The Fitbit Charge HR is one of my many christmas presents to myself. I’ve been using it for about 2 weeks now and I think it’s quite a good item.

First off, it keeps track of your heart rate. I wish that the heart rate monitoring was more… finely grained. I don’t think it keeps track of your heart rate 24/7. I think I have some random spikes of heart rates… but it doesn’t show up on my graphs. The other thing is that I wanted to use this device to detect if I have an irregular heart rate… but I think it auto averages over the minute… so even if I had an irregular heart rate… all it would do is raise my average at most a few bpm. So I don’t get to see an instantaneous spike on my charts.

The heart rate is accurate to my knowledge. Much more accurate than the treadmills at the gym. I’ve been using it while working out. Turns out… even max sweat during spin class.. my heart rate barely tops 130bpm. When I do weights.. my heart rate hits 110. Which is surprising… and also expected. The thing is.. my resting calm heart rate is surprisingly variant. It can be 60 ~ 90. Like… if I’m stressed out at work… sitting in front of the computer I’ll have a heart rate of 90. That’s kinda crazy.

The other thing about the fitbit is the built in steps tracker. I think the steps is based on the distance. So.. one of my steps gets logged as two steps. I can’t complain. I think the only benefit is that the fitbit encourages good behaviour. Instead of ordering take out… I walk half a mile to eat out in a restaurant. Because I know that the walk to get food is almost 5000 steps. So… the gamification of working out and exercise actually works. It makes me want to walk more.

The battery life is rated for 5 days. The most that I’ve gone without charging it is 3 days and it’s been going strong. It fully charges within about 1 ~ 2 hours. I normally take it off to charge when I shower. And then forget to put it on afterwards until bedtime and it’s always fully charged. I guess one downside of the charge hr is that it’s not waterproof. I wish that this thing was IP67. If it was.. then I wouldn’t have to worry about wearing it when I’m washing the dishes and stuff.

The sleep tracking isn’t that accurate. The charge HR automatically determines when you go to sleep and the quality of your sleep. I’m not sure how it determines if you’re asleep or awake. But it doesn’t seem accurate. I went to bed and laid awake… but the tracker said I slept like a baby which isn’t accurate. And also… the tracker doesn’t add up naps. So say you slept 5 hours during the night. And took a 2 hour nap. It’ll log that you slept 5 hours the whole day. Because you know… only a huge continguous block of sleep counts right? face palm. How hard is it to sum your daily sleep logs into one daily count? Other people have complained and fitbit does nothing.

I think… overall the fitbit charge hr is great. I wish that they let you access the data via an api. I feel that existing apps are lacking. I could probably write a better sleep monitor and heart rate monitor over a weekend. The fitbit software team… oh shit wait. I know the lead android engineer. Maybe I should just complain to Greg. But anyways… maybe it’s not the android team. The product team decided that naps don’t add to your daily sleep total. Which is stupid AF.

tl-dr - The Charge HR is a really good fitness, sleep and heart rate tracker for the price. The software could be betteer thought