Fitbit Charge 3: Pros And Cons

By Amit Chowdhry ● Updated July 17, 2019

Are you thinking of buying a Fitbit Charge 3? Here are some of the Fitbit Charge 3 pros and cons for you to consider before buying it.

The Fitbit Charge 3 joined the wearables scene as the third-generation of the Charge flagship lines of devices in August 2018. And the release of the Charge 3 was highly anticipated as the Fitbit Charge 2 arrived about two years earlier in September 2016. Fitbit was not sitting idly between the releases of the Charge devices as the wearable company released the Fitbit Ionic in August 2017 and the Fitbit Versa in March 2018 — both of which are high-quality smartwatch devices.

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The Fitbit Charge 3 has a number of new features such as a larger display, waterproofing, and better exercise tracking compared to its predecessor.

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But to get a better idea of whether you should buy one, here are the Fitbit Charge 3 pros and cons:

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Fitbit Charge 3 Pros And Cons

Pro: New Design

In terms of design, the Fitbit Charge 3 was built similar to the Charge 2 device as it also has a rectangular screen. But the Fitbit Charge 3 is thinner so it does not feel as heavy on your wrist. Plus it is 20% lighter in weight as it was built with aluminum rather than stainless steel.

The Charge 3 does not have physical buttons so you will be navigating the device using the high-resolution touch-sensitive display. There is an inductive button on the side of the track for waking it up or going back. And there is a slight vibration to alert you when it is pushed on. You should be able to get used to this design pretty quickly.

Pro: Larger Display

The Fitbit Charge 3 has a 40% larger display than the Charge 2. This provides a more immersive experience with the wearable device. And it also has a resolution increase in order to accommodate the touchscreen design. And with a larger display, it makes it easier to read text even when it is sunny outside.

Pro: Strap Is Easier To Change

The strap design of the Fitbit Charge 3 has been improved in a major way. Rather than the metal clips used on the Charge 2, there is a black button that ejects the strap when it is pushed so you can charge straps easily. Plus the strap is more comfortable than before.

Pro: Better Notifications

Fitbit has improved the way that third-party apps provide notifications on the Charge 3. The Charge 2 was just capable of providing phone call and text message alerts. The Charge 3 allows for timers and weather alerts.

With the latest Fitbit OS updates, you can also send quick replies to text messages and customize the stats that you see. However, this feature just works on Android (not iOS).

Pro: Water-Resistance

The Charge 3 is waterproof, which is a significant improvement over the Charge 2. The Charge 2 was simply water-resistant. As a result, the Charge 3 can be used for tracking your swimming activities. Specifically, the Charge 3 features water resistance of up to 50 meters.

Pro: Female Health Feature

With a software update that arrived in late 2018, the Fitbit Charge 3 supports female health features. This allows you to follow your cycle, log periods, record details, and analyze trends from within the Fitbit app. And this feature creates estimated fertile windows based on the menstrual cycle data that is entered.

Pro: Battery Life Improvements

The battery life is about seven days with normal use, which is higher than the five-day life on the Charge 2. This is much more convenient than smartwatch devices where you will be lucky to get 2 days of use on a single charge.

The battery also shows the percentage left so that you will know when it is a good time to recharge it. This is one of those underrated features that previous Fitbit devices lacked.

Pro: Improved Sensors All Around

The bottom of the Fitbit Charge 3 features the PurePulse heart rate monitor and an SpO2 Pulse oximetry sensor. The heart rate sensor provides 24/7 heart rate tracking. And the sensors work well for workouts, breathing exercises, and swim tracking.

Some of the additional activities that are supported include outdoor running, running on a treadmill, power walking, biking, interval workouts, and weight training. And the exercises are tracked automatically so you do not have to set it up manually. And workouts can be paused without ending sessions.

Pro: Sleep Tracking

The Fitbit Charge 3 supports sleep tracking so you can monitor details about your REM, light sleep, and deep sleep. Some people have trouble sleeping with their device on, but you can get used to it relatively easily. You can also set up silent alarm modes that vibrate gently on your wrist without disturbing anyone.

Con: Display Is Monochrome

The display of the Charge 3 is monochrome, which makes it look a little dull. But this tradeoff seems like it could be worth it for consumers who prefer a longer battery life.

Con: Lack Of Music Controls

The Fitbit Charge 3 does not have the ability to store music. And you cannot use it for controlling music at all. This is kind of a bummer if you are not feeling the song you are listening to during a hardcore workout.

Con: Lack Of GPS

Unfortunately, the Fitbit Charge 3 does not have a dedicated GPS. So outdoor runners will still have to carry their phones around if they want to track their locations and distances. The phone GPS links up with the Fitbit app for distances to work properly.

Con: Charger Is Proprietary 

The Fitbit Charge 3 comes with a proprietary charger. This is a bit of a nuisance if you have spare microUSB and USB-C cables sitting around.

Con: Not Able To Download Apps

You are not able to download apps for the Charge 3. But this does not come as a surprise because the display was not really designed for that. The Charge 3 was simply built for tracking your fitness without the same distractions you get from smartwach devices.

Pricing

The Fitbit Charge 3 is available for sale from Fitbit.com or select retailers and it has a retail price of $149.95.

The Special Edition Charge 3 costs $169.95 and it includes NFC support via Fitbit Pay and a choice of a purple color sport band (with a rose gold case) or a white sport band (with a graphite case). The standard Charge 3 has a black band and a graphite case or blue-grey classic band with a rose gold case. You can buy other classic bands starting from $29.95, sports bands from $29.95, and Horween Leather Bands from $49.95.