Fitbit Charge 2 vs. Charge 3: The Battle of New and Old

The wearable fitness tracker industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, with consumers wanting to have the latest wearable or smartwatch to help them communicate, stay on top of their day, monitor their health through step counting, sleep tracking, and more.

While the Apple Watch is a popular smartwatch and fitness tracker option, Fitbit has established itself as one of the premier activity tracker brands on the market today. With a handful of trackers to choose from, Fitbit offers a variety of options for everyone’s needs.

Two of the most popular Fitbit offerings are the Fitbit Charge 2 and the newly announced Fitbit Charge 3. If you’re looking to pick up a great activity tracker from a reputable brand, both the Fitbit Charge 2 and the Fitbit Charge 3 are two options to consider.

Many people want to know: the Fitbit Charge 2 vs. Charge 3, which is better?

​In this brief guide, we’ll be exploring the pros and cons of both the Fitbit Charge 2 and the new Fitbit Charge 3. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of which product is right for you and whether or not you should invest in the newer model.

Specifications

​Fitbit Charge 2

​Fitbit Charge​ 3

​Activity & Sleep

​Yes

​Yes

​Call & Text Alerts

​Yes

​Yes

​24/7 Heart Rate

​Yes

​Yes

​App Notifications

​No

​Yes

​Display

​OLED Tap

​Touchscreen

​Water Resistance

​Splash

​50m

​Battery Life (up to)

​5 days

​7 days

Pros

  • ​One of the more affordable Fitbit product options.
  • ​Does everything you would expect from a standard fitness and activity tracker.
  • ​A great entry-level Fitbit product.
  • ​Rivals the best smartwatch and wearable options on the market today.
  • ​A new and improved sleek design compared to its predecessor the Charge 2.
  • ​Offers up to 50m of water resistance, perfect for users who like to go for a swim! 

Cons

  • ​Occasional syncing issues with your Android, Windows, or IOS devices.
  • Not as many features as the Charge 3.
  • Only “splash-resistant” and not truly waterproof.
  • ​Slightly more pricey than the Charge 2.
  • ​Lacks full functionality GPS.
  • ​Close to 40% larger than the Charge 2.

Price

Review of Fitbit Charge 2

​Fitbit Charge 2

Released in 2016, the Fitbit Charge 2 has been one of Fitbit’s most successful products. Significantly improved over the Fitbit Charge, the Charge 2 took the original wearable tracker to a whole new level. 

What Made the Charge 2 Shine?

The Fitbit Charge 2 comes in a wide variety of colors, and its band is unisex, allowing it to be worn stylishly by both men and women. Incredibly user-friendly, even if you have never owned an activity tracker before, Fitbit makes it incredibly easy to get up and running.

Your Fitbit Charge 2 syncs and automatically updates with over 200+ Android, Windows, and IOS devices, so you’re able to stay up to date with your activity data whether you’re on your computer, tablet, or phone. If you need a wearable to keep you in the know, the Charge 2 can help you do just that.

The Charge 2 allows Messenger and WhatsApp messages to come through to your wrist, but you can’t reply directly from the wearable itself. If you’re looking for a full-fledged smartwatch alternative, the Charge 2 definitely comes up short when it comes to responding to messages you receive.

That said, you might be the type of person who doesn’t want to get caught writing an essay on their wearable or smartwatch. In this case, the inability to reply to your incoming messages might be a plus.

As a fitness and activity tracker, Charge 2 does an excellent job of tracking various health metrics such as calorie count, steps, and even heart rate. Fitbit is known to produce products with industry-leading accuracy, which is essential when working to improve your health.​

The Charge 2 also can track the number of floors you climbed, how many minutes you were active throughout the day, and even the type of fitness “zone” you were in as you went about your day.

Though there are many wearable activity tracker options on the market, the Charge 2 is absolutely an excellent entry-level Fitbit product and is a fantastic investment if you’re looking to improve your health. 

The battery life on the Charge 2 lasts for roughly five days of moderate use, so you can use it throughout the work week without any issues and charge it on the weekend.

The Charge 2 is also incredibly comfortable to wear and fits most wrist sizes nicely. However, compared to the Charge 3, the screen is about 40% smaller, so you’re going to have a little less room to observe your health stats.

Where Does It Fall Short?

​Fitbit Charge 2 Backside

While the Charge 2 continues to be one of Fitbit’s top-selling products, it does have a few things that we would like to see improved. For one, though the screen is scratch-resistant, we’ve noticed some normal wear and tear after months of use. We’ve found that buying a Charge 2 screen protector helps reduce scratches significantly.

Secondly, as a fitness tracker, we aren’t happy that the Charge 2 is only splash-resistant. Wearing Charge 2 in the shower or a quick dive in the pool can cause severe damage to the device, which is a real problem for anyone who likes to exercise in the water.

 The Charge 2 does currently sell for an incredibly reasonable price, and that price continues to drop thanks to the release of the new and improved Fitbit Charge 3.

While not perfect, the Charge 2 is an excellent mid-tier activity tracker option, and Fitbit always goes above and beyond to listen and take care of their community.  If you’re new to the fitness monitor game, the Charge 2 is a reasonable choice to start you off.

What We Liked

  • ​One of the more affordable Fitbit product options.
  • ​Does everything you would expect from a standard fitness and activity tracker.
  • ​A great entry-level Fitbit product.

What We Didn't Like

  • ​Occasional syncing issues with your Android, Windows, or IOS devices.
  • Not as many features as the Charge 3.
  • Only “splash-resistant” and not truly waterproof.

Review of Fitbit Charge 3

​Fitbit Charge 3

Though the new design of the Charge 3 isn’t completely different from Charge 2, there are a few distinct changes you will notice. As with most newly released wearable monitors and smartwatches, the design of the Charge 3 is much thinner and lighter compared to its predecessor, making it much more enjoyable to wear.

What’s New on the Charge 3?

One of the main differences between the Charge 2 and the new Charge 3 is that the screen is now close to 40% bigger than the Charge 2. The extra screen room makes it much easier to check your latest step count, heart rate, and more, and it’s openly celebrated by those who prefer a fitness tracker with a little more screen real estate.

The increased screen size isn’t the biggest change with the Charge 3. Unlike the Charge 2, the Charge 3 comes equipped with a fully functional touchscreen, making it step towards a viable smartwatch option and not just a fitness tracker.

The Charge 3 also comes with new and improved tracking abilities and is overall much more intelligent in how it tracks your data and your workouts. With the Charge 2, you often found yourself having to enter data manually, but that has been reduced considerably with the Charge 3.

​The Charge 3 screen also allows you to do much more within the device rather than needing to go through the app on your phone or tablet. This added flexibility is a nice touch for those looking to customize their data on the fly.

With the Charge 3, Fitbit also promises future updates to improve quick replies and communications from messages received on the device. While these software updates haven’t been released yet, they are a welcome addition for those looking to use the Charge 3 as a fully-equipped communication device.

As of this writing, the Charge 3 claims to have up to seven days of battery life, but we suspect with the added features and functionality, it might clock in at something slightly less. Of course, even if the battery were to last six full days, that would be an upgrade over the Charge 2.

The Charge 3 is clearly a step in the right direction of taking the Charge 2 to the next level, and we’re incredibly excited to see that the new version now offers up to 50m of water resistance. One of the biggest disappoints of Charge 2 was the fact that it could potentially be ruined by a little bit of water.

The 50m water resistance is more than enough to keep any swimmer happy. It allows even the average outdoor enthusiast not to have to worry about their Charge 3 getting wet. 

What Could (Still) Be Improved?

​Fitbit Charge 3 Backside

Though we are pleased with the improvements over the Charge 2, there are a few things that left us disappointed. For one, there is still no built-in GPS, and if the Charge 3 wants to become a viable smartwatch option, that’s a must.

Secondly, the price point of Charge 3 is slightly frustrating, as the Fitbit smartwatch option Versa is only marginally more. We would love to see Fitbit share a little more insight as to why the price difference is so comparatively little.

​All in all, the Charge 3 is a fairly significant upgrade over the Charge 2, and we love that Fitbit continues to innovate in the fitness tracker and activity monitor industry.

What We Liked

  • ​Rivals the best smartwatch and wearable options on the market today.
  • ​A new and improved sleek design compared to its predecessor the Charge 2.
  • ​Offers up to 50m of water resistance, perfect for users who like to go for a swim! 

What We Didn't Like

  • ​Slightly more pricey than the Charge 2.
  • ​Lacks full functionality GPS.
  • ​Close to 40% larger than the Charge 2.

Conclusion - Fitbit Charge 3 vs. Fitbit Charge 2

Which is best, the Fitbit Charge 2 or Charge 3?  Ultimately, both of these two fitness and activity trackers from Fitbit are quality products. Both will allow you to track your health and work to improve your habits and your life, and both are backed by the highly reputable Fitbit brand.​

The Fitbit Charge 2 comes in at a slightly lower price point, but in our opinion, the sleek design of the Fitbit Charge 3 and the improvements are worth the increase in price.

While the Fitbit Charge 2 has been a top seller since its initial release, it’s clear that Fitbit has gone above and beyond to improve the new Charge 3 and continues to innovate in both the smartwatch and fitness tracker space. It’s clear with their years of experience they continue to listen to the Fitbit community and work to improve every product they offer.

Though the Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Charge 3 are similar in some ways, the Charge 3 represents a big enough upgrade overall that we recommend that the Charge 3. In the battle of Fitbit Charge2 vs. Charge 3, it makes sense to give the Charge 3 a slight nudge, assuming you small increase in price is within your budget.

Whether you choose the Charge 3 or Charge 2, Fitbit leaves you walking away a winner.

Also you can learn about both Charge 2 and Blaze here.

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