Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Tuesday, April 14.
1. Fitbit Charge 4 reviews: nothing but praise
The Fitbit Charge 4 is out and reviews have landed over the past 24 hours. And while it’s a weird time to be buying fitness trackers and doing the things that fitness trackers help you track, this line from a review made me sit up: “The best fitness tracker you can buy, period.”
- The line above is from my colleague Jimmy Westenberg’s Fitbit Charge 4 review here on Android Authority, who points out it’s the same price ($150, $170 for the Special Edition) and much the same design as the Fitbit Charge 3, with crucial new features, and former gripes removed, making it better than ever.
- It finally has built-in GPS, which is a game-changer. GPS!
- The heart rate sensor is decent and not too far behind models twice the price, has a solid SpO2 sensor, and sleep tracking is superb, best-in-class.
- NFC capabilities allow you to pay for stuff with Fitbit Pay.
- There’s a new “Active Zone Minutes” feature which is like credit for different effort levels, similar to Google Fit and in the realm of how Apple pushes you to “close your rings” on the Apple Watch.
- Battery life is also unchanged from the Charge 3 to the Charge 4, at around five to six days.
- Basically it’s the best in the business, and it’s soon to be Google-owned which may be better, worse, or the same for Fitbit now and in the future. We don’t know yet.
- Other reviews agree: GPS rocks, it’ll push you to run or train harder and faster, and it’s more than just a fitness tracker.
What’s not as good?
- The downsides of the Charge 4 are that the touchscreen/button combo aren’t quite as reliable or fast to respond like a physical clicky button might be.
- GPS takes time to lock on to satellites, and that heart rate sensor doesn’t match a chest strap, for example.
- Despite more smartwatch-y features, the new Fitbit is still not a smartwatch.
- The only serious competition with both fitness and smartwatch features is the Apple Watch. The current Series 5 starts at $399, though, so it all depends on what matters.
- For $150, the Charge 4 is real value, especially if you don’t get enough out of smartwatch features. But if you’re an iPhone guy, and a runner, the Apple Watch is still tempting to meet both needs.
- Another question: Is it worth upgrading from the Charge 3 to the Charge 4? Reviews suggested only if you meticulously track workouts down to fine detail, in which case the built-in GPS helps.
- It’s not weird that Fitbit has an updated spec device, but the timing is such that most people are indoors.
- Runners and cyclists are still mostly able to run and bike outside, carefully, but being housebound is still the status quo for many.
- That probably means Fitbit has a harder job to sell what looks to be a great device, through no real fault of its own. Which is soon to be Google’s problem.
2. Google, Apple reveal more details on huge contact tracing initiative. Android phones will get the tracking updated via the Google Play Store, not Android itself (Android Authority). And here’s more details in question/answer format from a call hosted by the two companies (TechCrunch).
3. OnePlus 8 series: Everything we know so far, and here’s a bunch of pricing leaks from retailers in Europe and the UK (Android Authority).
4. Red Magic 5G review: A beast of a smartphone with 144Hz display and 5G for $579, but uncountable little problems that make it unpolished (Android Authority).
5. Nintendo Switch update 10.0.0 is out now: finally, you can move downloaded games and saves between internal storage and an SD card, remap buttons more freely, and there are new Animal Crossing-related icons (Engadget).
7. Quibi to let people watch on their TV after viewers complain, which implies at least some people are watching (Bloomberg). The problem is I’ve re-opened Quibi twice since we discussed it, it’s tech, and its hyperspeed content. It does not spark joy and I think I was too kind initially. On that note, if you want to read someone exploring the content itself more fully: Quibi is a vast wasteland. Ouch. (The Atlantic).
8. As YouTube traffic soars, YouTubers say pay is plummeting. Not a YouTube-related scandal, but a symptom of the wider downturn. CPMs paid by advertisers are dropping because there’s suddenly less advertising money, and less competition for spots. This isn’t just happening on YouTube but all media and advertising, from outdoors to Podcast ad-slots to newspapers (OneZero).
10. “Is anyone else having problems with watching movies and constantly having to do volume up and down, because the dialogue is too quiet and the background music is too loud?” (With help for how to fix this!) (r/nostupidquestions).
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