Being more active and healthier is one of my goals and New Year’s resolutions for 2017, so when the lovely people from Curry’s & PC World got in touch to ask if I was interested in checking out the Fitbit Charge 2, I was all game. I received my parcel just before Christmas and hid it – Christmas is for indulgence and lazing around under the Christmas tree, after all. In the New Year, however, I was determined to tackle my goals. So one of the first things I did on New Year’s Day was set up my new Fitbit Charge 2.
What is a Fitbit Charge 2
If you haven’t heard of the Fitbit Charge 2 or Fitbit in general, let me tell you a little more about it. Fitbits are basically fitness trackers that you wear around your wrist like a watch. They monitor your movement, sleep and diet and are a great way to see how active you are throughout the day or how well you rest at night. Summed up, they keep an eye on your lifestyle and help you to find out where you could make healthy changes.
What exactly does the Fitbit Charge 2 do?
- The Fitbit Charge 2 tracks all sorts of different sports like running, yoga, your gym sessions and more.
- It displays your real-time heart rate thanks to the Pure Pulse technology which allows you to make your workouts more efficient.
- Once you’ve connected your smartphone, you get alerts for text messages, incoming calls and important dates meaning you won’t miss anything important.
- Guided breathing sessions, personalised to your heart rate, help you to stay calm and relaxed throughout the day.
- It tracks your sleep and tells you if you got a sufficient amount of sleep and also if your sleep was restless or relaxed.
- Get real-time running stats like pace and distance by connecting your Fitbit Charge 2 to your phone’s GPS.
Fitbit Charge 2 – the specs
The Fitbit Charge 2 comes with a pretty impressive catalogue of specifications – they even convinced my dad and that, dear people, will say something.
The splashproof device with an OLED touchscreen is an absolute lightweight. At just 310g, you won’t even feel it on your wrist and that’s also thanks to the super comfortable and interchangeable wristband that comes in a number of fun and stylish colours.
It’s compatible with all major operating systems (iPhone 4S onwards, iPad 3 onwards, Android 4.3 onwards, OS X 10.6 onwards, Windows 10) and has a super long-lasting battery life of 5 days while only taking 2 hours to charge via a USB connection.
Fitbit Charge 2 – The setup
Once I got the Fitbit Charge 2 out of its packaging, setting it up was super easy. I installed the Fitbit app using the Google Play store, created an account (which is free, of course) and connected both devices. The whole process didn’t take longer than 10 minutes and as soon my phone and Fitbit were synchronised, I could start telling the app a little more about me and set some goals.
Fitbit Charge 2 – The 24 h test
I put on my Fitbit Charge 2 just before bedtime because I was really intrigued how it would monitor my sleep and because it would allow me to see its performance throughout the whole day.
8.00 AM – Amy wakes me up and I think this must count as restless sleep. In reality, it’s about time to get up and my FitBit tells me that I’ve had a great night’s sleep. No surprise really, I always sleep like a rock. I just go to bed too late. This time I made a conscious effort of not going to bed at silly o’clock and got 8h of sleep. Result!
9.00 AM – We’re having a lazy morning and spend ages at the breakfast table. It’s the weekend, after all. Apart from pottering around the kitchen and laying the table, I haven’t really been very active. Looking at the little black bracelet around my left wrist, makes me feel slightly guilty. Amy and I decide to have a little around the kitchen table and the Fitbit is happy. I’m in fat-burning mode, yay!
1.00 PM – Amy has been playing in her bedroom while cracked on with some work. My Fitbit tells me I’ve only done 1,187 steps. I guess being a writer and mainly sitting at the computer for my work, makes me much less active than I thought I would be. I don’t stress about it, though. It’s not a weekday which means I don’t have to walk to kindergarten and back twice a day.
2.30 PM – We’re heading out in the snow and have a little snowball fight before walking to my parents’ house for cake and coffee. They live on the other side of our little town, so I happily grin at my Fitbit that’s counting away.
3.40 PM – I realise that I haven’t climbed any floors today (tricky when you’re living in an apartment), so I make use of my parents’ house and hop up and down the stairs a couple of times. I’m a bit miffed that it doesn’t count going downstairs as making floors, but I guess that’s only fair. After 5 floors, I’m out of breath and I realise that I need my new buddy more than I probably thought.
6.30 PM – We’ve hung out with my parents for longer than I had planned which means that it’s pitch dark outside. My dad insists on giving us a lift and as it’s freezing cold outside, I happily agree. As I’ve ignored my hourly reminder to move for the past 2 hours and we’re now driving, I’m waving goodbye to my 8k step goal!
7.00 PM – I’m fixing us a quick dinner and Amy is getting her strop on because she’d rather have pasta – for the 3rd time this week. I know she’s getting tired, but boy, could I do without this right now. Suddenly, I remember the relax feature and decide that now is the time disappear into my bedroom for a couple of minutes. I choose to try out the 2-minute breathing exercises and although I’m not in a zen-like state, I feel much calmer. Ready to face the 5-year-old that’s got the temper of a teenager sometimes!
8.30 PM – Once Amy is in bed, I plop down on the sofa with my Kindle. My Fitbit tells me it’s ‘time to move’ after a while and take the hint and I walk around the living room for a bit. Luckily, my neighbours can’t see me. Otherwise, they’d think I’ve totally lost it. I log in another 350 steps before snuggling up on the sofa.
11.15 PM – I’m a complete bookworm and night owl, so I’m glad that I’ve told my Fitbit to give me a little nudge to remind me of bedtime. I can easily stay up and read until the early hours of the morning. We all know that that’s not the best idea when you’re a parent, so I’m trying to be a bit better and in bed before midnight.
3.27 AM – Amy stands next to my bed because she can’t sleep – that’s code for ‘Mummy, I want to sleep in your bed’ and is quickly resolved when I tell her that she can come for a cuddle in the morning but needs to sleep in her own bed, first.
8.25 AM – I’m woken up by a snuggly 5-year-old and her cuddly unicorn toy. We’re both awake now but we stay in bed for a bit longer and have the cuddle that I promised in the middle of the night. Talking about my nightly visitor, my Fitbit tells me that I’ve only been interrupted for 7 minutes. I was fast asleep again after that. I know I didn’t meet my fitness goals yesterday, but I’m determined to make it happen today. Every day’s a new beginning, right?
Fitbit Charge 2 – my one and only niggle
The only downside I can find with the Fitbit Charge 2 is that it’s not waterproof. While you don’t have to panic about some raindrops, any form of exercise in water is not tracked automatically. You will have to manually log it as an activity/exercise. Pretty annoying if you’re someone who swims a lot to stay fit or takes classes like aqua fitness. The Fitbit Flex 2 might be a better option for you. You can find a detailed comparison of both the Fitbit Flex and the Fitbit Charge 2 here.
FitBit Charge 2 – should you get it?
Absolutely! If you want to be healthier and more active, the Fitbit Charge 2 is a great device to help you develop healthier habits and monitor your lifestyle. It reminds you to move when you’ve been inactive for too long, it analyses your quality of sleep and it helps you track your food and water intake through the app that you sync with your Fitbit.
The reminders to get active are something that I really appreciate as someone who sits at a desk most of the day. They help me to squeeze in some steps whereas I would have usually been inactive and using the challenge function that allows you to compete with your friends is something that I absolutely love. I’m hugely competitive, so trying to beat my friends’ steps is something that really motivates me.
I’ve also come to really like the relaxation feature. As I said, I’m not in a zen-like state after using it but taking just a couple of minutes to focus on yourself and your body gives me some welcome rest.
Fitbit Charge 2 – some tips from me to you
The Fitbit Charge 2 is a fab little device. To make sure it lasts you a long time, there are a couple of things that you can do. Something that I’ve done, is getting one of those screen protectors that you simply pop on the screen of your device. You can get them for as little as £1 on Ebay and they’ll really make a difference.
When charging your Fitbit Charge 2, line up the charging port with the pins at the bottom of your device and clamp the port onto the tracker. If you’ve done everything correctly, your Fitbit will vibrate. I didn’t do this correctly the first time because I was in a bit of a rush and my tracker didn’t charge. So pay attention to the vibration and you’ll know your tracker is charging correctly.
My last tip concerns the care of your Fitbit Charge 2. I mean, let’s face it: Your wristband will get sweaty, especially when you’re exercising. So make sure to clean it regularly with a soap-free cleaner or rubbing alcohol. That way, no nasties will be trapped underneath and irritate your skin.
Are you using a fitness tracker like the Fitbit Charge 2? What is your experience? Let me know in the comments below.
I was sent the Fitbit Charge 2 for the purpose of this review. All opinions and photos are my own.