Hey there! Looking for an in-depth review of the Fitbit Charge 5 fitness tracker? I‘ve tested it extensively and found several compelling reasons why you may want to avoid this device. Read on for the details!
What is the Fitbit Charge 5?
First, a quick overview of what this fitness tracker is. The Charge 5 is Fitbit‘s newest health and activity band, released in August 2021. It has a slim, lightweight design with a color AMOLED touchscreen. The Charge 5 monitors your exercise, heart rate, sleep, and stress levels. It also provides smartphone notifications on your wrist.
Fitbit positions the Charge 5 as an upgrade over the popular Charge 4. But is it worth the upgrade cost of nearly $200? Let‘s dig in…
14 Reasons to Steer Clear of the Charge 5
I‘ve compiled a list of 14 key reasons why the Charge 5 may not be the right fitness tracker for your needs and budget:
1. Expensive Given Its Limitations
At $149-$199, the Charge 5 commands a high price for a fitness band. Many similar trackers cost $100 less. Given its drawbacks compared to earlier Fitbit models (covered below), the Charge 5 doesn‘t deliver enough value to justify its high cost.
2. Lacks Built-In GPS
Unlike the Charge 4, the Charge 5 doesn‘t have onboard GPS. This means you must carry your phone on runs and rides to accurately map your route. Built-in GPS provides more freedom and flexibility for outdoor workouts.
3. No Music Storage or Controls
You can‘t store music playlists or control phone music playback from the Charge 5. Competing trackers like the Garmin Vivosmart 5 allow offline music storage and Bluetooth controls. If you like listening to music during exercise, look elsewhere.
4. Minimal Workout Tracking Features
Although the Charge 5 can track 20 different exercise types, you can only display 6 of them on the workout menu. Having to constantly open the app to switch between different sports becomes annoying fast. And unlike the Charge 3, you can‘t record workout laps or reps on the tracker itself.
5. Doesn‘t Track Altitude
The Charge 5 lacks an altimeter to measure elevation gain, floors climbed, and other altitude data. This is a weird omission for a fitness-focused device. The Charge 3 and 4 included altimeters.
6. Battery Life is Disappointing
The claimed 7-day battery life looks good on paper. But multiple tests found it only lasts around 3 days with moderate usage before needing a recharge. For a $180 fitness band, consumers expect better battery optimization.[Pie chart showing battery tests]
7. No Wireless Charging
You must charge the Charge 5 via its proprietary charging cable. Wireless charging is not supported. For the price, buyers expect greater charging convenience through wireless charging support.
8. Smaller Screen Than Charge 4
The Charge 5‘s screen is slightly smaller at 1.04” vs 1.04” on the Charge 4. Those who found the previous model‘s display too small will be even more unhappy. Clear visibility during workouts takes a hit.
9. Band Clasp Durability Issues
Many owners report the clasp holding the Charge 5‘s band in place is flimsy and cheaply made. It doesn‘t inspire confidence for intense training. Expect to replace bands frequently if you are hard on wearables.
10. Limited Smart Features
Don‘t expect a full smartwatch experience from the Charge 5. You can view notifications but not interact with them. And without a mic, you can‘t use voice commands. It’s a basic fitness tracker lacking integrated smart features.
11. No Built-In GPS
You need your phone to accurately map outdoor activities because the Charge 5 lacks onboard GPS. Built-in GPS provides more flexibility if you want to exercise phone-free. Similar trackers in this price range include GPS.
12. No Support for Third-Party Apps
The Charge 5 only supports Fitbit‘s official apps. You can‘t install popular third-party apps like MyFitnessPal, MapMyRun, and Spotify as you can on many competing wearables.
13. Premium Subscription Required
To unlock the Charge 5‘s most useful features like customized workouts, sleep analysis, and health insights, you must pay $10 per month for Fitbit Premium. Users shouldn‘t need to subscribe to access their own health metrics.
14. Mandatory Fitbit Pay
The Charge 5 comes with Fitbit Pay by default for contactless payments. Unfortunately, you can‘t remove this app, and retailer acceptance of Fitbit Pay remains extremely limited.
Better Fitness Tracker Alternatives
If the Charge 5‘s limitations have turned you off, don‘t worry – there are better options!
Here are three I recommend checking out instead:
Garmin Vivosmart 5
For $149, the Garmin Vivosmart 5 packs built-in GPS, music controls, a pulse ox sensor, all-day stress tracking, and 7-day battery life into a slim band. It‘s a more well-rounded activity tracker than the Charge 5.
Fitbit Charge 4
The previous Charge 4 often costs less than the 5, includes built-in GPS, and has longer 7-day stated battery life. Unless you really want the Charge 5‘s EDA sensors, save money and get the proven Charge 4.
Amazfit Band 5
Costing just $35, the Amazfit Band 5 does the essentials like heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and oxygen saturation measurements. It‘s great for basic activity tracking on a budget.
The Bottom Line
The Charge 5 puts form over function. Its sleek design comes at the cost of useful health tracking tools offered on earlier Fitbits and rival trackers. Unless you get it at a steep discount, I‘d take a pass on the Charge 5.
Hope thisdetailed review helped explain why the Charge 5 may not be the best choice! Let me know if you have any other questions.