The new Fitbit Charge 6 aims to be the most advanced fitness tracker yet from the pioneer of fitness wearables. Packed with upgraded health sensors, workout modes, and smart features, the Charge 6 builds on Fitbit’s legacy of powerful fitness bands.
With a built-in GPS, over 20 exercise modes, and an improved heart rate algorithm, the Fitbit Charge 6 provides robust activity tracking. New additions like gym equipment connectivity and Google app integrations add extra functionality. Meanwhile, the return of the side button addresses a longstanding user complaint.
While not a full smartwatch, the Charge 6 offers many of Fitbit’s excellent health tracking capabilities in a slender and affordable package. It presents a compelling option for fitness enthusiasts wanting an optimized band for training.
Wearable technology has come a long way in the last decade. What started as simple step counters have evolved into sophisticated smartwatches capable of everything from contactless payments to blood oxygen monitoring. Fitbit has been at the forefront of this wearables revolution since launching its first fitness tracker in 2009.
The Fitbit Charge line represents the company’s most popular and enduring fitness band series. With the new Charge 6, Fitbit has added several key upgrades to create its most advanced tracker to date.
This in-depth Fitbit Charge 6 review covers everything you need to know about Fitbit’s newest band:
- Design and Display
- Activity and Workout Tracking
- Heart Rate and Health Metrics
- Sleep and Stress Tracking
- Smart Features and Apps
- Battery Life
- Pricing and Availability
- Pros and Cons
By evaluating all aspects of the Fitbit Charge 6, this review aims to help you decide if it’s the right fitness tracker for your needs and budget. While no device is perfect, the Charge 6 is a compelling option in the fitness wearables market. Let’s dive in and see how it compares to the competition and previous Fitbit models.
Activity and Workout Tracking in Fitbit Charge 6
As a fitness band, activity tracking is the bread and butter of the Fitbit Charge 6. This section examines how well the Charge 6 handles your workouts and daily movement.
Built-in GPS and Exercise Modes
One of the Charge 6’s major upgrades is the addition of built-in GPS. This allows the tracker to accurately record pace, distance, route, and map your outdoor workouts without bringing your phone. The built-in GPS also enables features like pace alerts for running and biking.
In addition to GPS, the Charge 6 features over 20 new exercise modes including:
- Strength training
- Interval training
With 40+ total exercise modes, the Fitbit Charge 6 covers everything from cardio to combat sports. You can now view the full list directly on your wrist rather than scrolling through a limited selection. This makes starting activities quicker.
During workouts, you can customize data screens to show the metrics most important to you. Options include heart rate zone, pace, and lap stats. The Charge 6 will also buzz when you hit target heart rate zones to keep you focused.
SmartTrack and Gym Equipment Connectivity
Like previous Fitbits, the Charge 6 features SmartTrack to automatically detect and record activities after 10+ minutes of movement. This capability works well for walking, running, biking, and swimming. However, some users report occasional mismatches or unregistered short workouts.
New to the Fitbit Charge 6 is connectivity with gym equipment like Peloton bikes and NordicTrack treadmills. When paired over Bluetooth, the Charge 6 can display your real-time heart rate from your wrist to the equipment’s screen. This helps you train in your optimal zones.
Heart Rate Accuracy
Fitbit claims the Charge 6 has its most accurate heart rate sensor ever, thanks to an improved algorithm. Testing showed up to 60% greater accuracy during HIIT, spinning, and rowing workouts specifically. In general use, the Charge 6 provided reliable heart rate tracking compared to a chest strap.
The enhanced sensor makes the Charge 6 better equipped for high intensity training. More accurate heart rate data also leads to better calorie burn estimates and fitness insights.
Activity Tracking and Motivation
All-day activity tracking has always been a Fitbit strength. The Charge 6 continues this tradition with detailed stats on steps, distance, calories burned, and active minutes. You can check your real-time metrics directly on the tracker.
On the motivation side, the Fitbit Charge 6 monitors Active Zone Minutes – time spent in fat burn, cardio, and peak heart rate zones. Earning 150 Active Zone Minutes per week is the goal for optimal health.
With the robust workout support and motivation tools, the Charge 6 stands out as a great option for fitness enthusiasts wanting to take their training to the next level.
Heart Rate and Health Metrics
In addition to fitness, the Fitbit Charge 6 provides extensive health tracking capabilities. This section examines the heart rate monitoring and other health sensors packed into Fitbit’s newest band.
24/7 Heart Rate Tracking
Continuous heart rate monitoring is one of the Charge 6’s signature features. The improved PurePulse sensor uses LED lights to detect blood volume changes in your wrist. This allows the Fitbit Charge 6 to record your heart rate 24/7.
You can check your current heart rate on the tracker at any time. The always-on display shows your real-time heart rate when you lift your wrist. Heart rate data is essential for accurate calorie burn, sleep tracking, and detecting trends over time.
Heart Health Features
Beyond day-to-day heart rate tracking, the Charge 6 has several advanced heart health features:
High and low heart rate alerts – Get notified if your heart rate goes above or below preset thresholds while inactive. This can indicate underlying conditions.
Irregular heart rhythm notifications – The Charge 6 can alert you to possible atrial fibrillation (AFib) based on heart rhythm assessments.
On-wrist ECG app – Take on-demand electrocardiogram readings using the sensors on the back of the Charge 6. Further evaluates heart rhythm.
Cardio fitness score – Measures your overall cardiovascular health based on heart rate, exercise, and other indicators. Provides tips to improve your score.
Additional Health Sensors
Along with the optical heart rate sensor, the Fitbit Charge 6 contains several other sensors to track key health metrics:
- SpO2 sensor: Measures blood oxygen saturation levels during sleep and on demand. Low levels may signify health issues.
- Skin temperature sensor: Tracks changes in your skin temperature to detect possible fever or illness.
- EDA sensor: Senses electrodermal activity to determine your body’s response to stress. Powers the EDA Scan stress check feature.
By combining heart rate with these additional sensors, the Fitbit Charge 6 provides a comprehensive overview of your health beyond just fitness.
Female Health Tracking
Within the Fitbit app, female users can track menstrual cycle symptoms and compare them against biometrics like heart rate and sleep. This helps you understand the physical effects of your menstrual cycle.
Overall, if you are looking for robust 24/7 health metrics from your fitness band, the Charge 6 has you covered with its array of sensors. The added health insight can motivate you to make better lifestyle choices.
Sleep and Stress Tracking
Along with fitness and overall health, the Fitbit Charge 6 also provides detailed tracking of your sleep and stress levels. These features can reveal insights about your overall wellbeing.
Sleep Tracking and Analysis
With its optical heart rate sensor and motion detection, the Charge 6 automatically tracks your sleep stages and quality metrics:
- Sleep score – Overall nightly sleep score based on time slept, restlessness, and sleep stages.
- Sleep stages – Breakdown of light, deep, and REM sleep. Requires Fitbit Premium subscription to access.
- Sleep insights – Personalized tips for improving your sleep over time based on your metrics.
- Smart alarm – Wakes you up at the optimal time based on your sleep cycle data. Avoids waking you from deep sleep.
- Blood oxygen levels – Tracks SpO2 levels while you sleep to identify disruptions.
- Heart rate tracking – Monitors heartbeat and restless nights that can impact energy levels.
With this comprehensive data, you can better understand your sleep quality and create bedtime routines to improve it.
Stress Tracking Features
Managing stress is key to overall health. The Fitbit Charge 6 provides several convenient tools to assess and deal with daily stress:
- EDA scans – On-demand electrodermal activity scan measures your body’s response to stress.
- Guided breathing – Follow on-screen breathing prompts to calm your mind through meditation.
- Stress Management Score – Tracks your body’s ability to handle stress and recommends ways to relax.
While not as extensive as dedicated meditation wearables, these features make the Charge 6 helpful for monitoring and reacting to stressful situations throughout your day.
In summary, the Fitbit Charge 6 provides extensive insight into your sleep and stress alongside its fitness tracking capabilities. This paints a fuller picture of your health and wellbeing compared to more basic activity bands. With its comprehensive data, the Charge 6 empowers you to make positive lifestyle improvements.
Smart Features and Apps
While not a full-fledged smartwatch, the Fitbit Charge 6 does offer some handy smart capabilities. These include music controls, notifications, contactless payments, and tighter integration with Google services.
Notifications and Quick Replies
When paired to your phone, the Fitbit Charge 6 can display call, text, and smartphone app notifications on your wrist. This allows you to view alerts even when your phone is out of reach.
For Android users, the Charge 6 supports quick pre-set replies to text messages. You can respond without touching your phone. However, iPhone users cannot currently reply from the Charge 6.
The Fitbit Charge 6 is the first Fitbit tracker to support Google Wallet for contactless payments. After setting up a pin code on your device, you can pay at compatible payment terminals by holding the band near the reader.
This provides the convenience of payments from your wrist without needing to carry your physical wallet or phone. It utilizes NFC technology and works anywhere Google Pay is accepted.
You can control music playback and volume on your paired smartphone using the Fitbit Charge 6. However, music control is currently limited to YouTube Music. Support for services like Spotify is not available.
Controlling YouTube Music from your wrist is convenient for workouts. But the lack of broader music support is disappointing compared to earlier Fitbits. A YouTube Music subscription is also required.
Google Maps and Apps
Thanks to Fitbit’s ownership by Google, the Charge 6 has tighter integrations with Google services:
- Google Maps – View turn-by-turn directions from your wrist when navigating with your phone.
- Google Wallet – As mentioned, use contactless payments through the Charge 6.
- YouTube Music – Control music playback and see exercise-based recommendations.
The addition of Google Maps and Wallet brings helpful tools to your wrist that utilize the Charge 6’s connectivity. However, it does steer you into the Google ecosystem.
The Fitbit Charge 6 comes with a 6-month free trial of Fitbit Premium. This unlocks extra insights and analytics such as:
- Daily Readiness Score
- Detailed sleep data
- Wellness reports
- Guided workout programs
- Mindfulness content
After the trial ends, Fitbit Premium costs $9.99 per month or $79.99 annually. The subscription is optional but provides more robust health data.
The Fitbit Charge 6 expands upon basic activity tracking with helpful smart features. Google integrations like Maps and Wallet add more avenues for convenience, while music controls and notifications keep you connected. However, the exclusive focus on YouTube Music is disappointing. Overall the smart capabilities provide useful additions without overcomplicating the Charge 6’s core purpose as a fitness wearable.
Good battery life is essential for any wearable device. With its slim design, the Fitbit Charge 6 does not have the largest battery. However, optimizations allow it to achieve a competitive battery life.
With regular daily use consisting of activity tracking, notifications, and sleep monitoring, Fitbit claims the Charge 6 lasts up to 7 days on a single charge.
In testing, the Charge 6 lasted around 4-5 days with daily 1-hour GPS workouts, continuous heart rate monitoring, and blood oxygen tracking at night. This aligns with Fitbit’s estimate of “up to” 7 day maximum battery life.
Turning on the always-on display or using features like Google Maps more regularly reduces battery life. But for typical use, the Charge 6 should still last several days between charges.
GPS and Workout Battery Life
When using continuous GPS to track outdoor activities like running or hiking, the Charge 6 has a battery life of 12+ hours according to Fitbit.
During testing, a 1-hour outdoor bike ride with GPS activated used around 20% of the tracker’s battery. This suggests the 12 hour GPS runtime is reasonable. However, very long endurance activities may require external battery packs.
For comparison, the Apple Watch Series 8 has a GPS runtime of 12 hours, while the Garmin Vivosmart 5 is rated for 8 hours. Overall the Fitbit Charge 6 provides competitive GPS tracking battery life for a fitness band.
The Fitbit Charge 6 utilizes a new rapid charging system that can fully recharge the tracker in about 1-2 hours. This allows you to quickly top up your battery before heading out for a full day and night of use.
Overall, while not best-in-class, the Fitbit Charge 6 battery life is sufficient for day-to-day fitness tracking and GPS workouts. The quick recharge capability helps mitigate any battery anxieties.
Pricing and Availability
The Fitbit Charge 6 is positioned as an affordable fitness tracker compared to more expensive smartwatches. Here is an overview of the pricing and where to buy the Charge 6:
- Price: $159.95 in the US (£139.99 in UK, €179.95 in Europe)
- Colors: Black, Silver/White, Gold/Coral
- Release Date: October 2022
- Where to Buy: Fitbit.com, Amazon, Best Buy, and other major retailers
At $159.95, the Charge 6 costs $20 less than the original Charge 5 price of $179.95. This makes it very competitively priced against rivals like the $149.99 Garmin Vivosmart 5.
While still a significant purchase, the Fitbit Charge 6 costs much less than premium smartwatches like the $299 Fitbit Sense 2 or $400 Apple Watch Series 8. For buyers focused primarily on fitness tracking, the Charge 6 provides great value.
The Fitbit Charge 6 is available for preorder now on Fitbit’s website and major retailers like Amazon and Best Buy. The official worldwide release date is October 2022.
In addition to the tracker itself, Fitbit offers bands and accessories to customize the look of your Charge 6. Prices for bands range from $29.95 to $49.95.
With its sub-$160 price tag, the Charge 6 is very affordable compared to fully-featured smartwatches. For the price, you get robust fitness tracking and health sensors packed into a stylish wristband. The lower cost makes the Charge 6 accessible while still providing great value through its capabilities.
Pros and Cons
Like any gadget, the Fitbit Charge 6 has both advantageous features and some drawbacks. This section examines the key pros and cons of Fitbit’s new fitness band.
Accurate built-in GPS: The integrated GPS provides accurate pace and distance for outdoor activities without needing your phone.
Long battery life: Up to 7 days of regular use or 12+ hours of continuous GPS training between charges.
Robust health tracking: Advanced sensors like EDA, ECG, and SpO2 allow in-depth health insights.
Sleep tracking: Comprehensive sleep stage and quality metrics help improve your sleep.
Stress management tools: EDA scans and mindfulness features aid with managing stress.
Motivational features: Active Zone Minutes, Daily Readiness Scores, and other metrics inspire you to reach fitness goals.
Google Maps and Wallet: Helpful addition of apps like Google Maps brings more smart functionality to your wrist.
Improved heart rate accuracy: Upgraded sensor provides greater heart rate precision during workouts.
Connects to gym equipment: Ability to pair with machines like Peloton to display real-time heart rate is a nice upgrade.
Limited to YouTube Music: No offline music storage or support for other music services like Spotify.
Smaller screen: Can make reading notifications more difficult compared to a full smartwatch display.
No fall detection: Lacks this important safety feature available on the Apple Watch and some Fitbits.
Occasional syncing issues: Some reviewers report inconsistent syncing with their smartphones at times.
Redesigned Fitbit app: The updated Fitbit app is less intuitive compared to the previous version.
The Fitbit Charge 6 shines as an affordable fitness tracker with accurate GPS, long battery life, in-depth health insights, gym connectivity, and motivational features. The addition of Google apps enhances the smart functionality. Drawbacks like the lack of fall detection and music service limitations prevent it from being a perfect device, but overall the pros outweigh the cons for most users. The Charge 6 succeeds in delivering robust tracking and training features in a compact fitness band design.
The Fitbit Charge 6 represents an impressive refinement of Fitbit’s popular line of fitness bands. It packs enhanced sensors, battery life, and smart features into a slender tracker designed for active users.
The built-in GPS, a multitude of exercise modes, and connectivity to gym equipment make the Fitbit Charge 6 a versatile workout companion. Motivational tools like Active Zone Minutes help you push your fitness to the next level.
Advanced sensors track key health metrics 24/7 such as heart rate, blood oxygen, EDA, and skin temperature. Detailed sleep and stress tracking provide a more complete picture of your overall wellness. Women’s health tracking adds further insight.
While not a full-fledged smartwatch, handy features like notifications, Google apps, and contactless payments grant some helpful smartwatch functionality to the Charge 6. However, the lack of offline music storage and third-party music service support is a letdown.
With 7 days of battery life, rapid charging capabilities, and a bright AMOLED touchscreen, the Charge 6 hardware provides a robust fitness tracking experience in a lightweight and comfortable wristband design. The lower $159.95 price point makes it very affordable compared to premium smartwatches that can cost $200-$400 more.
The Fitbit Charge 6 successfully builds upon previous Charge models with key upgrades like the side button, GPS, gym connectivity, and Google integrations. If you want a dedicated fitness tracker with some supporting smart features at a reasonable price, the Fitbit Charge 6 is an excellent option. It hits the sweet spot between basic bands and full smartwatches.
A sports watch like the Garmin Fenix 7 or Forerunner 255 may be preferable to the Fitbit Charge 6 for serious athletes wanting extremely in-depth training data. And the Apple Watch Series 8 provides fuller smartwatch capabilities for iPhone users willing to pay more.
But for everyday fitness enthusiasts who don’t need the most hardcore training tools or a complete smartwatch, the Charge 6 warrants consideration. Its well-rounded activity tracking, motivation capabilities, and improved health sensors make it Fitbit’s most capable fitness band to date. If 24/7 health insights in a comfortable and affordable package matter most, the Charge 6 delivers everything you need.