The market for fitness bands is unquestionably shrinking, thanks in large part to the massive popularity of smartwatches. However, 13.1 million total exports in the first quarter of 2021 are nothing to sneeze at. People continue to purchase non-watch fitness trackers due to their reduced cost and lack of intrusiveness. The latest generation of Fitbit’s Charge series, which was just announced via the Google Keyword blog, appears to blur the line between the categories even more. A color touchscreen, as well as ECG (heart) and EDA (stress) sensors, have been added to the latest iteration of the premium fitness band.
- Trackers: Charge 5 continues the trickle-down of functionality from Fitbit’s higher-end wearables to its everyday activity trackers. To further assist you monitor your heart health and stress, this updated edition of the device has both ECG and EDA sensors, which were initially found in the higher-end Sense.
- Features: Naturally, smartwatch-level features come with a $30 price increase, bringing the total to $180, placing it on par with the Versa 2 for 2019 and $50 less than the Versa 3. Fitbit also provides a number of less expensive trackers, such as the $100 Inspire 2, though it is fully aware that it cannot compete on the ultra-low end of the market.
- Recommendations: The addition of ECG monitoring to the band provides a feature to the band that was previously only available on more expensive smartwatches. It’s a hit with consumers and physicians alike, who frequently use it for daily monitoring of illnesses like a-fib. This is in addition to heart rate monitoring, which can be utilized around the clock thanks to week-long battery life.
- Monitors: EDA monitoring, which Fitbit first offered on the Sense last fall, is designed to detect a wearer’s stress levels by way of their finger sweat glands. That’s coupled with a “Stress Management Score” available through the Fitbit app, “so you can see each morning if you’re mentally ready to take on more challenges, or if you need to recharge.”
- Partners: In addition, Fitbit is partnering with Calm and Premium users will get access to “30 pieces of Calm content in seven languages,” with users able to run an EDA scan at the same time as listening to a Calm-created mindfulness session. Or they will be, since the material is expected to arrive at some point in September.