Fitbit’s Charge 5 is not a fitness tracker. It’s much more than that

It wants to play sports watch too and has the sensor chops to track outdoor runs, pool swims and can automatically recognise when you’re working out – though, like previous Charges, it’s a better fit for those who don’t obsess over their stats. Accuracy isn’t one of its strong points and it doesn’t really match what you can get from a sports watch that costs less. New “Daily Readiness Scores” also want to tell you if you should hit the gym or take a rest day by looking at your heart rate, sleep and exercise data – except this isn’t a feature that’s live yet.

Borrowed smartwatch inspiration

Fitbit is also bringing in several tricks from its smartwatches, such as an ECG sensor to take more accurate heart-rate measurements that could help to detect signs associated with serious heart conditions. Similarly to the Charge 5’s “Daily Readiness Scores”, though, this isn't a feature you can use yet. You do still have Fitbit’s PurePulse heart-rate monitor, which surprisingly performed well tracking heart rate day and night and even for more rigorous exercise use.

You can monitor blood oxygen levels during sleep and there’s a temperature sensor to deliver skin variation measurements you can review. Fitbit doesn’t want the Charge 5 to replace a visit to the doctors and you’ll need to sign up to its Premium subscription service to delve into your data, but can give you a sense of how you might be feeling inside.

Fitbit’s Charge 5 is not a fitness tracker. It’s much more than that

It’s going big on helping you monitor stress both on the mind and the body. The EDA scan app is activated when you place your fingers on the side of the case, to monitor changes in your sweat levels and give you a window into whether you’re stressed. That’s also joined by stress management scores and “Reflections” to monitor how you’re feeling. It might make you feel stressed to work just on what all these scores and measurements mean, but among it there are some useful insights.

Fitbit Charge 5 verdict

The Charge 5 deals with one of the biggest problems with the Charge 4 and that’s planting a vastly superior screen on it to elevate that look and make it easier to live with. It’s still a comfortable, sporty-looking band that gives you the scope to smarten things up. Fitness tracking remains at its core and that’s what it does best. Its sports-tracking skills just about do a good enough job and the attempt to bring in smartwatch features on the whole work well too.

Its big new health features, though, are currently MIA. When they do land, they could make the Charge 5 stand out from the tracker crowd. Right now, it’s still a tracker with the potential to be great one day.

£169.99. At amazon.co.uk

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