back to article Fitbit unfurls last new wearable before it's gobbled by Google, right on time for global pandemic lockdown

The gyms are shut. The government wants you to stay indoors. You can only leave your home once per day. And nobody, it seems, told Fitbit, which this week announced its latest calorie-counting, timber-trimming wearable – the Fitbit Charge 4. This wrist-worn Mr Motivator is very much business as usual, representing a fairly …

  1. Pat Att

    Xiaomi Mi Band 5?

    It's actually the Mi Band 4 which is their latest one. It's very good too.

  2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Still not a patch on a Garmin.

    Just sayin'...

    Still this pandemic has done wonders for my running and cycling fitness overall.

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Still not a patch on a Garmin.

      Indeed, I remain confused exactly why Fitbit exist at all. From this article, I understand that they were previously selling a fitness tracking device that was completely unable to actually track fitness and required you to carry a far more capable phone with you anyway. This new upgraded version finally adds the ability to actually track things for about 3 hours. Meanwhile something like a Garmin Forerunner has been around for ages, is far better for both sporty stuff and for working as an actual watch, and is actually cheaper.

      That last point being the most important. I thought they were basically cheap tat for people who wanted to pretend to be doing fitness related stuff without actually wanting to spend money or do it properly. But who the hell pays extra for a crappy Fitbit when it's actually cheaper to get something that's better in pretty much every way?

      *Disclaimer - I don't actually own a Garmin, I have a Suunto watch. Suunto are a terrible. If you actually want a GPS watch, get a Garmin.

      1. paulll

        Re: Still not a patch on a Garmin.

        They've always had a range, from basic pedometers all the way up; I bought one in 2015 that has GPS built in, no need for a phone other than to sync.

        Of course, it's completely useless now. Android's bad enough but who the *fuck* would give google access to their heart-rate and all the myriad other stuff that can be gleaned from a smart watch. I asked them what they were going to do about having junked my $350 watch but all I got was,"google are really quite lovely and there's no way they'd ever abuse your data." Lying bastards ...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I quite like my Charge 3. The waterproofing which was new in this version was a welcome addition.

    I'm not happy about them adding new features to the app and making them premium only - ie: paying a subscription to access them.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      100% - I've used a Charge 2 for years and the current version of the app is just horrible. My Android phone did an "update" and effectively downgraded the nice working app with an advertising app.

      When the Charge 2 battery finally dies I'll be looking at another company - that's a shame because the device itself is nice but the app is crap.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm hoping that Google taking over will fix the app.

  4. tfb Silver badge

    The important question

    is really: when Google take over Fitbit, who does someone who quite likes looking at the statistics from their fitbit but who is not at all comfortable with Google having them move to? Withings seem like an option (French I think so based somewhere were there is at least some privacy protection). But I'm not sure.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "a built-in GPS receiver"

    So, on top of all the functionality that that little wristwatch-sized thingy already has, they've added a built-in GPS receiver. And they can log the data for a certain amount of time.

    My, my. Technology really can do wonderful things.

    I wonder how much energy a GPS receiver uses ?

    1. keith_w Bronze badge

      Re: "a built-in GPS receiver"

      According to the ads, the battery will last up to 7 days if you have the GPS turned off or 5 hours of continous GPS use.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Warning: please consider carefully before buying Android Wear devices, no matter how cheap. The performance and battery life start off barely passable and swiftly decline, mainly due to the ancient CPU they ship. I gave up and use a second-hand Fitbit, which at least works better than the two Android Wear devices I had.

    1. Pat Att

      My Mi Band 3 is over a year old and still in regular use, and the battery lasts for a month. Other Mi Band 4's in the house are similar.

    2. deadcow

      I bought an Fitbit Versa 2 and swapped it for an android wear device when it spectacularly failed to do any of the things it was supposed to be able to do. Battery life on the wear device isn't amazing, although I can easily get a full day on a charge, but at least it works, I can get ALL my notifications on it, and it remains paired to my phone for above 10 minutes without requiring a complete reinstall of the Fitbit app. It was also considerably cheaper than the Fitbit. The Fitbit was also measuring my heart rate incorrectly. And my weight (Aria scales). And miscounting my steps.

      Fitbit products are expensive trash.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I see these comments all the time - all fitness trackers are sensors with a little software so if you don't apply the sensor correctly then it will not work perfectly. Sure sometimes they are faulty (i.e. Flight 447) but most of the time it's the user failing to understand exactly why they are seeing the results they don't believe (i.e. Flight 447) .

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All your health data are belong to us

    I had been considering FitBit (among other options) for a while, but ever since I learned of their impending assimilation by GRUgle, unfortunately that's ruled them out from my perspective. The obvious alternative, Apple, is far too expensive, too fancy (and with too mediocre a battery life) for my use.

    Inasmuch as most fitness tracking is fairly frivolous anyway, all I really want is something that can measure walking/running, cycling (maybe?) distance, and, most importantly for me (although, again, still essentially frivolous), swimming distance (not that I'm getting any chance to do that just now, sadly). The ability to be alerted to incoming calls and messages from my phone (not even necessarily the content of them) and perhaps to control music playing, would arguably be "nice" to have, but I don't really need anything super fancy. My fear is that the cheapo Chinese alternatives are probably also slurping your data away somewhere undesirable, are there any semi-smart-watches available that would do the trick and respect the privacy and sensitivity of your data?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: All your health data are belong to us

      I very much doubt that any manufacturer will balk at taking the data and using it as they see fit. However, if you're willing to accept some reduced functionality, there is an app called Gadgetbridge (look in FDroid) that can pair with some trackers and is local only. I don't know how well the supported devices work for your use cases, but for perfect privacy that's probably the only option.

  8. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Smart watch

    Fitbit are a niche company and fitness watches is what they do. (Clue's in the name). However, I've no interest in a smart watch just to tell me I haven't taken enough exercise. But the devices from all companies seem to be aimed at the joggers. And none seem to have anything that I would welcome on my wrist. I'm sure they could find something to design in, (?) but the focus on fitness has made them complacent.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Smart watch

      A friend of mine has the annoying habit of using his on our gig and seems to OCD us to do 10km even if we have been doing racing starts and other extreme workload exercises. And then tries to say that's enough when we hit 10k on a beautiful morning when we've got a good 2 or 4 k left in most of us.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Smart watch

        Simple solution, stop when you want and keep on running when you want as well. But then a positive side to the current mess is that you won't have to see them for a while.

    2. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Smart watch

      I've no interest in a smart watch just to tell me I haven't taken enough exercise

      Me too. I just want a smartwatch that tells me the time.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Smart watch

        If it did something ( unspecified) gee whizzy that I wanted to use I'd consider wearing one if it was as smart as my lovely Citizen solar powered watch.

  9. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Is there any watch out there with an open api?

    I'm not convinced these things are of a lot of use in terms of exercise but I'd quite like one that would record my 4D progress and perhaps heartbeat for my own use without it going out of my intranet.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Is there any watch out there with an open api?

      Time being the 4th D?

  10. Glen 1 Silver badge

    " there's always the risk they could pop out of pockets mid-bike ride,"

    Colour me old fashioned, but in my day, we had these things called "Zips" that were capable of preventing that from happening. Heck, even the more modern "Velcro" would be up to the task.

    Your 'fitness' garments don't have pockets? Why on earth did you buy them then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It is uncomfortable to have a phone bouncing round in your pocket while you're running.

      Even if it fits perfectly into the pocket, it'll then be restricting your movement and be irritating.

      That's why I bought wireless headphones - so I wouldn't have to have my phone in my pocket on the treadmill.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        When I used to do long distance running in the days before fancy water bottles I used to run with nothing but a Yale key in my pocket. On getting a new pair of shorts I found they had a little net pocket in the middle of the belt region the looked key sized - unfortunately it allowed the key to swing* and after 15 miles it had bashed a serious hole in my flesh.

        *yes I was built like a stick insect.

  11. ElectricPics

    "You can only leave your home once per day"

    Kindly don't disseminate nonsense.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So that Google can continuously track my whereabouts? No thanks. Sounds like I won't be getting a new fitbit when mine breaks.

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