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So the rumors have been confirmed, the new Fitbit Charge 2 and Flex 2 are here and they look quite like the leaked photos published by Technobuffalo two weeks ago!

Fitbit is the number one wearable vendor according to IDC and I could get my hands on the new Fitbit Charge 2 for the past few days. I have not yet tried it during a workout session and it will not happen any time soon since I am heading to IFA today.

The Fitbit Charge 2 is the successor of the Fitbit Charge HR, both devices provide continuous heart rate tracking – branded PurePulse Heart Rate. Basically, it looks like the San Francisco-based company merged the Surge and the Charge HR, added a new software and some new features.

The OLED display is four time larger than the previous Charge HR and the bands are interchangeable, so you can buy additional bands in leather or other colors. Despite the larger display, Fitbit managed to maintain a pretty long battery life of 5 days. For instance, I have worn the Fitbit Charge 2 since Thursday 4 pm and it is still on after 4 days and a half, at the time of writing this.
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Fitbit made the experience more personalized and enhanced the heart rate tracking for more accuracy. I tested it against a medical grade heart rate tracker placed on my finger, and the Charge 2 provided almost the same number, off by only 1 to 2 points.

Just like its predecessor, the Charge 2 is able to automatically recognize the type of exercise you engaged in, such as walking, running, outdoor biking, elliptical and more. The device tracks sleep automatically and provide your resting heart rate every day.

With the new software, you can select a workout among the following: run, weight, treadmill, workout, elliptical, bike, interval workout. And, when you select one option, by long pressing the button, you can access contextual data during the session, such as heart rate, calorie burnt, pace or distance. Fitbit made the whole experience more personalized.

Thanks to the connected GPS feature, that is available on the Surge and not on the Charge HR, you can connect the Charge 2 to the GPS on your phone, to see real-time stats such as pace and distance, and record a map of your route in the companion application.

The interval workout mode is a brand new feature, that will guide you in high-intensity exercise and rest periods – you enter a time for your active minutes and a time for your rest period, and the device will vibrate to indicate when you need to switch.

Another interesting new addition is the Cardio Fitness Level, an algorithm that aims to provide a Cardio Fitness Score, from the various data collected over time by the Charge 2 and the application.  For more detail on this, go to the product page.

Mindfulness is a hot trend nowadays, and Fitbit included a Relax feature that allows users to perform guided breathing sessions based on their heart rate. Sessions are offered in 2 minute or 5-minutee formats. According to Fitbit, breathing sessions can help reduce stress and anxiety and reduces blood pressure, and may even lower cardiovascular diseases risk.

Reminder  is a new addition that gently reminds to get up with a nudge when you have been sitting for too long.

Fitbit Charge 2 will be available in September and you can preorder today for $149.95 in black, plum, blue or teal. Two special editions, black/gun metal and lavender / rose gold, will be offered for $179.95. The Fitbit app is available for free both for iOS and Android.

Filed in Cellphones >Medical. Read more about fitbit, IFA 2016 and Wearable Tech.

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