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Fitbit’s sleek new Charge 3 sports a premium design and loads of advanced health features

Published Aug 20th, 2018 11:52AM EDT
Fitbit announces charge 3
Image: Fitbit

Fitbit is calling the Charge 3 activity tracker it announced today a feature-packed band that amounts to its smartest yet, thanks to loads of goodies inside the company hopes will help it compete in a smartwatch-saturated world.

The Charge 3 is, among other things, the newest addition to the company’s best-selling Charge family of products that’s also the most popular in Fitbit’s device lineup. The company has sold 35 million devices in the category to-date, a number that’s poised to get a lot bigger thanks to presales starting today for the Charge 3 which retails for $149.95 and will be available worldwide starting in October.

A rundown of what users can expect from the new device makes it sound like it’s straddling the line between a fitness tracker and smartwatch, which can’t help but be a good thing. Among the features of the Charge 3: a premium, swim-proof design with a touchscreen display, more than 15 goal-based exercise modes and up to a week’s worth of battery life, to name a few.

“Charge 3 gives existing users a compelling reason to upgrade, while also allowing us to reach new users who want a sleeker, more affordable wearable in a tracker form factor,” said Fitbit co-founder James Park in an announcement today about the device.

Part of what apparently helped inform Fitbit’s design and feature choices it made for the Charge 3 is internal research data showing that of adult consumers who bought a wearable in the past year, 42 percent wanted a tracker compared to 36 percent in search of a smartwatch. Fitbit gave the Charge 3 an aerospace grade aluminum case and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display, plus a touchscreen OLED display that’s almost 40 percent bigger and brighter than its predecessor.

Fitbit has also tacked on an upgraded heart rate sensor in addition to bringing over the Sp02 sensor from its smartwatches that allows for the potential to estimate changes in blood oxygen levels and help track new health indicators, like sleep apnea.

For the device’s goal-based exercise modes, you can set it for things like biking, swimming or running, plus giving yourself a goal for burning calories, distance or duration. The Charge 3 is also water-resistant and can be set to track a female user’s menstrual cycle.

A new personalized, on-device dashboard lets you see daily activity stats and health metrics at a glance, and you also get constant guidance and motivation – reminders to move, relax guided breathing, sleep tracking with things like “Sleep Insights” and more.

Coming later this year to Fitbit users is a new Sleep Score beta that uses key metrics tracked by any Fitbit device with advanced 24-7 PurePulse heart rate tracking. Sleep Score will give you a nightly score to help provide a more complete picture of overall sleep quality and what factors affect it.

Beyond its health features, meanwhile, the Charge 3 also lets you get many of the things done you can also do with a smartwatch, like customizing and viewing call, calendar, text and smartphone app notifications. You can also make secure payments using Fitbit’s contactless Fitbit Pay platform that’s now supported by more than 100 financial institutions in 18 countries.

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Andy Meek Trending News Reporter

Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.