Whoop 4.0 v Fitbit Charge 5: Fitness tracker shoot-out

The Fitbit Charge 5 and Whoop 4.0 are two wearables that want to become your ultimate health and fitness companion.

The way they go about doing that differs, but they both promise to be as useful when you’re sweating it out in the gym, but also monitoring your wellness.

Wareable verdict:Fitbit Charge 5 review | Whoop 4.0 review

We’ve tested both devices throughly now so have a pretty good idea about they’re strengths and weaknesses.

So if you’re weighing up whether to go for one over the other, here’s our breakdown of how the Fitbit Charge 5 compares to the Whoop 4.0.

Whoop 4.0 v Fitbit Charge 5: Pricing

There’s a chance that when you find out how much these two trackers cost, your decision will already be made about which to go for. Here are the key pricing details you need to know.

The Whoop 4.0 works on a subscription model, which gets you the device and access to the Whoop app. That costs $18/£18 a month with a down payment of $324/£324.

If you want to grab it without a down payment, then you’ll need to pay $30/£30 a month or grab a 12-month subscription at $24/£24.

The Fitbit Charge 5 in comparison costs $179/£169 and that gets you the device and free access to the app. If you want to delve deeper into your health stats and get access to extra mindfulness and coaching features however, you’ll also need to pay for a Fitbit Premium subscription. You can either pay $9.99/£7.99 a month of $79.99/£79.99 a year.

The Charge 5 is clearly the cheaper of the two devices, though you do still have to factor in that Premium subscription if you want the complete software experience as well.

Whoop 4.0 v Fitbit Charge 5: Design

Whoop 4.0 v Fitbit Charge 5: Fitness tracker shoot-out

We’ll start by saying that these are two of the most comfortable fitness trackers we’ve worn, and they’re comfortable enough to wear day and night and during exercise.

The Charge 5 is the slimmer of the two and crucially, does have a colour touchscreen display to show off stats and other key features. There is an always-on display mode as well, if you prefer to have that screen alive at all times.

You can swap out the bands connected to the aluminium case and Fitbit offers a vast range of different straps if you prefer something a little more formal or stylish.

There’s no physical buttons, which we do miss, but that screen is nicely responsive to touch and taps.

While it’s not quite as svelte as Fitbit’s cheaper Luxe tracker, the Charge 5 looks good, is fit for showering and swimming, though we’d have preferred to have at least on physical button here.

Whoop 4.0 v Fitbit Charge 5: Fitness tracker shoot-out

The Whoop 4.0 is made up of a knitted band that sits inside of a metal buckle, which is a bit of a nuisance to get on initially, but it doesn’t budge and it looks more stylish band than typical fitness tracker.

As a package, it’s waterproof up to 50 metres and the supplied battery charging pack is also waterproof, letting you wear it in the shower while it’s doing its charging business.

You can change up the knitted bands for a different look and Whoop does give you scope to move its sensor to different parts of the body via bicep straps and garments like boxer shorts and compression tops. You’ll have to wait to get your 30-day baseline data first though before you can start wearing it in additional garments.

There’s no denying that the Whoop look fantastic and the ability to wear it on other parts of the body, which could also improve accuracy are big positives here. You just have to get on board with not having a screen and checking in on your data in the app to gauge your progress.

Whoop 4.0 v Fitbit Charge 5: Smartwatch features

Whoop 4.0 v Fitbit Charge 5: Fitness tracker shoot-out

Fitbit Charge 5 (left) next to Fitbit Luxe (right)

If you want smartwatch features, well, it’s no contest. It’s the Fitbit that you want.

Whoop doesn’t have a screen and doesn’t try to be a smartwatch in any way, shape or form. It’s primarily focused with capturing your data and displaying that in the companion phone app. It’s not going to buzz you about notifications or let you control your music unfortunately.

The Charge 5 has a fair amount on this front. That color screen will display notifications from third party apps as well as calls and calendar appointments. If you’ve got an Android phone, you can also respond to notifications with default and custom replies.

There’s contactless payments via Fitbit Pay, but it loses the music controls that Fitbit added on the Charge 4.

Whoop 4.0 v Fitbit Charge 5: Workout and fitness tracking

Workout and fitness tracking

Fitbit describes the Charge 5 as fitness and health tracker and Whoop similarly says it’s tracker is built for fitness and health monitoring. They have similar goals, but approach things in slightly different ways.

We’ll start with the Charge 5, which takes Fitbit’s core staples of tracking things like steps, sleep and heart rate 24/7 including during exercise. There’s also built-in GPS to track outdoor activities and motion sensors to track indoor activities like treadmill running and pool swimming.

It also includes a range of health and wellness sensors including a skin temperature sensor, an SpO2 sensor to measure blood oxygen during sleep and it also includes an ECG sensor to deliver FDA cleared heart rate measurements. There’s even room for an electrodermal activity sensor (EDA) to offer richer insights into stress.

The Whoop 4.0 has its fair share of sensors too and metrics those sensors can deliver. It can track respiratory rate, blood oxygen, resting heart rate, heart rate variability and skin temperature. It doesn’t track steps but it does monitor sleep like Fitbit.

Whoop 4.0 v Fitbit Charge 5: Fitness tracker shoot-out

It doesn’t include GPS, so you have to track outdoor exercise with your phone’s GPS via the Whoop companion app. Like Fitbit, it does support automatic exercise recognition for a range of activities too.

As workout trackers, we’d say the Charge 5 does a better job of things, though it’s far from a perfect experience.

The lack of a screen and sensors like GPS on the Whoop make the workout tracking experience a limited one. We also found tracking via the connected GPS support sketchy as well.

The Charge 5 does offer indoor and outdoor tracking modes and sensors and while they’re no match for a dedicated sports watch, they do offer good accuracy and that does include heart rate.

Whoop’s heart rate sensor technology is central to the platform and the way it generates its key Strain metric that informs you how much strain you’ve put your body under to better understand your recovery needs. We found accuracy was better when the band was worn further up the arm and while heart rate accuracy has improved from the Whoop 3.0, it’s still not perfect.

The key thing to remember about Whoop is that it’s not there to track workouts in detail – like a Garmin or Fitbit. And it’s also not there to tell you how many steps you’ve done. It’s a 24/7 companion that looks at the effects of working out and lifestyle on your body, to tell you how much to rest and how much to push. It’s extremely focused in this mission – and costs a lot of money to tell you this specific information.

As workout trackers, the Charge 5 edges it. But while Whoop lacks basic fitness tracking features, it does match Fitbit for reliable, rich sleep tracking and analysis and heart rate tracking during exercise are excellent.

Whoop 4.0 v Fitbit Charge 5: Health tracking

Whoop 4.0 v Fitbit Charge 5: Fitness tracker shoot-out

We’ve mentioned the sensors at your disposal and the kind of insights Fitbit and Whoop promises from a health and wellness point of view. Bottom line, both offer a strong set of health features that have the potential to tell you all is not well.

The Charge 5 has an ECG sensor, which has now been enabled and means you have a tracker that can potentially detect signs of the serious heart condition atrial fibrillation. It monitors blood oxygen levels during sleep and while Fitbit doesn’t claim it can indicate the disorder sleep apnea via this data, it can help wearers understand if something doesn’t seem quite right. It’s a similar story with the temperature sensor, which monitors during night and again could be indication that you might be unwell.

Fitbit also offers features to pay attention to your mental wellbeing, offering stress scores generated by sleep, exertion and heart rate variability data. The electrodermal activity sensor (EDA) sensor will also measure stress responses and there’s a raft of mindfulness features inside of the Fitbit companion app.

That companion app is mostly free and very easy to use, but some additional health metrics require a Fitbit Premium subscription to access them.

With Whoop, none of the sensors included have any form of regulatory approval, but it does include a Health Monitor feature, which can indicate when respiratory rate, blood oxygen, resting heart rate, heart rate variability and skin temperature metrics are in and outside of your typical range. You can also print out that data, to share with doctors or physicians.

In spite of the lack of regulatory approval, we actually found the health monitor features useful and we picked up Covid-19 during our testing to see the clear impact on those stats.

Both offer useful health monitoring features, but if you want the one that can offer approved heart health tracking and useful stress tracking, the Charge 5 is the one you want.

Whoop 4.0 v Fitbit Charge 5: Battery life

Whoop 4.0 v Fitbit Charge 5: Fitness tracker shoot-out

Whoop 4.0 (right) with Whoop 3.0 (left)

If you want the tracker that promises the biggest battery life, it’s the Fitbit Charge 5 that you want.

Fitbit’s tracker promises up to 7 days, which we found lasted 5-6 days in our testing. If you use features like GPS, the battery will drop off quicker. Using it with the always-on display mode and those numbers can drop to 3-4 days.

The Whoop 4.0 in contrast promises up to 5 days and we found it lasted around 4-6 days in our testing. Like the Charge 5, there’s no form of quick charging support available, though Whoop’s charging setup means you can clip on its battery pack and wear it on top of your Whoop while you’re on the move.

We’d say the Charge 5 gets you a bit more battery off a single charge compared to the Whoop, which is surprising given the lack of display. We did like the portability of the battery pack you get with the Whoop, which does also give it appeal in spite of the lower battery numbers.

Whoop 4.0 v Fitbit Charge 5: The verdict

So now you know how these two fitness and health trackers match, which is the one you should go for.

We enjoyed using the Whoop 4.0 and it’s clear the Charge 5 is one of the most feature-packed trackers you can pick up. We think both offer good experiences depending on what your priorities are in.a tracker.

Buy Fitbit Charge 5 if…For most people the Fitbit Charge 5 is the best device of the two. It mixes good workout tracking, excellent sleep and health metrics analysis, and works nicely as an everyday wearable, too. The analysis is easy to read and action. You need to get Fitbit Premium – which will unlock the Daily Readiness score that gives you Whoop levels of insight into your recovery.

Buy Whoop 4 if…If you take your training seriously and want a wearable to help you better understand your training and recovery needs. But it’s important to remember that Whoop only offers basic workout and fitness tracking – and it’s laser focused on your Recovery, Strain and Sleep scores. However, the at a glance health monitor feature is also excellent.