Review: Opaska Fitbit Charge 5 Smartwatch

Review: Opaska Fitbit Charge 5 Smartwatch - despite these undoubted shortcomings, Fitbit Charge 5 is quite pleasant to use regarding health monitoring. 

Fitbit products have supporters who choose them over the offer of more mass brands. Google saw the potential and decided to acquire Fitbit in early 2021. The fifth generation of the Fitbit Charge 5 sports band has been tested. This is the first device released since the acquisition of Fitbit by the giant, but the production cycle suggests that the final appearance of the Google device had little impact. Fitbit Charge 5 is an intermediate solution between simple wristbands with only a heart rate monitor and extensive smartwatches.  Charge 5 has a built-in GPS and, for the first time in the series, a color AMOLED display. It was a bit expensiveFitbit Charge 5 differs from other bands I’ve tested, and it’s not always good for Fitbit .

The main pros and cons of the Fitbit Charge 5

Pros of Fitbit Charge 5 :

  • Super light and comfortable
  • Waterproof
  • It measures pulse, oxygenation, and stress, and in the future, it will measure ECG
  • GPS
  • Supports payments with NFC
  • The screen is bright, readable, and attractive
  • Clear notifications and the possibility of simple interaction
  • The refined Fitbit app for smartphones
  • Well-balanced communication with the user about his activity
  • Good battery life despite the small size

Cons of Fitbit Charge 5 :

  • There are no more physical buttons which would improve handling in some situations
  • The touch interface is unintuitive and not always consistent, sometimes it does not respond to touch
  • Long delay before the sleep summary is displayed
  • GPS is much less accurate than on a Garmin smartphone and watch
  • It does not support music control; it cannot be uploaded to the wristband
  • Subscription to the premium features in the Fitbit app after the free 6 months costs $47.99 per month

How do we evaluate design? – grade 4

Design is one of the indisputable advantages of the Fitbit Charge 5, at least in terms of comfort and appearance. The band is light – it weighs 30 grams with a shorter strap and 32 grams with a longer one – it also has a rounded design without protruding elements. The plastic strap connects to the metal case to form one compact unit without a visible gap. The plastic strap is of high quality and has a satin finish. Fitbit Charge 5 adheres to the hand and does not catch on clothes, and the housing, which is narrower than a smartwatch, causes less hand sweating during exercise.

Fitbit Charge 5 is water resistant up to 50 meters. Replacing the straps is super quick and convenient – one of the easiest I’ve come across, but it requires straps dedicated to this model with a special handle that clips into the latch. Two lengths of straps are supplied with the device. One is suitable for wrists with a 130 to 170 mm circumference and the other for 170 to 210 mm.

The manufacturer has decided that Fitbit Charge 5 will have no physical buttons. This simplifies the design and makes it easier to seal the housing, but it also means that all interactions must be done through the touch screen. This means difficult operation with gloves and the lack of performing simple tasks without looking at the screen.


Fitbit Charge 5 is the first band in the Charge series with a color AMOLED display. The screen has a diagonal of 1.04 inches, is bright and contrasting, and readable also in bright sunlight. The screen has only three brightness settings – dark, normal, and maximum. In the settings, you can enable the “Always on screen” option, i.e. AOD. After the time that the screen would normally go blank, the display dims but remains readable. A big plus is the ability to turn on the always-backlit screen, but only during exercise. Locking the screen before entering the water is also an option to avoid unwanted interactions.

The default screen backlight time is short and is less than 3 seconds. If a notification is displayed on the screen, the backlight time will be extended so that it can be read. The screen can wake up automatically with a tilt of the wrist gesture, but it can also be woken up manually with a double tap.

In terms of the displayed image and functions, the Fitbit Charge 5 display suits me. At the same time, during the tests, I got the impression that the screen does not always respond to the gesture of waking the screen and touch. It doesn’t happen every time, just occasionally. So it is not a problem with touch registration, but rather with the system’s operation itself, and it is difficult to determine what exactly it depends on.

Operation and Features 

Fitbit Charge 5 support is based on gestures. A double tap wakes up the screen and goes from anywhere in the system to the home screen – so it functions as a home button. A swipe from the left edge acts as a back button and returns to the previous screen. Some confusion arises when we realize that from the main screen, we can also display applications by scrolling the screen sideways, including from the left edge, which is a duplication of the “back” gesture, which in this case will not work. Scrolling the screen in all directions is easy to master, as is the undo gesture itself. Still, while it works like scrolling in some situations and undoing in others, it confuses and takes away the user’s sense of control. Fitbit Charge 5 can cause touchscreen fatigue. Perhaps touch responses will be improved with an update to improve the system’s operation. Still, the ill-considered interface is hard to justify, especially since solutions that work well in such devices have already been adopted.

Returning to the functions, the main dial, by default, displays the date and time and one of the selected parameters, which we can scroll with a single touch. These are steps plus calories burned, distance covered, and time of active effort in minutes. Moving the home screen sideways gives us access to “applications” (this is how the manufacturer classifies them): notifications, exercise, alarms, timers, and the measurement of EDA, i.e. stress. We can access these functions in reverse order when scrolling from the left edge.

Scrolling from the bottom edge will bring up a summary screen with battery level, date, steps, distance, and active time on one screen. Next is the hourly activity, heart rate, sleep, SpO2, and number of active days from the last five days. These elements cannot be interacted with, only displayed. Some of them are updated with a considerable delay. For example, the sleep time and rating will be displayed on the band about 20 – 30 minutes after waking up. Before that, it simply does not appear, nor can it be checked in advance on the smartphone. So if we want to check how many hours we slept right after waking up and whether we should sleep more, in the case of Fitbit Charge 5 you can’t do it, although I didn’t have a problem with it for any other smartwatch or sports band that display the sleep time or immediately. Swiping the screen from the top will first display payments, do not disturb mode, sleep mode, how to wake the screen, water lock, and settings. Fitbit has built-in NFC and supports the following Polish banks:

  • Alior Bank (Mastercard)
  •  Bank Pekao (Mastercard)
  •  bunq (Mastercard)
  •  Agricultural credit
  •  Curve (Mastercard)
  •  mBank
  •  Nest Bank (Visa)
  •  Revolut
  •  Santander Bank Poland
  •  SGB
  •  T-Mobile Financial Services(Mastercard)
  •  TransferWise (Mastercard)

As Fitbit Charge 5 is dedicated primarily to sports, an important function of the band is the built-in GPS, which allows you not to discharge its battery during training with a smartphone and to go out for training without a smartphone. In the settings, the user can specify whether the band should use the GPS built into the phone (if we have it with us), in the band, or dynamically decide which one will be better or available.

Wanting to test the GPS operation, I took a Garmin watch with GPS and turned on the track registration on my smartphone. Unfortunately, it turned out that the GPS record from Fitbit Charge 5 was the least accurate, while the watch and smartphone recorded tracks that were very similar and coincided with the paths on the map that I was moving on. In the map images with GPS tracks overlaid, this is visible – the blue is the track recorded by the Fitbit Charge 5, and the red is the Garmin track. Fitbit often deviates strongly from the course of the route. As a result, on an 8 km route, the difference between Fitbit and the rest of the measurements was 200 meters. The average heart rate was similar – naGarmin was 127 bpm and Fitbit 129 bpm, while the maximum heart rate on Garmin was 140 and on Fitbit 181. The first value was also much more reliable here during a leisurely city bike ride.

These differences in measuring training effectiveness are unimportant – the distance error is only 2.5%. Still, it is impossible not to notice that the smartphone and Garmin watch were consistent with each other and the map much more, and Fitbit lagged.

Fitbit Charge 5 does not offer all the features the manufacturer promises at launch. The Fitbit Charge 5 uses electrical sensors for EDA measurements and stress monitoring. Still, the ECG measurement feature, already available on the Fitbit Sense watch we tested, has yet to be launched for the Fitbit Charge 5. The band still measures blood oxygenation during sleep, and, as the Fitbit Sense watch, this function cannot be called on demand, which is standard in other devices.

Despite some shortcomings, Fitbit Charge 5 works well in monitoring daily activity, automatically tracking basic types of training, notifying you when your heart rate increases, and entering the effort zone that allows you to burn fat even during a more intense walk around the city.

Fitbit Charge 5 allows you to display notifications from various applications. Despite the relatively small screen, notifications are legible and allow you to read longer content. In the case of Messenger, we can respond with an emoticon or a predefined response. In the case of an e-mail, you can read the first few sentences and choose to open the e-mail on the smartphone screen or archive it. The reply to message feature is only available on Android, not iOS, due to limitations introduced to the system by Apple. Fitbit Charge 5 does not have a microphone or speaker, so you cannot answer voice calls. Unfortunately, you can’t control music playback, let alone play it straight from the band.

Part of the ecosystem is the Fitbit smartphone app, which generates clear summaries for 7, 30, and 90 days, considering the respiratory rate, heart rate variability, skin temperature during sleep, oxygen saturation, and resting heart rate. The way and frequency of providing information about our health, displaying how many days from the last 5 were active, is well calibrated – it is neither overwhelming, as it sometimes reminds us to move on from some other manufacturers, nor is it too rare and not motivating enough. This is where Fitbit’s strength lies – proper communication with the user will be more important for the final effect than GPS accuracy.

However, some features are reserved for the premium Fitbit, including advanced sleep analytics, wellness reports, and training programs and challenges. With the purchase of Fitbit Charge 5.

Battery Life

The manufacturer promises that Fitbit Charge 5 works for 7 days on the battery. This result is easily achievable if we do not train but only monitor the pulse and sleep. However, if we use the band intensively also for GPS training, 5 days is more likely. Including AOD will shorten this time to two days, so much depends on how we currently use the band. Fitbit Charge 5 can be charged with a magnetic adapter with a USB A cable.


You can look at the Fitbit Charge 5 band from two perspectives – purely technical and “motivational” to keep active and fit.

Purely technically, Fitbit Charge 5 is so-so. Its strengths include NFC with payment support, a clear screen, good battery life, a built-in sensor to measure the body’s electrical activity, and GPS. On the other hand, the interface lacks physical buttons and is poorly designed; occasionally, it does not respond to touch, and GPS is less accurate than other devices. There is also no support for music control or answering calls. ECG is not supported at the time of release.

On the other hand, despite these undoubted shortcomings, Fitbit Charge 5 is quite pleasant to use regarding health monitoring. The manufacturer balanced the communication regarding training and activity so that you feel that Fitbit Charge 5 works better in motivating us to a healthier lifestyle. Instead of throwing us messages that will only discourage us, this band does it right. Fitbit Charge 5 certainly has its audience for whom it will work, maybe even better than other, more refined, and cheaper devices. However, I advise some caution because you can find a lot of such shortcomings, which should not take place.

We love: well-balanced activity communication

What we don’t like: the underdeveloped touch interface

Who is the Fitbit Charge 5 for :

  • For those who want a lightweight device
  • For fans of the  Fitbit brand
  • For those who want to pay with a wristband
  • For the richest

Who the Fitbit Charge 5 is not for :

  • Not for those who prefer physical buttons
  • Not for people for whom the precision of the saved GPS route is of great importance
  • Not for people who want to play music from the band
  • Not for people who want to answer calls directly from the wristband