FitBit Surge review – The Fitness Tracker To Beat

In Fitness, Reviews, Uncategorizedby Polina

I’ve really gotten into tracking my training progress – I find that having data that I can review and analyse means I can tweak my training when I need to and make sure everything is going to plan. There are many opinions and thoughts on pros and cons of keeping records but the fact remains – it gives one’s training regime a structure and tracking progress is a motivational tool in itself: whatever your stats are they are definitely better than the time when you’ve started, plus the number of sessions alone shows that you keep going on, not giving up, YOU ARE ACTIVE!

Basically, it’s the 21st century, I have to use fitness trackers 🙂

I’ve previously tested the Moto 360 Sport which showed a lot of potential but was so buggy with my phone that I had to return it. The Moto 360 Sport is a more generic wearable that has some fitness features added, so for my replacement I decided to get a dedicated fitness tracker, the FitBit Surge.

It’s functionality is all fitness, with some notifications from my phone. This makes it a touch less useful in day-to-day life than a smartwatch but it is cheaper… and, so far, works properly!

Design

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I’m not sure of the looks and display. I’ve been spoilt by having a larger viewport and nice, colourful screen to stare at 🙂

The icons and font look like a retro 80’s console game and it does the job well.

The interface is straightforward and most importantly, there are physical buttons to prod at to start and stop tracking! If you’ve ever tried to use a touchscreen in the icy cold whilst wearing gloves you’ll REALLY appreciate this.

It feels sturdy as well, able to withstand the knocks and bumps of everyday life. So far, it’s been a pleasure to wear and use.

Battery

This is another huge win for the FitBit Surge. Battery life! I’ve had it for a week and only charged it twice: once when I got it and once before a long run with GPS on. If you have a smartphone and get that nervous twitch at the end of the day when that red bar battery slowly drops even further, you’ll be glad that your fitness tracker won’t suffer the same fate. It’s so good you can even wear it at night which leads me to…

Sleep tracking

Another feature, the Surge can be used to track your sleep patterns. Right now, I start it manually from my phone, but the makers claim they can recognise when you drift off to the land of nod and auto-start your sleep tracking. At the moment, I can’t quite work out what to do with the data. It tell me when I was restless or woke up but without some environmental context, such as whether it was raining, or if it was a hot night, it’s hard to figure out the cause if restlessness and improve sleep conditions.

Ease of use

If you use a smartphone you’ll pick up how to use the Surge quickly. The physical buttons are REALLY useful in the cold, which is a design touch that Apple or Android have yet to reach on their wearables.

The charge port is an annoying proprietary thing, wearables really should come with wireless charging, but the battery life is good.

The heart rate sensor seems iffy, I wouldn’t rely on it to monitor training zones, it jumps around too erratically for really serious measurements. If find it difficult to believe I’ve same 120 bpm heart rate during a weight training session and when folding the laundry!

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One big bugbear is the platform itself. The software is great but it doesn’t integrate well with other services. I can’t connect it to Google Fit (or Apple Health for you iPhone people), for example, which means my weight and existing training data can’t be integrated. The same would happen if I wanted to take my data out of FitBit. No can do at the moment. This is good for FitBit, not so good for me as a user who wants to control her data. I’m hoping this changes in the future as it is something to be aware of, your data is the most valuable thing here, not the device itself.

FitBit Social Networking

I really like this feature! Challenge your FitBit wearing friends to do more and do better. It’s basically a social network for FitBitters to cheer each other on and challenge one another. You can cheer or taunt your friends to do more which gives me a few ideas for the future…

Would I recommend it? Mostly yes. It’s the best fitness tracker I’ve used so far apart from the issues I highlighted. If you can live with those it’s fantastic.