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Fitbit Charge 4 vs Charge 3 (2021): Should You Upgrade Your Fitness Tracker?

The much-awaited Fitbit Charge 4, the successor to the top-selling Charge 3, is now available for pre-order. Fitbit finally equips its new fitness activity tracker with a built-in GPS, a feature requested by many of its users. Apart from this, what other upgrades does the flagship Fitbit Charge 4 have that the Charge 3 doesn’t? Read on to find out.

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Charge 3 Fitness Tracker Comparison Chart

ModelFitbit Charge 4Fitbit Charge 3
Fitbit Charge 4 Fitness and Activity Tracker with Built-in GPS, Heart Rate, Sleep & Swim Tracking,... Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker, Graphite/Black, One Size (S and L Bands Included) 
PriceCheck Price Check Price 
DisplayOLEDOLED
Dimensions1.4″ x 0.9″ x 0.5″1.4″ x 0.9″ x 0.5″
GPSBuilt-inConnected
Call & Text AlertsYes, for Android usersYes, for Android users
Smart AwakeYesNo
Water ResistanceUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
PedometerYesYes
Calorie Burn TrackerYesYes
Sleep ReportsYesYes
Resting Heart RateYesYes
Active Zone MinutesYesNo
Blood Oxygen LevelYesYes
Swim TrackingYesYes
Menstrual TrackingYesYes
Bluetooth4.04.0
Fitbit PayYesAvailable in the Special Edition
CompatibilityiOS, Android, WindowsiOS, Android, Windows
Subscription90-day free trial of Fitbit Premium90-day free trial of Fitbit Premium
Battery LifeUp to 7 daysUp to 7 days
ColorsBlack
Rosewood
Storm Blue/Black
Special Edition:
Granite Reflective Woven
Black/Graphite
Blue-Grey/Rose-Gold
Frost White/Graphite
Special Edition:
Lavender/Rose-Gold

Design and Comfort

The Fitbit Charge 4 and Charge 3 have the same dimensions, but offer different color options

Various band and frame colors of the Fitbit Charge 4 (left) and the Charge 3

Design-wise, the Fitbit 4 isn’t much different from its predecessor, the Charge 3. Both fitness tracker models come with slim straps available in plastic and woven bands. Their frame dimensions are also the same, so you can use your Charge 3 bands with the upcoming Charge 4.

They both house one button on the side with haptic feedback and a slim scratch-resistant OLED display. Where they differ is in their band and frame colors. The rose gold frame is no longer available in the Fitbit Charge 4. The latest Charge comes in more subdued black and mauve frames that match their corresponding bands.

Health and Fitness Activity Tracking

The Fitbit Charge 4 is equipped with a built-in GPS and debuts Fitbit’s new Active Zone Minutes

Track your distances and locations with your Charge 4 even without your phone

Fitbit users have long been waiting for the upgrade that comes with the Fitbit Charge 4–a built-in GPS. No other Fitbit fitness tracker or smartwatch comes with this feature–they rely on your smartphone’s GPS. With this addition on the Charge 4, you can go on runs or workouts even without your phone and still record your distance, pace, and intensity of workouts. The Fitbit app also added GPS-based workouts in its app.

Another feature found in the new Charge 4 that’s not available in the Charge 3 is the Active Zone Minutes. This is Fitbit’s new heart-rate metric that interprets data from your fitness activities and their varying intensities. Depending on the Active Zone Minutes goal you set, the app will give suggestions on how you can reach these targets based on your usual fitness activities. Fitbit announced that the Active Zone Minutes will become available in other smartwatches, but did not mention whether this will be available in older fitness trackers.

Apart from the above-mentioned upgrades, the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Charge 3 offer Fitbit essentials. These include tracking steps, female health, resting heart rate, blood oxygen levels, swim sets, sleep quality, and calorie burn. It is worth noting that Fitbit’s Sleep Tracking interface is one of the best in the market today.

Additional Smart Features

The new Fitbit Charge 4 features Fitbit Pay, a Spotify app, and Smart Wake

Enjoy contactless payment with Fitbit Pay

In the Fitbit Charge 3, the Fitbit Pay feature is only available in its Special Edition fitness tracker that comes with a woven band. In contrast, Fitbit Pay is a standard feature in both the Charge 4 standard version and special edition. The latest Fitbit also comes with Spotify controls so you won’t have to use your smartphone to manage your tracks.

The Fitbit app compatible with the Charge 4 and the Charge 3 also offers other sleep features for better quality sleep. These include the Silent Alarm, Sleep Schedule, Bedtime Reminders, and Sleep Insights. The Fitbit Charge 4 takes it up a notch by including the ability to use smart wake, a feature originally only available in its smartwatch line. This allows the fitness tracker to wake you up at the most ideal time for your health. When Fitbit will activate this on the Charge 4 remains to be known.

Connectivity and Compatibility

The Fitbit Charge 4 and the Charge 3 use Bluetooth 4.0 and have NFC pairing

Pairing your smartphone with either the Fitbit Charge 4 or the Charge 3 is smooth and effortless. Thanks to their near-field communication (NFC) capabilities, you can download the Fitbit app, hold the Charge close to your device, and follow on-screen instructions.

Fitbit ensures anyone can enjoy its features and technology, making the Charge 4 and 3 compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows. If you’re an Android user, you can get message and call alerts and other notifications through your Fitbit.

Battery Life and Water Resistance

Both the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Charge 3 can be used for up to 7 days and are waterproof

Track your water activities such as swimming or surfing with the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Charge 3

To ensure your fitness activity tracker can consistently monitor your activities, including sleeping patterns and sleep quality, it needs to be on your wrist 24/7. Fitbit made this possible by the long-lasting battery of the Charge 4 and the Charge 3 that can last for up to 7 days. However, if you often use the GPS of the Charge 4, usage hours is significantly reduced.

Both the Fitbit Charge 4 and 3 are waterproof for up to 50 meters so you can use them to track your swim sets, pace, distance and more. We recommend using the plastic band when you intend to get them wet as it dries faster than the woven bands.

Verdict

Now’s the best time to get the Fitbit Charge 3 if you don’t mind missing out on the Fitbit Charge 4‘s GPS, Active Zone Minutes, Spotify and Fitbit Pay

The small price difference makes the new Fitbit Charge 4 worth it, as it comes with a built-in GPS, Active Zone Minutes that help you get moving, lets you control Spotify through the fitness tracker, and pay contactless through Fitbit Pay. However, if you don’t mind missing out on those features, now’s a great time to snag a Fitbit Charge 3 as many retailers offer them on sale. If you already own a Fitbit Charge 3, perhaps wait it has been out for a while before you upgrade.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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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.