Fitbit Charge 5 vs. Fitbit Charge 4: Which should you buy?

Fitbit Charge 5 Lifestyle
Fitbit Charge 5 Lifestyle (Image credit: Fitbit)

When it comes to fitness trackers, Fitbit certainly knows what it's doing, and both the Fitbit Charge 4 and Fitbit Charge 5 are excellent showcases. If you're in the market for a tracker and trying to choose between the older model and the new hotness, or you're thinking about upgrading, we've got you covered. At a slightly higher price tag, does the Charge 5 offer enough to beat out the Charge 4?

Fitbit Charge 5 vs. Fitbit Charge 4: Let's break it down

The Fitbit Charge 5 is the newest kid on the block, and it comes with fresh styling, a lighter case, and features not available in any other Fitbit tracker. The Charge 4 may be the little brother, but it's no slouch when it comes to tracking workouts, heart rate, and sleep habits. Both models shine when it comes to measuring fitness metrics, but they do have a few key differences. Before we go headlong with our thoughts, let's see how they compare.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Fitbit Charge 5Fitbit Charge 4
Release dateSeptember 2021April 2020
Battery life7-days7-days
DisplayAMOLED color touchscreenOLED grayscale touchscreen
Case materialStainless steelPlastic
EDA sensor-
ECG sensor-
Heart rate monitor
Step counter
Stress level tracker-
SensorsGPS, accelerometer, heart rate, altimeter, vibration motor, SpO2, NFC, calorie counter, stress level, exercise durationGPS, accelerometer, heart rate, altimeter, vibration motor, SpO2, NFC

The upgrades to the Fitbit Charge 5 make it one of our favorite Fitbit releases to date. Even so, both trackers are capable of monitoring your general health and keeping tabs on your workout. Let's deep dive into what sets these watches apart.

Fitbit Charge 5 vs. Fitbit Charge 4: A look at the latest Charge 5

Fitbit is a company that listens to its users. When we asked for a swim-proof watch, swim tracking, and GPS, Fitbit listened, delivering the Charge 4, a fitness tracker that bested its predecessor. Now, after years of hearing from users who wanted a full-color display, Fitbit introduced just that with the newly-released Charge 5.

Unlike every other Fitbit Charge to come to market, the new Charge 5 comes outfitted with an AMOLED color touchscreen, and it's beautiful. The whole package is a sight to behold. Gone are the hard angles and blocky design, all replaced by sleek lines, a stainless steel case, and a body that's 10 percent thinner than the Charge 4.

Under the hood, the Charge 5 comes packed with more fitness and health tools than ever before. There's an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor that detects stress and an ECG sensor onboard that checks for signs of atrial fibrillation.

Fitbit Charge 5 Lifestyle Ii

Fitbit Charge 5 Lifestyle Ii (Image credit: Fitbit)

Each morning, Fitbit Premium subscribers will also get a Readiness Score that tells you how much energy you have reserved for the day. It factors in your sleep, recovery time, and heart rate variability to suggest a workout based on your body's needs. So, for example, if you had a tough workout yesterday and didn't get much sleep last night, it may suggest recovery yoga as an exercise instead of a lung-busting HIIT session. Smart! Plus, purchasing a new Fitbit Charge 5 gives you a free six-month membership to Fitbit Premium.

The Charge 5 also comes with all the usuals, including a 24/7 heart rate monitor, smartphone notifications that work with Android and iPhones, a step tracker, GPS, NFC, and a battery that holds out for a week.

Fitbit Charge 5 vs. Fitbit Charge 4: We still love the Charge 4

Fitbit Charge 4 Lifestyle

Fitbit Charge 4 Lifestyle (Image credit: Fitbit)

Last year, we recommended buying the Fitbit Charge 4, boasting about its built-in GPS and swim tracker. Those features are still every bit as accurate and exciting today as they were back then. One big plus on Team Charge 4 is the hundreds of high-quality bands for the Fitbit Charge 4 on the market. The Charge 5, being the new guy in town, has only three.

As a fitness tracker, the Charge 4 is an impressive fitness watch that continues to wow us. It's a reliable step tracker, keeps time, has GPS, counts laps as you swim, and comes with sleep tracking and alarms, and it does smartphone notifications. In other words, it does the basics well.

I've had the Charge 4 since its release, and the battery still holds a strong charge, and everything works as it should. It seamlessly sends notifications from my iPhone 12 Pro to my wrist, and it's woken me up every morning since I slapped it on my wrist.

Fitbit Charge 5 vs. Fitbit Charge 4: Which should you buy?

Fitbit Charge 5 Lifestyle

Fitbit Charge 5 Lifestyle (Image credit: Fitbit)

If I needed a new watch this year, I wouldn't hesitate to jump on the Charge 5 bandwagon. The color touchscreen, EDA and ECG sensors, and the stainless steel build make for a well-rounded fitness tracker that can mostly keep up with any smartwatch.

If price is your driving factor, you won't be disappointed in the Charge 4. The Charge 4 has been on our list of the best fitness trackers all year, and with good reason. It's accurate, has all the basics, and it won't put too much of a dent in your budget.

Jodi Owan

Jodi Owan works behind a keyboard and a camera. She's a freelance writer for iMore, Android Central, and Windows Central.