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Fitbit Charge 4 vs Charge 2 (2021): Should You Upgrade?

The Fitbit Charge 4 and Charge 2 were released almost five years apart by the wearables giant. Fitbit’s flagship fitness tracker is now equipped with a built-in GPS, a much sought-after feature by many users. But is it worth upgrading to the new Charge 4? Our thorough comparison of their features will help you make the call.

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Charge 2 Fitness Tracker Comparison Chart

ModelFitbit Charge 4Fitbit Charge 2
 Fitbit Charge 2
PriceCheck Price

at Walmart.com

Check Price

at Walmart.com

DisplayGrayscale TouchscreenBlack and White Tapscreen
Dimensions1.4โ€ณ x 0.9″1.5″ x .84
StrapClassic BandClassic Band
ColorsBlack
Rosewood
Storm Blue/Black
Black
Blue
Plum
Teal
GPSBuilt-inConnected
Call & Text AlertsYesYes
Quick RepliesYesNo
Smart AwakeYesNo
Water ResistanceWaterproof for up to 50 metersWater, splash, and sweat-resistant
Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
PedometerYesYes
AltimeterYesYes
Calorie Burn TrackerYesYes
Sleep ReportsYesYes
Resting Heart RateYesYes
Active Zone MinutesYesNo
Blood Oxygen LevelYesNo
Swim TrackingYesNo
Female Health TrackingYesYes
Bluetooth4.04.0
Fitbit PayYesNo
Subscription90-day free trial of Fitbit Premium90-day free trial of Fitbit Premium
Battery LifeUp to 7 daysUp to 5 days
Year of Release20202016

Design and Comfort

The Fitbit Charge 4 is slimmer and sports a better display than the Charge 2

fitbit-charge-4-vs-charge-2-fitness-tracker
While both use OLED, the Charge 4 is touchscreen while the Charge 2 only has a tap response

Consistent with the aesthetics of Fitbit’s fitness tracker line ups, the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Charge 2 sport a slim profile with a rectangular watch face. While both are lightweight, the new Charge 4 is lighter and feels more premium than the Charge 2, thanks to its aluminum frame. Their bands are also slightly different, as the ones compatible with the Charge 4 are thinner and follow the natural angle of the wrist better. If you own bands for the Charge 2, they won’t work with the Charge 4 should you upgrade.

The Charge 4 is also slightly slimmer than the Charge 2, but it boasts 40 percent more display size than the 2016 fitness tracker. This makes it easier to see the screen anytime. Fitbit’s flagship fitness tracker is also equipped with a responsive touchscreen and a touch-capacitive button on the side with haptic feedback. Meanwhile, the Charge 2 only comes with a tap screen and a thicker button on the side that you can use to change screens and modes.

GPS

The Fitbit Charge 4 comes with a built-in GPS while the Charge 2 relies on your phone’s GPS

Your Charge 4 can work as a standalone device so you don’t have to carry your phone on your runs

Fitbit has finally included an upgrade that has long been requested by its users: a built-in GPS. This allows the Charge 4 to work as a standalone device so even without your phone, you can track and record steps, distances, pace, and map the intensity of your activities throughout your route.

On the other hand, the Charge 2 still relies on your phone’s GPS to be able to do all the abovementioned. This means if your phone runs out of juice, you won’t be able to track your distance and pace anymore.

Health and Fitness Tracking

The Fitbit Charge 4 delivers more features than the Charge 2

Both fitness trackers are equipped with Fitbit health and fitness essentials

Fitbit’s Charge 4 and Charge 2 offer the following essential health and fitness tracking features:

  • set fitness goals and track your progress
  • monitor your resting heart and heart rate zones
  • measure elevation (e.g track floors climbed)
  • give customized reminders to move, hydrate, or even sleep
  • track sleep stages and give insights for better sleep quality and overall health
  • monitor the menstrual cycle and record symptoms
  • track and record steps, distances, pace, and calorie burn
  • get guided breathing sessions based on your heart rate

The Fitbit Charge 4 comes with more health and fitness features than the Charge 2. Future software updates also promise more features in the latest Charge fitness tracker. Here are some things only the Charge 4 can do:

  • track swim sets
  • measure blood oxygen levels through its SPO2 sensor
  • map your workout intensities and exertion level throughout your route
  • wake you up during the most ideal time based on your sleep scores and stages (Smart Wake will be activated in future updates)
  • set goals, get alerts, and receive bespoke recommendations based on your heart rate through the Active Zone Minutes

One of the latest upgrades found in the Fitbit Charge 4 is the Active Zone Minutes. This allows you to set your Active Zone Minutes goal and based on your heart rate metrics, receive recommendations to achieve your target steps, distances, exercises, and workouts. It further gives more credit to high-intensity activities to help push you to get your heart rate up.

Connectivity and Compatibility

Both the Charge 4 and the Charge 2 use Bluetooth 4.0 and are compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows

While they both use Bluetooth 4.0, the Charge 4 (left) boasts NFC connectivity

It is a breeze to pair the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Charge 2 with Bluetooth 4.0. Download the Fitbit app, hold the fitness tracker close to your device, and follow the on-screen instructions when prompted. It is worth noting though that Fitbits cannot be paired with chest strap activity monitors, possibly one of the best ways to get the most accurate heart rate data.

Fitbit made its app and devices compatible with as many platforms as possible. Both the Charge 4 and the Charge 2 can be synced wirelessly with iOS, Android, and Windows 10 and later. If you’re an Android user, you can set-up your fitness tracker to receive alerts and notifications. With the Charge 4, you can use its Quick Replies feature that lets you use preset replies to respond to text messages or calls. Another feature missing in the Charge 2 is the NFC connectivity (more on this in the next section) found in the Charge 4.

Smart Features

The Fitbit Charge 4 boasts Fitbit Pay and Spotify control

Enjoy contactless payment with the Fitbit Charge 4

Users who don’t like bringing their wallets or phones with them during their runs or workouts will benefit from Fitbit Pay. This is a feature made possible by the Near-Field Communication (NFC) connectivity of the Charge 4. As long as the establishment accepts contactless payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and contactless debit cards, you can also use Fitbit Pay to pay for goods and services.

The latest Fitbit Charge 4 also comes with a Spotify control that lets you manage tracks directly through your fitness tracker. This is probably a minor addition, but can come in handy, especially if your headphones don’t have a user-friendly interface. If you have the Charge 2, you still need to whip out your phone or use your headphones’ playback controls to manage Spotify tracks. However, if you don’t use Spotify to listen to music, this Spotify control upgrade on the Charge 4 won’t be of much use.

Battery Life and Additional Features

The Fitbit Charge 4 is waterproof and has a longer battery life than the Charge 2

fitbit charge 4 vs charge 2 fitness tracker
Track your water activities with the waterproof Charge 4

If you want to consistently monitor your heart rate even during sleep, a long battery life is necessary. Fitbit designed the Charge 4 and the Charge 2 to be worn for up to 7 and 5 days, respectively. Both only need around two hours of charging time using Fitbit’s proprietary charger. However, it is worth noting that heavy use of the Charge 4’s built-in GPS significantly reduces its battery life.

If you go swimming or surfing a lot, then the Charge 4 is the better fit for you. The latest Fitbit Charge boasts a 5 ATM certification which means the device can be submerged up to a depth of 50 meters. This means you can track and record your sets, pace, distance, and intensity while doing water activities that require submerging your fitness tracker in the water.

On the other hand, the Charge 2 is only splash and sweat resistant. This means it is safe for use for heavy workouts, even under the rain, but should not be submerged. When choosing a Fitbit band to wear for your water activities, keep in mind that the classic and sport bands dry a lot faster than the woven bands (typically come with the Fitbit Charge Special Edition).

Verdict

The Fitbit Charge 4 offers greater value for your money than the Charge 2

Considering all the upgrades found in the Fitbit Charge 4, and additional features it can offer with future software updates, the small price difference becomes insignificant. For only a couple of dollars more, you’ll get the following upgrades: waterproof, swim tracking, blood oxygen level sensor, Active Zone Minutes, NFC connectivity for contactless payment, and longer battery life, all with a bigger display and built-in GPS. Not to mention the Charge 4 sports a sleeker design than the older Fitbit Charge 2.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the difference between the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Charge 2?

The Fitbit Charge 4 is equipped with more sensors and smart features than the Charge 2. To see their differences at a glance, check out our comparison chart above.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Fitbit Charge 4 swimproof?

Yes, unlike the Charge 2, you can use the Fitbit Charge 4 for swimming as it’s waterproof up to 50 meters.

๐Ÿ“Œ Can I wear the Fitbit Charge 4 in the shower?

Yes, the Charge 4 is waterproof up to 50 meters so it’s safe to use in the shower.

๐Ÿ“Œ Can I wear the Fitbit Charge 2 in the shower?

No, wearing the Charge 2 in the shower is not recommended. It’s safe to use during workouts, though.

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Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

Managing Editor and Team Leader at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about people, product comparisons, culture, and current events.