Fitbit Charge 6 test - the last representative of the species

Fitbit Charge 6 test – the last representative of the species

Is Fitbit Charge 6 the best band on the market? I have heard such statements, but after several weeks of testing it is difficult to agree with this statement.

In January 2021, Google announced that it was buying the Fitbit brand, a manufacturer of watches and sports bands, for $2.1 billion. The integration of the two companies took a while, and only in September 2023 did the new device debut. We're talking about Fitbit Charge 6, which is supposed to be one of the best bands on the market. Recently I had the opportunity to test it and although I appreciate many of the solutions used in it, it is difficult for me to rave about the device.

Fitbit Charge 6 specifications

The band is equipped with a 1.04-inch AMOLED screen protected by Gorilla Glass. It connects to the phone via Bluetooth and is compatible with Android from version 8.0 or iOS from version 12.0. It has dimensions of 36.78 × 22.79 × 11.2 mm and weighs only 19.6 grams. The battery has a capacity of 65 mAh and, according to the manufacturer, will last for a maximum of 7 days of use.

Fitbit Charge 6 test

The band supports 40 sports modes (the predecessor had 20). It offers water resistance of 5 ATM. It allows you to measure the number of steps, heart rate, blood oxygenation level (SpOS2), stress (EDM), sleep monitoring and ECG. An important novelty is integration with Google services, thanks to which Charge 6 supports payments via Google Wallet (NFC), Google Maps, as well as YouTube Music control. There is also no problem with displaying selected notifications from the phone.

The price is approximately PLN 699, so it is undoubtedly not the cheapest wristband on the market.

Construction

Fitbit Charge 6 does not differ much in appearance from the Charge 5 model. In fact, the only change is the addition of buttons on the side of the capsule. At first glance it may seem that they are pressed, but after a while it turns out that they are not completely pressed. Google decided to use haptic buttons that vibrate slightly when activated. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of this solution and would prefer a traditional, physical solution.

Fitbit Charge 6 test

The band's capsule itself is very small, as evidenced by the screen diagonal. The quite wide frames around the display may be surprising. I would expect them to be a little narrower, which in my opinion would positively affect the appearance of the device.

As for the wristbands, the set includes two of different lengths. The shorter one will work for narrower wrists, but I had to use the longer one myself. Unfortunately, there is no universal mounting here, so if you want to replace it, you have to look for straps that are compatible specifically with this model. Fortunately, there is no shortage of them, so you should find something for yourself.

Screen

The screen is AMOLED with a diagonal of 1.04 inches, so it is not too big. However, it is difficult to consider this a disadvantage, after all, we are talking about a wristband, not a smartwatch, so the evaluation criteria are changing. It's good that the interface has been well thought out so that all displayed information is legible, and this is the most important thing.

I cannot write a bad word about the colors, because they are saturated and pleasant to the eye. Gorilla Glass is also a plus and should guarantee decent durability. The manufacturer does not boast about the maximum brightness of the display, but even on a sunny day the screen is readable, so there is no reason to worry.

Importantly, the screen has an AoD (Always on Display) mode, which is not very common in wristbands. It can be active all the time or turn off when you sleep. Its appearance adapts depending on the selected dial. However, you must know that AoD consumes the battery very quickly, but I will write about it in more detail later in the text.

Fitbit Charge 6 test

What hurts the most about the screen is the lack of a light sensor and therefore automatic brightness adjustment. Yes, in 2023, a wristband produced by Google was released on the market, costing PLN 700 and does not have automatic screen brightness setting. Poorly.

Features and measurements

Fitbit Charge 6 has actually undergone the biggest changes in terms of available measurements and functions. By far the most important new feature is better integration with Google services. The band allows, among other things, mobile payments using Google Wallet. Additionally, it works with Google Maps, so we can receive information about the direction in which we should move directly on the small screen. In addition, you can also control the YouTube Music application from Charge 6.

Fitbit Charge 6 test

At the premiere, Google promised, among other things, an improved heart rate measurement algorithm that will use machine learning. It is difficult to assess how it turned out in practice, but the measurements seem accurate and are consistent with what other devices show. In addition, Fitbit Charge 6 also allows you to: measure skin temperature, ECG measurements, measure blood oxygenation (once a day and automatically, so the measurements cannot be turned on on demand), sleep monitoring, respiratory rate, resting heart rate measurements, and measurements distance and number of steps. It must be admitted that the list looks quite impressive for a headband. There are also 40 sports modes, 7 of which are detected automatically (e.g. walking, running or cycling).

All measurements seem to be quite precise when it comes to the number of steps, heart rate and distance covered. However, it was not without problems. Our editor Ania reports that, for example, you cannot change the distance of the swimming pool and the default distance is 25 meters. This is not a big problem, but it is clear that the application is not fully developed yet.

It's a pity that we only get access to the full capabilities of the watch after paying for the subscription. Although we get the first 6 months for free, after that it costs as much as PLN 51.99 per month or PLN 414.99 in advance for the entire year. If we decide to do so, the device will also offer, among others, sleep assessment with phases and quality assessment, stress management results, monthly reports on well-being, recipes for dishes, videos and meditation recordings, as well as various types of training.

I noticed that many people complained about the GPS quality shortly after the premiere. The band needed a longer time to connect, the location information was imprecise, and it drained the battery. I haven't noticed any such problems myself. Everything seems to be working as it should. This is probably due to an update that was released in the meantime. It is good that Google reacted to this type of reports and quickly corrected its mistakes.

Fitbit Charge 6 test

However, I somewhat regret how little information Fitbit Charge 6 provides during training. While walking, you can't even see your current heart rate. Only after completing the training you will see a summary with all parameters. Competitive devices, however, fare slightly better in this area.

Battery

The 65 mAh battery will last for a surprisingly long time. With AoD turned off, the device lasts on average from 5 to 7 days. If we turn on Always on Display, this time is shortened to 2-3 days. Pretty good result. Charging takes approximately 2 hours.

Is it worth it?

However, the most important question is – is Fitbit Charge 6 worth buying? Let me remind you that the price is approximately PLN 699. To be honest, I'm not convinced that the quality and capabilities of the device justify such an expense. It is not a bad device, but at the same time its numerous limitations are striking. The need to purchase Fitbit Premium to get the full capabilities of the band is one of the most important issues, but not the only one.

Fitbit Charge 6 test

Take, for example, the fact that you can't control music from Spotify using the band. The device only works with YouTube Music, which – let's be honest – is not particularly popular in Poland. In addition, there are such irritating issues as the need to stop the training to be able to pay via Google Wallet. Ania also reports problems with notifications on iOS, although I haven't experienced them myself on Android.

In addition, there is a strange limitation in the measurement of blood oxygenation, which cannot be activated on command. Instead, it happens automatically, once a day. I have already mentioned the lack of a light sensor. All of this leaves me with very mixed feelings about the Fitbit Charge 6. On the one hand, we have a nice, advanced band, which, on the other hand, lacks a lot. That's why I probably wouldn't buy it myself, but if the mentioned limitations don't bother you, you'll probably be happy with it.

Rating: 6/10

Advantages:

  • Simple, elegant design
  • Small size
  • AMOLED screen with AoD
  • Numerous measurements and functions
  • Long working time
  • Payments via Google Wallet
  • Integration with Google Maps

Defects:

  • No light sensor
  • Some features require a subscription
  • Limited SpO2 measurement
  • High price

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