My first five days with a smart fitness tracker.

Be aware this is a draft post — please adjust your expectations accordingly. Get in touch if this post could use an improvement.

I’ve held off on buying a device that mines my health data, but a doctor’s visit recently prompted a change.

I bought a Fitbit Charge 5 via Amazon. This could easily have been a Fitbit Inspire 2 and it would have met my needs. However, I wanted to be a little future proof.

I considered an Apple Watch SE for a bit. What made that an unwelcome option was its cost, needing to charge it everyday, and it being a smartwatch that would be one more distraction.
On my Fitbit, I haven’t even enabled notifications. Everything that goes on on my phone should stay on my phone.

The Charge 5 doesn’t look bad at all! I got the navy blue colour and am really happy with it. It’s not trendy as hell but it’s a good balance.

What impressed me…

  • Phenomenal battery life. I think the promise is “up to 7 days” and I think I can manage about 5 to 7 days with my usage patterns so far. It loses about 10-15% everyday.
  • Daily readiness score is really cool. It’s data that’s actually being used and offered back to you for good. More interpreted data please!
  • Sleep scores are great! I thought I slept 9 to 10 hours everyday but it turns out the actual sleep I get is anywhere between 6 to 8.5 hours. My sleep quality is that bad!
  • Reminders to move. Oftentimes I can go a full work day (almost every day really), but the watch buzzes and I know it’s time to take a little break and walk around.
  • It can do ECGs and stress scans! Wild what a little piece of tech can do these days!

Watch out for…

  • I had to purchase this from Amazon India as Fitbit doesn’t seem to have a store in India at all. Not even an online store!
  • Reading the reviews, it seems Fitbit also does not have any service centres. Good luck if this expensive toy breaks. :/
  • Limited watch faces. They are all very fancy which isn’t to my taste.
  • Deleting automatically tracked exercises doesn’t delete its stats. I took a bus ride and it counted over 20k steps and goodness I don’t know how many calories and distance. Deleting the activities did not do anything. This breaks everything: the step count for that day, calories for that day, daily readiness score for the next few days, average step count for the week…
  • The touchscreen is a bit…unresponsive. To wake it up, you need to tap 2-3 times. Everything is good from that point on, but the waking up process isn’t perfect. The turn-wrist-around-and-hand-up gesture is also not perfectly detected, not for me anyway.
  • No native Apple Health sync. There are third party apps… but that’s not great. Health/medical data in the hands of third party apps is a bad idea.
  • You need to subscribe to Fitbit Premium to access a lot of data. In India, it’s… affordable — and I was shocked! I can’t speak for your country.
  • Charging cable plugs into a USB-A style port, and has a proprietary mechanism on the tracker side. I expected USB-C for something this expensive.

Post’s featured image by Fitbit as seen on their website.


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