Fitbit’s well established line of fitness trackers (since 2011) has increased with the Fitbit Surge (price). With the Surge, Fitbit has entered the market of smartwatches while still living up to the core quality of the fitness tracker alone. In addition to active fitness and everyday fitness tracking, the Fitbit Surge also incorporates multi-sport tracking, caller id, text message notifications, music control and GPS tracking, providing a definite upgrade from their lower level fitness watches. Although it is likely that the Surge does not perform up to everyone’s standards as a running watch or a smartwatch, it combines these two products seamlessly into a beautiful, reliable and easy to use fitness watch.
The Fitbit Surge is sold in three sizes, small (5.5” – 6.3” wrist), Large (6.3” – 7.8” wrist), X-Large (7.8” – 8.9” wrist) and three colors, black, blue, orange. Under the LCD touch screen display, Fitbit outfitted the Surge with a decent battery, said to last up to 7 days and charge within 1 to 2 hours, along with a large array of sensors:
- 3 axis accelerometers
- 3 axis gyroscope
- Digital compass
- Optical heart rate monitor
- Ambient light sensor
- Vibration motor
The watch is also outfitted with a memory chip capable of storing 7 days of detailed motion data as well as daily totals for the past 30 days. All of this data is stored and then ultimately uploaded wirelessly and reliably to any windows or mac computer as well as Windows, iOS, or Android smartphone.
Running and Sport Tracking
At the root of the Fitbit Surge it is still a fitness tracker and will record your run as expected. The device will track time, distance, pace and elevation using its internal GPS as well as its accelerometer and altimeter sensors. Along with these it will track your route and your mile splits which you can review after each run. If you are accustomed to using your smartphone as a method of keeping track of your runs and steps, this fitness watch will be an easy transition due to the similarities of what it can track.
In addition to recording data related to your run, the Fitbit Surge is capable of also tracking other sports such as cycling, cardio, and other workouts (not swimming though…) and will provide similar data to what you would expect from tracking a run.
Unlike other fitness trackers, the smart features of the Surge come to life with the ability to connect the fitness watch to Strava (a social fitness app that allows you to record and track your runs and cycling routes over time) and upload your runs and cycling data to your Strava profile.
The ability to wirelessly sync the Fitbit Surge to your computer and smartphone creates the sense that you are building a fitness profile through the information gathered and dumped into the Fitbit hub. Although it is nice to be able to continue updating your profile on Strava, Fitbit also provides an area where you can review your progress with charts and graphs of your daily activity (steps, heartrate, etc.). Along with the graphs, you are also able to see your recorded workouts, tracked runs and cycling stats, as well as follow your workout on a map. Like Strava, you are given the ability to share and compete with your friends and family through leaderboards, and are able to earn badges by hitting milestones, a great way to keep yourself motivated. Finally, the fitness watch also tracks your sleep and allows you to log and keep track of your food and nutrition data.
So Who Needs This?
It is a good question to ask – is it worth purchasing this watch or should I go for a real smartwatch? There are a couple of answers to this question. Firstly, Fitbit has established themselves as a leading developer of reliable and easy to use fitness trackers. They have allowed the seamless integration of their technology into any operating system and smartphone and continue to improve their fitness hub. If you want a reliable and easy to use fitness watch that offers the smartwatch features that we have come to expect and love, the Fitbit Surge is for you.
Secondly, the Surge is not to be mistaken with an Apple Watch. Although it offers smart capabilities such as connecting to your computer and phone wirelessly, showing text messages and incoming calls on an LCD touchscreen, and connecting to apps, it is not considered a fully integrated smartwatch. Therefore, it is merely a prominent upgrade from the previous model, the Fitbit Charge HR, offering multi-sport tracking, music control, and GPS tracking. If you are in the market for a full blown smartwatch, you may want to look elsewhere (although the battery life on the Fitbit Surge is exceptional compared with other smartwatches.)
For more information, check out the Fitbit Surge here.