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27 May 2020 World leisure: news, training & property
 
 
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08 Apr 2020

Fitbit unveils Charge 4 tracker to help keep people moving during lockdowns
BY Tom Walker

The Charge 4 has built-in GPS, allowing users to leave their phones at home

The Charge 4 has built-in GPS, allowing users to leave their phones at home
photo: FitBit

Fitbit has launched its latest wearable – the Charge 4 tracker – offering a number of features which will be useful for people looking to stay active while gyms remain closed due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

Among Charge 4's innovations are Fitbit's first in-built GPS and a new Active Zone Minutes service.

The built-in GPS allows users to leave their phones at home, a feature designed to make activities such as running and other outdoor excursions "more enjoyable". Charge 4 also has the ability to track the user's pace and distance in real time and also offers seven GPS-enabled exercise modes – including a new outdoor workout mode for any outdoor activity.

Meanwhile, the new Active Zones is based on the user's resting heart rate and age and is able to track any workout – from indoor biking to yoga – and measures the time spent in each heart rate zone toward a weekly goal of 150 minutes.

According to Fitbit, the new Charge 4 – which has a battery life of up to seven days – also boasts the "most advanced combination of sensors and features in any Fitbit device".

The device also has a swim-proof design and Spotify compatibility – to allow people to manage their playlists directly from the tracker.

“Our mission has always been to help people around the world get healthier – and in today’s extraordinary times, that mission is more important than ever," said James Park, Fitbit CEO and co-founder.

He added that to support the launch of Charge 4, the company had added new content to its Fitbit Premium offer – including programmes, workouts from brands such as barre3, Down Dog and Physique 57. There are also new mindfulness tools and challenges and more.

“To help support our users, we’re offering a free trial of Fitbit Premium and added content so our users have the right tools at home to help them stay healthy; and, with Active Zone Minutes, we are giving users a new personalized standard for health and fitness so they can get the most out of any activity that works for them and help to keep them motivated.”

Other new additions to the Charge 4 include a relative peripheral capillary oxygen saturation sensor (SpO2 – an estimate of the amount of oxygen in the blood), which powers Fitbit’s Estimated Oxygen Variation Graph in the Fitbit app.

With the graph, users get an estimate of the oxygen level variability in their bloodstream, which may indicate variations in breathing during sleep.

The Charge 4 is one of the first major new products to be brought to the market since Google revealed plans to acquire Fitbit in a deal worth US$2.1bn (€1.88bn, £1.62bn) in November 2019.

The deal has yet to be completed, however. Earlier this month, The New York Post reported that the Department of Justice is currently looking into the deal, due to concerns over how the deal could impact people’s privacy.



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