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Fitbit Surge (Large)


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Ever thought that becoming a cyborg might be pretty cool? If so, you’re probably the kind of person who should check out the Fitbit Surge. Rather than purely relying on your “wetware” (to borrow a phrase from Ex Machina), the Surge is a fitness tracker that helps you take control of your body more than ever before, making measuring and monitoring your health a doddle.

 

Robby The Robot

Look at any old sci-fi film and you’ll see that robots / cyborgs are often chunky, hulking, clumsy things rather than elegant constructs. There’s a little bit of that about the Fitbit Surge, in that whilst it looks like a watch, it isn’t a particularly attractive one and it’s certainly much larger than other fitness trackers. With a big square face and a strap that’s just as wide – as well as being quite deep – the Surge isn’t exactly sleek. If you’ve got small wrists, it’s going to be quite a style statement, regardless of whether you opt it in for black, blue or tangerine, or the smaller size.

The touchscreen is nice and bright, but you need to get the viewing angle right if you’re outside.

Fortunately the silicone / rubber construction is comfortable to wear, with a normal watch clasp rather than anything that tries to be too clever. A final note: if you want to get accurate heart rate data from the always-on sensor, you need to move it about an inch or so up from your wrist rather than exactly where you’d wear a watch normally. That can feel a bit odd at first, but you get used to it.

fitbit-surge-strap-fastener

Dubbed ‘The Ultimate Fitness Super Watch’, Fitbit Surge has 8 different sensors plus smart notifications, all available on the monochrome LCD display.

C3PO

Moving away from design, the Fitbit Surge has quite a lot of tricks up its sleeve. First of all, It does all the standard things that we’ve come to expect from activity trackers, like count your steps, calculate calories burnt, an auto-sleep mode and so on. As usual, you have to treat the step count with a bit of scepticism, as it’s likely that even something like driving will add a few paces to your daily total.

What’s more impressive is the GPS functionality that means you can take it on a run without having to lug your damn smartphone around with you and it’ll still be able to track your route and then subsequently figure out the distance you travelled, and stats like ascent / descent etc. Turning on the GPS does gobble up more of the battery life and its accuracy will be affected by tall buildings or bad weather, but it means that instead of having a Garmin-style running watch you could use the Surge instead.

The previously mentioned optical HR sensor is also a big bonus if you’re serious about your fitness and are tired of wearing a band around your chest.

Finally, like a proper smartwatch, the Fitbit Surge “super fitness watch” will channel notifications through to your wrist from your phone if the two are close enough to one another, but you won’t be able to respond to them. Similarly, establishing a Bluetooth link lets you control the music you want to play through the Surge’s touchscreen to make navigating your music library simple.

fitbit-surge-back-heart-rate-monitor

The Fitbit Surge ‘PurePulse’ Monitor, continuously tracks your heart rate so that you can gauge the intensity of your workouts and set targets using the built-in display – no need for troublesome chest straps.

 

I, Robot

Unfortunately, like any top of the range item, the Fitbit Surge is on the expensive side compared to many other activity trackers, whilst it’s neither as stylish nor as powerful as many full blown smartwatches.

Battery life should stretch to 5-6 days (Fitbit claim 7+), but it really depends on how you’re using the Surge. Suffice to say that it’s pretty good but not amazing. Charging is done with a proprietary USB cable, which isn’t perfect but it does a job.

Water is a enemy of this particular bit of circuitry. Although you can take it in the shower and other light uses, keep it away from the pool or the river.

 

Stepping In To The Matrix

A massively important aspect of any fitness tracker is how intuitive and well designed the process is for understanding your data. Put it another way: a device could collect all the amazing information in the world, but if it was a nightmare to access and understand, it’d be pointless.

Fitbit have mastered this area, with apps for all three major phone operating systems, as well as a full web portal for use with your computer. If you lose your phone, you’ll still be able to upload your data and view it online using all the tools they’ve developed. Setting it up originally takes a little while to do, but it’s uncomplicated and painless.

  • At 135 x 98 x 70 mm, the Surge isn’t the smallest, however this Fitbit has tonnes of smart features, bridging the gap between activity tracker and smartwatch.
  • And with 3 different colours to choose from (Black, Blue or Tangerine), you can express yourself while getting fit.
  • There’s also two sizes to choose from:

Small to fit wrist sizes 5.5 to 6.3 inches.
Large to fit wrist sizes 6.3 to 7.8 inches.

[An X-Large size is also available and exclusive to the official Fitbit site].

  • The Surge hasn’t been dubbed the ‘Ultimate Fitness Super Watch’ for nothing. With 8 sensors, this fitness band can tracks your location, heart rate, multi-sport activity, sleep, steps, distance, calories burned and much more.
  • It even has a Silent alarm to ensure you’re up and ready to go.
  • Not forgetting those smart watch like capabilities such as Caller ID, Smart Notifications, Music Controls and Wireless Syncing – allowing you to workout while still feeling connected to the world.
  • And with that Monochrome LCD back-lit touchscreen display, it’s easy to keep up-to-date, multitask, set goals and check your progress on the go.
  • That display got you worried about battery life? Don’t be. This mighty Fitbit can last up to 7+ days depending on usage.

What’s in the Box

  • Fitbit Surge Activity Tracker
  • Wireless Sync Dongle
  • USB Charging Cable

Fitbit Surge
The Fitbit Surge isn't pretty, but it does a great job of stealing functionality from lots of other areas of fitness technology and skillfully wrapping them into one (admittedly chunky) device. Especially attractive if you don't own lots of sports gadgets already.
Design65%
Usability90%
Battery Life78%
Features95%
82%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
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