In a year where it’s all about Wear OS, it seems like Fitbit is dedicating 2021 to its trackers. After adding the Luxe to its lineup this past spring, we’re now seeing leaked renders for a potential Charge 5 for this fall.
The renders come courtesy of prolific leaker Evan Blass, who tweeted the images on Saturday. At a glance, the rumored Charge 5 takes heavy design cues from its newly released Luxe tracker with a curved, color touchscreen. On the sides, it appears that Fitbit is also continuing with the capacitive controls, which the company introduced on the Charge 3 in place of buttons. The decision to stick with capacitive controls hasn’t exactly been a popular one, with many complaining they’re not as easy to use mid-workout. As for strap color, it appears we’ll see at least three options in cream, black, and bluish-gray. Meanwhile, the tracker case looks like it’ll come in black, silver, and gold.
That said, we can’t tell much else about the Charge 5 as the renders don’t include a look at its sensor array. It’s probably safe to assume you’ll get all the usuals, such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, barometers, SpO2, and optical heart rate sensors. It’s highly likely to have a built-in GPS as well. The long-requested feature was finally added to the Charge 4 in spring 2020, along with NFC payments. That would also help to differentiate it from the Luxe, which lacks these two features and is meant for a more casual, fashion-forward user. But aside from the design, it’s not likely we’ll see any other major changes. (Perhaps the addition of a skin temperature sensor?)
The Charge line has mostly stuck to iterative updates over the years, and as one of the company’s most popular products, Fitbit’s adopted an “if it ain’t broke” strategy. One interesting point will be battery life. Fitbit’s multi-day battery life helps set its gadgets apart in a world increasingly dominated by premium smartwatches that can barely last longer than a day. However, color touchscreens are much more power-hungry compared to monochrome screens. It wasn’t an issue on the Luxe, but then again, the Luxe didn’t have built-in GPS either.
It makes sense that Fitbit would focus more on its trackers this year. Not only did it come out guns blazing last year, but it’s also not likely to make much headway on the premium smartwatch front until next year. While CEO James Park said at Google I/O that the company would be working on a Wear OS 3 smartwatch, Google recently noted that the new platform wouldn’t be coming to non-Samsung watches until mid-2022 at the earliest. That would also give Qualcomm time to shape the hell up and deliver wearable chips that actually use tech from this decade.
We won’t have to wait too long to find out more about the Charge 5. Fitbit generally keeps to a spring-fall launch cadence, and it usually holds a launch event sometime around the end of August.