Got wrist real estate to spare? There’s another activity monitor on the market as of today. And in addition to the usual metrics –  steps walked, distance covered, calories burned, floors climbed, etc – the newly-announced Fitbit Charge HR fitness band continually and automatically monitors your heart rate, even when you’re standing still. There’s now a digital clock in the display as well, which removes the need to wear a regular watch and the activity band also works with Caller ID, showing the name of the person trying to get hold of you on-screen. But only if your phone is nearby and connected via Bluetooth.

“The most exciting thing about the newly-launched Fitbit Charge HR is that it can now measure heart rate. It works 24/7, which means you get your true resting heart rate which then allows you to get the most out of your workout. It’s makes getting fit, healthy and maximising your exercise so easy,” says Nikki Friedman, Fitbit South Africa’s marketing manager.

Fitbit’s trademarked cardio technology, aptly named Pure Pulse Heart Rate, continuously measures the wearer’s heartbeat using a system of LED lights that reflect on the skin and detect volume change in blood flow.

Those concerned over battery life will be happy to know that the Charge HR lasts for approximately five days before you need to plug it in. You don’t, however, need to physically connect it to your computer or phone to use the Fitbit app, as all the data gathered syncs wirelessly with your phone via Bluetooth.

“The Charge HR takes things to the next level,” says Lisa Raleigh, lifestyle and wellness expert. “It tracks all fitness activities without the need to wear a heart rate band. Tracking your heart rate is key if you want to meet standard exercise requirements but also maximise your performance and train faster.”

The Fitbit Charge HR is available at iStores, Dis-Chem, Incredible Connection and Makro for a recommended retail price of R2 299.

Friedman also unveiled the Fitbit Surge smartwatch which will be arriving locally this April, concurrent with the European launch. The Surge is both a fitness band and a smartwatch in one, and includes a touchscreen, GPS tracking and call and message notifications. The local price point is still to be confirmed.

“Fitbit has taken the South African market by storm. We’ve seen that it has a global market share of 69% and that people here are excited too, especially with the outdoor lifestyle that we lead. Hiking, running, cycling… it’s clear that South Africans now want to measure their day-to-day activity and that we also don’t always want to find ourselves running inside gyms on a treadmill,” concludes Friedman.