An Outdoor Gear Review of the Fitbit Surge
The Fitbit Surge was announced in 2014 and continues to be one of the top-selling watches for all-day fitness tracking. It features heart rate monitoring, GPS tracking, and real-time statistics for things like elevation gained, distance, and pace. Those who want a convenient, easy-to-use fitness watch would do well to consider the Fitbit Surge. We’ll look at it in-depth in this review so you can decide if it’s the device for you.
- GPS Tracking- See distance, pace and elevation climbed & review routes and split times
- Get continuous, automatic, wrist-based heart rate and simplified heart rate zones
- Track workouts & view workout summaries; plus all day activities including steps, distance, calories burned, floors...
The Surge has everything you could possibly need when it comes to tracking your fitness plan. You can use exercise mode to record the calories you burn, the steps you take, the distance you go, the floors you climb, and even the elevation you gain over a workout. There is also a PurePulse heart rate monitor that continually determines your heart rate and tracks the data without the need for a chest strap. You can see your totals for the previous 30 days and use detailed graphs and charts to track your activity and movement over time.
Beyond the standard features you can expect in any fitness watch, the Fitbit Surge also offers GPS tracking, which is beneficial for anyone who runs, walks, or cycles. There is also a feature called SmartTrack that identifies specific movements such as cycling or running and records them in the mobile app to capture all activity through the day. There is even a sleep tracker that automatically tracks your sleep so you can review trends. The Surge additionally has a vibrating, silent alarm, which makes waking up a calmer affair. On top of that, it can notify you of incoming calls and texts if you have a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone nearby. However, it does not show emails or notifications from third-party apps.
Fitbit Surge Key Features
The Surge has many features, and keeping track of them can be complicated. We wanted to provide a bit more information about some of the features that most users will be interested in.
For our outdoor gear review, we wanted to find out what the Surge provides when it comes to meeting your fitness potential. There are dozens of companies offering fitness watches in 2018, and while Fitbit was one of the first, we know that doesn’t always mean the company is the best. However, we were impressed by the Surge’s ability to track burned calories, which makes it easier to set your workout intensity. There is a Multi-Sport feature that tracks stats for sports and activities of all types, including biking, running, hiking, elliptical training, weight lifting, spinning, stair climbing, yoga, boot camp classes, circuit training, Pilates, tennis, kickboxing, golf, and martial arts. You can also use the general workout mode if your needs are different.
The only real disadvantage here is that the Surge is only water resistant, not waterproof, so you should skip wearing it if you plan to get wet during your workout. You should also take it off when you are in the shower or bath to avoid damage. If you do a lot of swimming, this isn’t the right watch for you. It’s geared toward those who enjoy walking, running, biking, and other similar activities.
Accuracy is essential in any fitness tracker, and the Surge is no different. We’ll look at its accuracy in determining heart rate, steps, GPS, and sleep tracking, so you can decide if the device meets your needs.
– Heart Rate Accuracy
Most users of the Surge relate that the device does well when showing resting heart rate, but it can output less accurate numbers during exercise. There is about a five percent average error when it comes to calculating heart rate. This error rate is a little high compared to other heart monitors. If heart rate calculation is crucial for you, be aware that this watch may not fit your needs. Those who plan to use that feature sporadically may not care as much about its accuracy.
– Step Accuracy
When it comes to keeping track of steps, the Surge is just as good as any other watch on the market is. It’s accurate and in line with expected data. However, every company has an algorithm that is slightly different, so the data points will also vary to some degree. This does prevent the device from outputting highly inaccurate readings, but it may not produce the exact same data that another company’s product does.
– GPS Accuracy
Connection to a satellite can take more time than some will like, but the accuracy and time are average compared to other watches with GPS. You can expect the data to be accurate within about a tenth of a mile for longer runs. Something that the Surge does differently is include a sensor for ambient light. This is beneficial for early-morning or late-night exercise sessions. The GPS tracking also displays in large numbers on the screen so you can determine at a glance how you are doing.
The sleep tracking for this device is automatic and requires no additional setup. This is a perk, as many fitness watches require that you manually type in this information each morning. If sleep tracking is something that matters to you, the Surge has the edge over its competitors. It does a great job without requiring much input from the user.
Connectivity and Power Source
You can charge the Surge by attaching the provided USB charging cable to a charging port on the back of the watch. It will automatically use Bluetooth to sync to linked tablets and computers, as well as smartphones. This device needs to be running Mac OS X 10.6 or higher or Windows Vista or later.
As far as the power source goes, the Surge uses a Lithium-polymer rechargeable battery that lasts five days to a week on average. Those who use the GPS at all times will see that this function knocks the battery life down to mere hours instead of days, so the GPS should only be utilized when needed. The best option is to charge your Surge a couple times a week so it is always ready for whatever you throw at it.
Most people find that the Fitbit app is easy to use and will seamlessly record summaries of your workouts. This allows you to track your progress and see how you are improving over time. The app on the actual Surge can sync with your computer, tablet, or phone. You can also view and edit the information on the Fitbit website, as well.
Style, Comfort, and Durability
There a lot to say when it comes to the look and durability of the Surge. We’ll discuss a few things that might impact your decision to purchase the watch.
The style of Surge is a bit different compared to other fitness watches, and people either love it or aren’t impressed by it. That’s all down to taste. The watch is bulkier than other models are and has a substantial face that might not be the best choice for a formal event. It is stylish enough for everyday wear, though. The screen stays on at all times, and you can choose from four watch faces. None of them provide more than the date and time, however. While the style is dictated by the massive number of features offered, it isn’t the most versatile option on the market.
– Comfort Level
Because of the bulkier style of the Surge, it can look big and chunky on the wrist. However, it is comfortable for most people to wear. It’s lightweight at only 2.7 ounces and features a durable elastomer polymer band that fits nicely and feels comfortable on the skin. The only real con here is that it can be a challenge to fit long sleeves over the large watch face.
No matter which size of watch you choose, the Surge has only one face size, which is 0.82 x 0.96 inches. For the band, there are three options based on wrist size ― small (5.5 to 6.3 inches), large (6.3 to 7.8 inches), and extra-large (7.8 to 8.9 inches).
The watch itself is durable, as the materials used for the face and band are built to last, even for those who enjoy outdoor sports every single day. However, the watch is not waterproof and shouldn’t be used for swimming. It is water resistant up to five meters, but Fitbit asks that users avoid swimming while wearing the watch.
Ease of Use
Once you receive the Surge, it’s easy to set up and start use. This is where Fitbit really excels compared to its competitors. The first thing you will want to do is charge the device to 100 percent. Then download the required app and fill out a few options for setup. After that is complete, you can access all the watch functions smoothly with a swipe or a tap. The data from the watch is sent to the app, which can then be synced to all your devices.
The software is easy to use and user friendly, no matter your tech expertise. Using the powerful features, syncing, and downloading your stats take no time at all. Despite offering tons of features, Fitbit makes it simple to use them without overthinking everything.
The Surge will run you approximately $200 if you buy from Fitbit. The company also gives you free shipping, a 45-day money-back guarantee, and a one-year limited warranty. You may find the product on sale at other retailers in some cases. This price might be prohibitive for some individuals, but the Surge’s sheer number of features and ability to handle outdoor exercise makes the price reasonable compared to other options.
There are a handful of different accessories available for the Surge. When you purchase the device, you get the Fitbit Surge, a USB charging cable, a manual, and a USB Bluetooth for your computer. You can also buy bands for the device in numerous materials and colors. There are also screen and sleeve protectors. Otherwise, the accessories are lacking to some extent. It would be nice to see more faces available, at the very least.
If you need a durable watch with the features that matter for outdoor activity, there are few options out there that are better than the Fitbit Surge. It is built for the fitness lover and is intended to be worn on a daily basis. This is a great option if you want to keep track of your health and exercise habits, and its features allow you to continue growing and improving. It offers the typical perks of a smartwatch while placing emphasis on your fitness habits and physical health.