The Fitbit Surge is the latest and most powerful Fitbit model on the market and provides a viable alternative to the much hyped Apple Watch, in delivering not only fitness stats straight to your wrist but mobile notifications along with the ever allusive time.
Despite the inevitable comparisons to the Apple Watch and a new market of smartwatch devices, the Fitbit Surge is first and foremost a tool to keep you motivated. During my time wearing the device, it provided a welcome surge in my daily exercise regime.
Donning all the features of previous models and a few new tricks up its sleeve, the Surge comes with in-built GPS tracking, a heart rate monitor and real time workout stats and figures. All these features have been improved upon in the Surge, particularly with the enhanced accuracy of the heart rate monitor. While wearing it and simply standing up, it would register a quicker heart rate almost immediately. The GPS tracking, although prone to the usual gaffes associated with Google Maps, is a great way to look at jogging routes, with your distance and speed all measured to provide that extra burst of motivation and sense of accomplishment at the end of a lengthy run.
As for the looks, the Fitbit Surge is a noticeable departure from the previous slim-lined models that resembled rubber bands rather than 80’s digital watches. Simply put, the Surge has seen the Fitbit put on a few of those winter season kilos. But the bigger size has allowed room for a backlit touchscreen that creates greater interactivity, eight sensors and the inclusion of an optical heart rate monitor right on the wrist. This means the Surge is literally on the pulse when it comes to tracking your vital signs.
Despite all this improved functionality, it’s hard to call the Fitbit Surge the latest fashion accessory. Unfortunately in this case, functional just isn’t the new sexy. It’s bulkier frame and dark screen makes it a hard watch to wear on a night out. That said, the new strap is a welcome change with the Surge fitting comfortably and securely to your wrist. This comes in handy for taking the Surge to bed with you as it automatically tracks your sleep duration and quality, with the option to add alarms. An added benefit or horror depending on your standpoint.
All the data your Surge collects throughout the day, from your heartrate, to your steps, or to your sleep, is stored nicely in the Fitbit app which as well as keeping you informed, encourages you with important milestones and the ability to track a friend’s figures. Everyone loves a bit of competition.
In terms of mobile functionality, the Surge does an admirable job. Compatible with almost every smartphone on the market through Bluetooth, the Surge provides caller IDs for incoming calls, SMS alerts that can be read in their entirety and complete control over your music, making the long, agonising journey to your pocket a thing of the past. The plus-sized shape of the Surge comes in handy here when reading texts and deciding on workout tunes on the go.
A bit of a surprise with the Surge, despite its electric make-up and name, is it’s water-proof. Capable (according to specs) of sustaining water depths upwards of 50m. While I didn’t take my Surge down quite that far, it did survive a few rainy days and an accidental trip to the shower. But with a phenomenal battery life, you might just forget your wearing it sometimes. Unlike existing Apple and Android watches require daily charging, the Fitbit Surge lasted me 4 days without needing a charge. The device is apparently capable of a full week if both the GPS and music control are turned off. Charging is also simpler this time around with a USB proprietary.
Overall, the Fitbit Surge is a welcome addition to the elite models of fitness trackers and smartwatches. The Fitbit Surge strikes a happy medium between the two. Although a fitness tracker at heart, the Surge is more than capable of making you more productive with your phone and will help you avoid those unnecessary trips to your pocket to dig it out.