Fitbit Charge 5 v Fitbit Charge 4: The differences explained

How Fitbit's flagship fitness tracker compares to its predecessor
Fitbit Charge 5 v Fitbit Charge 4
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The Fitbit Charge 5 is official and Fitbit's flagship fitness tracker is promising some pretty significant updates that might have owners of the Charge 4 wondering whether they should be sizing up making the upgrade.

Both offer a mix of fitness, health and smartwatch features, so they're going be strong options if you don't want to buy a full fat smartwatch.

If you're wondering what the major differences are between the two Charges, we've taken a closer look at the specs sheets to see how the new Fitbit Charge 5 compares to the Fitbit Charge 4.

Fitbit Charge 5 v Fitbit Charge 4: Price

If you're hoping the Fitbit Charge 5 was going to cost close or similar to what the Charge 4 cost, then we're sorry to disappoint you.

The Charge 5 launch price will be £169.99. The Charge 4 costs £129.99 with a special edition available at £149.99.

While both still sit below the £200 price mark, the Charge 5 is nearer to that price point and the Charge 4 sits much closer to the fashion-focused Fitbit Luxe £129.99.

So what exactly does that extra money get you and what remains the same across the two Charge trackers? Let's take a look.

Fitbit Charge 5 v Fitbit Charge 4: Design

Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit Charge 5

The last few Charge trackers have sought to offer a halfway house between fitness tracker and smartwatch matching a slim band and touchscreen display with interchangeable bands. That's what you get on the Charge 4 and the Charge 5.

Fitbit hasn't shared dimensions details of the Charge 5 just yet, but has said its 10% thinner than the Charge 4. We know that the Charge 4 measures in at 35.8mm x 22.7mm x 12.5mm, features a plastic resin case and carries a 5ATM (50 metres) water resistance rating.

Both ditch physical buttons for cases that discreetly feature haptic buttons to do things like wake up the screen or pause and resume workouts. On the Charge 5, that case now packs in stainless steel panels that are used to take ECG and EDA readings like you can on its Sense smartwatch.

Fitbit Charge 4

Fitbit Charge 4

In terms of colors, the Charge 5 comes in three different looks with a silicone band while the Charge 4 is offered in four colors with a similar style band. There's also a special edition Charge 4, which uses a nylon band. Both devices offer interchangeable bands including Horween leather, infinity and hoop & loop bands.

The Charge 5 appears to follow closely in the footsteps of the Fitbit Luxe in terms of look, but there's one key difference between these two devices and that's the displays. The Charge 4 uses a 1-inch greyscale OLED touchscreen display while the Charge 5 offers an AMOLED color touchscreen display that can be used in an always-on mode and an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust screen brightness.

While both Charges offer similar slim looks and support for removable bands, the newer Charge promises a more elegant look, a vastly superior display with an always-on mode and accommodates big new health sensors without bulking up the design.

Fitbit Charge 5 v Fitbit Charge 4: Health, fitness and sports tracking features

Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit Charge 5

The Charge 4 and Charge 5 are 24/7 trackers, which means they'll count your steps, track sleep and even heart rate day and night, but like Fitbit's other devices, they're capable of doing a whole lot more.

We know the Charge 4 packs a 3-axis accelerometer to track steps, activity and detect sleep. It also includes an PPG optical heart rate monitor to track heart rate continuously and for exercise. It uses red and infrared sensors to enable SpO2 monitoring and an altimeter to measure elevation.

The Charge 4 includes a temperature sensor to measure skin temperature during sleep and has built-in GPS to more accurately track outdoor activities like running and cycling.

Fitbit Charge 4

Fitbit Charge 4

With the Charge 5, you're getting all of those same features. That also includes workout intensity maps driven by heart rate, 20 exercise modes with automatic exercise recognition support for core activities like running, walking and pool swimming. You're also getting an ECG sensor to assess the heart for atrial fibrillation and it can provide high and low heart rate alerts. So it has quite the upper hand on the heart health monitoring front.

Something you also don't get on the Charge 4 is the new daily readiness scores, which will roll out to the likes of the Sense, Versa 3 and Versa 2 but not the Charge 4 it seems. This score is to give you a sense of whether you're in good shape to exercise or spend a day taking it easy. Those scores are presented to you each morning and are based on activity tracking, heart rate variability measurements and most recent sleep tracked.

Then it'll provide suggestions on recommended target Active Zone Minutes goals or prompt you to spend some time meditating or finding ways to relax if your readiness score is low.

What really separates the two Charges is that ECG sensor and those readiness scores which right now doesn't appear to be coming to the older Charge. If you want a more health tracking heavy device, it's the Charge 5 that's looking the better fit.

Fitbit Charge 5 v Fitbit Charge 4: Wellness features

Fitbit Charge 5 v Fitbit Charge 4: What's new?

Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit has started to make a lot more noise about looking after your mental state as well as the physical, so it's been adding more features centred around stress, relaxation and mindfulness.

Along with features like guided breathing exercises, the Charge 5 includes the EDA scan app that lets users measure the body's response to stress. It gets the stress management scores introduced with the Fitbit Luxe using the onboard heart rate monitor and heart rate variability measurements to generate stress scores based on physical stresses on the body.

There's further mindful features located in the Fitbit companion app. It's there where you can tap into guided mediation and sleep sounds. Some of those features come at a cost because they're locked behind Fitbit Premium subscription service.

All of the same features are available on the Charge 4 too. So they're pretty level pegged when it comes to offering those wellness features if that's something that's important to you.

Fitbit Charge 5 v Fitbit Charge 4: Smartwatch features

Fitbit Charge 5 v Fitbit Charge 4: What's new?

Fitbit Charge 4

The bands might be slim, but they offer a decent array of smartwatch features that are compatible with Android and iOS devices.

With the Charge 4, you're getting the ability to view first and third party notifications, set up do not disturb and sleep modes to switch off those notifications along. Android phone users can also respond to some notifications.

There's also silent alarms and the ability to set up timers and use it in a stopwatch mode. It also offers Fitbit Pay support, the ability to check weather reports and dedicated music controls for Spotify music streaming.

The Charge 5 offers all of those features too and a bigger collection of watch faces plus the fact you're getting a color AMOLED display to view those features. That's a big sell for making things like notifications and music controls much nicer to use.

Fitbit Charge 5 v Fitbit Charge 4: Battery life

The Inspire 2 still offers the best battery life of any Fitbit currently promising up to 10 days battery life and with the two Charges, you can expect something that should last for a week. The Charge 3 also offered 7 days of battery life.

The Charge 4 promises 5 hours in GPS battery life and takes 2 hours to charge from 0-100%. Fitbit has yet to reveal how the Charge 5 performs when GPS is in use or how long it takes to charge. It looks like it will miss out on the fast charging support you do get on Fitbit's Versa 3 and Sense smartwatches.

Fitbit Charge 5 v Fitbit Charge 4: Which is right for you?

If you've been yearning for a Fitbit fitness tracker with a color display and like the idea of some of the bigger health features found on Fitbit's Sense health watch, then the Charge 5 is definitely going to appeal.

It does mean paying closer to £200 though and the Charge 4 does offer a similar core fitness tracking experience, similar battery life and smartwatch features. If you can live without the color display, ECG, then it's still a reasonable buy. You might want to cast your attention at the Fitbit Luxe as well too if built-in GPS isn't a big deal for you and you still want a color screen.