T3 Awards 2020: Fitbit Charge 4 is the best Fitbit ever for more intense activity

Charge 4 is also a very capable counter of steps and tracker of sleep, of course, but it's the more sweat-friendly functions that make it our winner

T3 Awards 2020: Fitbit Charge 4 is our #1 fitness tracker
(Image credit: Fitbit)

The T3 Awards 2020 has an award for the best running watch and one for the best fitness tracker but the Fitbit Charge 4 shows that the lines between the two are gradually blurring. With this A1 fitness band, Fitbit has taken on board some long-standing criticisms of its devices and delivered something that does far more than count 10,000 steps and 40 winks. 

Despite this expanded feature set, the Charge 4 is also priced very competitively. Hoorah! Especially when it appears in sales events like the Amazone Prime Day sales

The main innovations here are GPS and 'Active Zone Minutes' – a system for tracking and scoring you for more intense activity. 

Granted, neither of those things are actual innovations since Garmin has offered them for years. What Fitbit has done with Charge 4 is add these more 'hardcore' elements without losing the longstanding popular features and user-friendliness of Fitbits of yore.

The GPS works really well for tracking runs and bike rides making this a great choice for someone going from couch to 5K, or even from 5K to 10K. You could even do a marathon in it at a push, although with GPS battery life of around 5 hours, you'd better get a bit of a move on. Think of it as motivation! Battery life without continuous GPS use is typically impressive at around 7 days.

Active Zone Minutes is currently exclusive to Charge 4 and draws on its more advanced tracking of your heart rate and its 'zones'. Now, you can count steps as always, or set yourself goals for more intense exercise. Using Active Zone Minutes means you score more points for really pushing yourself and no points if your only mode of exercise is a very leisurely stroll. 

Sleep tracking, as ever with Fitbit, is more advanced than its rivals, while a blood oxygen monitor could even warn you of previously unknown health issues. All of this is wrapped up in an attractive, discreet and well-built device, backed by Fitbit's ever-excellent app and its burgeoning social and content arms. 

There's a large group of fitness seekers that sits between complete beginners and hardcore Crossfit devotees, and the Charge 4 serves them very well indeed. It's the best Fitbit ever and a big leap forward for fitness band-kind.

• See all the winners so far from the T3 Awards 2020

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Duncan has been writing about tech for almost 15 years, during which time he has attended every event going, apart from Apple ones, as he mysteriously doesn't get invited to them. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. 

Duncan's current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. Duncan also edits T3's golf section because fuck it, someone has to. Dave Usher does all the real work on that bit, though. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."