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Fitbit makes exercise even more of a game

30 August 2016

Fitbit updated its Charge HR and Flex fitness bands on Monday. The tracker also monitors sleep, recognizes exercise automatically, and reminds you to move when you've been sitting idle for too long. The Charge 2 also has a larger display, better heart-rate tracking, smart notifications and interchangeable bands.

As for the new Charge 2 activity tracker, it's the successor to the Charge HR. There are also bundles-a Pink Pack with pink, lavender, and magenta bands, or a Sport Pack with gray, navy, and yellow-for $29.95.

Fitbit promised the world it would introduce new devices this year.

The Flex 2 is fully waterproof-a first for Fitbit. An accurate VO2 max measurement typically requires specialized equipment in a lab setting, but Fitbit uses its heart rate and other profile information (like your age and body weight) to provide an estimate the company says is pretty close to what you would get in a lab environment.

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The Flex 2 also gets new color-coded LED indicator lights that update you on your total daily step progress, when you get a phone call and when you receive messages via your texting app, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger and others. It would seems the Flex 2 is Fitbit's attempt to create a smaller, customizable device that is more attractive to a wider audience, especially when considering its array of premium accessories, including "luxe, premium mirror-finish bangles in silver stainless steel, and 22k-plated gold or rose gold stainless steel, or elegant lariat-style necklaces in silver stainless steel or 22k-plated gold stainless steel". The company says the tracker was created to be water-resistant at depths up to 164-feet so it should be able to handle most water-based activities. A thinner, stylish new band is now interchangeable, so users can accessorize for work, workouts, and nights out.

Both of the new trackers offer up to five days of battery life, which is decent, but is by no means industry-leading. But Fitbit has managed to upgrade the minimalist display with some new powers as well. Support for notifications including call, text and calendar are included. However, it is understood that any option from the Cupertino based giant would be a much expensive one as compared to the Fitbit alternatives.

The Flex 2 is also more customizable than the previous version. Fitbit also seems to be trying to match Apple Watch nearly feature-for-feature with its new lineup... The main story here, however, is the enhancements Fitbit has made to its software. The company is offering chic gold or stainless steel pendant accessories, as well.

Speaking of accessories, Fitbit is announcing partnerships with a few new designers for third-party accessories for its Alta. Fashion partners Vera Wang, Tory Burch, and Public School will be making bands and other jewelry to hold the new trackers. This free feature is available on the Fitbit app. There will also be guided breathing sessions aimed at bringing down stress levels along with move reminders.

Fitbit makes exercise even more of a game