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Fitbit Surge Review

Fitbit Surge
  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 4 stars
£140 to £169
  • 80%

  • Fitbit Surge
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 1st April 2018
  • Heart Rate Monitor functions
    Editor: 70%
  • Heart Rate Accuracy
    Editor: 85%
  • Activity Tracking features
    Editor: 90%
  • Running functions
    Editor: 80%
  • Cycling functions
    Editor: 60%
  • Fitness monitoring features
    Editor: 85%
  • Ease of Use
    Editor: 85%
  • Battery Life
    Editor: 80%

The FitBit Surge is an award winning GPS fitness tracker with BUILT IN heart rate sensor (no chest strap required). The Surge, like all other FitBit’s, is supported by a BRILLIANT APP available for both Android and iPhone. If you jog, run or cycle and you’re in the market for an accurate GPS activity tracker with the ability to monitor heart rate WITHOUT a chest strap, then the FitBit Surge might be what you’re looking for. The Fitbit Surge has been reviewed by Tristan Haskins aka CardioCritic

Detailed review of the Fitbit Surge

Release Date (UK) > February 2015

Product it replaced > None – first Fitbit with internal / built-in GPS & off the wrist Heart Rate

Suggested Retail Price (when new) > from £199 upwards depending on case etc.

Replaced by > The Fitbit Surge was quietly removed from Fitbit’s online store in August 2017. It no longer receives firmware upgrades as such CardioCritic recommend the Blaze, Charge 2 or Fitbit Ionic as safer alternatives.

NEWS > Fitbit’s have a new smartwatch with built-in GPS and wrist based heart rate. The new Fitbit Ionic has been reviewed here

Who’s it For?

My sister in law has one and she absolutely loves it. She finds the strapless heart rate monitor, sleep monitor and activity tracker precisely what she needed to get on top of her fitness. She really wouldn’t swap it for anything. She’s not a FULL ON athlete, otherwise she’s be looking at something like the Garmin Forerunner 235, but she regularly partakes in ParkRuns and other local 10K events. She wears it at work, walking the dog, working around the house and while sleeping at night. The Surge is for the person who wants a majority of the following features in their Fitness watch

  • A 24/7 activity tracker
  • Smartphone Notifications – receive incoming text and call alerts
  • Off the wrist heart rate monitor (no chest strap req’d) – Fitbit PurePulse
  • GPS speed and distance data while running, walking or biking
  • Easy wireless upload of training data to phone (Android or iPhone)
  • Measure the quality of your Sleep monitor

On top of these essential features you get some of Fitbit’s own features, making the Surge that little bit better than the competition

Next model UP

UPDATE (Sept 2017) > The Surge has been discontinued. CardioCritic recommends the Blaze, Charge 2 or Ionic as an alternative.

The Surge is the top of their range for performance tracking fitness watches. For customers looking at products like the Garmin VivoActive HR and the Apple iWatch then we’d recommend the Fitbit Ionic. The Ionic is a TRUE smartwatch featuring built-in GPS, wrist based heart rate, Fitbit App Gallery support and is fully swim-proof.

FitBit Ionic

Next model DOWN

The model below the FitBit Surge is the Charge 2 and from the older range the FitBit Charge HR. Similar fitness / activity tracking functions without the GPS. If you are not concerned with accurate speed and distance data then the Charge 2 or Charge HR is a good alternative. I have also added the Blaze as a model below the Surge as it’s missing the GPS …

FitBit Blaze  shares your phone’s GPS – very stylish watch includes FitStar program

FitBit Charge 2  smaller wrist unit with wrist based HR but NO GPS (shares phone’s GPS).

Summary & Conclusions

During this review of the Fitbit Surge my admiration for this competent GPS equipped fitness tracker grow. I know I liked it’s design and functionality when it was released, but I didn’t realise just how good it was until the review. If you’re not in the market for a FULL on GPS sports watch like the Forerunner 35 or Polar M200 then the Fitbit Surge is an sensible candidate. I have awarded the Surge a rating of 4/5 stars as it’s not perfect, but for fans of Fitbit looking for a watch with wrist based heart rate and built-in GPS the Fitbit Surge has it all.

Quick Links – lowest prices

PLEASE use the links below to get a great price on this Fitbit activity tracker from out online shopping partners.

Check price here - Amazon

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  • Wrist based heart rate monitor
  • Bright & Clear display
  • 24/7 Activity Tracker
  • Built-in GPS (the only model in Fitbit range with GPS - as of March 2017)
  • Smartphone notification alerts
  • Automatic recognition of exercise, no need to START a session
  • Bluetooth connectivity to iOs and Android Fitbit App
  • Cons

  • In my honest opinion this is Fitbit's only proper SPORTS WATCH - I have no major criticisms
  • Closest Alternative Fitness watches?

    The Fitbit Surge is an excellent all-round GPS equipped fitness tracker with built-in heart rate. The closest fitness watches from competitive brands are the Garmin Vivoactive HR, the Garmin Forerunner 35, the Polar M200 and the TomTom Runner 3. All feature built-in GPS and heart rate off the wrist. They all support smartphone connectivity and notification. The Vivoactive HR is a GPS multisport smartwatch and has the functional flexibility provided by Garmin Connect iQ. My personal favourite for stylish design, ease of use and essential running functionality is the Garmin Forerunner 35.

    Garmin Vivoactive HR  full colour multisport smartwatch with Connect IQ apps

    Polar M200  a user friendly GPS running watch with wrist based HR & activity tracker

    Forerunner 35  similar to the Polar M200 but 5 x HR zones – highly recommended

    TomTom Runner 3  multisport GPS watch with swim-metrics and built-in music storage

    Wearable Tech Running Fans

    If you’re in to wearable technology then Android users may want to consider the Polar M600, powered by Android Wear or for users of iPhone the Apple Watch 2 Nike+. Both these watches feature built-in GPS, are swim proof, have wrist based heart rate and can store music on their internal memory for playback via Bluetooth headphones.

    Polar M600  Android Wear connected smartwatch, supports Strava application

    Apple Watch Nike+  iPhone connected smartwatch comes with Nike+ Run Club pre-installed

    SmartTrack- Automatic Exercise Recognition

    Not every exercise session has to be wrapped in lycra or wrestling with a cross trainer. The Surge is all about recording and motivating you to keep active throughout the day. If I decide to take my dog for a lunchtime walk or possibly a light jog around the block, the Surge will automatically detect this exercise and file it away as a WALK or RUN (depending on intensity) No need to press any buttons or commit to any particular workout. Just do it (wrong strapline, sorry Nike).

    Smarttack will kick in after 15 minutes of sustained movement. You can, if you want, reduce that to 10 minutes for example. Your exercise will be pigeon holed in to one of six categories

    • Walking
    • Running
    • Outdoor biking
    • Elliptical
    • General Sport. This includes any high movement sport like tennis, netball or football.
    • Aerobic workouk. Anything with a continuous movement pattern such as Zumba® or Boxercise

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    Sleep Tracking – Quality not just Quantity

    The quality of your sleep is almost as important as your activity throughout the day. Ask any top athlete what they do before a competition and they will tell you that they always try to get good sleep. The body does most of the muscle repairing and growth during the night. To benefit from a hard day’s work then you need a good QUALITY sleep. It’s not about getting 10 hours per night. It’s all about having long, undisturbed deep sleep. That’s where the Surge comes in handy. It will automatically monitor the duration and the quality of your sleep. It then sends that data to  your smartphone allowing you to review your sleep patterns in easy to understand graphs on the Fitbit dashboard. The Surge also features a silent “vibrate” alarm to help you wake up in the morning fresh and ready for the next day’s training.

    Monitor the quality and duration of your sleep
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    Get Fitbit Badges for Achieving Step Goals

    As a little kid I always looked forward to going to the DENTIST as,if I was lucky, I’d get a nice little sticker with a crocodile with a big beaming smile. Who doesn’t love a sticker when you’ve been good? The Fitbit APP will reward all your hard work with a collection of BADGES when you reach certain goals. All these little motivational features are what make the Surge so popular. They’re only subtle little gimmicks but they work

    Pick up rewards for achieving goals

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    Challenge your Friends – 7 Day Steps

    What’s better than getting Fitit badges (above)? Rubbing your friends nose in to just how active you have managed to be in the last 7 days. OK, that might be a bit harsh, but connecting with FRIENDS on the Fitbit APP is easy. Once connected you can see just how hard, or not, your friends have been this last week. Another great motivational feature. Naturally, if you don’t want your Commando Seal brother in law stalking you… you can decline to have them as a Fitbit buddy..

    Challenge Friends in a 7 day step challenge
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    Keep your Calories Balanced – Food Log

    Maintaining a balance between the calories you EAT and the calories your BURN is not easy. The Fitbit Surge will help you keep a track of the calories you consume versus the energy you have expended in the day. I have to admit I am not a massive fan of this feature within the APP. Do we all really know how many calories all our daily meals have in them? There is a barcode scanner which reads the calorific data from food labels …. and there are thousands of pre-programmed regularly consumed favourites in a large food database. I can appreciate the innovation in this feature, but it’s not for me. Sorry.

    Balance daily calories with the FitBit APP
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    Comparison – Fitbit Surge, Blaze & Charge HR

    The Fitbit Surge and Blaze offer quite similar functionality. The Surge is a more discrete fitness watch with it’s OWN built-in GPS. The Blaze uses the GPS from your connected Smartphone.



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    Product Marketing Videos

    We like to make our own video reviews of all the products we test and review. As soon as we have got our hands on a Surge we will make our own video and pop it up here. In the meantime… this is the best we can offer.

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    Surge Image Gallery

    [nggallery id=”6″]

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    Sizing Chart – get it right.. please

    Like many modern fitness bands the Surge comes in a couple of sizes. Getting the wrong size, especially if too big, will give problems getting accurate heart rate as the back of the watch will not site snug on to your wrist. Just use a piece of string to measure your wrist circumference.

    Small – 14 to 16cm

    Large – 16 – 19.8cm

    X.Large – 19.8 to 22.6cm

    Fitbit Surge imperial and metric size chart

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