Fitbit Charge HR so much better?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by BlueMoon63, Sep 5, 2015.

  1. BlueMoon63 macrumors 68000

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    Mar 30, 2015
    #1
    The fitbit is so much better? It does everything better - especially heart rate and tracking distance and more?

    I borrowed a Fitbit Charge and thought it did a good job at monitoring my heart rate when I wasn't pushing it and it seemed to do a good job at monitoring distance but after a few weeks of trying, I noticed it wasn't all that special at all for $150 or so... I would never want one that looked so cheap and unprofessional. It was much worse than the AW (I'm on beta 5) at picking up false steps and movement (mowing the lawn on a riding lawn mower, riding in a boat, taking the ATV for a ride). I decided it must have rave reviews on Amazon for over 8000 reviews but it was barely holding on to a 4 star review... Two of the last three reviews are posted here... Sound familiar? The reviews actually make it sound worse than the Apple Watch for heart monitoring during workouts.

    " was really expecting a lot out of this tracker, but have been let down so far. A few dispointments for me were the heart rate monitor, the fit, and the food diary. This FitBit isn't made for real athletes or those who train hard. Twice in the last week I had it stop monitoring my workouts because it just can't keep up. The reason I bought it was the get my heart rate during workouts and it has certainly not done its job there. It's fine if you walk around the neighborhood but don't expect too much more out of it. It's also not water proof, so when I'm in the middle of an intense workout I constantly find myself worrying about if sweat is doing damage to it. I think the sweat is the reason it's not tracking the workouts, which seems very silly to me."

    "The fitbit charge hr does a fine enough job at tracking steps, but so does a $10 step counter. That's the only thing the fitbit does accurately anyway. I cannot get it to keep track of my heart rate during my workouts (cycling, trx, HIIT, etc). The FitBit usually wont pick up my heart rate at all during the workouts and when it does it's usually 20-30 bpm off. It doesn't pick up all the staircases I ascend either--often missing a few here and there. It does track fairly well on resting heart rate which is the best indicator of increased fitness levels anyhow, and this is the only reason I decided to keep it. I also would have liked a Medium size and only S and L were available. The small is usually on the last notch during exercise and the fifth notch at rest and I have very small wrists."

    Sound familiar? :)

    So, even at a third of the cost and only one or two real tasks, the Fitbit has a worse customer review average score than the apple watch. But it is supposed to be so much better?
     
  2. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #2
    I am just returning from a 80 minute run with a friend who had a FB Charge HR. His worked great during the run. So did my AW and my Garmin. So, I guess mileage varies by user. My friends with the FB Charge HR do not have HR and sleep accuracy issues, so I have been impressed by their testimonies. The FB Charge HR is probably as water proof as the AW.

    The Charge HR is not suitable for running, because it does not have any distance or stopwatch functions. But it is very good for capturing HR during other exercise. The AW in its current state can not show a HR graph over time. The FB can. Maybe we will see some better access to HR data in the coming year.

    You can always find a review or comment that meets your worldview. My friends' experience matches my world view of the FB Charge HR.

    The strength of the FB is the supporting SW. That is where Apple has the greatest opportunity to improve with iOS 9/10 and WOS 2/3/4. If Apple can rewrite the Activity/Workout/HR/Activity/Health app stack and give us a web UI, then it will rival the market competitors. Or, if an existing platform steps up with full AW support, then AW will make a major leap forward as a activity and fitness platform.
     
  3. Newtons Apple macrumors P6

    Newtons Apple

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    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #3
    Have not used the charge HR but use the Surge and there is seldom has lost my HR. I consider the sensor to be the best on the market and it has built in GPS. I still put my Surge on before a run or walk as my AW will drop my HR no matter how tight or loose it is.

    As far as accuracy it blow the AW out of the water. The Surge has it's own GPS the accuracy is outstanding. As far as software the FitBit is some of the best I have used, in the same league as Garmins, while the AW is still, at best, half baked in comparison. Apple could have AT LEAST allowed the AW to use the GPS built into the iPhone for mapping ones workout. Apple did not allow this, not even with its improved OS2. How hard would that have been???

    I still love my Apple Watch but it was taunted to be such a great fitness device and . . . . well Apple still has some room for improvement. I just got done mowing my yard on a riding mower and the AW and Surge has always measured additional steps as neither knows better.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #4
    Fitbit has good products, I just returned from a run and on my long runs, I take my fitbit surge with me. Its a bit more accurate given the GPS. I don't think anyone can go wrong with a fitbit.

    With that said, with Fitbit, you have a single tasking product, that is, it does one thing and one thing only. With the  watch you get much more ability and options.
     
  5. BlueMoon63, Sep 5, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015

    BlueMoon63 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Mar 30, 2015
    #5
    Agree with all of you. I actually wrote about Fitbit Charge HR a few times while borrowing one and I said - what it does, it does well. It had a little trouble when I was doing HIIT running on the treadmill with pushups, bench presses, etc. It always outperformed the Apple Watch by a few losses of heart rate. Knowing the Apple Watch can do everything I need it to do and then switch out the band and it looks great with a suit, it is easy for me to only have one.

    Maybe what got lost in my post was the reviews and how familiar they sound to Apple Watch complaints. :)

    I read the manual online for Fitbit and it specifically says not to wear in the shower or while swimming but I "think" it has the same rating as the AW so it doesn't surprise me that they add that comment. I typically only wear my AW in the shower when I get all dirty or go swimming at the Y. I still wear the AW every time I swim. It's just nice to go swimming, shower and then switch the band and put on a suit and it looks like it belongs there plus it is nice and clean. :)
     
  6. BarracksSi macrumors 68040

    BarracksSi

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    Jul 14, 2015
    #6
    Had to add:

    The AW in its current state needs a third-party app to show a graph of HR over time. The AW gathers the necessary data, and you can read all the data points in Health, but neither the AW nor the Activity app on the phone displays HR data as a graph.
     
  7. BarracksSi macrumors 68040

    BarracksSi

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    #7
    Speaking of optical HR accuracy, I've read before that optical sensors on the wrist have a hard time with weight training and crossfit-type workouts because the blood flow is erratic. Chest straps are more consistent because they pick up the heart's electrical signals.

    At least the AW can connect to a Bluetooth HR strap; I don't know if any of the Fitbit models have the ability.
     
  8. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

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    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    New Sanfrakota
    #8
    If you add HR to Dashboard in the Health app, don't you get a graph of it displayed on Dashboard?
     
  9. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #9
    It is a graphical representation of data, but it is not very useful. Ideally, I would want to see a chart of HR over time or over distance. I am not sure what the Health HR graph is attempting to represent-- it is like some high/low limit chart by day.
     
  10. BarracksSi macrumors 68040

    BarracksSi

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    Jul 14, 2015
    #10
    Pretty much. It's not every few seconds like you'd see on a Garmin graph.

    But, the HR data points in Health are pretty dense (maybe in 10-sec increments? I'm not sure…) and there's at least one app which reads the data and plots it out.
     
  11. BarracksSi macrumors 68040

    BarracksSi

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    #11
    Anyway, back to the OP's original point --

    Yeah, the Charge HR's reviews seem familiar. "Oh, it doesn't do anything that my iPhone can't already do," etc. Funny that the Charge gets slammed for limited functions when it does exactly what it's meant to do.
     
  12. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #12
    Yep, there are a few 3rd party apps out there that will chart HR. The Health version fits into the "what the heck was Apple thinking" category. It is if that whole Health app was written in a haze of blind ignorance. Apple Thought Different on that one all right.
    The leading FB products do what they are designed for exceptionally well. They are complete and integrate with many other tools. Ditto the Garmin devices.

    The problem with the AW is that sure, it does lots of things, but in the fitness and activity space, it is severely lacking.
     
  13. BlueMoon63, Sep 5, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015

    BlueMoon63 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Mar 30, 2015
    #13
    Like this? :)

    This was my workout this morning for an hour using workout other. Love the graphing and information. Formatting is a little off because I am on IOS9 beta. Notice and hour workout with the Apple Watch without losing the heart rate. Maybe once from a small dip but even if it is true, over an hour, a brief heart rate lose isn't more than a blip. Plus a pic of a night I struggled to sleep well. :)

    I do agree with you because this needs a workout or sleep to track heart rate. I almost have no doubt some new native apps will do so much more having access to heart rate and haptic and more.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. BlueMoon63 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Mar 30, 2015
    #14
    Agreed and I expect that to change once native apps are available. Probably more apps than we care about
     
  15. BlueMoon63 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Mar 30, 2015
    #15
    BarracksSi - the workout graph I attached above was my workout today that was chest and triceps. Three types of bench press exercise and dips and narrow push-ups included. All of those exercises put a lot of pressure on the wrists and bending of the wrists. I didn't lose my pulse/heart rate once. It's not like I am an Olympic lifter, but it is 200-225 range.

    Not that you claimed any of those heart rate issues with lifting but I am here to prove it is wrong. I did have a little trouble with HIIT for both the Fitbit and AW but in a 90 minute workout, I lost heart rate 5 times totaling less than 1-2 minute which on a graph and average heart rate meant nothing.

    I like the Fitbit and its canvas type band as it doesn't slide as much as the sport band when you are really sweating. I've also had a huge problem with heart straps sliding down and my heart reading spiking up and down.

    Clockworksynergy has some bands I may try that are canvas and look really good.
     

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