Monday, November 13, 2023

Fitbit Charge 6 and Google Pixel Watch 2

Victoria Song:

Fitbit is back with the Charge 6 — and on paper, this one feels like the most Fitbit-y Fitbit since Google actively began folding the company into its ecosystem. Not only has the price been lowered from $179.95 to $159.95 but the device also adds an improved heart rate tracking algorithm, compatibility with certain gym machines, and better integration with Google services. Oh, and the side button is back, baby.


That said, this functions more like a remote control than onboard music because it doesn’t support offline playlists. Plus, you’ll need a YouTube Music Premium subscription. This fills part of the gap left by Fitbit’s decision last year to remove access to Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer, as well as the ability to transfer music from your computer, but it doesn’t exactly make up for the fact that there used to be multiple music options and now there’s just YouTube Music.

If that seems a bit like shepherding people into the Google-verse… it is. Buying a Charge 6 also means you’ll have to migrate your Fitbit data over to a Google account to use the device.

Victoria Song:

Google’s got a more powerful and more power-efficient processor under the hood, and Wear OS 4’s whole schtick is better battery life. It shows here. This watch is zippier than the original, and for the past week, I’ve had it on maximum brightness, along with the tilt-to-wake gesture and the always-on display enabled. I’ve actively used many of its features and logged 30 to 45 minutes of GPS workouts per day. I am consistently getting 24 hours on a single charge, give or take an hour, with no battery-saving features. And I didn’t even have to wait a day or two for the watch to calibrate to my usage.


Last year, I had a long list of things Google and Fitbit needed to work on. (Battery life was written in all caps, underlined several times.) This year, that list is much smaller. What the next Pixel Watch needs to deliver is repairability, durability, and a larger size option. Everything else — including wonky GPS — I expect is due to pre-release software or will improve via updates, just as it did last year.


With the Pixel Watch 2, Google is almost there. More so than with its Pixel phones, Android smartwatches are where Google has a shot of being really good at something.

Jonathan Lamont (Hacker News):

Google has pulled Fitbit from nearly 30 countries, leaving the fitness trackers available in just 23 countries, including Canada.

Reporting by Android Authority and 9to5Google detailed the Fitbit exodus, with the combined efforts uncovering a total of 29 countries that would lose Fitbit. The move comes after Google acquired Fitbit in 2021 — at the time, the search giant said it wanted to make health features “more accessible to more people.”


Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Leave a Comment