With Fitbit’s Charge 2 now officially on the market—and replacing previous model Charge HR—many have been weighing in on the expanded features of the fitness tracker, which now does so much more than simply track steps or measure calories burned.

With an improved vertical OLED Display (i.e. the same display in luxury TVs and computers) that is large enough to display steps, heart beat, and the time all at once, the Charge 2 offers many fitness features accessible from a screen that turns on with just a lift-to-look gesture or a firm tap on the screen or side button. A basic rundown of the key features, beyond the always-on heart rate monitor, includes a stopwatch, exercise tracking modes (everything from running to weightlifting), and FitBit’s new mindfulness/breathing app, “Relax.” While the Charge 2 can’t make calls or fully interact with your phone, messages, appointments, and incoming calls can scroll across the screen. Think of it as 2016’s version of the beeper.


Specific to Fitbit’s upgrade of their device is a new measurement available via the smartphone app, called a Cardio Fitness Score. Reducing a somewhat nebulous measurement of heart rate and activity to a numerical range on a scale, the FitBit app can tell you if your number is good relative to people of your age, gender, effectively determining your fitness level. The app also offers ways to improve your score, tied in to any other fitness goals programmed via the app. Specifically, it accomplishes this through a simulation of your VO2 max, a test for cardiovascular health, and a combination of BMI and other entered body measurements.


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There are several features that the Charge 2 is missing in comparison to other trackers. For starters, it’s not waterproof, meaning your swim performance will remain a mystery for the time being. GPS is also only an option if you carry your phone with you. Despite these drawbacks, the Charge 2 is an accessible, multi-use tracker that offers more features than luxury brands (i.e. Apple Watch) and many ways to effectively gauge your fitness. With swappable leather and rubber bands, it’s customization possibilities will also keep you stylish and fairly under-budget.

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