Yesterday the Fitbit Charge 3 was officially launched in South Africa. After attending the media briefing, I was fortunate enough to be given one of the new fitness-focused wearables to review.

While I have only racked up 24 hours with the Charge 3, it has already made an impression on me, and these are thoughts on the device after one day.

Setup

This aspect is relatively quick and easy.

It does require connecting the Fitbit Charge 3 to a power source throughout the process though, which takes roughly five minutes. You also need to have the Fitbit app running on your smartphone in order to complete the pairing and setup process.

This too happens rather quickly, but one curious thing I’ve noticed is the notification constantly showing up on my Galaxy S8 that the Fitbit app is running in the background.

It’s not an inconvenience, but it’s difficult to remove from the notification screen on this particular phone. As such, it may simply be an issue on the version of Android skinned onto my S8.

As such, I’d like to see if other Android phones suffer from this, along with iOS devices.

Design

In terms of stylings the Charge 3 is quite discrete, especially the all-black version of my review model. The big change from a design perspective is the screen, which is now fully touch enabled compared to the tap only functions of the predecessor.

It’s nice and bright, even while outdoors, and most of the information is quite easy to read.

That having been said, the notifications, specifically from messages and emails can be hard to read given the small amount of real estate the Charge 3 screen affords. As such I can likely see the notification feature serving as a quick reference for wearers to look at when messages come up, but not read in full.

One aspect I’m still struggling to come to grips with is the button on the left hand side of the screen. This can be used to go back with a quick press, and bring up the quick settings with a longer one. It works well, but the positioning makes it difficult to reach at times.

Being a right-handed person I would have much rather preferred to see it on the left side instead, but this isn’t a deal breaking problem.

A qualm

I know that I’ve mentioned the placement of the single button on the Charge 3 as an issue, but there is also a small one I need to add at this stage.

The Charge 3 is extremely difficult to remove.

The buckle on the silicon band my review model has, also features an additional tab to hold the strap in place. While this ensures a snug fit, it is quite difficult to unhook in order to remove the Charge 3.

This may be a symptom of the silicon version of the band in particular, so the woven and leather options might be better in this regard.

First impression

After 24 hours the Fitbit Charge 3 is proving to be quite a well-appointed piece of tech.

It’s discreet, tracks nicely and features a solid battery life. The latter might be one of its most important aspects, with only 13 percent of the battery being used up after a day.

It should prove interesting to see how intense or prolonged activity affects the battery life.

The one aspect I have not tried out yet is the sleep and wellbeing features. I’ve used the former on previous Fitbit devices and found them quite helpful, so hopefully the wellbeing ones do the same.

At R2 999 for the classic edition, and R3 499 for the special edition (featured NFC functionality), the Fitbit Charge 3 is quite expensive. The only way it justifies the price at the moment comes down to the wearer.

If you’re going to make the most of the Charge 3’s features, it should be a handy tool indeed.

To see how it fares in a full-blown review, check our site in a couple of week’s time.