Fitbit has released a huge new update, bringing new metrics to Charge 4 – and some of its best Premium features behind the paywall.
The Charge 4 – Fitbit’s premium fitness tracker – gets the most love, elevating it to the Fitbit Sense health watch with temperature tracking and extensive blood oxygen data.
And the company has also revamped Health Metrics, which previously originated the Paywall Fitbit Premium service. It is now available for free to more people, and the functionality has been improved to help people better understand their health data.
Additionally, users in Canada, New Zealand, and the United States can now get the ECG function on their Fitbit Sense.
New features have already landed on our accounts, so let us show you around.
Load 4 new features
Most exciting 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 it’s a big new addition to the lineup.
And Charge 4 users will also be able to see a blood oxygen reading on the wrist. Previously, SpO2 sensor readings were only evident in the graph of estimated oxygen change as part of the device’s sleep tracking.
But like the Versa 3 and Sense, which debuted with 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 leave the Charge 4 behind. It’s now even more powerful and even surpasses the Versa 3 as a health device.
Health indicators for more users
Health Metrics is first available for non-premium users
If that wasn’t enough, Versa 2, Charge 4, and Inspire 2 users can now access the Health Metrics data dashboard without a Fitbit Premium subscription.
Health Metrics is a section of the Fitbit app that displays raw biometric data from the range of sensors on your Fitbit device – and many aren’t available elsewhere in the app.
The devices above will display respiratory rate and heart rate variability for the first time, alongside old favorites such as resting heart rate.
However, it’s not quite the same experience as Premium users. Those who don’t pay for the subscription can only see a week’s data, while those who pay $ 79.99 per month can see an entire month.
You can see the screenshot above, which shows the health metrics for a non-premium account on Charge 4.
Health Metrics moves towards disease detection
Health indicators showing personal ranges
But the changes do not affect all non-premium users. Those who use Health Metrics will now see their personal ranges, designed to help make sense of the data.
Anyone who uses Health Metrics may be a little bewildered by the large increases or decreases in data such as respiratory rate and heart rate variability. Fatigue, fatigue, or alcohol can be factors that can cause heart rate variability to drop – and in our review of the Fitbit Sense, we criticized this part of the app for being unclear to users trying to make sense of the numbers.
Now Fitbit is adding a clearly marked personal range on the Health Metrics chart – to try and add context to our body’s usual natural rhythm and what might be something to consider.
The company’s COVID-19 study has shown that abnormal changes in respiratory rate and HRV can be early signs of an infection – so adding a personal range is the first step towards something that looks like the detection of a disease.
Fitbit adds support for blood sugar tracking
Fitbit also added in-app blood sugar tracking for the first time.
While this isn’t detected by any given Fitbit tracker (non-invasive wearable glucose tracking is still a long way off), it does mean that those who monitor blood sugar can enter their readings through the Fitbit app.
On the surface, this will act the same as features like hydration and nutrition tracking in the Fitbit app, which aren’t connected to the device itself.
The Fitbit blood sugar tracking feature will also allow users to set high and low ranges for blood sugar, along with associated symptoms. And users will be able to see trends over time, to help identify patterns of blood sugar behavior.