Following a couple of big leaks, Fitbit is officially announcing the Charge 5, the company’s latest fitness tracker, and it marks one of the biggest design changes to the popular Charge family since the first Charge HR, which came out in 2015. The Charge 5 shaves down the hard angles that have defined the Charge trackers for a more rounded look, and more significantly, it’s the first Charge with a color AMOLED display.
The Charge 5’s screen is 10 percent larger than the Charge 4’s, and can get up to 450 nits bright, up from the Charge 4’s 200 nits. That all means that the screen should be easier to see when you’re outside. And you can also opt to have the display on at all times — which means you won’t have to wait for the screen to light up just to see the time.
Fans of the previous monochrome screen might balk at the change. And I say that as someone who really likes the monochrome on the Charge 4 — it’s nice not having yet another colorful screen to distract me. But I could see how a color screen could make it easier to differentiate between stats and information, which could make the Charge 5 that much more glanceable.
And while the always-on display could also be quite useful, it comes at a significant cost of battery. While Fitbit advertises up-to-seven-day battery life with the Charge 5, that’s with the always-on display turned off. Turning it on cuts that down to just two — much closer to what you might be used to with a more traditional smartwatch than the Charge 5 resembles.
I’m a big fan of the Charge 5’s more rounded look. Gone are many of the hard angles, edges, and geometric shapes of the previous Charge trackers — everything on the Charge 5 looks smoother than it did before. (Though I do wish the Charge 5’s band kept the criss-crossed lines that stand out on the band for the Charge 2, 3, and 4.) The Charge 5 is 10 percent thinner than the Charge 4, meaning it shouldn’t jut out quite as much from your wrist, and I really like the way the sensors on the back of the Charge 5 look to blend in more seamlessly than they do on the Charge 4.