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Does the stylish Fitbit luxe beat the Fitbit charge 4 on function? We find out

Does the stylish Fitbit luxe beat the Fitbit charge 4 on function? We find out
We tested what the difference is between the Fitbit charge 4 and Fitbit luxe fitness smartwatches based on their style and features

Smartwatches, fitness trackers, wearables: call them what you like, but the market for a watch that tells you how far you’ve run is one of the biggest in the tech world. The grandmaster of fitness tech is surely Fitbit, the California-based wearable leviathan recently acquired by Google.

Fitbit is famous for its wide range of fitness trackers and smartwatches, from the stripped-back inspire 2, to the rivalling Fitbit sense.

Now, the brand has introduced the luxe, its most fashion-conscious tracker to date: a sophisticated wearable that looks great and claims to do you good.

Alongside this is Fitbit’s charge 4, the latest development of the brand’s successful charge line of activity trackers. The charge has come a long way from its original iteration – a band with a letterbox-shaped screen that was a glorified step-counter – to offer the widest fitness feature set Fitbit provides.

Has Fitbit managed to balance fashion with function enough to make the luxe a genuine contender against the likes of the charge 4? We strapped up to find out.

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How we tested

We took the luxe and charge 4 for comprehensive testing, from our daily exercise (read: walking) to more strenuous activity (read: jogging on a football pitch). We also focussed on the wellness capabilities of both trackers, testing the guided breathing sessions which aim to keep a lid on stress levels, and monitoring our sleep patterns. For once, writing a review made us feel healthier.

Fitbit luxe

Buy now £129.99, Fitbit.com

  • Battery life: Up to 5 days
  • Standout features: ECG sensor, SpO2, sleep and menstrual health trackers, stress management tools, smartphone notifications
  • Price: £129.99 with a six-month trial of Fitbit premium
  • Rating: 8/10

You might’ve seen the advert for the luxe on TV or online: it’s a flashy presentation, showing the tracker with a large choice of stylish wristbands and different features. The body is made of stainless steel and feels compact and robust, but manages to retain a slender aesthetic: it looks and feels more like a trendy product than a fitness tracker. This isn’t to say, however, that Fitbit has forgone functionality in favour of fashion.

Fitbit has turned its focus here on wellness, with a wide range of stress management tools that would help anyone find a bit of calm. The luxe tracks physical signs of stress to give you a stress management score of 1-100, with on-wrist guided breathing sessions there to help if you feel yourself going a little Hell’s Kitchen-era Gordon Ramsay. The luxe also tracks your sleep stages to give you an idea of how to improve your nighttime routine.

Besides the wellness push, the luxe also does the essentials when it comes to fitness. There’s no built-in GPS, so you’ll have to take your phone with you to most accurately track your exercise, but the luxe has Fitbit’s classic 20 exercise modes and can automatically recognise when you’re getting your sweat on.

One issue when it comes to ease of use when exercising is that there’s no back button on the side: a double tap on the screen is needed to get back to the home page, which is fine when walking or working but takes some getting used to when you’re moving faster, such as when jogging or meeting up with that Parkour group you’ve recently decided to join.

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The colour AMOLED screen is new for Fitbits of this size and shape and does a fantastic job of remaining glare-free in daylight. We found navigating the luxe easy, with plenty of swipe options on the glass watch face. We didn’t have a problem controlling the luxe throughout our testing. Fitbit’s fashion-conscious wearable achieves what it sets out to do, providing a good rate of wellness and fitness features while keeping one eye on London Fashion Week.

Fitbit Charge 4

Buy now £99.99, Fitbit.com

  • Battery life: Up to 7 days, or 5 hours with continuous GPS use
  • Standout features: ECG sensor, SpO2, sleep and menstrual health trackers, stress management tools, built-in GPS, smartphone notifications, Fitbit Pay
  • Price: £99.99 with a 90-day trial of Fitbit premium
  • Rating: 8/10

As we mentioned in our best Fitbit round-up, the charge 4 is the top when it comes to Fitbit’s dedicated fitness trackers, certainly in terms of value. It offers almost all the fitness features you could think of, thanks to the in-depth Fitbit app which includes a 24/7 heart rate monitoring, a personalised cardio fitness score, sleep tracking and a workout intensity map to see your effort throughout your workout. On top of that, it offers those guided breathing sessions and a stress management score. Basically, your health is covered.

The charge’s screen is wider and body thinner relative to its size than the luxe’s. The width makes the charge more suited to a larger wrist but we think its size would still look comfortable on most wrists. While it might be lightweight and lack some of the luxe’s comforting bulk, this doesn’t result in any flimsiness: we were impressed by its general sturdiness and it felt perfectly fine wearing it when playing a particularly tetchy game of five-a-side football. The fit is snug without being constricting, and Fitbit’s solid range of bands means there’s likely be a style suited to you. It’s also easy to switch bands, with a click and pull – no more worrying about losing a fingernail.

The charge is straightforward to use, with swipe actions taking you through all available options, from pure fitness tracking to calendar notifications, weather and music (you can even download an entire Spotify playlist to the watch if you have Spotify premium). The built-in GPS is a great feature, meaning you can leave your phone at home and still track your exercise just as accurately. We found that the GPS does eat up battery life quickly though: you’ll get about five hours of full tracking use out of the charge before it conks out, which is more than enough for the marathon times you’ve been posting, of course.

The black and white LCD screen is clear even on dimmed mode and is perfectly reactive to taps and swipes. For an easy return to the home screen, there’s an indented button on the side that acts as a back button, making navigation during exercise is a doddle.

The charge 4 is a functional, attractive fitness tracker that has plenty more features than we expected at this price, including Fitbit’s own contactless payment system. It’s a no-nonsense bit of fitness kit with some impressive tech in a smart, streamlined design.

The verdict: Fitness luxe vs Fitbit charge 4

It’s tough for us to come to a conclusive decision here: it really comes down to what you want out of a fitness tracker. Both do the job of a tracker as well as you can get for this price point, thanks to the peerless Fitbit app, so the decision is really between fashion and (slightly more) function.

The luxe is the best slimline band on the market, marrying functional fitness and wellness tracking with a stylish finish, attractive colour screen and robust body that will look great in any scenario (although be aware that it could look a little lost on a bigger wrist). The charge 4 is probably Fitbit’s best value fitness tracker, with a range of features that would be impressive even on a more expensive model. It doesn’t look too shabby either, and the wider screen and back button help with the band’s primary function.

You get more features for your money in the comprehensive charge 4, but the luxe’s screen is second-to-none in terms of clarity and colour. The design lends itself to everyday life, and you still get a heap of features that you wouldn’t find in other trackers.

Voucher codes

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