First things first: I can’t give any opinions on either wearable for now. We can talk about each one’s features and other public details for now, but I can’t weigh in on my thoughts. And that’s OK since I don’t have a ton of those just yet, anyway. But I wrote a piece not long ago about the fact that – after it was announced – I was thinking about simplifying the tech on my wrist with the Fitbit Charge 6 instead of my existing Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 or even the new Pixel Watch 2. And now that all options are here for me to pick from, here’s why I’m choosing to test out the Charge 6 over the others.
Again, I need to be clear on this: I’m not saying that at the end of my testing that I’m sticking with a fitness tracker versus a full-blown smartwatch. What I am telling you is over the next little bit of time as I’m doing some traveling with my family for fall break, I’ve made the decision to test the Fitbit Charge 6 instead of slapping on that beautiful, new Pixel Watch 2 for review.
Part of the decision comes down to simplicity. I’ve longed for the simpler days of my older Fitbit Versas for some time now. But my hesitation to go back to that sort of wearable has always hinged on two things: notification issues and feature lack.
For notifications, Fitbit’s tighter integration with Android means when I dismiss a notification on the Charge 6, it goes away on my phone, too. There was an ongoing aggravation with older Fitbit models for me where clearing notifications on my watch didn’t do anything on the phone. And that’s one of the primary reasons I finally moved to the Pixel Watch and then the Galaxy Watch 5. I love triaging notifications on my wrist and though Fitbit couldn’t do that well in the past, it’s no longer a problem.
But the other problem I had – especially with the Fitbit Versa 4 – was the lack of features that I actually use in a smart watch. While I don’t get too tied up with many of the apps available on Wear OS, I do like having things like Google Wallet, Google Maps, and basic music controls to complement the watch, notifications, and wellness/fitness tracking.
The Fitbit Charge brings all that to the table while still keeping things simple and straightforward. Sure, I’ll be saddled with the limitation of only what Google and Fitbit offer, here, but I’m also pretty certain that the features being delivered will be all I’ll need. Time will tell, sure, but with what Fitbit has put together in this tiny tracker, I’m hopeful that this wearable diet is exactly what I’m looking for.
Comfort and battery life
Finally, I’m excited for a device on my wrist that doesn’t intrude on activities the way a watch does. I’m just not a watch guy and I play a lot of golf – both indoor and outdoor – and that means I have to take off my smart watch all the time. With something as light and thin as the Fitbit Charge 6, that shouldn’t be an issue. And on my trip, we’ll be doing a lot of stuff outdoors, so I’m also happy to know that I’ll be sporting a much more affordable wrist-bound assistant in the event I knock it into something. God forbid I wear the original Pixel Watch in the same situation with no options for repair and a $350 replacement fee.
And that smaller footprint means I get to go back to the days of eternal battery life on my wrist. Charging a couple times a week should be fine with the always-on display, and if I want to get it closer to the week-long battery life Fitbit publicizes with the Charge 6, I can just flip off that always-on option and really extend things a bit.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll get to the end of this test and realize I still miss a full-blown smartwatch. But I have a sneaking suspicion that I won’t. Everything I generally use a smart watch for is on this Charge 6, and I’m very excited to truly put it through the paces over the next 10 days or so and let you know how the whole transition goes.