Fitbit Surge – fitness tracker with GPS (review)


#FitbitSurge #WearableFitbit Surge – fitness tracker with GPS (review) : People are embracing fitness trackers. They are good for tracking running, walking, exercise, sleep and more depending on the number of sensors and the supporting app.

The Fitbit Surge was introduced in early 2015, so it is one of the first fitness trackers with some limited “smart” benefits. I have reviewed several fitness bands – Samsung Gear Fit/2, Strava, Microsoft Band 2, and many smartwatches with fitness benefits from Huawei, LG, Moto and more.

What I have discovered is that it is a combination of the hardware and the app that makes or breaks it. Fitbit Surge has a total of 8 “sensors”, a good battery life, and its excellent app covers almost everything a normal user would want.

Fitbit is the global leader in the fitness tracker space having sold about 50 million devices. Being the market leader means a huge user base, great social media presence, and the largest fitness community to compare your performance against.

So to the review – Surge

Out of the box

It’s a big watch – meant for meaty hands and thick wrists although you can order it with a small band (14-16cm wrist circumference), large (16-19.8cm) and X-large (19.8-22.6cm). I think smaller wrists would be better served by the Fitbit’s new Charge 2 with HR, but that does not have GPS.

It has the following sensors/motors (note that most fitness bands use a single, 3 to 6 axis accelerometer)

  • 3-axis accelerometer, which measures motion patterns and determines steps taken, distance traveled. This data is used by the app to determine calories burned, active minutes, and sleep quality, weight control, etc.
  • 3-axis gyroscope (direction – I suspect this is part of the accelerometer)
  • 3-axis magnetometer (compass – ditto)
  • Altimeter, which measures floors climbed
  • GPS receiver, sample rate 1GHz, which tracks location during a walk or run
  • Vibration motor – alerts to alarms, reaching a goal, when a GPS signal is found, and when a call or text is received
  • Continuous optical heart rate tracker, which measures BPM (beats per minute) at rest and when are exercising. It samples every second during exercise and otherwise every five seconds
  • An ambient light sensor, which turns on the backlight in low-light conditions (note that I was unable to get this to work and night/dark conditions made it impossible to read)