It also comes with 6 free months of Fitbit Premium, and members can unlock an even more extensive library of expert-led workouts and mindfulness sessions. That gave me the nudge I needed to explore my gym more fully — in one session, I split my cardio routine between the bike, the rower, and the stair climber. Again, a few taps is all it took for my Charge 6 to record each workout, and it also clocked a light after-work jog automatically thanks to its handy auto-recognition feature, which can detect when you’re running, cycling and walking. As an added bonus, the Charge 6 can sync your heart rate data via Bluetooth to a wide range of cardio machines, making it easier to keep an eye on your level of exertion right on the screen.
5. It helped me realize when my body might need some extra recovery time.
I don’t always do the best job of listening to my body when it’s telling me I need a rest day. Fitbit’s Daily Readiness Score (available to Premium subscribers) made that inner voice harder to ignore by assigning me a number ranging from 1 to 100 based on stress factors like my amount of sleep, physical activity, and heart rate variability on a day-to-day basis. (The lower the number, the more likely it is you might need to take it easy.) Charge 6 also has a few other features that can help you keep an eye out for other irregularities, such as an ECG app for taking a heart rhythm assessment, an oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitor and notifications for unusually high and low heart rate activity. Since my resting heart rate tends to be on the lower end, any sudden uptick when I wasn’t exercising helped me slow down and reflect on what was stressing me out, or whether I really needed that second cup of coffee.
6. The apps made long outdoor runs easier to manage.
In addition to the YouTube Music integration, Charge 6 also pairs well with a few of my other favorite Google products — specifically, Maps and Wallet, both available for the first time on a Fitbit tracker. If I was on my own in an unfamiliar place, that meant turn-by-turn directions were just a glance away. Meanwhile, the Wallet app came in handy during weekly jogs with my local run club. Rather than leave the house with a wad of cash or a credit card that could fall out of my pocket, I could use the Wallet app to pay for my post-run coffee with a flick of my wrist on the cafe’s contactless payment system thanks to Charge 6’s built-in NFC chip. And if you’re the kind of person who struggles to disconnect even when you’re mid-stride (guilty), Charge 6 includes at-a-glance message notifications (provided your phone is within 30 feet) and gives you the ability to answer or reject incoming calls with just one tap.