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Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband, Black, Large

by Fitbit

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Fitbit Charge HR- A weight loss tool that actually works

So I admit, I was skeptical at first.  After a few years with my first mobile phones, I stopped using a watch which I found liberating.  I lost the pale watch band ring on my wrist, no longer had to worry about taking off the watch before a shower or swimming, and didn't have to worry about rashes or skin irritation.  So why would I go back to adding a Fitbit band around the same wrist which had been free for so long?  What's the big deal about tracking footsteps, heart rates, and sleep patterns?

The truth is the Fitbit is heavily addictive and really helps to lose weight.

I purchased the Fitbit Charge HR in Bic Camera right near the Shinkansen bullet train station in Shin-Yokohama, Japan.  They had quite a large selection of Fitbit's along with fitness wearable devices from other companies.

Bic Camera Shin Yokohama Floor Directory


Bic Camera Shin Yokohama wearables display

Here's the Fitbit brought back to Taiwan at a local Taiwanese breakfast place.

The Fitbit Charge HR contains not only the Fitbit Charge HR itself but a USB Bluetooth Dongle for your PC/Mac,  Fitbit USB Charger Cable, and of course the quick user guide.  FitBit Charge HR Box Open with Bluetooth dongle and USB charge cable and manual

Always wonder how you charge the Fitbit Charge HR through USB?  Here's a picture of how the USB charger cable clicks into the gold holes at the back of the Fitbit Charge HR.FitBit Charge HR with USB Charge Cable unplugged taken at BiiNa Tennis Courts in Taipei Taiwan

Making wearables for fitness is kind of tricky.  Make the wearable too big or heavy and it feels like a rock.  Make it too nice and expensive looking and you may not feel like having it deal with sweat, rain, and the rough and tumble of sports.  The early Fitbits solved this by providing a slim band that was light and low profile enough on your wrist to not be noticeable.  They were also durable enough to withstand the elements and moderate contact.

By this time, other wearables released in the market copied Fitbit's simplistic approach or went with large watch style devices with interactive screens.  The problem with these large interactive screens right now is that they are heavy, warm, need more recharging, and are expensive enough to make you worried about hurting it during exercise.  You don't want to have to worry about putting the device under water, washing away all the sweat and dirt it accumulates.

The Fitbit Charge HR is a great device that keeps to Fitbit's original lightweight low profile style but rather than adding a large touch display on your wrist, simplifies things by adding a low power touch responsive LED  display.  The Charge HR is one of the few wearables in the market that can measure and show your live heart rate, which is useful when you are exercising and trying to make sure you maintain you stay within a certain cardio zone.  Even for days where you are not working out, being able to keep see live without taking out your phone whether you are meeting your step or calorie burn target is a good motivator to get out and move about.  You'll find yourself checking your Fitbit throughout the day to see how well you are doing.

FitBit Initial Screen Android

The Fitbit app is fun to use and having daily and longer term fitness goals keeps you motivated.  Flicking your wrist towards you to easily check the time, step taken, or calories consumed makes you frequently check how you are doing with your personal goals.  Not meeting these goals can be a bummer but your brain definitely releases some endorphins when you see you've exceeded your goals.

There are some minor annoyances like needing Internet access to manually set the Fitbit time especially if you are traveling between time zones.  The short USB charging cable is also easy to lose unless you keep it plugged into a USB adapter- once you lose it, you can't charge your Fitbit and good luck finding a replacement.

The calorie tracker is also really useful to easily estimate how much calories you are burning but trying to record how much calories you took in more tedious.  Not only do you need to look up every dish you ate but it's difficult to use if you are sharing dishes or eating outside the US.  Still, it's useful to try out the calorie intake for a few days to at least estimate your daily range of calories taken in to make sure you know how much to target for daily calorie burning.

Also be warned that when you are traveling overseas with the Fitbit, some countries have problems accessing the Fitbit site.  When I was traveling in India, while the Fitbit applications could access Fitbit's servers, for some reason the Fitbit website and personal dashboard kept on hanging while other websites worked fine.

One of the most important part of getting the best user experience with your Fitbit is the application used to monitor your progress and control your Fitbit's settings.  Unfortunately the application's able to connect to your Fitbit is very dependent on which smartphone, tablet, or computer you are using to install the application on.

Read about some of the issues the Fitbit Charge HR has working with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge here.

Click hear to see how the the Apple iPad Air 2 works flawlessly with the Fitbit Charge HR.

The result of using the Fitbit for several months have certainly made solid improvements in reducing weight and generally leading a healthier lifestyle.  Obviously just putting a band on your wrist doesn't magically lead to a weight loss.  But unlike popping a pill or following the latest diet fads, the Fitbit allows you to set realistic goals and easily provides you the data and motivation to meet them. All you need to do is put in the effort and keep moving.  It's that simple.

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