Apple watch vs Fitbit Charge

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by eclipse01, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. eclipse01 macrumors 68020

    eclipse01

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    #1
    I know they are two different things for the most part and a pretty big price difference, but how does the health features/app and accuracy compare to a Charge HR?
     
  2. Newtons Apple macrumors P6

    Newtons Apple

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    #2
    The charge HR is my choice to wear every day while my Apple watches sit in the drawer. It is the smallest of the trackers that have wrist based HR built in.

    The HR sensors in the Charge HR blows the AW sensors out of the water. You can even wear it loose and it still does your HR. The Fitbit software is awesome and centered for fitness rather than having fitness as an "add-on".

    If you want to track your fitness the Charge HR is superior to the AW.
     
  3. Thai macrumors 6502a

    Thai

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    #3
    Isn't Fitbit being sued for inaccurate HR? That reading that you're getting from wearing it loose is a fake one. By definition and the way that the tech reads your pulse, the watch MUST be snug.
     
  4. BlueMoon63 macrumors 68000

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    #4
    And we all know that all lawsuits are legitimate :) If Fitbit uses anything other than blood flow for reading, it will most likely be better.
     
  5. jdmagoo1 macrumors regular

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    May 5, 2010
    #5
    Just be careful about how accurate the HR data is? Fitbit is notorious for having wildly inaccurate HR data, the only thing good about fitbits is their consistency, they will consistently show inaccurate calories and HR data which over time will show a trend but for things like strava is no good.

    The Apple Watch HR data is exceptional provided the band is tight and you are not using it for weight lifting.

    Just google some reviews on the two and see for yourself
     
  6. BlueMoon63 macrumors 68000

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    #6
    OS3 has been much better for heart rate monitoring. I am impressed and it worked well for me but stinks when golfing for obvious reasons. With OS3, even golf has held the heart rate for two hours.
     
  7. Relentless Power macrumors P6

    Relentless Power

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    #7
    I prefer the Apple Watch personally for health and notifications. But the Fitbit is still a great fitness tracker.
     
  8. Thai macrumors 6502a

    Thai

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    #8
    Recent quote from guy who designed the heart rate sensors on AW:

    "I’m so proud of my contribution to the heart rate sensor because it’s generally discussed as the most accurate sensor that Apple has ever put in a product. It had to be, because you look at the trials and tribulations of a company like Fitbit. Fitbit is great, don’t get me wrong, but they are wading through lawsuits right now about the accuracy of the heart rate sensor. They didn’t put enough thought into the use cases."

    -------------------

    And I have also noticed improved consistency in HR with OS3. I think that Fitbit and Garmin rushed their wrist HR sensors to market.
     
  9. exxxviii, Aug 19, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016

    exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

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    May 20, 2015
    #9
    This is a bigger answer... The actual data capture between the AW and Fitibit are commodity and largely the same. However, the supporting AW software is worst in market in the activity tracker space. So, when it comes to analysis and visualization across platforms, the AW is a fail. It improves with OS3, but it is still way behind market. These are some of my hopes for future improvements with the AW to get it up to pace with the Fitbit Charge HR and similar trackers. (My favorite in this class is the vivosmart HR.)
    • HR Accuracy is similar across devices (you can find as many claims about AW sucking as you can for Garmin and Fitbit)
    • Apple needs to give us a web interface for more advanced visualizations
    • Apple needs to upgrade the Activity app to present activity, HR, sleep, etc. in a single integrated view
    • Apple needs to give us social tracking and challenge features
    • Apple needs to allow manual activity entry that moves bi-directionally (may be coming in OS3)
    • Apple needs to give us better data integration with other platforms that moves bi-directionally (may be coming in OS3)
    • Apple needs to give us resting HR analysis
    • Apple needs to give us sleep tracking
    • Apple needs to give us better weight integration
    • Apple needs to give us calorie intake tracking
    The list above are the AW features missing that will simply get it equal to the market. You can achieve some of the above with multiple third-party apps. However, most apps are mediocre at best. And, you are talking about five or six different apps to do what Fitbit and Garmin do with excellence in a single app platform.

    I use Garmin, Fitbit, and AW activity tracking devices. I used to like the Fitbit platform for activity tracking, but now the Garmin is growing on me. Apple is so far behind that the AW is barely relevant.
     
  10. sean000 macrumors 6502a

    sean000

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    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #10
    Do you mostly want a fitness tracker or a smartwatch?

    The Fitbit might be the better fitness tracker for you, or it might not. I used to be a Fitbit user, but it wasn't very useful for cycling (my main activity) and I never used the social features. Your mileage may vary with any of these frackers when it comes to HR. Both work fine for some and not so well for others. I wouldn't base the decision on which one claims for better accuracy. Choose on other features. If your choice doesn't work for you then return it.

    As a smartwatch there is no comparison. The Apple Watch has many more features and is much better looking (including the ability to choose from countless interchangeable watch bands from Apple and other manufacturers).

    If it's a smartwatch you are after then the question is does the Apple Watch meet your fitness and health tracking needs? It fits my needs just fine, but your needs might be different. If you are in no hurry you might want to see what health and activity tracking improvements Watch OS3 brings.

    Sean
     
  11. rasputin1969 macrumors 6502

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    Mar 4, 2010
    #11
    While I like my Apple watch it simply does not compare to the charge HR when it comes to fitness tracking. DC Rainmaker's review of the Apple watch is quite illuminating. TLDR - the Apple watch just isn't a good fitness tracker.

    http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/02/apple-watch-review.html
     
  12. exxxviii, Aug 20, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016

    exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

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    May 20, 2015
    #12
    Quick vocabulary/function clarification. There are two classes of devices and functions that are distinctly different.

    Fitness Tracking: Measuring and presenting metrics like pace or speed, distance, elevation, mapping, etc. during a specific athletic activity like running, cycling, swimming

    Activity Tracking: Capturing general metrics like sleep, steps, stair climbing, HR, etc. while simply wearing the device all day and night long

    The Fitbit Charge HR is an Activity Tracking device, not a fitness tracking device. All of the feature gaps I listed above pertain to the AW as an Activity Tracker, although some do crossover to fitness tracking (like manual activity entry).

    The Charge HR is a very limited Fitness Tracking device. The AW may be better than the Charge HR at fitness tracking. The Charge HR is freaking awesome at Activity Tracking. The AW is inferior to the Charge HR at activity tracking.
     
  13. Newtons Apple macrumors P6

    Newtons Apple

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    #13
    I can not agree. Both of my Apple watches loose HR and get stuck in the measuring mode all the time. What good it accuracy if it can not even detect it.

    I must be lucky as my Fitbit Cahrge HR are right on the money for HR accuracy when compared to other equipment I own that does HR.
     
  14. rasputin1969 macrumors 6502

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    Mar 4, 2010
    #14
    With respect to the classification of the two products - The Apple watch does not measure pace, distance, speed or elevation any better or worse than the Fitbit Charge HR. You need to take your phone, and you can do the same with the Fitbit and a fitness app. Furthermore the Apple watch does not monitor sleep (the fitbit does). Sure you can always get an app, but then you've got battery life issues, the screen coming on, the heft of the thing.

    As DC Rainmaker says in his damning review:

    "the Apple Watch isn’t terribly good at fitness. At least not by any objective measure. Not cost, not features, not accuracy, and not reliability"
     
  15. Thai macrumors 6502a

    Thai

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    #15
    What is interesting about that review is that DC mentions that HR can be quite good at times and then not good other times during fitness. This is different than other wrist worn HR monitors (Fitbit, Garmin) that he has reviewed where basically, HR sensor is useless throughout.

    The fact that Apple Watch is dead accurate with fitness at times means that it might be a software issue, not necessarily a hardware problem. And as noted by many on beta, OS3 has improved heart rate consistency during exercise.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 20, 2016 ---
    My problem with DC review is that at the end, he seems "pissed" that he was not invited or involved with Watch development...an axe to grind?
     
  16. rasputin1969 macrumors 6502

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    #16
    I respectfully disagree. DC Rainmaker described the HR monitoring for the Fitbit as "mixed" while for the Apple watch he says "The Apple Watch ranges between good tracking and downright horrible tracking". I've read both reviews and would say he is equally critical, particularly when interval training.

    Where the fitbit bests the Apple watch is in 24x7 activity and sleep monitoring. As DC says in his Fitbit HR review " as a 24×7 continuous HR monitor, it’s pretty good (perhaps not perfect, but good). ". On the other hand his opinion on the Apple watch's activity tracking is "From a functionality standpoint for 1/4th the cost, there are far better activity trackers from Fitbit"
     
  17. exxxviii, Aug 20, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016

    exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

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    May 20, 2015
    #17
    In other reviews, DCR goes into more depth of how HRMs work from an industry and device point of view. It probably is a software issue... for all of them. The HRM is a system of hardware that shines light, hardware that detects the light that returned, and software that interprets what happened. Device makers choose to create their own from the ground up, assemble parts from existing component makers, or license a complete solution from someone. On top of this, the device maker has to decide to write their own software or license someone else's. In many of the devices out there, HRM quality increases over time as the maker updates the software.

    It is a broad generalization to state that DCR says Fitbit and Garmin HRM sensors are useless throughout. You might want to look back through his reviews and especially note the watch he uses as his primary personal fitness device. Hint, it is a Garmin with a wrist HR sensor.

    Regarding "axe to grind," my hunch is that you may not have a long history reading DCR reviews and comparing those reviews to other reviews and first-hand experience with the products.

    Finally, DCR reviewed the AW from a fitness device point of view primarily, and secondarily as an activity tracker. So, it is also important to understand the difference and then filter the comments in the review according to the device use case.

    Going all the way back to the OP's post and context, he asked how the AW does compared to a Charge HR. Someone considering a Charge HR is most likely interested in Activity Tracking features, so how the device handles edge HRM scenarios (intervals, high effort, etc., where both the FB and AW struggle), is probably not as relevant as how it captures, presents, and allows you to interact with the data. I have not read a review, but based on my experience, all of these HRMs are likely equivalently accurate for regular wear with heart rates below the 130 range.
     
  18. BSG75 macrumors regular

    BSG75

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    Jul 21, 2015
    Location:
    Tennessee
    #18
    I agree that the Apple activity/fitness tracking is lacking. We used to be big into FitBit. We owned the Flex, Charge HR, Surge, Zip and One. My biggest issue with FitBit is that their products just don't last. At best, we've gotten 18 months out our devices. IMO, they are poorly made and overpriced. The FitBit app is great, probably the best thing they have.

    For my own use, the AW is fine to help track calories, steps and very basic activity. However, if you're into fitness, there are better options. Personally, I just can't recommend FitBit any more.
     
  19. Thai macrumors 6502a

    Thai

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    #19
    Here is his review on Fitbit Charge HR: http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2015/02/fitbit-charge-review.html

    Quote: " But, I’d argue that it negates the benefit of the HR sensor when said sensor simply isn’t all that accurate."

    Basically, AW heart rate sensor is better. Consistency needs to improve with certain exercises for sure, but hardware is better.

    And this is why Apple has not been sued for heart rate inaccuracy. And let's face it, b/w Fitbit and Apple, who has more money to lose...which is a prime target for class-action lawsuits?

    Again, DCRainmaker was particularly harsh against AW for some reason. And that last few paragraph where he b!tch and moan about Apple having a fitness lab and how it got attention from ABC News is lame...and borders on jealousy for some reason.

    BTW, I know about DC a long time ago and have followed his reviews.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 20, 2016 ---
    Again, the Apple (former) engineer is well aware of potential pitfall of an inaccurate sensor. This is why he is not surprise at Fitbit's lawsuit.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 20, 2016 ---
    If you read his review of Fitbit Charge above, then you will his disclaimer under waterproofing section. Read it. He did not formally test Fitbit's waterproofing because Fitbit does not claim such. YET, he went all out with the Apple Watch...even diving from high platform into a pool and pressure testing it in a chamber! (Remember Apple does NOT advertise its waterproof nature...just borderline IP-something.). I am glad that he did those tests bc it validated Apple Watch over-engineering aspect, but you gotta wonder....
     
  20. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

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    #20
    Did you read the article, or just search for a quote. "Still, ignoring the official RHR value, I do find that for almost all other day to day activities, it seems to track reasonably well actually." - DCRainmaker

    I do not think you are following the context of his comments and recognizing when he is reviewing a device as an activity tracker versus a fitness tracker. When he pushes it to its edge scenarios (intervals, high HR, etc.) it faltered. Those are fitness device stress tests. But, that represents a tiny percentage of an activity tracker use, and the AW has the same challenges. You are drawing a crapton of false conclusions about AW HRM performance and why Apple has not been sued.
    I have the exact same complaint about Apple. They have more money than just about any company in the world. They claim to have built some super fancy lab and hired all kinds of specialists for the watch. About a year before the AW, when the rumors were building, I was down on Garmin. I was hoping that the AW could be a possible replacement for my Garmin stuff. Instead, Apple marketed a device with fitness plastered all over its web site, yet, the AW is near worst in market for fitness and activity. With all those resources at their disposal, how did Apple screw these features up so badly???

    Lastly, did you read the article about why he did not pressure test the Charge HR? He answers preemptively in the review.
     
  21. Thai, Aug 20, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016

    Thai macrumors 6502a

    Thai

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    #21
    Thus OS3. Apple Watch has to be many things all in one device. Give it time. Been just slightly over one year. The hardware is there. Software just needs to be refined.

    Your excuses for Fitbit applies to AW review as well. AW falters only with edge scenarios and even then, it did not falter all the time. Can u say the same about Fitbit? No.

    Yes I did read his reason. THEN Why did he water test Apple Watch waaaayyyyy beyond its spec???????
    --- Post Merged, Aug 20, 2016 ---
    DC just seems like he is angry Apple did not ask for his input.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 20, 2016 ---
    DC Quote:
    "Apple will occasionally bring various media outlets into their ‘semi-secret’ fitness lab building. This is largely done as a measure to impress the journalists and show that Apple is focused on the fitness realm. And no doubt, plenty of data is coming from those efforts. But having done these sorts of tours in the past at my previous employer, it is, to a large extent designed to shock and awe. Designed to transport you into believing the pretty, versus the reality of objective data. And that’s the challenge with the Apple Watch from a fitness standpoint, objectively, it doesn’t really measure up to competitor devices."

    So, his accusations is that Apple spent millions and millions on fitness equipment, chambers, data, employees etc for years prior to AW introduction in 2015...just so that it can score some bonus publicity with one interview with ABC News.

    Seriously, this makes sense to those reading his review? This does not strike you as a petty b!tch session? DC honestly believes this in his head?

    Prior to AW review, i had followed and respected DC for many things...he is Anandtech of fitness world. But that paragraph in particular is just dumb and petty.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 20, 2016 ---
    This is the video that DC is referring to: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Oh yeah, publicity stunt!!! Most expensive publicity stunt EVER!!! LOL
     
  22. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

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    #22
    Ummmm. I agree, but that is what I said from the very beginning... The AW and Fitbit data collection are commodity and largely the same. And, that the software is Apple's problem. My statements about Fitbit are not excuses, they are simply data points.

    I do not see the DCR-Apple conspiracy the same way you do. Email and ask him why he did the dunk test to such an extreme. He is responsive. My hunch is that he did it because of Tim Cook's supposed leaked comment that he showers with it, and then the buzz here and in other arenas that people were swimming with the AW. I see this as a cool positive, not a negative conspiracy thing.

    I was actually surprised he wrote so strongly about the AW. I suspect that took such a long time to publish the review because he was a little scared of the potential Apple backlash, and he wanted to get his details straight. He got the AW review 100% right. It is pretty, but it totally sucks as an activity tracker and fitness tracker.
     
  23. Thai macrumors 6502a

    Thai

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    #23
    I agree regarding the water tests on AW. I love those tests! But again why? Yet for other devices, he stop short and give excuses. With AW, he did not give a reason (Tim Cook comment, etc.) for taking it to the extreme. I am glad that he did...BUT if AW had failed, then I wonder what he would say.

    So, you never answered, do YOU believe his assessment that Apple spent millions of dollars on research and equipment for 2 years prior to AW release...just for publicity stunt?

    If you do not see it his way (which I hope), then did you not find it odd that someone like him would say such a silly thing?
     
  24. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

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    #24
    Email Ray and ask. He responds to questions. I think you are reading way too much into a conspiracy.
    I have no idea. And I do not have a guess of what Apple did. If Apple built a sports lab and produced this product, they are some of the worst designers ever. If they just performed a marketing stunt, then that explains the final product.
     
  25. Thai macrumors 6502a

    Thai

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    Colorado
    #25
    Was iPhone perfect when it first came out? WatchOS3 proves that Apple is listening and improving.

    As for your pessimistic view on Apple, i wonder why you even bother with Apple products. LOL
     

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