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Fitbit Charge 5 Review

FitBit Charge 5 Product Shot

Fitbit Charge 5

  • Overall Rating
  • Durability
  • Product & Services
  • Cost
  • Ease of Use

Fitbit, by Google, is among the more affordable and well-known fitness trackers in the industry. The devices are designed to guide you in a balance of sleep, exercise, and overall well-being. The company claims the Fitbit Charge 5 is its most advanced upgrade in technology to date. In this Fitbit Charge 5 review, we tested the overall experience, accuracy, and amount of information the product reports, in three key categories: workout, sleep tracking, and safety.

Here’s my full Fitbit Charge 5 review after putting the device through its paces.


Accurate, but can take a while to start auto-tracking

Sleep Tracking

Comfortable to wear with good supporting info


Decent features, but not as advanced as Apple Watch

How We Tested It

As a fitness trainer, I’ve used earlier versions of the Fitbit and was able to compare those to the Fitbit Charge 5. I also recently reviewed the Apple Watch 8 including wearing both devices on a run. And, I tested the Whoop 4.0 separately.

Find What You Need

Fitbit’s Beginnings

Fitbit started its journey as an industry leader in trackable fitness devices in 2009. It has had the reputation of being more of a pedometer than anything. This developed due to the “Community Competition” feature that was all the craze at the time. The major focus was steps taken in a day as the best way to measure success in your health and fitness. 

As a fitness trainer, I remember owning a Fitbit almost a decade ago, and being in many daily step competitions with my clients. We joined groups in the app for a bit of healthy and fun competition. However, we quickly learned the flaws in its accuracy, and the ways to “cheat” to win, doing everything necessary for the “badge” of first place each day. People who “fidgeted” or moved their hands a lot during the day would show hundreds to thousands more steps than others. 

What started as a healthy challenge, became an unhealthy obsession. My clients began avoiding stationary exercises such as squats, pullups, pushups, and stretching. Cardio classes were all the rage, and strength and yoga class numbers began to suffer. People’s muscle mass and flexibility declined, and sleep suffered. 

As the coach and leader of the gym, I recognized that the focus on steps went against what we preached about overall balance in wellness. 

Now, coming back to the product years later to do a Charge 5 review, I was intrigued to see how, and if, it advanced in its accuracy in step tracking and messaging about overall health and wellness.

What Is New and Innovative with the Fitbit Charge 5

If you already own a Fitbit, it’s important to know what’s new with the device to decide if an upgrade is worth the investment. 

Best Fitness Tracker for Seniors

Read our review of the Best Fitness Trackers for 2023

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Who Would Benefit from the Fitbit Charge 5?

Seniors and the aging population would definitely benefit from the Fitbit Charge 5 in many ways. Within the aging population, here are some specifics that may be aligned with your needs and preferences:

Overall Look and Feel

The Fitbit Charge 5 has a small screen. This is nice for those who prefer a sleeker, less bulky feel on their wrist. However, it is harder to read, especially for those with any sort of vision impairment. 

The screen may be brighter, however, the look and feel of the touch screen are definitely more antiquated in its technology. It’s billed as a tracker, so if you’re expecting a feel and functionality of an Apple Watch, you’d be disappointed. I personally don’t like the setup. Scrolling from screen to screen felt finicky. 

However, for a little bigger investment, Fitbit offers the Sense 2, which is part of its smartwatch line, has a larger screen, and is more comparable to the Apple Watch.

The Fitbit Change 5 is a win for those who prefer to have texts/emails/phone calls sent to your wrist, there is an option to get notifications on the device. However, unlike the Apple Watch, there is no option to reply. 

Key Features of the Fitbit Charge 5

Data Accuracy

Due to my past experiences with Fitbit, and its inaccuracy in step counting, I decided to do a side-by-side with the Apple Watch. I wore both simultaneously on a walk. Here’s how the two compared: 

100 True Steps (I Counted)

Device Calculations

Fitbit: 62

Apple: 29

Over a 6-hour period, the two devices only differed from each other by 116 steps out of 8,000, (Fitbit showed more). From the data we collected, it seems that the Charge 5 is definitely more accurate than older models in terms of the “fidget factor.” Less movement such as arm motions are tracked, and more accurate on actual “steps.”

Sleep Tracking 

Personally, the most important quality of a sleep-tracking device is that it is comfortable. Out of the three devices I tested, (Apple and Whoop were the others), I actually found the Fitbit to be the most comfortable for sleep. The Whoop tries to be with its design. The Whoop’s band is soft and light, however, the device itself is bulky. 

Fitbit however is the least cumbersome device due to its small face and thin band. (However, please note that I tested the Charge 5, and that would not be the case with some of the other versions).

The Fitbit Charge 5 calculates a Daily Sleep Score, which I personally liked. It calculates trends based on heart rate, restlessness, and how long you sleep for your personal sleep patterns. It also gives a breakdown of the time in each stage of sleep, and total duration.

There are also linked resources and articles as to why sleep and recovery are important. This added emphasis on sleep definitely helped shift my opinion of Fitbit overall, since my beginning experiences with the brand.

Safety Features 

Safety features are important for everyone, but most especially for the aging population. Tracking devices have become increasingly more advanced in the data they are able to collect. Not only for the safety of knowing a person’s location in an emergency but also for different health factors and vitals. 

Unlike some other trackers, the Charge 5 does not offer fall detection, emergency SOS signaling, or a skin temperature sensor. But it does have two critical pieces: Built-in GPS and spotting signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib, or irregular heart rhythms.)

AFib Features:

My testing bore this out. While running, I did receive notifications when I reached Peak Heart Rate, advising me to slow down. 

Price and Subscriptions 


The Fitbit is on the lower end in average price than other devices on the market. However, you definitely get what you pay for in terms of its capabilities. Fitbit offers a 2-year warranty and a 45-day return policy.

Premium Subscription (optional): $9.99/mo with 90-Day Free Trial 

Fitbit Premium (similar to Apple Fitness+) offers access to audio and video workouts and motivation. Personally, I believe the $9.99 is worth the additional cost, as Fitbit partnered with big-name brands such as Les Mills™ (Bodypump) and Calm™ meditation app which make the cost a bargain and are all exceptional products.

Real-Life Performance and Comparison

In addition, I wore both the FITBIT and an Apple Watch 8 Series on a run/walk to test for variances in numerical data (distance, pace, calories) as well as overall experience and I made a short video of the highlights.

Fitbit vs Apple Watch

Below you will find the results of a short workout I did wearing both the Fitbit Charge 5 and the Apple Watch 8. The two were very similar in their measurements of distance and pace. 

These were the biggest discrepancies in the data:


Fitbit Charge 5

Apple Watch 8

“Auto Detection of a Workout”

What date was measured

Our Verdict

If you’re looking for a basic and simple design, without a fancy screen, it’s well worth the cost. In terms of safety, it’s limited in what it offers, lacking the major selling points of the Apple Watch such as crash and fall detection. 

However, the simple GPS Tracking and Heart Rate Monitoring are important things to have in general. Since first launching, Fitbit has come a long way in terms of data capabilities, details, and accuracy. Therefore, if you’re simply looking for something to motivate you to be more active, without spending too much, this would be the route to go.

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