The Fitbit Charge 5 is poised to change the whole fitness tracker concept and transform it into a health fitness tracker.
The Fitbit Charge 5 was initially released one month ago. Still, despite its qualities for fitness, stress (via its EDA sensor), sleep tracking, and workout monitoring, it was still lacking two long-awaited features: The electrocardiogram (ECG) and Daily Readiness Score.
The last update corrected this, and all the expected features are now live, undoubtedly making the Fitbit Charge 5 one of the best, if not the best, smart bands currently available.
The first Fitness Tracker with a built-in FDA-cleared ECG
In 2020, the Fitbit Sense was the first smartwatch of the Fitbit family to include an FDA-Cleared ECG. In addition, the electrocardiogram on the Fitbit Charge 5 will make the most of the metallic sides of the tracker to turn into a single-lead electrocardiogram.
The ECG is cleared for detecting normal sinus rhythm, arrhythmias such as bradycardia, tachycardia, and Atrial Fibrillation. It only takes 30 secs for the electrocardiogram data to be acquired.
Once installed, the ECG can be assessed directly from the watch screen. The next step is to place the index and thumb on the metal sides to close the circuit. Even though removing the watch from your wrist can be tempting to collect the data, Charge 5 needs to be attached to the wrist for the ECG to proceed.
It can be a bit uncomfortable as the position of holding the sides of the watch is slightly unnatural, but considering that it only takes 30 seconds, we do not consider it a solid negative point.
Once acquired, the data are processed. It only takes 5-10 seconds, and the results are displayed on the watch screen with additional information accessible within the Fitbit ECG app.
Do not expect to get any other information, such as heart rate variability. The Fitbit Charge 5 ECG concentrates on arrhythmia and arrhythmia only.
The ECG report can also be downloaded as a pdf file and shared with your doctor. Despite being FDA-cleared and being tested during clinical trials (98.7% sensitivity, 100% specificity), the Fitbit Charge 5 is not a medical device and should not be used for self-diagnosis or change medication.
Good to know is that the Fitbit Charge 5 ECG is available for all users and does not require an additional subscription to Fitbit Premium users.
Overall, the Fitbit Charge 5 fitness tracker now includes most of the health features of a premium smartwatch, such as the Fitbit Sense or the Apple Watch closing the gap between fitness trackers and smartwatches.
The Fitbit Charge 5 now includes all its expected features making it a great fitness tracker:
- Integrated GPS
- Sleep Score (with additional insights on the sleep stages for Fitbit Premium users)
- Stress level (with EDA scan app)
- Skin temperature variation
- SpO2 sensor
- Breathing Rate
- ECG measurements
- Heart Rhythm
- Fitbit Pay
- Heart Rate Zone monitoring
- Automatic exercise recognition
Daily Readiness Score
It takes four days of wearing the Fitbit Charge 5 to make the most of the Activity, Recent Sleep, and Heart Rate Variability to provide a Daily Readiness Score. Unfortunately, this score is only accessible to premium users.
Overall, this feature is close to what can be found on the Whoop band or Oura ring that concentrates on the importance of recovery.
The higher the scores, the better you will be to tackle your exercise routine. The Fitbit Charge 5 will advise if your body is ready for exercising or if it is better to consider a day of rest.
Depending on the Daily Readiness Score, the app will also adapt the recommended time of active exercises.
To benefit from these personalized metrics, it is essential to wear the Fitbit Charge 5 at night. The Daily Readiness Score will make the most of the sleep pattern and the Heart Rate Variability, only measured while sleeping.
To wrap up
With the new update and the addition of the ECG and Daily Readiness Score, the Fitbit Charge 5 has nothing to envy from more premium ECG smartwatches as long as health features are concerned.
The only missing feature to make the Charge 5 the perfect health wearable is the blood pressure measurement, but Fitbit has been working on blood pressure features for a long time now, and we can expect that it may be available in the coming months and hopefully not years.
Charge 5 by Fitbit
Price when reviewed: $179.95