Fitbit’s flagship fitness tracker finally has a successor after two years: the Fitbit Charge 6. Ever since Google acquired Fitbit, the company has slowly been adding Google features to its trackers, and the Charge 6 is the latest to receive apps like Google Maps for route-tracking and Google Wallet for tap-to-pay capabilities. All this for a modest $160, which is slightly cheaper than its predecessor. The Charge 6 launches on October 12.
You can continue to track health metrics on Fitbit OS, however, the most important change is that you’ll need to sign in with your Google account for new Fitbit devices. You can see all your stats in the newly redesigned (and Google-ified) Fitbit app. However, that doesn’t include the $10-per-month Fitbit Premium service, which hides some of Fitbit’s best features behind a paywall.
If you were expecting a new Fitbit fitness tracker with some form of Google’s Wear OS, it looks more and more like Google will confine the wearable operating system to fully featured smartwatches like the Pixel Watch, and we’re expecting a new Pixel Watch 2 on October 4.
The Charge 6 is an update to the Charge 5, a lightweight, affordable fitness tracker that’s one of Fitbit’s most popular models and our top pick in our Best Fitness Trackers and Best Fitbit guides. The company got rid of the side button in the Charge 5, but it has brought it back in the Charge 6, offering an additional way to interact with the interface.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Fitbit claims the heart rate tracker is the company’s most accurate yet (as compared to other trackers, not smartwatches like the Versa). That’s because it’s utilizing many of the on-device learning models Google introduced in the original Pixel Watch to deliver precise heart rate results. Fitbit claims these algorithms have been optimized to maintain a seven-day battery life, despite the higher processing power.
More precise data will let Fitbit and Google fine-tune all of your proprietary health metrics that were also previously available on the Charge 5. Those include your Active Zone Minutes, which differentiate between the minutes you’re simply up and moving versus the minutes of vigorous exercise when your heart rate pushes you into the fat-burning zone. It continues to support SpO2 measurements, and it has the FDA-cleared electrocardiogram, which can detect irregular heart rhythms for atrial fibrillation, as well as high and low heart rates.
New in the Charge 6 is the ability to connect the tracker to popular Bluetooth-compatible exercise machines, like the Peloton bike and the Tonal Home Gym. There are also new workout activities like surfing, skiing, and CrossFit, adding up to a total list of over 40 different exercise modes.