Does the Fitbit Charge 3 have GPS?

(Image credit: Fitbit)

Does the Fitbit Charge 3 have GPS?

Best answer: Unfortunately, the Fitbit Charge 3 does not have built-in GPS. Instead, it works in tandem with your smartphone to track your GPS data, also known as "connected GPS." If you really need built-in GPS because you don't like carting your phone around when you work out (and if you want to stay within the Fitbit family of products), you should instead consider spending the extra cash on a Fitbit Ionic.Amazon: Fitbit Charge 3 (opens in new tab) ($150 - $170)Amazon: Fitbit Ionic (opens in new tab) ($250 - $314)

No phone necessary

The Fitbit Ionic is technically a smartwatch and not just a fitness tracker, so it makes sense that it all but eliminates the need for you to carry your phone for the duration of your workout if you so choose. In addition to tracking all the same data your Fitbit Charge 3 tracks like steps, calories burned, sleep, and heart rate, it also features built-in GPS that shows real-time pace and distance during runs, walks, and bike rides — no phone required. It even offers music storage and personal coaching, so if you've got a pair of Bluetooth headphones, you can rock to your workout playlist or do guided exercises without needing to affix your phone to your person in some way.

The Fitbit Charge 3 still packs a punch, though

Though it doesn't have built-in GPS on its own, if you already usually take your smartphone with you on your runs and bike rides anyway, the Fitbit Charge 3 will still be able to gather GPS data from your device and — like the Ionic — show real-time pace and distance information on its face. The only real difference is that you have to have your phone on you while you exercise. The Charge 3 also doesn't store any music or support the variety of apps that the Ionic does, but again, if you've got your phone on your person, you can just as easily use that to jam out while you jog.

As far as movement and health tracking goes, the Fitbit Charge 3 is every bit as good as the Ionic, offering all the same tracking features with the exception of GPS. That includes multi-sport tracking, insights into your cardio fitness level, and much more. It's also the more lightweight, energy efficient, and affordable option between the two wearables, so if you had your eye on it for those reasons its lack of built-in GPS probably shouldn't be a dealbreaker.

Tory Foulk

Tory Foulk is a writer at Mobile Nations. She lives at the intersection of technology and sorcery and enjoys radio, bees, and houses in small towns. When she isn't working on articles, you'll likely find her listening to her favorite podcasts in a carefully curated blanket nest. You can follow her on Twitter at @tsfoulk.