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.
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
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
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.