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Desperately looking for GPS signal

The Charge 5 – Fitbit’s first wearable since it was taken over by Google – isn’t fun because of a technical problem.

It’s a small, but potentially fine premiere: For the first time, Google and Fitbit have brought a wearable onto the market as a joint company. This is the Fitbit Charge 5 – traditionally the most important and by far the best-known Fitbit product.

The developers did not use Google’s Wear OS; instead, their own operating system is used, which is not specified under “Info” in the settings.

The most important innovation of the Charge 5 is an AMOLED screen with a brightness of up to 450 nits – that’s more than twice as much as the 200 nits of the predecessor. At 1.04 inches, the display is around 10 percent larger than its predecessor, and the pixel density is 326 ppi.

The screen was always very easy to read during the test, even in sunlight – however, some fonts are much too small for us, especially when exercising. Activation by gesture only works moderately well, we often had to turn the wrist very jerkily several times.

The Charge 5 has no buttons – the two bars on the side look like this but serve a different purpose. Instead, we can make the display glow with (very!) Firm call waiting. The control then takes place with the usual swiping gestures, which work well overall.

Another innovation of the Charge 5 is obviously a new GPS module – or at least it is installed differently compared to its predecessor. We had massive problems with this: If we hold the fitness tracker in the air as free and still as possible before a run or bike ride, as usual, so that the satellite signals can be received and analyzed, nothing happens to us for minutes.

After a while, we realized that we had to lift the back of the device – we show how in the gallery. Then the Charge 5 confirmed GPS reception within a few seconds. During our tours, however, sooner or later the device lost the signal again so that our recordings were basically unusable; in the gallery, we have comparison images of the same activity with a properly functioning sports watch and the Charge 5.

Alternatively, we can couple the wearable with the smartphone and record the route via its GPS module, which worked without any problems.

A quick search on the net showed that the blogger DC Rainmaker, who specializes in sporty wearables, had problems with the fitness tracker that was quite similar to ours. However, there are also a few tests and evaluations that do not report any difficulties. We would wait until the final clarification.

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