Heres my thoughts on the Fitbit surge and I’ll add a Surge vs Charge comparison at the end.
Unboxing this, it’s obvious that it’s a premium product although it’s a bit fiddly to get the watch out its a nice touch to see they’ve used premium material.
First impressions it’s very similar to the Charge HR in terms of appearance, the silicon like material they use on the strap is the same and it really just looks like a bigger, stretched out version of theCharge HR.
However the Surge looks more like a regular watch, it has a touch sensitive screen and 3 buttons (1 home and 2 select) to navigate the various menus. It also comes in a range of colours although this model is limited to three options.
They also come in a range of sizes, I got a large but I found the strap had plenty of notches to allow room for adjustment. (It easily fit both me and Mrs_TheBeltsander
I did immediately notice the screen was much clearer and easier to read than the Charge especially in bright day light. Similar to the Charge HR, it has a backlight that comes on when you raise your wrist and a sensor on the back with two green flashing lights to collect heart rate data.
The whole device also feels more durable and better built than the Charge, the watch casing and buttons are made from metal rather than plastic.
The setup is very straightforward and as with the Charge HR it’s up a running in a matter of minutes. This comes with exactly the same accessories, a charging cable and a wireless dongle.
Trying it on I noticed it is a lot bigger and heavier than the Charge. It’s not uncomfortable by any means but I’m definitely more aware that I’m wearing it. With the Charge I completely forgot it was there but not so much with the Surge.
It also tends to catch on long sleeves, similar to the Charge model but it does seem more noticeable with the Surge (probably due to the fact it’s bigger and occupies more wrist space)
I did see a video online where a user suggested wearing it on you ankle instead of your wrist because it can still get a heart rate reading but the downside was that it made it look like an ASBO ankle tag.
Fitbit are keen to point out that the Surge isn’t meant as an everyday watch, they refer to it as a “performance fitness watch. They have however recently came out with a new model more suited to everyday wear.
The Fitbit blaze which has a changeable strap.
In terms of functionality this thing is in a different league. While the device isn’t fully touch screen it does recognise swipe gestures. Swiping left or right allows the user to navigate the various menus. I was surprised with just how well It works, it really adds to the watch making it feel more like a high end device.
Like the Charge this device has silent alerts for alarms but they’ve also added notifications for your mobile phone when paired via Bluetooth. You’ll be notified of an incoming call by the device vibrating and displaying the callers name, and whole text messages appear on screen (you can even scroll down through the entire message). It’s worth mentioning I haven’t missed a single call or message since I started wearing this.
With the Surge you’ll also get Fitbit’s superb app which displays all the information the device has gathered through the charts and graphs in an easy to understand way.
I learned a huge amount about my daily expenditure as well as my workouts with this software and you’ll also be able to sync it with my fitness pal to monitor calories in.
I’ve even discovered that Fitbit have a wireless weighing scale, to make weigh in’s really effortless.
Tracking workouts is simple. Similar to the Charge you need to tell it when you’re about to start a workout but the Surge has several options, weights, bike, yoga and so on. You simply hit the button to tell it your finished and it’ll display the workout. Allowing you to see how your heart rate behaved throughout and providing you with a whole host of various figures to obsess over.
While it is bigger and bulkier than the Charge, it didn’t ever really get in the way. At first I was a bit concerned that I might crush it during deadlifts but I soon forgot it was there.
Its not an overly attractive device with its thick bezels and old school LCD screen, it does have its mild annoyances and It’s not 100% practical as an everyday watch but take this thing on a run of a bike ride and it all starts to make sense.
The Surge includes a GPS chip to track your outdoor run, it even brings up a map when you’re finished to display the route, lap / kilometre splits. So if you don’t like having to lug your phone around when you go for a run, this may be a good alternative.
It vibrates every kilometre allowing you to keep track of your performance and my personal favourite feature, it allows you to control your music on your phone.Flicking through tracks was effortless as the name of each track is displayed on screen. Its a really nice feature and it works well with the iPhone.
The surge won’t win any beauty pageants but that’s besides the point. This is a watch built for function over form, aimed at the more serious athlete rather than those with a passing interested in improving their fitness.
Surge Vs Charge HR:
The Surge (€249.95) vs the Charge HR (€149.95)
Which would I buy?
Having used both, either device certainly has its pros and its cons.
I loved the anonymous feel of the charge HR, subtle and silently doing its job. Inconspicuous until the moment its called upon to reveal the data its been collecting. Also Mrs_theBeltsander commented the she much preferred the Charge HR as it was less bulky then the Surge. So some ladies might prefer the lighter, smaller device.
But after using The Surge and trying to revert back to the Charge HR I really did missed some of the extra functions that the Surge has. Mainly the text message alerts and music control.
In a nutshell if I had to buy one, I would still opt for the Charge HR but only just. While the Surge is a fantastic device I’m a man who doesn’t do much outdoor cardio or bike riding and I personally didn’t feel that I was getting the most from it.
If your into distance running and riding and like me you’re a bit of nerd when it comes to technology and data, you’ll fall in love with the Surge.
With all the additional functions its defiantly worth the extra €100 but like anything its only really worth the investment if your going to use them.