In addition to the tactile experience, it is easy to set up: you download the application to your mobile phone and connect the device with it
I’m a giraffe, all five feet eight inches of me. This is not an existential crisis and no, I am not typing this review out with my hooves, but very much with my fingers.
So how am I a giraffe you ask? Because Fitbit said so, after I carefully reviewed my sleep patterns and they matched the algorithms stored on their Charge 5 device — or at least on the Fitbit app.
It so happens that my sleep tends to be shorter and I tend to sleep later and wake up earlier. I also have a relatively good ratio of deep and REM sleep despite a shorter overall duration, so I am adequately rested despite the shorter sleep hours.
This isn’t me with a sudden, magical PhD in sleep studies—it’s the Fitbit app giving me its analysis of my sleep after 15 days of wearing the Charge 5 to bed. And depending on the biometrics acquired by the device while catching the Zs, you can either be a parrot, dolphin, turtle, bear or a hedgehog.
But wearing it to bed – isn’t it a little intrusive, you might ask, to have it strapped to your wrist all night, night after night? At first, yes, but it just took a few nights to get used to it. The way this device is designed, it requires you to wear it 24×7 to get the maximum use out of it. So, I wore it for 10 days straight, either while sleeping or in the shower – except for the time to charge my wrist, of course, but we’ll get to that.
Helping keep it going is the device’s thinness — the Charge 5 is 10 percent slimmer than its already slim predecessor — and the band it ships with, which is a satiny, silky silicone that’s flexible like your skin . Factor in the water lock facility for when you need to swim with it or wear it in water, and it’s good to have the Charge 5 on your wrist for long periods of time.
Beyond the tactile experience, the Charge 5 is easy to set up: you download the app to your phone and pair the device with it, giving you access to its features and records of your fitness as you create them.
Once set up, the Charge 5 has several advantages that make it a breeze to use. Its AMOLED display is bright and sharp, so you can see all the information easily, even in the bright Dubai sunlight. You tap on the home screen to get to the general essentials, like steps taken, heart rate and calories burned. It’s a small screen and scrolling while running will be cumbersome, so it’s just as well the brightness is good and the responsiveness spot on.
Navigation through the information and menus is pretty straight forward – you swipe up or down on the home screen to get more details, such as total activity levels, hourly activity analysis, sleep count, etc. You also swipe left and right to access things. like notifications, the different exercise modes like cycling, swimming, running, etc. There are six modes on the device and you can customize each one to suit your personal activity levels and goals.
The Charge 5 really shines for the average fitness enthusiast and I can say that even though I started out as a fitness tracker agnostic, I’m now hooked. There is a certain reassurance in looking at the steps you took each day and knowing how high or low your heart rate went or how many calories you burned.
The one problem is that the heart rate sensor and the GPS antenna are both on the bottom of the device, so you can only get one with any accuracy at a time.
As for battery life, Fitbit claims seven days on a single charge, but that’s optimistic. In actual use, five days is what I got – and I’m not complaining. This means you can wear it all through the work week and load it up on the first morning of your weekend and then wear it to brunch, which you’ll then work off for the rest of the week!
Your Charge 5 will faithfully let you know how you’re doing in that endeavor.