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Fitbit Charge HR inaccurate heart rate measurement - personal experience

Fitbit Charge HR inaccurate heart rate measurement

The Fitbit Charge HR claims to be a fitness device which can measure various aspects that people deem important during training.  There are two parameters that I think are important when training. (1) Your heart rate and (2) the number of steps taken.  I think these two parameters are the only really accurate measurements that can be trusted to measure your intensity and duration of an exercise. Other parameters like stairs climbed, calories and GPS are really not that important. In any case calories are derived from your build and heart rate.

The main reason I purchased the Fitbit Charge HR is for its heart rate measurement. This turned out not just to be an utter disaster but also extreme frustration and disappointment. So why am I making these claims.

Well let's see what my average gym routine is every second morning:

  1. I start of with 20 minutes of "arm cycling". Have a look at the machine here. I run it on level 16 for 10 minutes and then level 18 for the last 10 minutes. You can try it and I promise you the average Jack will break up a sweat with heartbeat lightly more than 120bpm
  2. I then do 20 minutes of Elliptical. Very much the same machine which you can find here. Again after 20 minutes at level 15 and turning between 90-100 cpm my heart rate is between 140 and 170 bpm.
  3. Then I go for another 20 minutes on a treadmill. At a generous incline (Level 6 on the Technogym) and speed at level 6 (I think that is about 9 km/min), but it is not a jog and its walking really fast.  Again heart rate 140-160 bpm, never lower.
Those are the basic exercises, If i feel energetic I will row for another 10 minutes or so and to some crunches. 

For all that work, about an hour or more, my FitBit Charge HR tell me I only done less than 30 minutes of work. Bullshit.

Fitbit Charge HR inaccurate heart rate measurement. Should be at least 60 minutes in peak time.

Fitbit Charge HR does not measure heart rate correctly. I did 60 minutes training with my heart rate well over 150 bpm.

 I have tried all the recommendations from Fitbit to improve accuracy of its heart rate monitor but nothing works.  I have come to this stage that I am really frustrated and have come to the conclusion that the Fitbit Charge HR cannot be used for fitness training and heart rate monitoring.

I think the only thing the heart rate can be used for is to measure your heart rate when you sleep.  One of the recommendations from Fitbit Charge HR is to keep your hand still while doing exercise. Fitbit you cannot be serious making such a recommendation. Who in the world does exercise with their one hand still. It's a joke really.

The inaccurate measurement of the Fitbit Charge HR can have serious consequences. Just imagine you are trying to increase your hart rate above 120 bpm and it indicates only 90 bpm. So you start pushing harder and harder. Until your heart rate is 170 bpm or higher, where the Fitbit Charge HR only indicates ±120 bpm. That is so unreliable and inaccurate it is dangerous.

If the Fitbit Charge HR measures heart rate so badly, just imagine what else is done inaccurately. How can you trust any measurement it gives you.  And please don't tell us that it is not a medical device to measure heart rate.  People are not stupid.  A surgeon will chase you out of the operating room if you ask him to measure the patient's heart rate with this watch.

The Fitbit Charge HR is a gimmick to say the least. It's heart rate sensor was not researched enough and tested thoroughly enough to market it as a heart rate monitor. Basically it came on the market too soon, people at Fitbit wanted to make too much money without considering quality and the experiences of the end user.

I am considering using an alternative device since you get so many discounts from our medical aid if you are fit. The problem is they measure your activity by your heart rate.  The only way to get maximum points is keeping your heart rate above 130 bpm for 60 minutes. So in a way Fitbit Charge HR inaccurate heart rate reading is costing me money.

I hate complaining about items i buy, but the Fitbit Charge HR is a real disappointment. I am on my second Fitbit as the first one disintegrated. At least their service is amazing and I got a new one within a week. To my disappointment the second one's rubber is also starting to come loose. It is quite possible that they will replace it too but I have decided not to prolong my frustration any further by obtaining another Fitbit Charge HR.  Guess I will go with an alternative brand and just a heart strap.

There are many companies that have gone under just because of one badly designed product that ruined the reputation of the designers.  Let's hope Fitbit Charge HR bad heart rate measurement and bad build quality will not be the demise of the Fitbit brand.


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