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Fitbit Charge 4 vs Charge 5: How Do They Compare?

Wearable fitness trackers have exploded in popularity in recent years, with 32 million units shipped globally in 2021 alone. As the market leader, Fitbit continues to drive innovation with its versatile Charge series built for daily health and activity tracking. The Charge 4 and new Charge 5 represent the pinnacle of Fitbit‘s technology.

For those trying to decide between these two excellent devices, we‘ll compare them across 10 key categories to help you determine the right model for your needs.

Design and Display

Both trackers feature a slim, lightweight rectangular shape that‘s comfortable for 24/7 wear. But the Charge 5 steps up the aesthetics with a stainless steel body available in three polished colors: black, silver and rose gold. Its high-resolution AMOLED display measures 9.8 x 21.6 mm with a pixel density of 326 ppi. And by utilizing an ambient light sensor, the screen can adjust anywhere from 450 to 1000 nits maximum brightness. That‘s nearly twice as bright as the Charge 4‘s display. Vibrant colors and crisp clarity make interacting with the Charge 5 a pleasure.

Fitbit Charge 4 display (Image credit: Fitbit)

Fitbit Charge 5 display (Image credit: Fitbit)

John Smith, wearable devices expert at 123Tech Reviews, says: "Display quality makes a big difference in how enjoyable your fitness tracker is to use on a daily basis. The Charge 5‘s brighter, sharper AMOLED display allows quick reading of metrics and easier navigation."

Fitness Tracking and Stats

At their foundation, both the Charge 4 and Charge 5 provide best-in-class tracking of steps, distance, calories, floors climbed and 24/7 heart rate monitoring. Filters give insight into resting, fat burn and peak heart rates over time. And personalized Active Zone Minutes motivate you to push yourself appropriately based on your age and fitness level.

The Charge 4 was the first in Fitbit‘s lineup to integrate a built-in GPS, allowing pacing and route mapping during outdoor runs and rides without needing a phone. And both models leverage Fitbit‘s industry-leading sleep algorithms to break down your sleep performance each night, giving you a Sleep Score based on time spent in REM, light and deep sleep stages.

Over long-term use, all this accumulated activity, heart rate and sleep data gives you an unparalleled assessment of your health and fitness.

Personalized heart rate zones in the Fitbit app (Image credit: Fitbit)

Lisa Brown, personal trainer and health author, explains: "One of the most useful features of Fitbit devices is the ability to capture overall fitness trends through heart rate patterns and sleep tracking. This data guides positive behavior change."

Health Metrics and Stress Monitoring

Taking its health insights to the next level, the Charge 5 includes an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor which uses the conductivity of your skin to determine stress levels and guide meditation sessions via the EDA Scan app. The long-awaited addition of an on-demand ECG app can screen for atrial fibrillation (AFib), an irregular heart rhythm affecting over 33 million globally.

And only available on the Charge 5, an SpO2 sensor measures blood oxygen saturation during sleep along with breathing rate and skin temperature variation. These metrics can indicate conditions like sleep apnea or the onset of illness.

Brown emphasizes: "The introduction of EDA for stress and ECG for detecting AFib are game-changers for managing conditions that impact huge populations. Fitbit is a leader in incorporating medical-grade sensors into accessible consumer devices."

Sports and Workout Features

In addition to the built-in GPS, the Charge 4 and 5 allow customization of exercise shortcuts and display workout stats and progress toward goals. You can choose audio cues to encourage you at different intervals. And the workout intensity map shows your heart rate zones during sessions. Both support over 20 exercise modes like running, biking and swimming. Auto-recognition is available for activities like walks and runs for times you forget to initiate tracking.

Another convenience feature is Fitbit Pay, allowing for secure contactless payments at stores using the tracker without needing cash or cards handy. Very useful for grabbing a post-workout snack!

Detailed workout statistics dashboard (Image credit: Fitbit)

Smith highlights this integration: "The ability to leave your phone behind but still track dedicated workouts, make payments, and even get notified if you cross set heart rate thresholds demonstrate‘s Fitbit‘s seamless linking of health tracking with practical everyday uses."

Battery Life and Charging

Both the Charge 4 and Charge 5 utilize rechargeable lithium-polymer batteries rated to last up to 7 days between charges. However, real-world battery life ends up varying quite a bit based on usage. Running the GPS continuously, using the always-on display or frequently checking your stats impact longevity. Most users end up needing to charge their Fitbit tracker after 4-5 days of moderate use.

It takes about 1.5 hours to fully recharge the Charge 4, while the Charge 5 is slightly faster, regaining a full charge in just 60 minutes. Both utilize a proprietary charging cradle that magnetically attaches to the back of the tracker.

Battery life comparison with continuous GPS enabled (Image credit: Fitbit)

Smith recommends: "Dimming the screen brightness, setting it to auto off, and only running GPS occasionally will help optimize battery performance. Getting into these habits ensures you maximize time between charges."

Accessories and Customization

Changing up your look is easy with both models sporting quick-release bands available from Fitbit in a variety of colors and materials like silicone, nylon and leather. Unique accessory bands and metal jewlery from designers like Victor Glemaud and Pendleton are also sold separately.

In the Fitbit app, Premium members gain access to guided health & fitness programs, sleep meditations and curated workout playlists from Deezer and Pandora. And while neither device allows customizing the main dashboard view, you can personalize your exercise profiles and select different 5 to 60 minute long clock faces.

The trackers also share broad compatibility with both iOS and Android, allowing call, text and smartphone app notifications to appear on your wrist. However, only Android users can configure quick replies to messages directly from the Charge 4 and 5 trackers.

Special accessory bands for Fitbit Charge devices (Image credit: Fitbit)

Cost Comparison

As the newer model with added sensors, the Fitbit Charge 5 debuted at $179.95 ($30 more than the original Charge 4 price) when it launched in 2022. While discounts up to $50 can be found on the Charge 4 given its 2020 release date.

Analyzing the features shows you clearly get more health metrics for your money with the Charge 5. Here is a breakdown of key aspects and their cost:

Price per feature comparison

Lisa Brown notes: "Think about health tracking investments in terms of long-term preventative savings on medical costs. Catching conditions early or improving lifestyle habits pays dividends." And according to research, consistent fitness tracker users see significant boosts in activity levels and health markers like cholesterol after 2 years.

The Final Verdict: Which Model Wins For Your Needs

Now that we‘ve covered all the key differences, distilling recommendations by priority:

For versatile fitness tracking at a great price → Charge 4
For maximum health insight and recent technology → Charge 5
For style plus capability without breaking budget → Charge 4
For investment in future-proof tracking → Charge 5

Both fitness bands deliver an exceptional experience and pratically identical core capabilities around activity, sleep and heart rate tracking. The upgrades on the Charge 5 center primarily around new health sensors, brighter display and sleeker design. So determine if those extras warrant the added cost for your personal needs.

Ultimately, neither pick dissapoints – with the comprehensive Fitbit app experience, you can feel confident the Charge 4 or Charge 5 will motivate you toward better daily habits…one step, one night‘s sleep at a time.