Fitbit has released a huge new update, bringing new metrics to Charge 4 – and some of its best Premium features from behind the paywall.
The Charge 4 – Fitbit’s premium fitness tracker – gets the most love, elevating it towards the Fitbit Sense health watch with temperature tracking and expanded blood oxygen data.
And the company has also overhauled Health Metrics, which was previously behind the paywall Fitbit Premium service. It’s now available for free to more people, and it’s improved the feature to help people better understand their health data.
What’s more – users in Canada, New Zealand and U.S territories can now get the ECG feature on their Fitbit Sense.
The new features have already landed on our accounts, so let us show you around.
Charge 4 new features
Most excitingly for Charge 4 users, the company is adding skin temperature data for this device. The temperature metric has only been found on the Fitbit Sense so far, so this is a big new addition to the range.
And Charge 4 users will also be able to see a blood oxygen reading on the wrist. Previously, readings from the SpO2 sensor were only evident in the Estimated Oxygen Variation graph as part of the device’s sleep tracking.
But like the Versa 3 and Sense, which debuted the SpO2 watch face, Charge 4 users will be able to see oxygen saturation on the device itself for the first time.
The fitness tracker form-factor is synonymous with the Fitbit experience, even in the smartwatch age, so it’s no surprise that Fitbit doesn’t want to see the Charge 4 left behind. It’s now even more powerful, and even outstrips the Versa 3 as a health device.
Health Metrics for more users
Health Metrics is available to non-Premium users for the first time
Health Metrics is a section of the Fitbit app with raw biometric data from the range of sensors on your Fitbit device – and many aren’t available elsewhere in the app.
The above devices will show breathing rate and heart rate variability alongside old favourites such as resting heart rate.
However, it’s not quite the same experience as Premium users get. Those not paying the subscription can only see one week’s data – while those that pay the $79.99 a month can see a whole month.
You can see the screenshot above, which shows Health Metrics from a non-Premium account on Charge 4.
Health Metrics moves toward illness detection
Health Metrics showing personal ranges
But the changes aren’t all for non-Premium users. Those using Health Metrics will now see their personal ranges, which is designed to help make sense of the data.
Anyone that’s used Health Metrics might be a little mystified by large rises or falls in data such as breathing rate and heart rate variability. Tiredness, fatigue or alcohol can be factors that can send heart rate variability plummeting – and in our review of the Fitbit Sense we criticized this part of the app for being unclear for users trying to make sense of the numbers.
Now Fitbit is adding a clearly marked personal range on the Health Metrics graph – to try and add context on what’s the usual natural rhythm of our body, and what could be something to take notice of.
The company’s COVID-19 study showed that abnormal changes to breathing rate and HRV can be early signs of an infection – so adding a personal range is the first move towards something resembling illness detection.
Fitbit adds support for blood glucose tracking
Fitbit has also added blood glucose tracking into the app for the first time.
While this is not detected by any given Fitbit tracker (non-invasive wearable glucose tracking is still some way off) it means those that monitor blood sugar levels can input their readings via the Fitbit app.
On the surface, this will act in a similar way to features like hydration and nutrition tracking in the Fitbit app, which aren’t connected to the device itself.
The Fitbit glucose tracking feature will also let users set high and low ranges for blood sugar, and also related symptoms. And users will be able to see trends over times, to help identify patterns in blood sugar behavior.