The Fitbit Charge 5, which was launched just a few months ago, is a pretty impressive fitness tracker, but its predecessor, the Charge 4, may be better suited to your needs – especially if you’re on a tight budget.
The Charge series has always been workout-focused, and the Fitbit Charge 4 was a real game-changer when it arrived in 2020, thanks to its on-board GPS, which allowed wearers to run, walk, and walk without having to carry their phone. Allowed to track bike rides.
It wasn’t the first Fitbit to have a GPS chip (the Fitbit Surge and Ionic even had their own), but it was the thinnest and lightest ever, making it a great option for anyone just getting serious about their running. Gaya.
It was a tough act to follow, but the Fitbit Charge 5 has more. Not only does it house the GPS chip (packaged in a case that’s 10% thinner), it also has an EDA (electrodermal activity) stress monitor, as seen in the Fitbit Sense, as well as a device for checking your heart. There is also an ECG (electrocardiogram) sensor. .
There’s also a new bright color AMOLED screen in place of the Charge 4’s monochrome display, as well as a smart new design that replaces the old watch’s hard angles with smooth lines.
That doesn’t mean the Charge 5 is the best option for everyone, though. Read on to find out all the major differences between the two fitness trackers, and choose the right one for you.
Price and release date
- Fitbit Charge 5 more expensive
- Often huge discounts on Fitbit Charge 4
The Fitbit Charge 4 was launched in April 2020, priced at $149.95 / £129.99 / AU$229.95 (same as the launch price of the Charge 3). It can be found for much more cheap now, especially during sale events like Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday.
The Fitbit Charge 5 was released in September 2021, priced at $179.95 / £169.99 / AU$269.95. We are unlikely to see any significant price discounts for a while now.
In short, the Charge 4 is the cheapest option if your budget is limited, and that’s not likely to change.
design and performance
- The Charge 4 has a plastic case; The Charge 5 has stainless steel
- The Charge 5 has a more modern, streamlined look
- Additional bands are available to purchase separately
Both the Fitbit Charge 4 and Charge 5 are slim devices, with a narrow rectangular case that sits flush with the band. However, this is where the similarities end.
The Charge 4 sports a plastic case with an angular design and a dark color scheme (black, dark blue and dark purple). The Standard Edition has a silicone strap with a plastic buckle, and the Special Edition comes with an additional woven nylon band with reflective threads worked into the material.
The Charge 5 has a stainless steel case, and is 10% thinner than the Charge 4. Its lines are smooth and soft (matching the Fitbit Versa 3, Sense, Inspire 2, and Lux) and it’s available in three colors: black, lunar white, and steel blue. All versions have a silicone infinity band, which uses a soft loop and touch instead of a rigid buckle, which is more comfortable to wear while sleeping.
Additional silicone, fabric, and leather bands for both watches are available to purchase separately, but keep in mind that they use different fittings, so you can’t use the Charge 4 band with the Charge 5 , or vice versa.
- The Charge 4 has a monochrome display
- Charge 5 has AMOLED color
One of our biggest complaints about the Fitbit Charge 4 is its display, which is perfectly serviceable, but doesn’t really do the watch justice. It’s a monochrome OLED touchscreen, with a relatively low resolution that limits the amount of workout data that can be displayed at once, and makes it difficult to check app notifications because you can only see a small snippet of text.
The Fitbit Charge 5’s screen is roughly the same size but a full color AMOLED, with crisp graphics and animations. It looks a lot like the Fitbit Lux, and may actually be the same unit. This is a huge upgrade, and brings the Charge series in line with rival devices from the likes of Xiaomi and Amazfit.
Features of Smartwatch
- Both watches display smartphone notifications
- Both support Fitbit Pay
- Charge 5 doesn’t support Spotify playlists
Neither the Fitbit Charge 4 or Charge 5 are full-fledged smartwatches (for that, you’ll want the Fitbit Sense or Versa 3), but they still offer some useful features outside of fitness tracking.
for example. Both watches can display smartphone notifications, and both feature NFC for making contactless purchases via Fitbit Pay (which could prove extremely useful for grabbing a bottle of water during an unexpectedly hot race). .
Both also have a ‘Smart Wake’ alarm, which gently vibrates the clock at the optimum point of your sleep cycle, so you feel refreshed without disturbing your partner.
If you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber, you might be surprised to learn that the Fitbit Charge 4 allows you to control your playlists from your wrist, but this feature has been removed for the Charge 5.
- Both have on-board GPS
- Charge 5 has ECG and EDA sensors
- Charge 5 Premium gives Readiness Score to customers
Both the Fitbit Charge 4 and Charge 5 have a good suite of on-board GPS, along with a workout tracking mode. That means you’ll still be able to track your location and speed during an outdoor workout, even if you choose a slightly older model.
The Charge 5 has a lot more health and fitness equipment, though — including an EDA (electrodermal activity) sensor, as seen on the Fitbit Sense. It uses the conductivity of your skin to assess the physiological changes caused by stress. The Fitbit app then helps you understand the factors that affect your stress level, and take steps to manage it.
Another feature borrowed from Sense is an ECG sensor and app, which allows you to check for signs of atrial fibrillation. This could be an early sign of heart disease, and while the Charge 5 isn’t a medical device, if it detects something wrong, you can use the Fitbit app to generate a report that you share with your doctor. can do.
If you are a Fitbit Premium subscriber, the Fitbit Charge 5 will also give you a Readiness Score daily. Each morning, it tells you how energetic and healthy you are based on your sleep, recent activity, and heart rate variability. It also uses this data to suggest certain activities for you from the Fitbit app’s catalog of workouts, meditation sessions, and breathing exercises.
For example, if you’re well rested and have lots of energy, the app might suggest hard runs, but if you’re more tired it might suggest that you try a gentle yoga session. Try something with Active Recovery. The Readiness Score tool will only be available to Fitbit Premium customers, so it’s worth factoring in this additional cost in your decision making.
- Need more fitness features? Check out our guide to the best running watches