It’s been a little over three years since Fitbit’s India journey began. The Fitbit Charge and

Charge HR were the star devices of the Fitbit portfolio back then. Since then Fitbit has

launched three smartwatches and multiple trackers and has also rationalised its portfolio that

got overwhelming for most consumers. Fitbit will begin 2019 with three products in its India

offering – The Ionic and Versa smartwatches and the all-new Fitbit Charge 3. The Versa

along with the Apple Watch Series 4 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch was our favourite

wearable for 2018. It demonstrated Fitbit’s successful transition to the smartwatch from the

activity tracker. But there’s still a large audience that believes the activity tracker can get the

job done. The Charge 3 is aimed at them.

 

Product render of Fitbit Charge 3, 3QTR view, in Classic Blue Gray and Rose Gold

One of the reasons we dig the Versa is it’s elegant, almost chic design. The Charge 3 joins the

Versa as one of the best designed Fitbit wearables yet. It sits effortlessly on your wrist and

comes with a larger (40% according to Fitbit) and significantly brighter screen than its

predecessors. It’s a greyscale display, so no colours but it’s not your regular, dull black and

white screen. In the past Fitbit’s trackers featured touch screens that needed a lot of ‘poking’

to get around. Not this one. It’s a joy to navigate the screen. There are no physical buttons on

the side. You will find what Fitbit calls an ‘inductive button’, a slight depression with a

haptic response on the side that you hardly need to use thanks to the effortless on-screen

navigation.

Product render of Fitbit Charge 3, 3 quarter view, showing weather and timer in app switcher

 

Fitbit was quick to realise that fitness trackers also double up as fashion accessories. The

Charge 3 comes in a range of colours and metallic finishes with a host of slinky straps

including a ‘light as air’ sports band and an elegant woven strap. This is the activity tracker to

beat in terms of design aesthetics. To call the Charge 3 a fitness tracker might not be an

entirely fair description. It’s almost at the intersection of a barebones tracker and a

smartwatch.

 

Product render of Fitbit Charge 3, 3 quarter view, showing steps

 

You get all of Fitbit’s bells and whistles in the wellness department. From heart rate

monitoring, sleep tracking, calorie and step counts. Add Fitbit’s terrific companion App and

you have a solid package. Just like all other Fitbit wearables the Charge 3 talks to both Apple

and Android smartphones. Then there’s the battery life. Fitbit claims seven days and after 5

days of testing we think it’s an accurate assessment of the battery’s capabilities. Fitbit never

stops surprising us (and not always pleasantly) with its chargers for each device and the

Charge 3 comes with yet another new custom charger that is unique to this device.

Clearly the Fitbit Charge 3 ticks enough boxes as a tracker. What about smart features?

There’s no GPS but you can hook up with your smartphone via Bluetooth for call and text

alerts, calendar alerts and also weather updates. The watch face options are quite limited

(especially when you compare it with Fitbit smartwatches like the Ionic and Versa) and Fitbit

Pay, Fitbit’s digital pay solution is still awaiting RBI clearance in India. So, you can’t ‘wave’

your Fitbit to make payments yet. There are no Apps or games or news alerts that the Charge

3 can boast of currently. You can’t store or stream music either.

Has Fitbit hit a sweet spot with the Charge 3, a sort of smart tracker that does a little more

than just the run of the mill tracker? That judgement might entirely boil down to each

individual and what you expect from your wearable. Fitbit’s key communication challenge

for the Charge 3 will be to justify the premium over the heaps of activity trackers available in

India for less than Rs 10,000. If you prefer a less intrusive wearable the Charge 3 might

actually be all the smart tracker that you need. It’s one of the best Fitbit devices we’ve used

ever. But if music is critical and you prefer a vibrant colour display, the Rs 6000 extra for the

Fitbit Versa might be well worth it.

 

The Fitbit Charge 3 costs Rs 13,990. The Special Editions with a woven strap or sports

band are priced at Rs 15,999.

 

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