After two years, Fitbit has reinvented the Charge and the Flex, its two most popular activity and fitness trackers. Australia gets the Charge 2 before anywhere else in the world — to capitalise on the Father’s Day gift-giving frenzy — and the upgrades it makes are pretty significant.
The biggest updates to Fitbit’s new trackers are done in software. The new fitness gadgets now remind you to move regularly, and are smart enough to automatically track your activities — whether it’s walking, running, cycling or swimming — without being prompted. On the new Charge 2, any activity that you undertake can be supplemented with real-time GPS stats, with a map of your activity stored for later.
The new Charge 2 also includes the same automatic sleep tracking and silent wake-up alarm as the previous Charge HR, but the most significant addition for Fitbit faithful is the addition of the Cardio Fitness Level, a VO2 fitness level statistic that measures your various daily background and intentional activity against your heart rate to provide a quantifiable fitness score that you can (hopefully) improve on over time.
The Charge 2 massively reinvents the original Charge HR, which was itself a heart-rate-enabled version the Charge, which is now two years old — a massive time in tech — and builds upon the same basic design by adding a much larger screen. It still isn’t touch-sensitive, though, with one button on the side scrolling through the various features.
With guided breathing sessions — the same thing that Apple is promoting the latest Apple Watch software update with — and automatic sleep tracking, and an Aussie launch that’ll be here in time for Father’s Day, the Charge 2 will start at $249.95 with extra rubber bands $49.95 and leather straps $119.95 extra. A special edition in two rose gold/lavender and gunmetal/black colourways will be $289.95.
The new update to the entry-level, everyday-wear Flex 2 is equally as substantial — it adds waterproofing, which Fitbit says was by far its most requested feature from customer feedback. Beyond that, it’s also significantly smaller than the original Flex, and has a few light-up LEDs that can show your step count or reflect phone calls or text notifications.
The new Flex 2, which will be out in Australia in October, will set you back $149.95, will have different accessory bands in a few different colours available for $49.95. Those fancy gold and silver bangles will be a further $149.95. [Fitbit]