Fitbit Surge Review

Through being connected with Run Reigate (I’m running their half marathon and blogging for them), I’ve been given a Fitbit Surge to help with my training as they’re one of the Run Reigate sponsors. So I thought I’d do a little review of how I’m finding it and what I think.

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When the fitness trackers first started coming out I had an original Fitbit. It was fairly basic but it did what I wanted: counted my steps and monitored my sleep. Then when the Garmin Vivofit came out I decided to upgrade as I liked the idea of it also working as a watch (the original Fitbit didn’t have a screen) and I have a Garmin running watch so it seemed to make sense.

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Now I have the Fitbit Surge. I was really excited about this because I liked the idea of having a heart rate monitor on all the time. I’m a geek and love all the stats so this really appealed to me. Plus I liked that it looks a lot more like a watch that the Vivofit. A few of my non-running friends often laughed at my Vivofit saying it looked like I was wearing a prison tag device on my wrist *sighs*.

So what are the features of the Surge?

Activity Tracking

It tracks steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, hourly activity and stationary time. And, using the Fitbit app, you can see cool graphs of your activities over the day and week:

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And you can delve into this further to see when those steps were accumulated over the day:

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This day had a run in the morning as you can see by the spikes at the beginning of the day.

Tracks Workouts

Unlike the Vivofit, you can track an actual workout.

FitBit spin

There are different exercise groups you can choose from, such as hiking, weights and spinning.

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This was a spinning session I did. It tracked my heart rate and calories burned. Not visible in the screenshot is, if you scroll down, it will tell you how many steps were taken during this workout and activity minutes – basically the “impact on your day”. So when I go to the gym and do weights I can see how many steps I take purely during that workout, which I think is quite interesting. And very handy as well with running as when you run it’s easy to get over 10,000 steps and maybe you want to hit 10,000 despite the run (basically not being an active couch potato Winking smile).

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You can then see what you’ve been up to during the week in terms of activities (that Thursday run went a bit wrong as I was just getting used to how to use the watch!).

Tracking Runs

The handy part of the Surge is that you can use it as a running watch. It has GPS so you can track a run exactly as you would using a Garmin.

Fitbit Surge

On the watch face you can choose what stats you see. So, average pace, heart rate and distance etc. It vibrates when you hit a mile (though you can change this to whatever increment and metric you like). I wore my Garmin watch with it as I still prefer my actual Garmin to run with but I liked that I could see my HR and the stats were very close between the two watches. If you were looking for a running watch and wanted an activity tracker then this would be ideal for you.

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Interestingly even when I didn’t select the running functionality and just used my Garmin (but still wore the Surge) when I synced it later to my phone it had picked up I’d run anyway (though contained no map as the GPS hadn’t been engaged). I love this! It means that I can still partition my steps away from a run but not waste battery on using GPS. Very clever. And yes, it does connect to Strava.

Tracking Sleep

Like other trackers, it monitors your sleep. You don’t have to click anything to say you’re going to sleep, you just sleep.

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Like the steps, you can hone into the detail of each night’s sleep and it will give you a graph displaying when you were awake, restless or asleep and for how long.

Notifications

It also picks up messages and incoming calls by gently vibrating and displaying it on the screen. You can read the messages on the screen which I think is quite handy. You can also control your music through your watch. This is amazing for me as when I go for a run and listen to music my phone will invariably be in a bag or armband and be tricky to get out. If a song comes on I don’t fancy it’s such an effort to get the phone out – but using my watch makes things a whole lot easier! The same goes for if I receive a message or a phone call – I can just click to read/answer it there and then.

Alarms

This is what I really missed about my old Fitbit when I moved to the Vivofit. I loved that there was an alarm functionality which was basically a gentle vibration of the device and this is the same for the Surge.

Heart Rate

This was the best part for me: seeing my heart rate through the day. Especially during marathon training, it’s important for me to monitor these things to make sure I can catch any early signs of illness or over-training. I check my heart rate in the morning as soon as I wake up (I always remember Steve Way telling us at the MT Run Camp that he checks his HR all the time and noticed that one morning he woke up and it was 10 beats higher than normal and felt a lot more tired and realised he was over-trained and needed a break before he crashed).

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It’s fairly accurate I think as I had my heart rate taken my a proper HR machine thing a few years ago and it’s always been around 50, which I guess is below average (probably why I feel dizzy when I stand up too quickly!).

The App

I love the app. I love the design of it, how easy it is to use and the sheer amount of data you can delve into. The Garmin Connect does have similar data but I just prefer the Fitbit app. It’s more intuitive and interesting.

IMG_4701The Dashboard

It also syncs really quickly and easily to it. You can connect with other Fitbit wearers and do different challengers as well to gain different badges. All very cool.

Other functionality I really liked was that the screen is touch screen and it’s very fluid and smooth moving. You can go back and forth through the different bits very easily. I disliked the Vivofit as it involved clicking a physical button and you had to click all the way through to get back to the time… and if you clicked one too many times you had to cycle through them all again.

I also really like how it has a backlight. This means I can tell the time in the middle of the night without looking at my phone (being short-sighted is an issue at bedtime). I hate looking at my phone in the middle of the night as it can sometimes distract me – “ooh a new notification on Facebook or Instagram…”.

But the one thing that I really don’t like though is the battery life. The Vivofit didn’t need charging, whereas the Surge needs to be charged once a week. For someone who’s used to wearing a watch now all the time, it’s hard to remember!

All in all, I really love it. I won’t be going back to my Vivofit!

Do you wear an activity tracker?

How many steps do you do on average in a day?

Do you like to track your workouts?

**I was given the Fitbit Surge for free by Run Reigate in exchange for my participation and blogging in the Reigate Half Marathon. All opinions are my own honest owns.**

18 thoughts on “Fitbit Surge Review

  1. The Surge looks so good! I have a Charge HR – I’ve had it for just over a year (I almost bought the Surge but decided I didn’t run enough to justify the extra cost). I love my Fitbit. I upgraded to the Charge from a Flex because the Flex was so basic & I really (really, really!) wanted the heart rate monitor. It’s nice to see my resting heart rate is slowly but surely dropping as my fitness increases and my stress levels decrease!

    I don’t get many steps in an average day. I’m lucky to hit 6000 most days. Office job with a long drive there and back doesn’t give me much opportunity to move. I can’t wait to get back to running so I can pass the magical 10,000 regularly again!
    Laura recently posted…Severn Bridge Half MarathonMy Profile

    • Yes! It’s great to see that sort of progress through something as tangible as heart rate 🙂
      Yep if I didn’t have a dog I’d struggle to get my steps in. Having a dog means I have to walk him in the morning and evening, no matter how I’m feeling. i also try and get out at lunchtime for a short walk. It all helps I guess!
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…19 miles and no more glassesMy Profile

      • So true! I walk a dog for someone else once a week on my day off, and that’s pretty much the only day I get a decent walk in. I can get out some days for one in my lunch break, but I only get 30 minutes, so I can’t go far. I do that more to get away from my chair than anything!
        Can’t wait to have a dog someday. My partner & I would both like a medium sized working dog, so we’d certainly get the steps in there!
        Laura recently posted…Severn Bridge Half MarathonMy Profile

  2. I think it’s great that this sort of thing is evolving all of the time. I really like Fitbit as a company (I love that they support parkrun), but when I had one I didn’t like it so much. But mine was one for a pocket (that’s why it went through the wash…)- it needed charging all of the time, and I really hated the cutesy messages that popped up on it, not sure if the the bands do this?
    I like the idea of tracking the “non workout” time separately, that is such a good idea. I do think on some days I would not make many steps if I didn’t have a run. Saying that I have got just under 14,000 as my average at the moment, so that’s pretty good I think.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Round one: Canadian RockiesMy Profile

    • I love that Fitbit support parkrun too 🙂 I haven’t see any battery related messages yet but that might be because I’m on the ball charging it (I charge it at lunch while I’m eating lunch). Yeah it’s really interesting to know how much my running contributes to my steps. And also going to the gym.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…19 miles and no more glassesMy Profile

  3. Great review, I love all the screen shots.
    I agree, there is no such thing as having too much data. Personally, I’d love to get one of those just to see how much sleep I get. I suspect that I only get an average 4-5 hours of decent sleep a night on average.
    I might add it to my Ch…mas list…
    Emma recently posted…Great Birmingham Run training week 10My Profile

    • Hahaha see what you did there 😉
      Yeah it’s so interesting. I always wake up once in the night for the loo (it’s become a bit of an ingrained habit combined with the fact I always drink a hot chocolate just before bed) so it’s interesting to see how that affects things.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…21 miles and late for parkrunMy Profile

  4. I had a fitbit zip but found it didn’t have all the functions I wanted so I switched to a Garmin Vivosmart which I loved, however the screen broke so I sent it back and the second one did the same thing. After chatting to a friend who said both hers and her husbands had done the same I sent it back to Amazon but then never replaced it. The fitbit surge looks like a neat piece of kit.

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