The smartwatch isn’t the only place you can expect advanced health tracking features, as Fitbit updates its slim wrist wearable.
Wearable devices may not have quite the level of choice that phones offer, but that is gradually improving.
From the one everyone knows in the Apple Watch to a band that might be able to offer insights into determining whether you have COVID, there are indeed options out there, and they are on the up and up.
This week, one of the pioneers of fitness wearables has another, as one of the brands that kickstarted it all talks up what we can expect to grace wrists in the very near future.
We’re talking about Fitbit with this one, and this week, the now-Google-owned company is talking about the Charge 5, the latest in its long-running smartband series and what looks like a pretty serious change in terms of technology.
For starters, it’s in colour. Gone is the monochromatic screen of the past models, replaced by a colour AMOLED touchscreen still shaped with the rectangular look associated with the Charge band, and offering as much as twice the brightness from the previous Charge 4.
Inside, you’ll still find heart rate tracking, now able to track Heart Rate Variance (HRV) — the time in between each heart beat — as well as including an electrocardiograph (ECG) to pay attention to your heart. While that doesn’t mean the Charge 5 is likely to tell you if you’re about to have a heart attack, it may be able to give you signs on whether you’re having atrial fibrillation (AFib), and it appears Fitbit is including something else, too.
We’ve not seen this technology included in a wearable for some time, but a galvanic skin response sensor appears to be in the Charge 5, a type of sensor that measures the sweat and skin temperature on your skin to clue in other features. Technically called an Electrodermal Activity sensor or “EDA”, this may provide an understanding of your stress levels, and could factor into Fitbit’s profile of you.
That will join a blood oxygen sensor (SpO2), as well support for a built-in GPS so you can track your health and your location as you go for a walk and run, and there even appears to be support for Fitbit Pay, provided your bank handles that.
Fitbit is touting up to seven days of battery life with the Charge 5 and water resistance, as well as a late-September release in Australia at $269.95, a close to the $179.95 USD pricing in the States once you factor in conversion and taxes.
At the same time, Fitbit has announced its ECG is active in Australia, approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Association, and supported on the Fitbit Sense from today. That’ll also include the Charge 5 when we see that, with the release set in a few weeks.
UPDATE: Well that didn’t take long. Shortly after this news went out, Fitbit’s local arm sent word about an Australian price, release date, and news on the local ECG support.