Fitbit Charge 6: Pre-orders, release date, features and more
Fitbit has finally revealed the Fitbit Charge 6 fitness tracker, an updated version of its premium tracker line with a selection of Google features and more accurate heart rate tracking than ever.
It looks set to be one of the best Fitbit models, and perhaps certainly the best fitness tracker in band format, Fitbit and Google are making right now. It strikes a good balance between slim fitness tracker and smartwatch functionality, especially at its mid-range price point. With pre-orders available now, we can’t wait to get our hands on it and test it out.
You can read our thoughts regarding the initial Fitbit Charge 6 announcement here, but keep reading for all the details including price, features, where to buy and more.
Fitbit Charge 6: Cut to the chase
- What is it? Fitbit’s newest fitness tracker
- When is it out? Pre-order now, ships 12/10/2023
- How much will it cost? $159.99 / £139.99 / AU$229.95
Fitbit Charge 6: Price and release date
Pre-orders for the Fitbit Charge 6 are out now, priced at $159.99 / £139.99 / AU$229.95 depending on your region, from the Fitbit website. This is actually pretty similar to the price point of the Fitbit Charge 5, so we’re quite happy with the lack of change here.
Of course, that’s not taking into account Fitbit Premium, the subscription service that allows you access to a host of extra features such as advanced metrics and your Daily Readiness Score.
After the six months of Premium you get free with the Charge 6, Premium costs $79.99 / £79.99 / AU$124.99 for the year or $9.99 / £7.99 / AU$15.49 per month. You’ll have to decide for yourself if Premium is worth the extra cost – check out our Fitbit Premium review for more information.
Fitbit Charge 6: Design
The Charge 6 looks near-identical to the Charge 5, which was predicted even before the reveal by “a source” cited by 9to5Google back in September 2022.
Like the Charge 5, the Charge 6 sports a curved glass top, aluminum borders around the OLED screen, and silicone or woven bands in varying styles, including colors such as obsidian and coral. We’re largely happy with the Charge 6 keeping the same appearance; the Charge 5 is a handsome wearable, after all.
It also means the Charge 5 is going to inhabit the same design space, somewhere between a basic tracker band and a smartwatch. It’s not a bad place to be, and the Charge 6 fills the in-between space nicely.
It’s practically the same size at just 1.2mm thicker with identical height and width dimensions as the Charge 5, although it weighs 13g less than its predecessor.
Fitbit Charge 6: Features
The Fitbit Charge 6 offers 7-day battery life, onboard GPS and GLONASS satellite systems, Fitbit’s excellent sleep tracking software, and “smart wake” alarms that rouse you during a convenient point in your sleep cycle. It’s got SpO2 blood oxygen tracking, and some redesigned heart rate sensing functionality that means it’s up to 60% more accurate than last year’s crop of trackers during vigorous activity.
When TechRadar asked how Fitbit managed to achieve this, a Fitbit representative replied:
“Through many years of hard work and R&D, our advancements in Machine Learning and AI algorithms make Charge 6 a significant improvement in heart rate accuracy.
“We ported those innovations from the Google Pixel Watch and optimized it for a lower powered processor and operating system that Charge 6 has, and further optimized it so that in spite of the compute load, we are still able to deliver on a 7-day battery.”
Fitbit Charge 6 packs a suite of new Google features too, some of them replacing features developed by Fitbit before its merger with Google. For example, Fitbit Pay, which acts like a digital wallet for your cards, has been predictably thrown out and replaced by Google Wallet. For the first time, you can control music on your Fitbit Charge 6 via YouTube Music.
Google Maps will offer turn-by-turn navigation on the fitness tracker powered by the Charge 6’s onboard GPS and its full-color OLED display. This is a really exciting feature, especially for runners who want to easily follow new courses. The Google feature missing here is Google Assistant, unfortunately – that’s reserved for the Pixel Watch for now.
40 workout profiles, just like the Fitbit Versa 4, will be present on the Charge 6. Its GPS credentials mean the Charge line will continue to be a good choice for runners, swimmers and cyclists. Otherwise, things are looking similar to the Fitbit Charge 5, with a seven-day battery life and similar design ethos.
Fitbit Charge 6: Pre-announcement rumors and leaks
The below is full of rumors, leaks and information collected before the Charge 6 was revealed.
A Fitbit watch believed to be the Charge 6 has also gone through the FCC process, as highlighted by NotebookCheck.All gadgets sold legally in the US end up on the Federal Communications Commission database, which records the wireless communications standards they use. These documents suggest the Fitbit Charge 6 has NFC, GPS with GLONASS, and Bluetooth Low Energy, but no Wi-Fi. This is exactly what we’d expect the Charge 6 to have, largely because it’s what the Charge 5 has too.
However, there is a complicating factor here. The “FB423” assignation this device has in the FCC’s files is also mentioned in the latest version of the Fitbit Charge 5 manual.
It suggests Fitbit may simply have switched to a slightly different formulation of Charge 5 late last year, around when the Versa 4 and Sense 2 arrived. The FB423 could be a Charge 5 that uses some different wireless chips. However, we do think the wireless connections this watch uses will be the same as those of the Fitbit Charge 6.
A similar low-power device from Fitbit, with the product code G3MP5, has been seen on both US and Singaporean communications equipment databases. Combined with Google’s October event announcement, it suggests we could be seeing a new Fitbit very soon.
Fitbit Charge 6 is expected to pack several Google features, including Google Maps (hopefully with audio navigation cues) and YouTube Music, which could be downloaded and stored on-device just like a smartwatch.
The exact mechanic within the latest Fitbit models like the Sense 2 is that they port Google Wallet, rather than Pay, thanks to Google’s ownership of Fitbit. For us end users there’s not much difference, but the latest incarnation of Wallet is designed to store tickets, digital ID cards and the like as well as payment methods.
Now it’s time to delve into features we think are less likely. We want some form of music control in the Charge 6 that does not revolve around getting control via the notifications system.
This means either a micro app that acts as a remote control for music played on your phone, a reinstatement of the Spotify mini app that was removed from the Charge series in the Charge 5. Or full-on local music playback, as seen in the Garmin Venu Sq 2 Music and Huawei Watch GT 3.
However, we think this is not on the cards unless we also see a change in Fitbit’s higher-end watches. The Sense 2 and Versa 4 also lost all forms of music control. As we wrote about in a recent opinion piece, the Fitbit you once knew doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s a sad situation.
That we have another request for a feature present in older Charge wearables tells you something about the direction of Fitbit’s gadgets. We want the altimeter to return in the Charge 6. It was present on the Charge 4, but lost in the Charge 5. An altimeter is used to determine how high you climb when walking or running, expressed as flights of stairs. It’s a good feature for passive fitness tracking when you won’t use the Charge 6’s GPS as part of an active exercise session.