Fitbit is launching a new version of its Charge fitness tracker that will incorporate a larger screen, a heart rate monitor, new software features, and more customization options, the company announced on Monday.
The Fitbit Charge 2 will sell for $149.95 when it launches in September, making it the same price as the Charge HR model released in 2014. But the Charge 2 has a few new tricks compared to its predecessors, such as a feature that walks the wearer through breathing exercises. Owners will be able to opt for a two or five minute session, in which they inhale and exhale in conjunction with a guide displayed on the wristband screen. Apple is adding a similar Breathe app to the Apple Watch with a software update coming this fall.
Fitbit's new tracker also gains Reminders to Move: a feature that nudges the wearer to take 250 steps each hour to avoid remaining sedentary for too long. Reminders to Move is also available on the Fitbit Alta, which is slimmer and doesn't contain a heart rate monitor, and the Fitbit Flex 2, the company's new swim-proof wristband that doesn't have a screen. These alerts will be coming to Fitbit's Blaze watch through a software update in September.
Customization has been a big theme for Fitbit over the past year, and that continues with the Charge 2. The new version of the Charge will allow for swappable bands, with Fitbit offering classic rubbery straps as well as premium leather ones. Physically, the new device also differs from older Charge bands in another key way: its screen is noticeably larger. The Charge 2's display is chunkier and meant to be interacted with, unlike the slim screen designed for viewing stats found on the Charge and Charge HR.
The Charge 2 accomplishes many of the same tasks as Fitbit's earlier models: it can track things like steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed,and active minutes in addition to monitoring specific workouts. Like the Charge HR, the new wristband will also be able to automatically track certain activities without having to manually put the band into exercise mode, such as walking, running, and aerobic workouts.
With its heart rate monitor and new software features, the Charge 2 seems like it could be the best Fitbit option for those seeking a well-rounded fitness tracker. Other models, like the new Flex 2 and Fitbit Alta, come with some limitations compared to the Charge 2. The Alta, for instance, doesn't have a heart rate monitor, while the Flex 2 doesn't have a screen that allows users to see stats quickly. Those who aren't budget-strapped and want something lighter and slimmer than a sports watch may want to consider the Charge 2.