Fitbit Surge review
When shopping for a fitness tracker, you will be spoilt for choice considering the array of brands available. Fitbit however is one brand that is distinct from the competition, and its Surge fitness tracking watch is just one reason why! Fitbit – one of the first companies to create a smartphone-connected device has been creating different iterations of its original Fitbit Ultra smart pedometer, and its latest product the Surge comes in the form of a rather sophisticated device that basically does it all.
For starters, the Surge is not only able to track your sleep and every step you take, but also uses GPS technology to track outdoor activity, keep tabs on your heart rate with its onsite optical heart rate monitor and even alert you of incoming phone calls and messages in its vibrant touchscreen display. Apart from its glorious battery life, the Surge boasts all the features of other Fitbit products plus a myriad of other sports features and add to this a more aesthetically appealing and comfortable watch like design.
What’s in the Box?
- Fitbit Surge
- Wireless syncing dongle
- User guides
- Proprietary charging cables
Highlights of the Fitbit Surge
- Continuous heart rate monitor
- Multi- Sport
- All day activity tracker
- GPS tracking
- Notifications + music
- Long battery life
- Auto sleep + alarms
- Wireless syncing
Fitbit Surge Design
Claimed to be a sleek fitness super watch by Fitbit, we’d have to slightly disagree considering the surge is rather quite chunky compared to other devices in its segment. This extra weight however adds to its serious device status for fitness aficionados, and although wide, it is surprisingly lightweight and can be had in three different sizes – small (for wrist sizes 5.5 to 6.7 inches), large (6.3 to 7.9 inches), and x-large (7.6 to 9.1 inches).
At its widest point, the elastomer polymer strap of the Surge measures 1.34 inches, and is fastened elegantly and securely with a robust stainless steel buckle. Appointed with three buttons, one on the left and two on the right, the charging point and optical heart rate sensor are located at the rear of the Surge and similar to two glowing green lights with a tiny sensor between them.
Adding to this, the Surge by Fitbit is outfitted with eight sensors namely compass, gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometers, GPS and heart rate and an ambient light sensor. The 0.82 by 0.96 inch monochrome LCD touchscreen of the Fitbit Surge is clear and always on, and is sensitive enough to easily swipe through the menus to view heart rate, set off a run or perform other pre=programmed activities such as static strength training and yoga.
The Surge is a highly customizable device in that you can add up to seven activities apart from running such as Pilates, circuit training, boot camp, yoga, golf, martial arts, tennis, walking, stair climbing and you can choose from treadmill run, free run and lap run in the running position. Additionally, the screen of the Surge fitness watch can also be customized, but the default screen is best and displays time in digits and dial of dots that populates as the minutes tick by.
Battery life of the Surge is clocked at 7 days on a single full charge and five days with GPS and the heart rate monitor enabled. Other GPS watches offer considerably more run time, but fall short of the onboard heart rate monitor. The charging cable included with the package is unique to the Surge, meaning you can’t use another power cable to charge the device. On a brighter note, the Surge comes with a handy USB dongle, which allows you to wirelessly sync your activity data when you’re within a few feet of the enabled PC.
The USB dongle can also be used to connect the surge with a compatible smartphone and the exclusive Fitbit app available on Android, Windows and iPhone platforms. When connected, the surge is able to display text and call alerts and the ability to control songs from your mobile playlist. One of the noteworthy features of the Fitbit Surge apart from the heart rate monitor is its altimeter, where unlike other fitness trackers is able to measure stair climbs and even distance travelled using GPS technology.
Key Features of the Fitbit Surge
The biggest attraction of the Surge would have to be its heart rate monitoring capabilities, but don’t expect medical grade heart monitoring. You can however expect pretty accurate results owing to its all new sensor, which is also partially responsible for better sleep tracking than past Fitbit products. With regards to sleep tracking, the Surge is able to automatically track your daily sleep data without pressing any additional buttons.
The next think the Surge does best is round the clock heart rate monitoring through the optical sensor located at the back of the device. The sensor determines your heart rate by emitting a green light through your skin and into your capillaries in an effort to measure blood flow using the optical receptor located within the sensor. This sensor stays on 24×7, but you can turn it off if you’d like to save battery life or if it gets annoying. Adding to this, your heart rate is displayed live on your smartphone anytime you connect the phone app to the Fitbit Surge.
The Fitbit app has received significant improvements from when it was first conceived in 2013. It is now brighter, coherent and looks just like what a modern smartphone app should be and results and data can be viewed on the app and the desktop dashboard. The surge is also water resistant up to one atmosphere, which means that it can be submerged up to 10 meters deep.
However, wearing the Surge fitness tracker is not recommended in the shower or while swimming, but is safe to wear while playing sports, around household sinks and even while swimming in shallow water. Also, this impressive water resistance of the Fitbit Surge proves beneficial if you’re a profuse sweater or if you exercise in wet conditions.
Pros of the Fitbit Surge
- Heart rate monitoring and GPS are great new additions
- Superior sleep tracking capabilities
- Robust and easy to use food database
- Onsite altimeter for stairs climbed tracking
- Comfortable to wear even when you sleep
Cons of the Fitbit Surge
- Maybe bulky for some users
- a bit expensive, but well justified considering it offers a range of metrics and even text and call alerts
All in all, the Surge is a solid fitness tracker, and offers excellent food and sleep tracking, while adding heart rate monitoring and GPS to the mix. It comes with a USB dongle, which allows you to wirelessly connect to the PC or compatible smartphone. The battery life of the Fitbit Surge puts it a few notches above the competition, and rings in at an astounding 7 days or 5 days with GPS and heart rate enabled.
If you’re looking for an all in one fitness tracker that does what its designed to extremely well, the Fitbit Surge is inarguably the best choice.