Everything You Need to Know About the Fitbit Charge 6

One of Fitbit’s most popular models, the Charge, has a new version out: the Charge 6. It has Google Maps, Google Wallet, and YouTube Music controls built in, along with heart rate sensing that the company says is its most accurate to date. You can preorder it now for $159.95, only about $10 more than the Charge 5’s current price. Here’s what’s new:

Google says the heart rate tracking is now more accurate

The sensors on this device appear to be the same as on the Charge 5, but Google says the Charge 6 now uses algorithms borrowed from the Pixel family of smartwatches. As a result, it says, heart rate is more accurate, and so are the metrics like Readiness that make use of heart rate detection.

Some Google apps are built in

The Charge 6 is more in line with the Google ecosystem than the Charge 5 was. It uses Google Wallet instead of Fitbit Pay, and has controls for Google-owned YouTube Music.

The Charge 6, like the Charge 5, has built-in GPS and GLONASS. New in this device is the ability to use Google Maps on the watch itself, as long as you’re within Bluetooth range of your phone. (All the Google apps require you to have your phone nearby.)

To use the Charge 6, you’ll need to create a Google Account if you don’t already have one, rather than using a Fitbit account.

You can control music from your Charge (again)

Fitbit dropped support for Spotify playback when the Charge 5 came out, but music controls are back—this time for YouTube Music.

You’ll need a subscription to YouTube Music Premium to use this feature, though. Purchasing the Charge 6 gets you a one-month free trial.

The Charge 6 can connect to some gym equipment

The Charge 6 supports the Bluetooth Heart Rate Profile, which allows you to see your heart rate on the screen of compatible devices from NordicTrack, Peloton, Concept2 and Tonal, as well as the Peloton app. You can find a list of Charge 6-compatible machines here.

The Charge 6 now has a zoom feature

If it’s hard to read the text on a tiny watch screen, the Charge 6 now has a feature that lets you zoom in.

How the Charge 6 device compares to the Charge 5

Physically, the Charge 6 is the same size as the Charge 5, but it now has a side button, where the Charge 5 had none. Google calls it a “haptic” button, and clarified to The Verge it is not a mechanical button. It does buzz when you press it, though. If you’ve used a MacBook with a haptic trackpad, or an iPhone with a haptic Home Button, you’ll get the idea.

The Charge 6 fits at least some Charge 5 bands, in case you’d prefer different strap colors than the three factory models. Those are sold in obsidian (black device, black band), coral (rose gold device, warm red band), and porcelain (light silvery device, off-white band).

How to preorder the new Charge 6

The Charge 6 will be available “later this fall,” but you can preorder it now. Google says it’s available from Google and Fitbit’s online stores along with “select global retailers,” with more availability coming this fall. We’ve seen it at these outlets so far:

  • Fitbit.com ($159.95)
  • Google Store ($159.95)
  • Best Buy ($159.95)
  • Amazon ($159.95)

You’ll need a Fitbit Premium subscription to use some of the features, like the readiness score, and to access workouts through the Fitbit app. When you buy a new Charge 6, you get six months of the Premium subscription free. You’ll also need a YouTube Music Premium subscription to use the YouTube Music controls, and a Google Account (rather than just a Fitbit account) to use the device at all.

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