Heart-rate monitoring is a must-have for serious fitness fiends, but not all activity trackers are equipped for the task.
The Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Blaze are two models that go above and beyond, offering this feature plus many more. The Charge 2 keeps the focus on fitness while the Blaze crosses over into smartwatch territory. We’re taking a closer look at these two Fitbit trackers to help you decide which device is the better match for you.
The trackers: At a glance
|Fitbit Charge 2||Fitbit Blaze|
|Price||$149.95 from Fitbit||$199.95 from Fitbit|
|Battery life||Up to 5 days||Up to 5 days|
|Color||Black, plum, blue, teal, lavender/rose gold and black/gunmetal||Black, blue, plum, black/gunmetal and slim pink/gold|
|All-day activity tracking||Yes||Yes|
|GPS||Yes, via connected mobile device||Yes, via connected mobile device|
|Heart rate monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile notifications||Call, text and calendar||Call, text, calendar and push|
|Buy on Amazon|
The trackers: Up close and personal
The Charge 2 is a wristband that more closely resembles a standard fitness wearable. It has a black and white OLED tap display and its interchangeable band measures 0.84 of an inch wide.
The Blaze, on the other hand, is a combination tracker and smartwatch with a large 0.75-by-1 inch LCD color touch screen. Its band is also interchangeable, but is significantly thicker at 1.58 inches wide.
Both Fitbits are resistant to sweat, rain and splashes, but aren’t suitable for swimming. Each comes in three sizes — small, large and extra large — as well as a variety of colors. Replacement bands are sold separately.
The two Fitbit models share the bulk of their features. Both the Charge 2 and the Blaze can track steps, distance, calories, sleep and floors climbed plus various sports like biking and yoga. Each reminds you to move when you’ve been inactive for an extended period of time and has a long battery life of up to 5 days. The trackers also offer heart rate monitoring and can connect to your Android, iOS or Windows smartphone for call, text and calendar notifications and GPS tracking.
There are a couple of additional features you’ll get only with the Charge 2. These include:
- Cardio Fitness Level: The activity tracker uses Fitbit’s PurePulse heart rate monitor to produce a personalized cardio score. You can view this score, and learn how to improve it, in the Fitbit app.
- Guided breathing sessions: The Charge 2 also uses your heart rate to instruct you when to inhale and exhale, helping you relax and recover after workouts.
For $50 more, the Blaze brings the following capabilities:
- On-screen workouts and summaries: View workout summaries, instructions and coaching directly on the display.
- Music control: Use the Blaze to play, pause and switch songs from your connected smartphone and adjust the volume.
- Push notifications: In addition to call, text and calendar alerts, the Blaze shows notifications from your favorite apps on screen.
There’s a $50 price gap between the Charge 2 and Blaze, which are both on the higher end of the Fitbit price spectrum. The Charge 2 retails for $149.95 and the Blaze for $199.95. Before you buy, try consulting third-party retailers like Amazon, where you may find the trackers for less.
It’s hard to go wrong with either choice — both are loaded with all the standard tracking features plus a few extra to boot.
Although the Charge 2 is the cheaper option, it takes heart rate monitoring a step further than the Blaze by providing guided breathing sessions and your Cardio Fitness Score. If you care more about fitness features than smart features, the Charge 2 will likely suit you better.
But if basic smartwatch functions like a larger, interactive display and music control are also important to you, the Blaze offers the best of both worlds.
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