Fitbit trackers have been around for more than a decade, and despite the increasing popularity of smartwatches, there are still millions who prefer to wear an activity tracker in a sleeker band form factor.
Since its acquisition, Fitbit and its devices have slowly been receiving software and service upgrades from Google, with the new Fitbit Charge 6 model being the latest recipient. The Charge 6 will be among the first new Fitbit trackers to include support for YouTube Music playback controls, Google Maps prompts, and Google Wallet payment support, which is huge if you rely on any -- or all -- of those services.
In terms of hardware differences, there's now a single haptic button on the side of the Fitbit Charge, while a full-color AMOLED display is capable of showing your data in most if not all lighting conditions.
Fitbit says the Charge 6 is made with 100% recycled aluminum, with a display that should hold up over a long period of time thanks to its Corning Gorilla Glass.
All of Fitbit's standard software features are present on the Charge 6, too, including an ECG app, step and sleep tracking, stress measurements, EDA scans, the Daily Readiness Score, and support for more than 40 exercise modes. Blood oxygen and skin temperature are measured now to help more accurately track sleep, menstrual cycles, and the possible onset of illness.
The Charge 6 has an integrated GPS receiver, so you can run, walk, hike, and exercise outside without needing your phone to track your location. However, for the full Google Maps experience, you can use both the Charge 6 and your phone to show you turn-by-turn instructions and general mapping, respectively. Fitbit advertises the Charge 6's battery life as seven days with typical usage.
Will the new Google features trickle down to older Fitbit models? A spokesperson tells me "At this time, we are looking forward to bringing Charge 6 to users and do not have anything more to share regarding our future roadmap. Let me know if you have any other questions." I'll just keep my fingers crossed.
The Fitbit Charge 6 is available for $159.95 in obsidian/black aluminum, porcelain/silver aluminum, and coral/champagne gold aluminum. There are plenty of band options, too, including sports bands, infinity bands, Horween leather bands, woven bands, vegan leather bands, and more.
To sweeten the pot, Fitbit will bundle in six months of the Fitbit Premium service for free with every purchase, a subscription that's necessary in order to access your Daily Readiness Score and other advanced features in the Fitbit app.