27 Aug 2015
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Hands-on review: Fitbit Surge

By Shannon Williams

Not everyone is a fan of fitness trackers – they don’t see the point. How does knowing how many steps you’ve taken or how many calories you’ve burned or how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed help you with anything?

I don’t have time for these people. When I’m wearing my Fitbit, I’m committed. I get so obsessed with meeting my step goals I will literally walk around my living room until I feel that delightful vibration on my wrist, letting me know that I have succeeded.

It’s a great way to keep you motivated and get you up and walking, instead of driving the car up the street.

I’ve tried every single Fitbit on the market so far. I’m no athlete – I enjoy fitness and I have utilised Fitbit in my weight loss goals this year to great success. I’m a big fan of the Fitbit Charge and that definitely helped me on my weight loss journey.

Then Fitbit released the Surge. The Surge is Fitbit’s answer to a smartwatch where there’s a screen, more features and it pairs with your phone so you can see text messages and phone calls. Fitbit calls it the ultimate fitness super watch. And they’re not far off.

The watch has a tonne of features. GPS tracking where you can see distance, pace and elevation.  A heart rate monitor, wireless syncing, auto sleep and alarms functions, and all day activity tracking where you can track steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes.

As well as text and call notifications, you can control your music on your mobile device directly from your watch. That’s helpful.

The best thing about the Surge that other Fitbit models don’t have is its multi sport ability. Many people I know didn't like how Fitbit only tracked steps – what about cycling? The Surge tracks running, cycling, cross training and other workouts, and you can view exercise summaries directly on the watch.

Its biggest flaw however is how bulky it is. Fitbits aren’t necessarily the greatest looking wearable, but the previous models were basic enough that their simple black design looked good on the wrist, no matter your size or gender. However, the Surge doesn’t quite work in this same way, at least it didn’t for me, and I think this may limit its appeal.

It’s quite large, and the display on screen looks quite ancient. It reminds me of old mobile phones whose screens were grey and black before coloured displays and smartphones changed everything up. In that way, the Surge looks quite cheap.

That said, it does what it says it does. For athletes and fitness fans, all the features the Surge offers will provide a complete overview of one’s fitness activities. As I said, the fact that Fitbit can now track more than one kind of exercise is a huge plus point and will be appealing to many.

The size of the Surge isn’t for me, but its large size may appeal to those who wear a watch or want something more substantial on their wrist than a black band.

The Surge runs for $349.95, and would be a great Father’s Day present. 

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