Fitbit Charge 3 vs Fitbit Charge 4: what is the difference between the older and the newer fitness tracker?

Fitbit Charge 3 vs Fitbit Charge 4 watches

The two models were released 18 months apart, so how do they differ and is the Fitbit Charge 4, the newer version of the device, worth the extra money?

If you’re on the lookout for one of the best fitness trackers for your health and wellness needs, you may well have landed on Fitbitas the brand you want to make your new purchase from. A mainstay in the world of fitness watches, they make some very popular devices. So, it’s a sensible option for anyone looking to snap up a tracker to help them on their fitness journeys. But which one should you pick when it comes to Fitbit Charge 3 vs Fitbit Charge 4?

When Fitbit first brought out the Charge 3, it was an upgrade compared with their previous fitness trackers. Then, 18 months later, they updated it to create the Charge 4. But when a brand releases an updated version of a product, it can be difficult to know whether the (likely more expensive) newer version of the item is worth your money. Or, if the slightly older, original version would be just fine to suit your needs.

In order to work out whether you should buy the Charge 3 or the Charge 4, we’ve rounded up the features of each device. Then we compared the two devices based on price, user experience and overall impression.

Fitbit Charge 3 vs Fitbit Charge 4

Fitbit Charge 3

Key features:

  • Available in two different colours
  • Promises seven-day battery life
  • Charge time is two hours
  • Device dimensions are 35.8mm x 22.7mm x 11.8mm
  • Water-resistant up to 50m
  • Touchscreen – display is greyscale OLED
  • Comes with a large and a small wristband
  • Is compatible with iPhone 4S or later, Android 4.3 or later and Windows 10
  • Smartphone notifications – though quick reply is only available on Android

Design:The Fitbit Charge 3 is a design that most Fitbit fans will recognise. It is made with the longer-length, thinner watch face and the thinner, fitness-tracker-esque band around it. For those who have used a Fitbit before, it is that little bit larger than the Fitbit Inspire. The screen is fully touchscreen, with the button on the side to go back.

Features:The Charge 3 has most of the features you would expect from a fitness tracker to help you stay on track with your fitness routine and track your goals as much as you please. This device has a 24/7 heart-rate-monitoring feature, will give you a cardio fitness score. Plus, it tracks your sleep stages (light, deep and REM sleep) and has in-built exercise modes.

For those more into the wellness side of things, there is also a guided breathing feature. Plus, the old reliable fitness tracker feature, tracking your real-time pace and distance (or steps). The Charge 3 also has swim tracking – it’s water-resistant up to 50m – and a female health feature to help you track your cycle. You’ll also receive notifications from your smartphone and on Android you can even deliver “quick replies” while on the move.

User experience:Like most Fitbits, the Charge 3 may be a (slightly) older model, but it’s just as easy to use, navigate and set up. Its screen isn’t as evolved as some of the newer models, but that’s only to be expected. On a budget? This is a great purchase for fitness fans who might be new to tracking their everyday routine and don’t want to spend too much.

Result:A great, easy-to-use fitness tracker with all of the essential features you’d expect.

 

Fitbit Charge 4

Fitbit Charge 4

Key features:

  • Available in four different wrist-strap colours
  • Water-resistant up to 50 metres
  • Dimensions are 28.8mm x 42.7mm x 12.5mm
  • Charge time is two hours
  • Promises up to seven days battery life, five with GPS
  • Comes with large and small size straps
  • Is compatible with Apple and Android devices
  • Smartphone notifications including Fitbit Pay

Design:The Charge 4 is not too dissimilar in design to the Charge 3, bar the fact that it is ever so slightly larger. The screen however is slightly more advanced, with lighting that adapts better to different environments more so than the 3. Customers have also noted a more comfortable strap when exercising.

Features:The Fitbit Charge 4 has all of the features you’d expect and more. With 24/7 heart rate monitoring, goal-based exercises, sleep stages and your sleep score, a female health tracker to examine your cycle, reminders to move and guided breathing sessions, there is a lot of what you’d recognise from the Charge 3 on the 4, making it brilliant once again for the fitness conscious.

However, there are also some added upgrades. On the 4, there is built-in GPS, to see a map of your workout in the Fitbit app. It’s a feature that is missing in the Charge 3. And it's one that many – runners and walkers especially – may be keen on utilising. There is also a new feature called Active Zone Minutes. This checks to see which heart rate zone you are in, to assess whether you are working hard enough to reach your goals.

User experience:Just like the 3, the Fitbit Charge 4 is easy to use and navigate. Plus, it provides a really clear picture of your health and fitness, to help you achieve whatever it is you’re after in your sleep, wellness or exercise routine. It is simple to set up and looks good on your wrist, too.

Result:A brilliant device for tracking all of your vital stats and then some. With an elevated price tag that is very reasonable in the world of fitness trackers and watches.

Fitbit Charge 3 vs Fitbit Charge 4: the verdict

Put simply, the Charge 4 really is an upgraded version of the Charge 3. The 4 has a few more features than the 3 – including the GPS and Active Zone Minutes. And, if those extras are important to you, the 4 really could be worth the extra money. Tech fans may also appreciate the superior screen experience on the 4. Plus, the chance to zero in on your health stats in detail, in a way you can’t on the 3.

But we reckon that if you don’t want to spend the extra, the two Charge models really are comparable devices that are almost equal in quality. Both have a long battery life and are water-resistant, have reminders to move, female health tracking, sleep tracking, guided breathing sessions and, of course, fitness tracking, so many of the features are similar.

The two devices are also similar in look and design, so for the style-conscious both would be great options. Overall, it’s up to you and your personal needs and preferences as to whether you want to spend that little bit of extra money on the upgrade or less on the original.

Amy Hunt
Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is Life Channel Editor at womanandhome.com, having been with the brand since 2015. She began as the magazine's features assistant before moving over to digital as a News and Features Writer, before becoming Senior Writer, and now a Channel Editor. She has worked on either women's lifestyle websites previously too—including Woman's Weekly, Goodto.com, Woman, and Woman's Own. In 2019, Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards, for her work on womanandhome.com. She is passionate about everything from books, to homes, to food and the latest news on the royal family. When she isn't editing or updating articles on cleaning, homewares, the newest home gadgets, or the latest books releases for the website, she's busy burying her nose in a gripping thriller, practising yoga, or buying new homeware of her own.