The Fitbit Charge line of fitness trackers has always been popular. For many, they’re great middle-of-the-road devices — not quite as big as a full-fledged smartwatch, not quite as basic as a Mi Band.
We’re big fans of Fitbit’s current fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge 4. For as much praise as we’ve given the tracker, it’s not perfect. Various aspects of the hardware and software could be improved. We’re hoping Fitbit takes some of our suggestions and includes them in the upcoming Fitbit Charge 5.
Details on the next Charge device are scarce; there are very few rumors about the device as of this writing. That doesn’t stop us from speculating, though. Here’s what we’d like to see Fitbit include in the Fitbit Charge 5.
A color display
Fitbit has used the same monochrome OLED display for two generations of Charge devices, but it’s time to improve things. We’d like the Fitbit Charge 5 to come with a color OLED display.
That’s not to say the Charge 3 or 4’s displays are bad; they’re perfectly acceptable. They’re just too basic. They have low resolutions compared to competing products, and the grayscale tone isn’t very pleasing to look at.
Some people might be clamoring for a bigger display in the Fitbit Charge 5, but I don’t believe that’s going to happen. At least, I don’t think we’ll see a massive jump in display size. Fitbit has other product categories for those who want something bigger. If anything, I could see Fitbit increasing the Charge 5’s display size by a few millimeters, but it won’t be drastic. The display will likely be just big enough to read your notifications and swipe through menus, but not much more than that.
Fix that inductive button
The company has used a pressure-sensitive inductive button in all recent Fitbit devices instead of a traditional, clicky physical button. It’s an essential part of the device’s navigation: you use it to go back, wake the display, launch Fitbit Pay, and more.
Fitbit hasn’t exactly nailed the functionality of it, though. Sometimes it recognizes presses; other times, it doesn’t. It’s especially frustrating during a workout when you need the display to wake immediately, but the button won’t recognize your taps.
With the Fitbit Charge 5, Fitbit should either fix the button’s functionality or move to a physical button. Something as crucial as a back button cannot fail as often as this one does. Although a physical button would add an extra layer of difficulty for water resistance, I think the tradeoff would be worth it.
Improved music support
Music support has oddly been an area where Fitbit can’t catch up to the competition. On its smartwatches, it lacks support for offline Spotify playback. On the Charge series, music controls are a bit finicky.
Of course, we weren’t expecting the Fitbit Charge 4 to have onboard music storage (that’s more of a smartwatch thing), but Fitbit did include a data screen to control the Spotify music playing on your phone. It’s a nice touch but not implemented well. Currently, the Fitbit Charge 4 isn’t able to control music during workouts. We’d like to see that changed with the Fitbit Charge 5.
A music widget added to the workout screen would be incredibly useful. We’d also like to see it implemented for all types of media playing on your phone — not just for Spotify, but other popular apps like Audible, Pocket Casts, Google Podcasts, Tidal, etc.
The good news is that this change doesn’t need any new hardware to be implemented. If the company rolls out this feature, there’s a good chance it could make its way to existing Charge devices.
Longer battery life
Fitbit devices usually hover around the 5-7 days mark for battery longevity. The Fitbit Charge 4 can last up to seven full days on a single charge with “normal” use. That’s pretty standard, but on the lower end for fitness trackers in this price range. However, it only lasts five hours with GPS usage, which is again on the low end. Seven-day battery life isn’t terrible, but throw in a few GPS-enabled workouts, and you’ll be lucky to get four days on a charge with the Fitbit Charge 4. We’d like to see this improved across the board with the Fitbit Charge 5.
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Yes, I hear you: we want a better, higher-resolution display and better battery life. But that’s not out of the realm of possibility. Xiaomi, Huami, and many other wearable brands were able to crack the code and provide far better battery life in their trackers. The Mi Band 6, for instance, offers 14-day battery life. Granted, the display is much smaller, and you need to turn some things off to hit that two-week milestone, but it’s still possible. One would think the Fitbit Charge 4 could last a bit longer with its low-res OLED display.