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Hands-on review: Fitbit Charge 6
Thu, 1st Feb 2024

Over three years ago, Google's parent company, Alphabet, announced its plans to acquire Fitbit. The company's latest wearable tracker, the Charge 6, is the first to boast "helpful Google tools" like Google Maps and Google Wallet to assist its users in everyday life.

The Charge 6 comes filled to the brim with features, including more than 40 different exercise modes, built-in GPS, and an ECG heart health reader. On top of this, it's lightweight, durable, and has a seven-day battery life.

First impressions and setup
The Charge 6 is available in three different colourways: Obsidian / Black Aluminium, Porcelain / Silver Aluminium, and Coral / Champagne Gold Aluminium. Our review product was the latter of the three and the one that stands out among the other choices. The 'Champagne Gold' case is very subtle and doesn't scream 'bling' as you might expect. 

The Charge 6, like its predecessors, knows exactly what it is – a smart tracker. It doesn't look like a traditional watch, and because of this, it's light at just over 67 grams. The device itself is discreet and slim and also rather comfortable around the wrist, thanks to the silicone band.

There's a somewhat minimalist design for the Charge 6. It uses a 1.04-inch OLED screen, which works great in any light. There's just one button on the side of the device, which provides haptic feedback, and either wakes the watch up or takes you back to the watch face if you've been navigating the menus using horizontal and vertical swipes.  

Setting up the Charge 6 is simple enough, although you now must have a Google Account to do so if you're a new user. Previous Fitbit account holders can continue to use their account when setting up the watch.

Included in the box alongside the device is a larger wristband, as well as a USB-A charger. 

The Fitbit app
The new Fitbit app is a one-stop shop to help ensure you're living a healthier lifestyle, although many features can only be accessed if you have a Fitbit Premium account. These features include a daily readiness score to help you plan your workout, sleep profiles with monthly sleep trends, as well as a heap of healthy recipes for you. Fortunately, the Charge 6 comes with a free 6-month trial, but otherwise, it costs $16.99 per month.

Regardless of whether you hold a regular or a Premium account, the app has a plethora of health data which is easy to navigate. The top of the home screen simply shows the steps you've taken today, as well as zone minutes, distance travelled, and calories burnt. Tapping on these individual metrics allows you to see how you've been tracking for the week, month, or year so far. 

Another neat feature on the app is the badges section found under the 'You' tab, which alerts you when you've done a particular pre-set task. One of my favourites was 'Hawaii', which let me know that I'd walked the equivalent of the entire length of the Hawaiian Archipelago.

Features and performance
The Charge 6 does what it's meant to do, and it does it well. The Fitbit brand is renowned in the industry for having some of the most user-friendly and accurate smart trackers, and this model does not disappoint.

Thanks to advanced health sensors, heart rate monitoring is more precise than ever. In fact, Google claims it's up to 60 per cent more accurate than before during more vigorous activities like spinning and rowing, which ultimately gives you added confidence in your overall health stats.

The Charge 6 also allows you to connect to compatible exercise equipment with encrypted Bluetooth from the likes of NordicTrack, Peloton, Concept2 and Tonal.
In terms of different workouts, there are an additional 20 options included within the Charge 6, like HIIT, strength training, and snowboarding. It even has the ability to automatically start tracking your exercise should you choose to forget to put it on. 

The Google apps included work well, especially the Google Maps integration, which gives you step-by-step directions on your wrist as you're navigating through a new city. The Charge 6 allows you to control your music, but only if you're a user of the Google-owned YouTube Music platform. If you're a Spotify or Apple Music user, you'll have to just use your phone to toggle through your playlists. 

The small screen might be a hindrance to some people, but the Charge 6 uses Fitbit's first Accessibility feature with, Zoom + Magnification. This allows you to magnify words on your screen with a simple tap.

The sleep tracking seems to be accurate and gives you a sleep score each morning, which you can dive deeper into if you're a Fitbit Premium subscriber. The ECG reading, stress sensor, and SpO2 monitor also seemed to work well.

The claimed seven-day battery life is certainly achievable, although you might lose a day of this should you be interacting with the Charge 6 often. For me, the Charge 6 performed well as a 'throw on and forget about' sort of device – everything is easily visible through the Fitbit app.

Considering the very reasonable RRP of $159.95, the Fitbit Charge 6 is an excellent smart tracker which does what you need and more.

Of course, there are fancier, more expensive alternatives on the market, but the Charge 6 can emulate most of the features on those devices at a fraction of the cost. 
Fitbit Premium may be required to get the absolute most out of the tracker, but the six-month trial included will let you make your own mind up on that. Realistically, the features that are included out of the box are more than enough for the average person who's looking to track their health and improve their lifestyle. 

Overall, if you're in the market for a smartwatch, then the Fitbit Charge 6 is a great choice and gives you the best bang for your buck.